HC Deb 01 August 1962 vol 664 cc568-9
21. Mr. Wall

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if he has yet decided on the requirements for a successor to H.M.S. "Victorious".

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

I am afraid I cannot usefully add very much to my reply of 28th February to the hon. Member. He will understand that there are various complex requirements to allow for, at least one of which first emerged in the 1962 Defence White Paper: namely the aim of achieving a range of common aircraft with the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Wall

Can my hon. Friend at least say whether the design work for a carrier of about 50,000 tons referred to in last year's Defence White Paper is proceeding, and if it is proceeding satisfactorily what is the earliest time that we can expect such a ship to be laid down?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Design work is proceeding, but I cannot state without notice when a decision will be reached, because no decision has yet been taken about laying down the ship.

Mr. Willis

When is it proposed to take a decision about this? It has been on the boards now for a very long time and something should be done to approve or not approve.

Mr. Orr-Ewing

As with many other decisions in the defence sphere—there was a Question to my right hon. Friend earlier—perhaps the hon. Gentleman would like to address his question to the Minister of Defence.