§ 7. Mr. Stoddart
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he intends to site any new generation nuclear missiles within 30 miles of Swindon.
§ 17. Mr. Renton
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what the current position is regarding the location of cruise missiles in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Stoddart
Can I urge the right hon. Gentleman not to agree to the siting of any nuclear weapons at either Greenham Common or Fairford, which are within 30 miles of my constituency? Does he realise that it is a misguided and potentially catastrophic policy to have nuclear weapons in this country at all?
§ Mr. Pym
I fully appreciate the views of the hon. Gentleman. Frankly, at this stage, it would be wrong for me to give any undertaking about any particular site. We are at too early a stage. I must add, however, that this decision, taken not only by this Government, but by the whole NATO Alliance, was taken in the interests of peace and in the interests of the defence of freedom and democracy.
1417 The siting of these weapons in no way affects the vulnerability or otherwise of a particular place. It is a mistake for anyone to think that the siting of a weapon in a particular place in the United Kingdom, or any other country in NATO, makes it more or less vulnerable. We are all vulnerable in the horrifying event of a holocaust.
§ Mr. Churchill
Will my right hon. Friend explore with the United States Government the possibility of ensuring that the mobile launchers of these missiles remain relatively as lightweight as possible so that they are as mobile as possible and therefore not confined to a handful of bases which would increase the interest of a potential aggressor in a pre-emptive strike?
§ Mr. Pym
I have already said that the question of basing is being considered by the United States Government in conjunction with ourselves. There is no question about mobility. I am afraid that I could not give, off the cuff, the actual weight of this vehicle. Obviously, it is a pretty hefty thing. But mobile it is. I cannot say more about the bases at this stage.