HC Deb 11 December 1984 vol 69 cc894-5
3. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of Defence if he will make a statement on the development of RAF Molesworth and RAF Alconbury.

Mr. Stanley

On RAF Molesworth I cannot at present add to my answer to the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing) on 29 October .

RAF Alconbury is scheduled to be developed in support of the deployment of TR1 tactical reconnaissance aircraft, with construction planned to begin next year.

Mr. Skinner

Is the Minister proud of the fact that he is a member of a Government who have turned Britain into a police state against the miners? Not content with that, they are now crawling on their hands and knees to Reagan and the Americans and are prepared to bring conspiracy charges against the Alconbury seven to help site American missiles there? Why do the Government not send them back where they belong and drop the charges against those people? They are British people.

Mr. Stanley

I am proud to be a member of a Government, as are all my right hon. and hon. Friends, who have cemented the Anglo-American alliance which formed the linchpin of our security during the second world war.

Dr. Mawhinney

Does my right hon. Friend accept that the people of Cambridgeshire will not react kindly to any authority which allows to be established at Molesworth and Alconbury the type of peace-camp nonsense that was established at Greenham common? The people of Cambridgeshire do not expect to have to pay increased police bills as a consequence of any unlawful activity at Molesworth and Alconbury.

Mr. Stanley

I note what my hon. Friend says. Police bills are a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. I am sure my hon. Friend accepts that the important deployment that will be taking place at Molesworth should be subject to the necessary security measures to protect the ground-launched cruise missiles as and when they are established there.

Mr. Marlow

If Britain were to be the only significant territory within a nuclear alliance—NATO—on which no nuclear weapons were based, and if hostilities broke out with the Warsaw pact, would not the most likely area of NATO to be subject to nuclear attack be the United Kingdom, because the likelihood of retaliation would be rather less? If the United Kingdom were not to have atomic weapons on its soil, would we not be in more rather than less danger?

Mr. Stanley

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. If the Opposition believe that it somehow serves our defence interests to ask our most important ally to go back across the Atlantic, their logic escapes me.

Mr. Barron

Will the Minister tell us when we shall reach a stage, such as we have at Greenham common at present, when what was originally a Royal Air Force camp turns into a United States air force base where we have little or no control over whether weapons are used in this country.

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Gentleman does not seem to be aware that the agreement establishing ground-launched cruise missiles in this country was between the United States Government and the Government of this country.