HC Deb 04 February 1970 vol 795 cc396-7
2. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will give an undertaking that rum will continue to be issued in the Royal Navy throughout 1970.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Navy (Dr. David Owen)

No, Sir.

Mr. Lane

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, despite what he said last week, some of us who served in the Navy both as ratings and as officers regard this decision as a psychological blunder? If the worry is intoxication, would not a better solution be to continue the tot but to reduce its volume?

Dr. Owen

The possibility of reducing the volume was considered but that, I think, would be the worst of all worlds. No hon. Member who was present during the Adjournment debate on this subject could have failed to notice the differences of opinion on this issue.

Mr. Wellbeloved

Would my hon. Friend take note that since that Adjournment debate I have received a large volume of letters making it clear that the lower deck is not convinced by his comments or by the unsubstantiated facts which he purported to put to the House? Will he bear in mind that there will be continuing trouble in the Fleet over this matter until he reverses this decision?

Dr. Owen

They are certainly not unsubstantiated facts. Indeed, they are carefully documented, and I am in the process of answering numerous questions from my hon. Friend to show that they are substantiated.

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