HC Deb 16 January 1979 vol 960 c1487
16. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the nature and purpose of the recent United Kingdom underground nuclear test; and if he will undertake to abandon such tests.

Mr. Mulley

The test was required in order to maintain the effectiveness of our nuclear weapons. A unilateral decision on our part to halt nuclear testing while negotiations for a verifiable comprehensive test ban treaty are proceeding would not be in our interests, nor improve the prospects of an early conclusion to the negotiations.

Mr. Jenkins

Can my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that it is not the real object of the tests to extend into a new generation of nuclear weapons after 1990 in breach of Labour Party policy and Government undertakings in this matter?

Mr. Mulley

I can give my hon. Friend the assurance that the tests are not designed to give us a successor to the present Polaris force.

Mr. Cormack

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that reassurance is the most shameful thing that he has said in the House this afternoon?

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