§ 21. Captain W. Elliot
asked the Minister of State for Defence what plans he has to increase the number of ships in reserve available for anti-submarine duties; and if he will make a statement.
§ Captain Elliot
Is my hon. Friend aware that that was not a very satisfactory answer? Would he not agree that the potential submarine threat is very great and that our defences against it must be given top priority? Would he not agree that our reserve forces are a most important part of that defence?
§ Mr. Kirk
As my hon. and"gallant Friend says, it is a question of priorities. We are using every available hull at the moment and we have kept in operation hulls which were planned to be scrapped. If we have ships that we can keep in the standby squadron at Chatham, we do so, but the problem is that these tend to be old hulls which need long and costly refitting before they are available for standby.