HC Deb 12 July 1983 vol 45 cc746-7
2. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many times each year it is envisaged that cruise missile trailers will leave Greerham Common for training exercises.

The Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Mr. John Stanley)

I cannot add to what is said in paragraph 209 of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates" published last week.

Mr. Bennett

Does the Minister agree that the vast majority of British people, whether they are unilateralists or multilateralists, do not want cruise missiles to be based in Britain, and are particularly concerned that the Secretary of State wants to spend more time arguing between multilateralism and unilateralism rather than setting out specific proposals to ensure that Britain does not need cruise later in the year?

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we have recently had a general election at which a decisive mandate was given to the party that stood on a clear multilateralist platform.

Mr. Jim Spicer

Has my hon. Friend noted the recent antics of Monsignor Bruce Kent in relation to the cruise missile in trying to suggest that members of the armed services would be within their rights to disobey orders if it meant a confrontation? Will my hon. Friend take careful note of that and make sure that appropriate action is taken as and when necessary?

Mr. Stanley

My hon. Friend and other hon. Members will have seen, as I have, the extremely robust article on that subject in the leader column in one of today's papers.

Mr. Ron Davis

Given the Secretary of State's comments on cruise missiles and the Government's commitment to multilateral disarmament, will the Minister consider the logic of his argument and state whether the only nuclear threat to Britain will come from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries? If so, and if the Government's multilateralist policy is successful, does he ever envisage a position in which Britain will be free from nuclear weapons?

Mr. Stanley

It is a commonplace, which I should have thought everybody understood, that the only nuclear threat to Britain is from the USSR.

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