HC Deb 21 October 1971 vol 823 cc869-70
1. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of State for Defence what additional safety precautions against accident he is taking following the increased use of the Holy Loch base by the United States Poseidon submarines.

The Minister of State for Defence (Lord Balniel)

The safety aspect of these Poseidon-equipped submarines has been discussed with the United States authorities. As a result, I am satisfied that no additional safety precautions are required for these vessels.

Mr. Allaun

Do not recent submarine accidents indicate the need for further safeguards? Does not this growing concentration in Holy Loch make Scotland a No. 1 target in the event of war?

Lord Balniel

I do not think that the stationing of Poseidon-equipped submarines to replace Polaris-equipped submarines makes any difference, in that both weapons are second-strike weapons for defence. As for emergency procedures in the event of accidents, I assure the hon. Gentleman that very stringent precautions are observed.

Mr. Ronald King Murray

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Poseidon consorted with Medusa the Gorgon and fathered several monstrous offspring?

Lord Balniel

I have not the hon. and learned Gentleman's classical education. I will study the implications of his supplementary question.

Mr. Rankin

The hon. Gentleman must know this part of Scotland very well. Does he think that the American submarines add to or subtract from the wonderful tourist facilities of this area in Scotland?

Lord Balniel

The stationing of submarines at Holy Loch is part of the defence of the Western world and the preservation of freedom of our society. They are not there for tourist reasons.

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