HC Deb 24 April 1963 vol 676 cc196-7
9. Mr. Morris

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement on the progress of the Chieftain tank.

Mr. Ramsden

The trials my right hon. Friend referred to in the debate on Army Estimates on 14th March have been completed and the results are at present being evaluated. Once this has been done, my right hon. Friend hopes that the way will be clear for production to begin.

Mr. Morris

Has not the time come to accelerate the development of this tank? Does not the Parliamentary Secretary realise that the statements made each year by his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State are brilliant exercises in padding? We were told in March of last year that this tank was in the final stage of its proving and use trials. We were then told, in a memorandum published this year, that they would take place within a few weeks. When will this tank be available to the units that need it?

Mr. Ramsden

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman has said. With a complex piece of equipment such as this, it would be a mistake to be in a bad hurry. There are bound to be teething difficulties and snags, and time spent now in clearing them up will certainly make production easier, and avoid difficulties later on.

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