HC Deb 27 February 1963 vol 672 cc1243-4
25. Mr. Mulley

asked the Secretary of State for Air if a decision has now been taken and orders placed for aircraft to fulfil O.R. 351.

Mr. H. Fraser

I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation said on 25th February.

Mr. Mulley

Is it not time that a decision was made and announced to the House? Is it not time that the Secretary of State took an interest in these matters on behalf of the Royal Air Force so that this time the Royal Air Force will get an aircraft that it deems to be the best and not one that the Minister of Civil Aviation or the Minister of Defence thinks is the one to buy for quite other reasons than the requirements of the Service?

Mr. Fraser

I thank the hon. Gentleman for encouraging me to be more forceful in my job, but I assure him that we are getting the aircraft we want. The actual announcement, however, will not be made until next week.

Mr. Eden

Can my right hon. Friend give us an assurance that the announcement will be made during the course of the defence debate or early next week? Why is the announcement not being made earlier?

Mr. Fraser

As I have said in the White Paper, it is coming. The decision has been taken, but the details have still got to be worked out.

Mr. Wigg

Will the right lion. Gentleman "come off it"? Is it not about time that the Minister of Aviation told the House of Commons what has been told to every aircraft manufacturer in the country? Is it not time that the House was told what the Government decision is?

Mr. Fraser

I have told the hon. Gentleman that the decision has been taken. The details are being worked out and there will be a statement next week, I hope, by the Minister of Aviation.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Would it not be a good thing if the Minister would say that this specification should be taken up, in part, at any rate, in Belfast in place of the Beverley? This would give a lot of employment in an area where there is very high unemployment and would produce a first-class aircraft for Transport Command.

Mr. Fraser

My interest is in getting the best possible aircraft.

Mr. Wigg

Is it not a fact that Whitworth-Gloster at Coventry has got the contract and the Minister of Aviation has not got the "guts" to tell the House that himself?

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