HC Deb 31 May 1967 vol 747 cc75-6
15. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what change he plans in the rôle of the Royal Marines.

20. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the rôle of the Royal Marines in the future.

Mr. Healey

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) on 8th February.—[Vol. 740, c. 317.]

Mr. Wall

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the rôle of the Royal Marines is related to its size, and would not he agree that in terms of cost-effectiveness and mobility the Royal Marines are amongst the most efficient of Her Majesty's Forces, and will he, therefore, resist any further demands for cuts?

Mr. Healey

I know, and greatly appreciate, the hon. Gentleman's sympathy with the Royal Marines. The rôle of the Royal Marines is, in the main, to provide forces for our amphibious ships, but I would be the first to admit that the Marines are among the most efficient of all our forces on land or on sea.

Mr. Hamling

Will my right hon. Friend quell rumours in certain newspapers to the effect that the Royal Marines will be ended? Secondly, as well as noting what the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) said about the mobility and cost-effectiveness of the Corps, will my right hon. Friend also refer to their extreme versatility?

Mr. Healey

I thought that I had done that in referring to the fact that they fight as well in the jungles as on the beaches.