HC Deb 20 February 1973 vol 851 c204
5. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will reaffirm that it is his policy to equip the Armed Forces with British made weapons and materials to the greatest possible extent.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

Yes, Sir. It is Government policy as far as is practicable to procure defence equipment from British sources or in collaboration with our allies.

Mr. Farr

I am grateful for that reply. Will my hon. Friend put this policy into effect in terms of the new helicopter missile and will he do his utmost to see that the substantial orders for this equipment are passed on to BAC for its Hawkswing missile?

Mr. Gilmour

I have already given the House the general policy. All I can tell my hon. Friend is that the Hawkswing project is developing normally, but no final decision on this or any other project has finally been taken.

Mr. Marten

Are we to equip ourselves with the Poseidon and has a decision been taken about that? If so, may I congratulate the Government on strengthening the Anglo-American alliance?

Mr. Gilmour

That is a different question and I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said last week.

Mr. Peart

Is the Minister aware that the following item appears in today's Guardian: The French Defence Minister, M. Debré, has confirmed that the decision of the British Government to buy its second generation nuclear weapons from the United States has made impossible a common British-French defence policy"? That is extremely interesting, but can the Minister confirm or deny what has been stated?

Mr. Gilmour

It is not for me to confirm or deny what appears in the French Press or what the French Minister of Defence says, but as the right hon. Gentleman knows there are two other Questions on this subject on today's Order Paper.