HC Deb 24 February 1966 vol 725 cc622-3
04. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that no aircraft carrying nuclear bombs, armed or unarmed, are allowed to overfly any part of Great Britain at any time, in view of recent happenings off the Spanish coast.

Q11. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Prime Minister if he will issue an instruction that no aircraft are to fly over the United Kingdom carrying nuclear weapons.

Mr. George Brown

I have been asked to reply.

No, Sir. No new factor has emerged as a result of the recent crash in Spain which would justify any change in the existing arrangements whereby, under strict precautions, certain flights of this kind are carried out over the United Kingdom.

Mr. Hamilton

Does not my right hon. Friend think that the British people are entitled to much more information than they are currently getting? Is he aware that there is a good deal of concern in this country and others as a result of this recent episode off Spain? Will he consider publishing in the OFFICIAL REPORT much more information than we have had hitherto?

Mr. Brown

I do not think we should do that, for obvious reasons. While the Government must have the utmost information, and while our people must be satisfied that that is so, there is a very strict limit on what it is possible to publish, for I think very obvious reasons. All of us have said in the past, under previous Administrations as well as our Administration, that we think that the situation is adequately provided for by our present procedures.

Mr. Jenkins

As General Franco has belatedly given the Spanish people immunity from this great risk, is not my right hon. Friend prepared to do the same for the British people?

Mr. Brown

There are many ways in which I have no desire to follow General Franco.