§ Q15. Brigadier Clarke
asked the Prime Minister how many senior naval officers have tendered their resignations in the last 10 days.
§ Mr. George Brown
I have been asked to reply.
As the House knows, the First Sea Lord has asked to be retired at once and his application has been accepted. No other senior officer has resigned.
§ Brigadier Clarke
Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it extremely serious to have the First Sea Lord resigning and the Minister of Defence for the Navy resigning, and does he realise that if they had not resigned there would have been many more resignations in the Navy from people who have stayed on because of the security of the country and because they are decent people?
§ Mr. Brown
We regard this as a matter worthy of serious attention, and I would not dream of denigrating it by talking about "a little local difficulty" as a previous Prime Minister did. It is a serious matter, and the only bit of light relief that I can introduce into it is that I wonder if the hon. Gentleman might not think of resigning.
Can my right hon. Friend assure us that these gentlemen will receive adequate pensions? In the Press this morning it is reported that they retire on pensions of full pay. Can we be assured that in fact they will get these full pensions?
§ Captain Litchfield
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the retiring First Sea Lord has sacrificed his expectation of normal promotion to Admiral of the Fleet at an increased pension or, rather, half pay?
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we on this side would be quite prepared to protect their pensions when they resign?