HC Deb 03 August 1966 vol 733 c453
21. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in view of recent changes in naval building programmes, he will make a further statement on the rôle to be played by the Royal Navy in fulfilling defence commitments.

Mr. Healey

I do not think that we can any longer consider the rôles of the individual Services in isolation from one another; they are all mutually interdependent. In due course, the Navy will give up one of its present tasks, which is to provide air cover for the Army ashore. It will, however, retain in some measure all its other tasks, and we mean to provide it with the new ships and weapons which it will need, in cooperation with the R.A.F., to carry them out.

Mr. Hamling

Would my right hon. Friend use his influence with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House and seek to persuade him to provide the House with an opportunity to debate the rôle of the Navy at an early date?

Mr. Healey

I very much hope that my hon. Friend catches your eye, Mr. Speaker, during the next defence debate and is able to raise this matter.