§ 10. Mr. Hooley
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the principal priority defence task of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, respectively.
§ Mr. Nott
The main priority of all the United Kingdom's Armed Services is support of our defence commitment to NATO. The three Services jointly or severally contribute to the Alliance's strategic nuclear forces, provide land and air forces in the central region, maritime and air forces in the Channel and Eastern Atlantic, and the protection of the home base.
§ Mr. Hooley
From even that brief catalogue, is it not obvious that the Government's defence aims are far too ambitious? Would it not be sensible to cut out the nuclear ambition and abolish the scheme for Trident?
§ Mr. Stokes
On this very serious day, will my right hon. Friend assure us that in the next defence review there will be no reduction in the size of the Royal Navy or the number of naval ships at sea?
§ Mr. Wellbeloved
Will the Secretary of State reconsider his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for 147 Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley)? Does he accept that it was not the policy of the previous Administration to scuttle the Royal Navy surface fleet, to abandon our allies on the central front of Europe and to betray the North Atlantic Treaty by abandoning our commitments?
§ Mr. Viggers
Does my right hon. Friend agree that a principal role of the Royal Navy in time of war is to keep open the North Atlantic for reinforcement and supply, without which we could not survive?