HC Deb 03 August 1966 vol 733 cc452-3
20. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will now make a statement on the progress of the Polaris submarine programme.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

The first Polaris submarine, H.M.S. "Resolution", will be launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother at Barrow on 15th September. The second submarine, H.M.S. "Renown", will be launched at Birkenhead on 25th February, 1967.

Mr. Hamling

Can my right hon. Friend tell the House whether any of the cuts recently announced by my right hon. Friend will apply to the Polaris programme?

Mr. Mallalieu

Some of them.

Mr. Powell

May I congratulate Her Majesty's Government on continuing with the provision of the British independent nuclear deterrent?

Mr. Mallalieu

I will certainly accept congratulations on the remarkable way in which this project has been carried out, but it is not an independent deterrent.

31. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Defence for what purpose the Polaris submarines are to be used when they are completed; and in what parts of the world they are to operate.

Mr. Healey

With regard to the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 1st March, 1966, to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd). On the second part, it is the intention that the Polaris submarines shall operate in the N.A.T.O. area.

Mr. Hughes

But in view of the fact that we are in a financial crisis—if the right hon. Gentleman has not heard of it—does not he think that there is a strong case for postponing the completion of Polaris submarines as he does not know how they will be used when they are completed?

Mr. Healey

I know perfectly well how they will be used. I am very well aware, too, that the Polaris building programme is very tight, and any attempt to postpone it would lead to an enormous increase in its final cost.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

Will these submarines be based conveniently close to the submarine training facilities at Londonderry? Would the right hon. Gentleman say whether he was denying the existence of the expert Committee which I mentioned and its report?

Mr. Healey

My hon. Friend the Minister of Defence for the Royal Navy gave a very full answer to that question.

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