HC Deb 12 June 1979 vol 968 cc215-6
6. Mr. Stallard

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the official policy concerning future development and use of the neutron bomb.

Mr. Pym

We accept President Carter's decision of a year ago to defer a final decision on the production of enhanced radiation weapons. This remains the United States' position. There is no British development programme of enhanced radiation technology, nor is one planned.

Mr. Stallard

I am grateful for that reply. However, in view of the Prime Minister's recent interview in Time magazine, in which she expressed the view that our forces should be equipped with more effective nuclear weapons, is it now the policy and intention of the Government to put Britain back into the nuclear arms race?

Mr. Pym

Britain is, and has been for a long time, in the nuclear arms race. Our nuclear forces, strategic and theatre, are absolutely indispensable to our security and to that of our NATO allies.

Mr. Cormack

Is my right hon. Friend aware that not everybody in this country is entirely happy with President Carter's handling of these matters?

Mr. Pym

That may be so but it is certainly not my responsibility.

Mr. Stan Thorne

In dealing with official policy for the future is the Secretary of State prepared to consider the Lucas Aerospace corporate plan with regard to diversification and resources?

Mr. Pym

I have to tell the hon. Gentleman that I have not yet had the opportunity of studying that plan in any detail but at this stage I would not be prepared to exclude consideration of it.