HC Deb 07 November 1962 vol 666 cc950-1
6. Mr. Willis

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what progress has been made with the design project for an aircraft carrier replacement for H.M.S. "Victorious".

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

At the moment, there is nothing I can usefully add to my replies of 28th February and 1st August. Design is proceeding.

Mr. Willis

Are we to understand from that Answer that, in spite of all the recent exercises, the lessons which apparently resulted from them and the very great doubts which appear to have been thrown up regarding the future of these ships, it is still the desire of the Admiralty to proceed?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Yes, Sir.

Captain W. Elliot

Will my hon. Friend agree that, in view of the length of time it takes to build these ships, time is running out when the design should be completed and a decision arrived at? Secondly, will he assure the House that there has been no departure from the policy of mobility for our Forces which was so well set out in the 1962 White Paper?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I recognise that it takes at least three years to design a ship of this size and complexity and it is, therefore, important that a decision should be taken in the fairly near future. As regards the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, he will remember that the Prime Minister himself in a speech at the end of July endorsed the 1962 Defence White Paper.