HC Deb 22 February 1978 vol 944 cc1429-30
12. Mr. Litterick

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it known to the other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation representatives at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit meeting on 30th May that Her Majesty's Government are opposed to the deployment of the neutron bomb on British territory.

Mr. Judd

The position on possible production or deployment of enhanced radiation reduced blast warheads remains as described in the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence to the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill) on 15th December last.

Mr. Litterick

I thank the Minister for his answer, but does he not agree that the original decision to deploy nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom automatically made the British people a target for Russian nuclear weapons? Does he agrees that it would be extremely ill advised, if not on moral grounds, at least on practical grounds, to agree at the forthcoming conference with Carter and other NATO Heads of State to the deployment of this terrifying weapon in Britain—which would automatically subject the British people to retaliation by similar weapons—particularly if the permission of the British people is not asked?

Mr. Judd

I should like to emphasise that there is no question of a decision being taken on this matter without all aspects of the matter being thoroughly considered. I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware that the rationale advanced for the development of ERW is for a particular defensive rôle against tank forma- tions in the battlefield area if nuclear weapons ever have to be used.

Mr. Welsh

Will the Minister give a definite guarantee not to add to existing nuclear storage risks in Scotland and state categorically that neutron bombs will not be stored on Scottish soil?

Mr. Judd

There is no question of a decision being taken on this matter until all relevant dimensions of the problem have been considered.