HC Deb 24 May 1984 vol 60 cc1307-48

[14TH ALLOTTED DAY]—considered

7.25 pm
Mr. Denzil Davies (Llanelli)

I beg to move, That this House condemns the government's decision to agree to the deployment of American cruise missiles in the United Kingdom; believes that these missiles are of no military value, that their deployment has directly contributed to the breakdown of negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union for the control and reduction of nuclear weapons, has made the prospect of disarmament much more difficult and has weakened public support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; and calls upon the Government to halt all further deployment and to remove all existing cruise missiles from the United Kingdom.

Mr. Speaker

I have selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister.

I appeal to right hon. and hon. Members for short speeches because I have a long list of 18 Members who wish to take part in the debate.

Mr. Davies

This is the first debate that we have had in the House since the Government's deployment of cruise missiles following upon the NATO decision in 1979. During the miserable escalation of nuclear weapons that we have seen over the past 35 years, there cannot have been a weapon of so little value and yet potentially so dangerous as the cruise missile. There cannot have been a Government decision so politically damaging as that to bring those missiles to Britain.

Since the December 1979 decision thousands of words, many of them long and most of them unconvincing, have been poured forth to try to find some justification for cruise. Indeed, if one reads the literature some of the attempts to justify cruise merely on grounds of military strategy have proved so convoluted that they make the dissertations of medieval philosophers sound as simple as an editorial in The Sun.

Vast negotiating and diplomatic claims—we see it in the Government's amendment — have been made for cruise. Apparently, cruise would drag the reluctant Russians kicking and screaming to the negotiating table. The shadow of cruise hovering over the congresses of Geneva would, like some technological Talleyrand, wring concessions out of the Russian bear. It has not happened. The reality has been completely different. Cruise came, and, as we know, the Russians went.

Even more remarkably, we were told that we had to have cruise because its presence in Britain and Europe would bind America firmly to the defence of Europe. A bridge of 550 cruise missiles was apparently to span the Atlantic and bind America to Europe. Again, the reality has been different. Cruise has destroyed more bridges than it ever built between Britain, Europe and the United States.

Most military experts will privately admit that cruise, especially when added to the West's vast nuclear arsenal, is of little military use. The House knows, and it has been said time and again, that both sides have enough nuclear weapons to blow up the world ten times over. The United States alone has 40,000 targets in its nuclear sights. No doubt the Soviet Union has likewise. Unfortunately, there is nothing that cruise can do which cannot be done already by the existing missile systems that we have in the West.

An American general is reported to have said—and he made the point bluntly, and with the elegance of language which comes naturally only to five-star generals—of cruise that all it would do was "to bounce the rubble." All that it would do was merely to add to the rubble that would be created by the existing deployment of nuclear missiles.

Mr. Robert McNamara, who knows a thing or two about this gruesome business, said in Newsweek magazine in December 1983: There is no military requirement for NATO to deploy Pershing II and cruise missiles to maintain a stable deterrent. I should have thought that he would know and understand the problems involved in this matter. In that article, which I commend to the Secretary of State, he went on to argue that cruise and Pershing missiles should be unilaterally withdrawn from Europe by the Governments of Europe because of the political damage that they have already done within Europe and within the Alliance.

Not only is cruise of little military value but also, especially because the cruise that is being deployed in Britain is a land-based missile system, it exposes Britain to a much higher and greater risk of nuclear attack. With nuclear weapons becoming more lethal, more powerful and more accurate, it is criminally irresponsible of the Government to put nuclear missiles on land in a highly populated country like Britain, in a highly populated area of the country, where attempts to destroy those missiles would obliterate huge areas of southern England and kill thousands, if not millions, of people. That is the criminality of what the Government are doing in putting land-based missiles in a populous and highly populated country like Britain.

The House will recall the convoluted attempts of President Carter to base the land-based MX system in America. President Carter's advisers came up with the absurd, it seemed, notion of putting these missiles into perpetual motion. They were to be put on some kind of race track—a "Strangelovian" race track—that would run around the vastness and wastes of Utah and Nebraska. Everybody said that it was absurd. Within the logic of the game of land-based missiles, at least there was some bizarre logic about that decision. The A34 at Winchester, as I understand it, is not—or, at least, should not be—a race track. The wastes of Nebraska and Utah are not Hampshire and Berkshire.

The real point is that cruise is extremely vulnerable. It attracts an attack, especially as it is a land-based system in a highly populated area of Britain. The Government's attempts to minimise the vulnerability of cruise are ridiculous and irrelevant. These missiles are trundled out after midnight from Greenham common, taken a few miles down the A34, and then taken back before the sun rises. Apparently they have to be back in Greenham common before sunrise, like some kind of werewolves on wheels. That is the bizarre, ridiculous and irrelevant way in which the Government are trying to minimise the vulnerability of these missiles.

Mr. Roland Boyes (Houghton and Washington)

Does my right hon. Friend share my concern that not only are cruise missiles being brought out in the middle of the night and trundled round the countryside, when we cannot be sure whether they are armed or not, but, according to answers given to me by the Secretary of State for Defence, there are a number of half-crazed junkies running round the Greenham common air base, and we cannot be sure whether some of the drivers of these trucks are not high on heroin or some other drugs?

Mr. Davies

Indeed. My hon. Friend's intervention bears out that, if the subject were not so serious, one could make a good Ealing studios Boulting Brothers comedy out of all this trundling of cruise missiles down the A34, and back before 6 o'clock in the morning.

The point about the vulnerability of cruise was put authoritatively by a gentleman named Mr. Richard Perle, who I believe is the United States Under-Secretary of Defence. The Secretary of State for Defence no doubt meets him from time to time. Mr. Perle is not a man, I believe, who is seen very often at peace camps. Mr. Perle is reported to have said — and I take it that he is authoritative on these matters—in the Boston Globe of 2 June 1983: Cruise missiles never had much military utility because they are so vulnerable to attack. Not only have the Government carried out a deployment that we believe is wrong, but they have deployed missiles on land in Britain that are vulnerable, because they cannot be manoeuvred out of any range of attack, which, as I have said, is criminally irresponsible.

The Secretary of State will no doubt curdle our blood with tales of the SS20, and will argue that cruise missiles were deployed in Britain because of, in retaliation for, the Russian deployment of the SS20 missile. We have heard this argument in the past, and no doubt we shall hear it again tonight. I do not suppose that we would get far if we argued that cruise missiles were in response to SS20s. However, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that the deployment, manufacture, design and creation of cruise had very little, if anything—and probably nothing at all—to do with the SS20s. There is a considerable body of evidence that it would be counter-productive. There would be no point in going into it, because obviously the Secretary of State would not agree.

I will give one quotation to the House from General Bernard Rodgers, the supreme commander in Europe, who again, I should have thought, knows something about these matters. Addressing the Senate armed forces committee in the United States on 13 March 1983, he said: Most people believe that it was because of the SS20s that we modernised. I take it that "most people" includes the Secretary of State. He continued: We would have modernised irrespective of the SS20s. That is what the supreme commander says, so, whatever the Secretary of State says, the supreme commander at least does not agree with him. He says that the modernisation would have gone on irrespective of the SS20s.

With cruise, we have been trapped, as so often with these new weapons, into the technology. Once a weapon becomes a gleam in the eye of the technologist, once it gets on to the drawing board, once it is designed and production starts, the technology takes over, and the technology comes first. The bureaucrats, generals, experts and politicians then somehow or other have to find some reasonable justification for the new modern technological missile. That justification and that technology fashions military strategy and political theory. That is the danger in which we are with cruise, and with other missiles when they are thought up, designed and produced.

If the Secretary of State argues, as I am sure that he will, that the SS20s brought, created or ensured that we had cruise, if the argument is that we had to have them in retaliation to the SS20s, I say this to him and to the Government. We reject the entire dangerous reasoning that lies behind that argument. The reasoning that we must have them because they have SS20s is based on the proposition that each side apparently must always match the other side's weapons—a bomb for a bomb, and a missile for a missile. That is the basis of the Government's case, if the Government argue that we must have them because they have them. It seems to us that therein lies the path to total nuclear disaster.

I quote next from Professor Michael Howard who is a respected academic and expert in this sphere. In The Times of November 1983, he said: The SS20s remain a very small proportion of the enormous nuclear force that the Soviet Union is capable of launching against western Europe. The belief of some strategic analysts that the Russians can be deterred by the installation of precisely matching systems—ground-launched missiles must be matched with ground-launched missiles — is naive to the point of absurdity. That is the other point that we make about cruise. Not only is it dangerous and vulnerable, because it is on land—indeed, we do not want it in any form—but the whole reasoning behind the Government's case, that somehow every weapon must be matched by another weapon system, is dangerous, and, indeed, as Professor Howard said, naive.

One claim that the Secretary of State will not be able to make, although I observe that there is some attempt to make it in the Government's amendment—is that cruise has brought the Russians to the negotiating table, and has forced concessions out of them. That was the claim. It was made by NATO and we have had it from Ministers, including the Secretary of State, in various articles which he has written. Apparently, the Russians would have to negotiate and come to an agreement if we deployed cruise missiles. It just did not work. NATO was wrong, the Government were wrong and the Secretary of State was wrong. The deployment of cruise destroyed the talks. We can say that it was unjustified of the Russians to walk out of the talks and that they are terrible people, but the fact remains that it was the deployment of cruise that destroyed the talks.

We are now in the alarming position of having no real talks between the Americans and the Russians on nuclear weapons, be they intermediate, theatre or strategic, and there is no prospect of such talks. There is an absence of talks because cruise missiles were deployed hastily by the Government and NATO in the middle of talks.

Mr. Peter Rost (Erewash)

If the cruise system is so vulnerable and so useless, can the right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies) explain why the Russians are making such a fuss about us deploying them?

Mr. Davies

That is part of the puerile game that is played between the two sides and an illustration of the great danger that we face when we start matching systems with systems. This is the real problem.

Mr. Rost

Answer the question.

Mr. Davies

The Government mention talks and there will have to be talks at some stage. The Russians will have to come back to the Americans and there will have to be some talks, and I hope that they take place fairly soon. Those talks will not be confined to cruise, Pershing and SS20s because the world will have moved on by the time that they take place. They will embrace more missiles, more missile systems and more deployments, including the missiles that the Russians are deploying in retaliation to cruise. The Secretary of State may tell us during the next two years that we need more missiles as a retaliation against the Russians retaliation. That will mean that we shall retaliate against the missiles that the Russians have used to retaliate against our cruise which, in effect, was a retaliation against their SS20s. The Opposition's case is that the miserable, puerile and deadly game goes on and on without a break.

Mr. Kenneth Hind (Lancashire, West)

Would I be right in concluding from the right hon. Gentleman's comments that the Opposition would rather not join the puerile game at all and would rather have no nuclear weapons, including cruise?

Mr. Davies

It is not really a matter of joining the game. We are in the game and we want to try to stop it. We want to do something positive instead of playing it all the time without any hope of bringing it to an end.

I think that most people would agree that cruise is not much use militarily and that diplomatically it has not created the concessions for which we hoped. In fact, it has created retaliation by the Russians which may lead to retaliation on our side.

Finally, it is argued that we must have cruise missiles because, in the jargon of the trade — there is a considerable amount of it—they will couple Europe to America. Apparently these missiles will overturn the configuration of geography and ensure that an American president will risk the nuclear destruction of New York and Chicago in the defence of Frankfurt and London. That is the essence of the jargon of coupling the United States to Europe.

That justification has failed also. If an American president were faced with that awesome decision, he would act, quite rightly, on the basis of America's national interest and that of the people who elected him. The presence of 500 cruise missiles in Europe would make no difference to that decision. The idea that we can overturn national interest, geography and history by having these wretched missiles in Europe is a misunderstanding of the realities of states, presidents, prime ministers and decision making.

Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough and Horncastle)

Am I to take it that the right hon. Gentleman accepts that America is not installing cruise missiles in Britain to wage a limited war in Europe? That allegation has been made by CND on several occasions and it cannot be true.

Mr. Davies

Cruise missiles are in Britain as part of a NATO strategy, unfortunately, which envisages a limited nuclear war. Cruise is the third part of the escalation. It is ridiculous. We have battlefield nuclear weapons, theatre nuclear weapons and the third round of the escalation is the cruise missile. Cruise is with us to fight what is ridiculously called a limited nuclear war in Europe.

The justification has failed — that was bound to happen — because the deployment of missiles cannot change the very nature of America and its relationships with western Europe. Far from bringing America and Europe closer, its deployment has harmed relations between the two. The deployment of cruise and Pershing has undermined much public support for NATO, especially among younger people on the continent of Europe. One example is the attitude of the younger people in Germany, who are especially concerned about the deployment of Pershing. The deployment of these missiles has brought to the surface latent anti-Americanism, which exists in every country in Europe. The case for cruise has been destroyed, even on the ground of coupling. There is no case on military grounds, no case on diplomatic grounds and no case on the bridge-building ground between Europe and America. Most of those who know about these matters tell me that NATO is facing the worst crisis that has arisen since its inception.

The Government should now admit—I think that this would probably be admitted by the Secretary of State in private—that the 1979 decision was wrong, hasty and damaging. The Secretary of State should now stop berating, before he goes off to Stormont or wherever—

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

Not him.

Mr. Davies

I apologise to the Secretary of State, for I did not want to spoil his day. I withdraw my remark about Stormont. The right hon. Gentleman should stop berating constantly the peace movement and its continual and rightful opposition to cruise missiles in Britain. When he goes to NATO he should stop bullying the Dutch, who do not want cruise missiles in Holland any more than we want them in Britain. The Government should start by sending the cruise missiles that are here back to where they came from. They should stop deploying any more and start taking some positive steps to halt the slide to nuclear catastrophe.

7.48 pm
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Michael Heseltine)

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: welcomes the determination of Her Majesty's Government to implement the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's twin-track decision of December 1979 on intermediate range nuclear forces; deplores the unjustified Soviet departure from the Intermediate Nuclear Force negotiations in Geneva; and reaffirms that adherence to the agreed deployment programme offers the firmest foundation both for the security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Alliance and for the resumption of arms control negotiations. There are many right hon. and hon. Members who wish to contribute to the debate, and I shall not detain the House long. Many of the arguments have been rehearsed before and tonight we have not heard any that are new.

The speech of the right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies) was disappointing in a significant way, because he approached the issue as though the previous Labour Government and their policies had never existed and never came about. When the Conservative Government came to power, inevitably we had to reach a number of judgments in the light of current events and the unfolding momentum of current policies. That is inevitable for any newly elected Government. I was not at the forefront of the decision-making process because I had responsibilities in a domestic Department. However, those of my colleagues who had to reach judgments on these critical and immensely significant issues found that the Soviets were in the process of deploying SS20s on a significant scale.

First, the SS20s were facing western Europe and the east. That was an extremely unpalatable and unattractive escalation in the defence situation. I use the word "escalation" just as the right hon. Member for Llanelli did. That was a fact. It was not something that one could ignore. No one in government could ignore that. It proceeded persistently throughout the mid-1970s, despite all the western countries' adverse comments.

The second fact that the Labour Government of the day and the NATO Alliance had to recognise was that the intermediate range of weapon systems available to the NATO Alliance was aging. When looking into the 1980s and 1990s, no one could question that the V-bomber force, for example, which was Britain's contribution, would not remain credible, and that the F111 would become increasingly less credible as Soviet technology advanced. Therefore, there was a need to ask whether we should modernise that intermediate range of nuclear weapon systems. That was an inevitable question for any Government at the time who held a responsible position of power.

The third fact to be taken into account was the fear of the Social Democrats, who were then in power in the Federal Republic of Germany—led by Helmut Schmidt —that, if some of those systems were not replaced by a land system in Europe, there would be a de-coupling process that would separate the Americans from the nuclear umbrella that protected Europe.

Mr. Denzil Davies

The right hon. Gentleman should not slide over the point about the previous Labour Government and its relationship with NATO. There was a decision to modernise theatre nuclear weapons, but it was a decision to modernise the F111s. The decision whether to go totally against all that had happened in the past and to have cruise missiles was totally separate from that decision. There were two different types of modernisation.

Mr. Heseltine

That innovation in the debate will be widely noted with a certain scepticism. It might help if the right hon. Gentleman could say how the F111s are being modernised. We might then be able to judge the validity of his observation. I notice the silence that greets that.

That is not what the discussions were all about, but I shall come to that shortly. I shall have to remind the House of some of the quotations that Opposition students of such matters can find in Hansard. Those quotations will, I think, establish beyond peradventure whether the dialogue in NATO was about the modernisation of F111s or the introduction of a counter to the SS20s.

My point is that there is a factual background to the decisions that this Government had to take. The third factor was the Germans' growing anxiety about the need to ensure a continuing American commitment to the defence of NATO. Those three factors were among the essential ingredients that led to the formulation of the policies of the previous Labour Government. That was the background to be found on the desks of my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence, and, of course, on that of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, when she and my colleagues had to grapple with the question of where to go next. There was not much time to seek to change the momentum of events, even if we had wanted to do so. A matter of days before the 1979 general election, a decision was taken when Lord Mulley—then Fred Mulley—was present at the NATO meeting that discussed these matters. I have the communiqué of the NATO conference, with which the House will be familiar. Indeed, I shall quote from it. It was decided that it would be necessary to maintain and modernise theatre nuclear forces. That decision was taken on 25 April 1979.

The right hon. Member for Llanelli tried to say that that had nothing to do with cruise. I accept that the communiqué did not refer to the cruise missile system. The right hon. Gentleman wants the House to believe that it was a decision about the modernisation of the F111s. However, shortly afterwards, it was announced that we were going to proceed with modernisation, involving the cruise weapon system — [Interruption.] That was in December, by which time we were in office. But the suggestion that the option was F111s has to be seen in the context not of what the right hon. Gentleman had to say, but of what the Labour party spokesmen had to say when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made his announcement, and a debate was held on the NATO decisions.

I shall quote Bill Rodgers—[Interruption.] I hope that Opposition Members will remember that he was then the Labour party spokesman on defence and that he spoke from the Opposition Front Bench. It may well be that he found the policies that we are now listening to so intolerably suffocating that he got out, but that does not mean that they were not the Labour party's policies at that time.

I remind the House of what the official spokesman for the Labour party said in the Chamber when the House debated the issue of cruise missile system modernisation. He said: As the House knows, when the right hon. Gentleman made his statement on 13 December, we accepted the need to move ahead on the proposed timetable. It was the view of the previous Government that theatre nuclear modernisation was essential, and that is our view today. Bill Rodgers was referring to the statement made about the modernisation of the cruise missile system.

A little later in the same volume of Hansard one can find the speech made by Mr. Mulley: The key argument in all this … was not whether we should modernise but whether we should modernise before seeking a possibility of arms control agreement with the Soviet Union in this area or whether we should first take the decision and then seek negotiation … I therefore accepted that the NATO decision could not be further delayed."—[Official Report, 24 January 1980; Vol 977, c. 691–99.] I hope that the House will accept that without any shadow of doubt the previous Labour Government were totally and deeply involved in the process leading to the cruise decision, and that the Labour party spokesmen confirmed, after the decision was announced, that they believed that the previous Labour Government would have taken precisely the same decision as this Government took. Given the arguments that the right hon. Member for Llanelli and his colleagues now deploy, that leaves them open to the almost unanswerable charge of hypocrisy.

Tonight, the right hon. Gentleman has argued that the whole concept of deterrence is to be questioned, and that it is not necessary for the NATO Alliance to have a range of nuclear weapons that is broadly equivalent to those deployed by the Soviet Union. The right hon. Gentleman says that he does not believe that it was necessary to modernise the INF weapon systems. I assume that that is what he is now saying. He is saying that it was not necessary—

Mr. Boyes

The Secretary of State thinks that he is in the Oxford Union, but he is in Parliament.

Mr. Heseltine

But the Labour spokesman at the time confirmed that modernisation was necessary. It is not the need or the threat that has changed, but the policies of the Labour party. The right hon. Gentleman has confirmed his view that the weapons system has no military use, but that was not the view that his colleagues held at the time the decision was taken when speaking from the same Front Bench as the right hon. Gentleman. They believe that it was a relevant and right decision. Therefore, without the slightest shadow of doubt, the Labour party has changed its position, despite the fact that, in the view of the Government and the NATO Alliance, there is not a shred of evidence to justify such a major reversal of defence policy in the NATO Alliance.

The next suggestion is that the arguments have become of such current concern in the NATO Alliance that they have harmed the relationship of NATO with its European allies. The interesting thing about that is that, whilst that is often asserted by those who represent the one-sided nuclear disarmament lobbies in Britain, when the people of this country or of the NATO Alliance have an opportunity to voice their expressions of certainty in a democratic process — in the Federal Republic of Germany and in this country, for instance—significant enhanced majorities are achieved by the Governments who want to proceed with the decision that the House is now considering

Effectively, the right hon. Member for Llanelli is saying that, although the democratic process has created larger majorities for the policies that the Government are advocating, simply because people are prepared to take to the streets, the democratic impact of the ballot box should be overturned. We wholly reject such an interpretation of the democratic process.

The need for defence and flexible response has been rehearsed not just in the last few years, but over decades. That strand in the debate—that if one made a one-sided and ultimately neutralist approach to defence, somehow one would remain secure—has always existed. There is no historical evidence to support that assertion.

The only time in recent history that Britain made such a gesture, it made no impact upon Soviet defence polices. I refer to the one-sided decision that we took to abandon a chemical capability. The only consequence was that the Soviet Union continued to build up its chemical capability. It remains today a significant threat to the Western Alliance. Everyone who has studied the issue is aware of that.

There is no argument for abandoning our policy of deterrence. Deterrence cannot be maintained unless we are, from time to time, prepared to modernise the systems which make up that deterrence. Of course, every time that that is done, difficult dilemmas, which massively concern public opinion, are created. Everyone knows that weapons systems have a horrendous capability. Everybody knows that it would be better if we could secure agreements with the Soviets to reduce numbers.

There is no evidence that we shall achieve agreement with the Soviet Union if we destabilise the position by unilaterally reducing our own capabilities. We would rather pursue the arms negotiations route. The second track of the twin-track decision is as important to us as the modernisation of the weapons system itself. Nobody can doubt that we tried at Geneva to persuade the Soviet Union to reduce its SS20 deployment before we took the initial decision to deploy cruise missiles in NATO countries.

We now say what we have said consistently. If the Soviets will come back to the negotiating table, with every good will we shall try to secure a limitation, or preferably an elimination, of weapons systems in Europe. That is what we want in the NATO Alliance. The Soviet Union is carrying out a major deployment of a new weapons system — the SS20s — in advance of equivalent deployment in the West. When we try to negotiate with them, they refuse; and the moment that we begin the deployment by way of deterrence they walk out of the negotiating conference on their own. It cannot be said that after that we should give up our right to the deterrence that we believe is necessary for our protection. That is not a defensive strategy, but an abdication of the sovereign rights of the Western world and a major destabilising contribution to the peace of our society.

Mr. Kevin Barron (Rother Valley)

Does the Secretary of State agree that the majority of people believe that the deterrence factor of nuclear weapons is that they will not be used? I have a Ministry of Defence document about cruise missiles, which was handed out at Greenham common. On the question of nuclear war, it states that the aim of using cruise missiles would be to persuade the Russian leadership, even at the 11th hour, to draw back. That does not seem to me to involve a question of deterrence in terms of, "They will not bomb us because we will bomb them." The document discusses the question of not having an all-out nuclear war. The pamphlet is specific, and says that cruise missiles would be used to avoid all-out nuclear war. How does the Secretary of State expect the people to accept these awful missiles in relation to the protection of this country?

Mr. Heseltine

The hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) grossly misrepresents any document that he has from the Ministry of Defence. Everyone knows that the purpose of the deployment of cruise and all other weapons systems available to the NATO Alliance is to create a deterrence and to ensure that the Soviets do not attack the NATO Alliance. Everyone knows that it came about to stop the westward advance of the Soviet Union at the end of the second world war.

Mr. Barron

Here, read the document.

Mr. Heseltine

The hon. Gentleman will not persuade the British people to allow him to re-write history in such a naive and irresponsible way.

Our position remains clear. We shall do all within our capability to persuade the Soviet Union—

Mr. Bob Clay (Sunderland, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I believe that the Secretary of State has implied that a document from which a quotation has been taken is bogus.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Clay) appears not to be making a point of order; but if he has a point of order in this short debate, will he make it quickly?

Mr. Clay

Is it in order for the Secretary of State to imply that a document produced in the House is bogus?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Heseltine

There is nothing bogus about what I was saying. I was referring to a bogus interpretation of the document.

Our position remains as it always has been. We want above all else to secure a negotiated arms reduction with the Soviet Union. That offer is on the table and remains there. Any disruption in the process is because the Soviet Union walked out. We remain willing to talk.

In the meantime, we shall continue, in the range of arms procurement, to have a dialogue with the Soviet Union when it will talk to us. A range of alternatives is being progressed by the West.

Within the deployed systems of nuclear weapons at our disposal we are as concerned as anyone in the House could expect or require of us to ensure that we do not deploy, or allow to be deployed, more weapons systems than are essential for the task that we undertake.

In the dialogue about whether we have too many short-range or battlefield nuclear weapons, the Government have demonstrated their concern in the most visible and tangible way. During the 1960s, about 7,000 battlefield nuclear weapons were available to NATO. That remained the position right through the period of the last Labour Government. As many battlefield nuclear weapons were deployed at the end of the Labour Government's time in office as at the beginning.

Within a short time of this Government coming to office and taking their part in the NATO Alliance, we announced a reduction of 1,000 weapons. Subsequently the Government have added to that a further reduction of 2,000. That means that when the exercise is completed we shall have secured the lowest deployment of such weapons for 20 years. The Government have helped to carry through that process, in sharp contrast to the words now being used by Opposition Members who, when in office, did nothing tangible to secure such objectives. By all means, we shall negotiate. We want arms control and reduction. However, in the process we will not reduce the essential deterrence upon which we believe the peace of the Western world depends, and has depended with success for 35 years.

8.10 pm
Dr. David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

The House is debating a Labour party motion that is straight unilateralism. The Secretary of State is not entitled to quarrel about the justification for the motion. It contains the view of the Labour party at the last election. All Labour Members sitting in the House supported a unilateralist manifesto. Therefore, we should expect such a motion to be tabled.

I do not think that a great deal is achieved by discussing what happened prior to 1979. It was not, of course, the interpretation put upon it by the right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies). The theatre modernisation was mainly connected with the need to do something quickly about Pershing I. The whole question of theatre modernisation relates to the Federal Republic of Germany and its politics. As it has forsworn nuclear weapons, it is anxious about the validity of the United States nuclear guarantee. That is the core of the issue.

The only logical reason for cruise missiles being deployed in Italy and Britain is that the Federal Republic of Germany felt that it was wrong to expect it to modernise Pershing I on its own. It wanted other members of NATO to share part of the political burden. An alliance is not simply military sharing; it is a sharing of political burdens. That was the real case for a spread of deployment.

The Secretary of State cannot have it both ways. He said that the Labour Government had prepared the possibility of theatre nuclear modernisation during the painful negotations within NATO that lasted for two years, and he was right. But the Labour Government also paved the way for the reduction of 1,000 battlefield nuclear weapons, to which the right hon. Gentleman laid claim. I spent many hours arguing that the fundamental issue was to remove the battlefield nuclear weapons which are easily the most dangerous nuclear weapons that exist.

Nothing causes me more despair than reading the Foreign Secretary's party political press release at the beginning of the European campaign. He said: The barriers which divide East from West cannot be dismantled by gimmicks …the SDP-Liberal 'Battlefield Nuclear Weapon Free Zone' does not have any practical significance. It is designed to camouflage internal policy conflicts. The number of people and Governments who now believe that we should move towards a battlefield nuclear-free zone is growing every day.

Frank Cooper, the most distinguished permanent undersecretary who ever served in the Ministry of Defence, during a speech at St. James's Church, Piccadilly—as reported in The Guardian—made it absolutely clear that he would like to see both sides rid of all battlefield nuclear weapons by which I mean weapons of short range (say up to 100 km.) It is ridiculous to call that a gimmick. I wish that the Foreign Secretary was here to justify his ludicrous statement. If that is the view that the Foreign Secretary takes into the arms negotiations with the Soviet Union, there is no chance of achieving progress.

The Labour party's motion must be opposed lock, stock and barrel. It is straight unilateralism. If there was any doubt about what the Labour party thought during the last election, that has been completely eradicated by what the new leader of the party has said. The right hon. Member for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock) made it clear to United States Senators and Congressmen that there were no circumstances in which, if ever given the opportunity, he would authorise nuclear weapons. There is, therefore, no point in any future Labour Government—which I do not think will ever come about—ever having nuclear weapons. I do not mean only cruise missiles, but Polaris, Trident or any nuclear device, such as LANCE or others. That is the Opposition's policy. It is misguided and wrong. It is inconsistent with the view of any previous Labour Government, but they are entitled to it. We should not worry too much about that.

The real question is what the Government are saying. Their amendment asks us to endorse the twin-track decision of December 1979 on intermediate range nuclear forces. As the Secretary of State knows, I think that he was given no other option in the light of the circumstances of November and December last year. He could only continue with the deployment decision. I welcome the decision of the Italians and the Federal Republic of Germany to follow suit.

The right hon. Gentleman cannot, however, continue to invoke the December 1979 decision as if nothing has happened. That decision made specific reference to SALT II. At that time, it was hoped that SALT II would be ratified and carried out. The commitment to INF negotiations was seen in the context of a successful SALT II, with the possible moving on to SALT III. The right hon. Gentleman knows that that was the background to the decision. That has now changed, because SALT II has not been ratified. However, it is important to remember that, so far, all its major provisions have been maintained. Neither President Reagan nor President Chernenko has, as yet, made any formal breach in the limitations agreed in the treaty. That is one glimmering light of progress in a rather dismal arms control scene.

Should the 1979 decision be held to in all circumstances? It is the utmost folly for NATO countries to insist that countries such as Holland should split apart on the issue and carry out deployment exactly and within all the parameters of the basis of the 1979 decision. Holland has a coalition Government tackling some very difficult economic problems. They are solid for NATO and have not become unilateralists. To drive them into a decision that may well risk the cohesion of that Government is foolhardy. And for what? It is simply to keep to the letter of the 1979 decision when the basic decision and the basic question—

Mr. Leigh

What about the Belgians?

Dr. Owen

Much the same applies to the Belgians. The burden of responsibility for deployment should be taken by the three key countries which have the political stability and no history of neutralism — Italy, Britain and Germany. If Holland could begin the preparation of the airfields that would be helpful, but it does not serve the integrity and cohesion of NATO to put such pressure on the Dutch Government.

There is another reason why we should not continue with deployment, and that is spelt out in our amendment. We genuinely believe that there will not be any possibility of reopening the INF negotiations until after the US presidential election. It is clear that the Soviet Union has made a decision not to make any progress in arms control, despite the great many discussions and back-channel negotiations prior to the elections. That means that there will be no serious negotiations this side of the early months of 1985. It would be foolish for NATO to add to the existing levels of deployment during that time.

We have made it clear that we will not accept a Soviet veto on deployment. That was a political decision which we had to face down. We had to keep NATO's integrity intact. There is no military purpose in further deployment; there is only a political purpose. That political purpose will be damaging inside NATO and will make it that much harder to get the Soviets around the table.

The initial deployment of 16 missiles in Britain and 16 in Italy, together with 18 Pershings, is sufficient at the moment. If, in 1985, there are still no negotiations and the Soviet Union is still holding to the position that it will not discuss anything while we have the missiles, we will be into a different ball game. The Secretary of State's speech shows that he understands the problems. I urge him not to provoke, at this stage, a bad decision and make the Soviet Union turn away wholly from any form of arms control negotiation.

The virility of NATO has been demonstrated. Now is the time to ease back and concentrate on the fundamental question, which the right hon. Gentleman and most of his senior Ministry advisers know is how to improve the conventional defence of the NATO countries so that we can not only take out the further 2,000 battlefield weapons —most of which are out of date and would have to be taken out anyway—but all of them from an area around the frontiers, while beginning to ensure that we have a conventional capacity to hold a potential Soviet attack. We should not have to use nuclear weapons to overcome a major conventional attack.

There are ways other than nuclear weapons to prevent the concentration and massing of Soviet forces, which has been the only tactical and strategic justification for holding battlefield nuclear weapons — that one would thereby dissuade the Russians from so concentrating all their forces that they would push through on a very narrow front. It can be done with the new munitions—the new type of conventional armament — using non-nuclear devices. We should be developing that strategy.

The Government should stick with the present position on cruise, suspend further deployment, hope that in early 1985 we can get back to a dialogue with the Soviet Union and recognise that no serious talks will take place until the new US President is established in the White House, which means past the inauguration in January.

I hope, therefore, that the Secretary of State will use his influence in NATO to prevent those other countries which have a long record of having great difficulty with this issue from being forced to take such a decision. Italy has been able to manage the decision without causing the political strains which some people thought might occur. The Secretary of State should encourage the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to take a more enlightened view on this issue.

Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)

My right hon. Friend will be aware that many people in Britain are deeply concerned about the failure to introduce a double safety catch system after the deployment of cruise.

Dr. Owen

I agree with my hon. Friend. He speaks for 90 per cent. of the population, who feel that if cruise missiles are to be deployed here, there should be a dual key, which means that the British Prime Minister would authorise British service men to release the safety catch. It is a physical control which goes beyond the political control. The present arrangements are political, not physical; they form a political agreement.

With the Thor missile there was a physical control. The argument is used that we purchased the Thor missiles. If the only way to get physical as well as political control is to purchase these cruise missiles, let us purchase them. There would then be much more support for the current deployment than there is in Britain, and anything to get a greater degree of consensus is worth achieving. The cost would not be anywhere near what the Secretary of State has implied. The United States Defence Secretary would willingly make an accomodation over cost. In any event, there would be ways of arranging that, as the right hon. Gentleman is aware.

Faced with the present situation and the inability—this is not a criticism—to move our amendment to the Labour motion, we shall vote against both that motion and the Government amendment to it. Both are bogus and bad.

8.23 pm
Mr. Francis Pym (Cambridgeshire, South-East)

I hope that the right hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen) will forgive me if, because of the shortness of the debate, I do not comment on the interesting points that he made. I shall address myself to the Opposition motion, and it is hard to find words to condemn it strongly enough. It is negative, pusillanimous, futile and a cause for celebration in the Kremlin.

The Opposition motion begins by condemning the Government for the decision to deploy cruise missiles. That was a unanimous decision by NATO. As the Secretary of State pointed out, the Opposition did not oppose that when we announced it. On the contrary, they accepted it. Indeed, they had themselves been a party to the NATO discussions which led to that very decision.

What is more, in the nuclear debate which took place the following month—which the Government initiated and which I opened—the Opposition gave us support. Since then, Opposition Members have changed their minds. They are entitled to do that, but they have changed them to a unilateralist position and have taken an attitude towards NATO that is completely incomprehensible and, therefore, absurd.

The Opposition motion says, secondly, that these missiles are of no military value". It is arguable whether any nuclear missile has any military value. It is not arguable, however, that they have a crucial deterrent value. The peace has been kept and, whether or not we like it, the value of these weapons lies in their deterrent capability.

It is not the kind of deterrence that any of us would choose. That is obvious. But one cannot just wish away these horrendous weapons and pretend that they do not exist. They cannot be disinvented. We must face the real world. It is right to use them to deter, and that is the entire concept of the West's strategy—defensive only, based on deterrence—and that applies a fortiori to nuclear weapons.

The third point in the Opposition motion is that their deployment has directly contributed to the breakdown of negotiations". That was the Soviet Union's excuse for walking out, which Opposition Members swallowed hook, line and sinker. How naive can they be? The Soviet build-up of SS20s, which is their modernised INF, had already reached 600 warheads at the time of the dual track decision in 1979, and in the succeeding four years, before NATO had deployed one Pershing II or cruise, the Soviet Union went on deploying more and more SS20s ruthlessly and remorselessly. There are now well over 1,000 warheads deployed in this category, compared with the 30 or so in NATO.

Labour Members appear to want to take no notice of that. They want to turn a blind eye to it and leave Britain and the West with an incomplete deterrent, exposing us to all the risks that that implies. I was shocked not to hear a word of criticism from the right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies) of the Soviet Union and what its military build-up is doing, the destabilisation and so on.

The Opposition motion goes on to say, fourthly, that the prospect of disarmament … is now … much more difficult". That is rubbish. The Soviet Union responds not to gestures but to facts. Why does anyone suppose that the Russians took so much trouble to try to frighten the Alliance away from deployment? Why did they go to such lengths to try to upset the West and dissuade us from taking that step? Their propaganda machine has been at full stretch to try to prevent deployment because they would like NATO to have a hole in its deterrent and for our shield to be incomplete. Of course they would, but we are not all suckers. NATO remained firm and resolute in its decision: if there was progress in arms control — and we made enormous efforts to try to get it—there would be no deployment, but if there was no progress there would be deployment.

Mr. Boyes


Mr. Pym

In the interests of time, I will not give way.

If arms control negotiation is achieved at any time in the future, that decision can be reversed. I go so far as to say that, unless NATO's deterrent is complete and adequate, there can be no arms control negotiations because there would be nothing to negotiate about.

Mr. Boyes


Mr. Pym

I will not give way.

The Russians would have achieved the very advantage for which they have always worked. In the Alliance, contrary to what the right hon. Member for Llanelli said, we are not competing with the arms build-up of the Soviet Union. We are maintaining our defences in the minimum state adequate to deter the potential threat and to preserve the peace. That is our purpose. We are not competing with them weapon for weapon or anything like that.

Fifthly, the motion states that the deployment has weakened public support for the North Atlantic Treaty organisation". I do not accept that. The British people are solidly behind NATO. The vast majority of the people of Europe are behind NATO. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is not true."] What is true—and what is understandable and right—is that there is increasing anxiety about nuclear weapons. Who is not anxious about nuclear weapons? Those of us who have held or now hold positions of high responsibility in this connection have thought about those weapons perhaps more than anyone else. It is the irresponsibility of the Labour party that has caused doubt and apprehension in the minds of some of the public.

The Labour party is using its position as a great political party to weaken people's resolve. Labour Members do not have a defence or security policy. Some Labour Members support the policy followed by their party when they were last in office, and honourably so, but the Labour party, especially the Front Bench, is all over the place on defence. Labour Members criticise everything the Government do because they have no alternative of their own. They have no plan to fulfil their first responsibility, if they were to become a Government, which I do not believe they will—to defend the realm. Their position is as dishonest as it is disgraceful. A responsible Opposition —indeed, the old Labour party—would have supported the Government's amendment. In their hearts the Opposition know that the amendment is right and in the national interest. I fully endorse the Government amendment.

In a short debate there is no time to analyse the East-West balance or to describe the background to Western strategy and the rationale of our nuclear policy, but I shall state what I have always believed to be the three essentials for preserving our security and peace. The first is adequate defences. I emphasise the word "adequate" because we do not want any more weapons than are necessary to fulfil the functions of deterring and defending. With that adequate defence must go a deterrent capability that is credible and effective, and that must include nuclear weapons.

The second essential is to conduct a dialogue with the Soviet Union, to increase mutual understanding, to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings and to build a more confident relationship. It is a slow process. It relates not only to arms control talks but to the whole spectrum of international politics. We must persevere with that process. The keynote is patience and persistence. We know the Soviet Union's reluctance to negotiate at the moment. Opposition Members too easily forget that point, but we must not be put off by that. We must persevere. I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Government now believe, as I do, that this dialogue is extremely important.

The third essential is co-operation among our allies and partners. "Consultation" and "co-ordination" are the key words. They are more difficult to achieve in practice than they sound, but co-operation is crucially important and one of the highest priorities for heads of Government.

Those three essentials are foundation stones upon which we can build a safer world and, however gradually it may occur in practice, ease the present tension. There is no hope on the basis of the Opposition's motion, and I have no doubt that the House will throw out their motion with the largest majority it can muster.

8.33 pm
Mr. Michael Foot (Blaenau Gwent)

I suppose that I should first sympathise with and congratulate the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Pym) on having discovered a subject on which he can support the Government. He has done so with considerable grace. We would much prefer to see him back on the Front Bench, because then the job could be done much better. I shall refer later to his recipe for success. Obviously, the most important part of the debate is how we are to proceed.

The Secretary of State was incautious enough to say at the beginning of his remarks that he had heard on a number of occasions the arguments presented by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies). He was familiar with all of them. In that case, it is strange that the right hon. Gentleman did not reply to them. Why did he not reply, especially to the most formidable parts of my right hon. Friend's speech about the Russian response to deployment? My right hon. Friend argued, as many people have argued before, that if deployment went ahead arms control would be very difficult for a considerable period. The Government, President Reagan and Conservative spokesmen, took a different view. Apparently, the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East took a different view also. All of them held the view that if they went ahead with deployment, it was likely to make arms control more feasible and likely and more frequently on the agenda. The correct argument on that subject is made by the Labour party. So far, there is not a scrap of evidence to support what the Secretary of State said but plentiful evidence to support what my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli said.

Weeks, months and even years before the deployment, the Russians said — this may have been sinister or Machiavellian — "If deployment goes ahead we shall clear out of the arms control discussion." That is what some of us argued a long time before the latest deployment. We said, "Let us have proper discussions with the Russians then." Even before 1979 we were saying, "Let us get down to the negotiations as soon as possible. Let us not wait." We did not agree with the propositions on which President Reagan fought his election—to scrap all arms control and to close the gap, as was said, that had developed because of the nuclear superiority of the Russians. We did not agree with those propositions because we did not believe that there was any such thing as nuclear superiority on the side of the Russians vis-a-vis the Americans. The Government have shown that they believe that, because they have said so to President Reagan on many occasions. From 1979 we have argued for early discussions on arms control. We were in favour of those talks long before the Russians had built up their forces.

I agree that the Russians have stationed SS20s, but that does not alter the fact that there are now more SS20s. If there had been arms control discussions in the circumstances for which we argued, there would have been a better prospect of success. That point refers especially to what the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East said about the 1979 discussions. It is no use his going back over the argument about what the last Government agreed and disagreed. I know that there were many discussions and arguments about that in the House and elsewhere. As the right hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen) has confirmed on a number of occasions—he looked at the minutes on the subject—there was no decision to go ahead with cruise.

Mr. Bill Rodgers, speaking for the Labour Oppostion, made some remarks on that matter. One of the first things I did when I was elected leader of the Labour party was to invite Mr. Bill Rodgers to relinquish his post. On the day of judgment, that is one of the things that I can present as one of my credentials. It was right to remove him. He did not express our whole view on the matter.

Mr. Cyril D. Townsend (Bexleyheath)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Foot

I shall not give way.

The right hon. Member for Devonport has strongly underlined that point, but it is never underlined by the Secretary of State who should know something about these matters. The 1979 dual-track decision was taken in the light of agreements of the SALT II treaty. When that treaty was embarked upon there was an understanding that it would be sustained. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli is correct in saying that the superpowers have sustained the observance of that treaty even though they have abandoned their commitment. The Americans, not the Russians, walked away from the SALT II agreement. The United States chief negotiator, Paul Warnke, said that the American Government walked away from the SALT II agreement. That agreement was never ratified by the United States Government. It was an arms control agreement of major significance. It is no good the Secretary of State or anyone else saying that all the breaches of arms control agreements come from one side. We are not defenders of the Russian view or, indeed, of the American view. We think that both super-powers are guilty of grave offences against the rest of humanity.

Mr. Heseltine

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not want to leave a false impression. The American Government have stuck to the figures in the SALT II agreement. Congress would not ratify it because the Soviets had marshals in Afghanistan.

Mr. Foot

I understand that, but the Labour party believes that that was no reason for the western countries, which had committed themselves to the arms control agreement, to abandon it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that, because of the invasion of Afghanistan, he is not prepared to agree to any arms control with the Russians? If so, that makes nonsense of all the speeches he has delivered, although I appreciate that that is not a great feat.

Mr. Heseltine

The right hon. Gentleman will realise that the Americans have not abandoned the SALT II treaty limits. That is the critical point. They have stuck to them.

Mr. Foot

I understand that argument, but they abandoned a commitment to SALT II. Therefore, at any time they could breach that provision without being charged with having broken the agreement. The United States, supported by — I am ashamed to say it—this country, accepted the abandonment of the commitment to SALT II when the Russians retained a commitment to it. That also helped to govern the dual-track decision.

There have been great developments since that date. No one would dispute that. There have been many developments on the flexible response. Some of us thought that the whole idea of so-called flexible response was an insanity from the beginning. Many others took some time to come to that view. Field Marshal Carver— [HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."] I do not know why he should be jeered. He is one of the most distinguished soldiers that this country has known. I doubt whether the Secretary of State would jeer at him, and I am sure that the right hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen), a former Foreign Secretary, would not jeer at him. Field Marshal Carver has always argued against the flexible response, and more and more people, including Mr. McNamara in the United States, are coming round to that view.

They are doing so for good, commonsense reasons. I was horrified when the other day the Secretary of State reiterated his allegiance to the flexible response in such unqualified terms, because that is the idea that we in the West would be responsible for using nuclear weapons first. It means that in certain circumstances, because of the estimated conventional strength of the Soviet Union, we must be committed to using nuclear weapons first. Some of us have always believed that to be an insanity. Some experts have now come round to that view. More and more people are coming to that view. If the view of General Rogers could be properly taken, I dare say that he would come round to that view.

The Government are among the few experts—if one can call them that—who still owe their allegiance to the theory that we must sustain flexible response. That policy must be changed for a variety of reasons, although I shall not go into the details now as this is a short debate. The Government must think again, not only on the theory of the deterrent but on the theories within the deterrent. The right hon. Gentleman advanced the extraordinary theory that cruise and Pershing were essential to maintain the deterrent of the West. That is an absurdity. That view was never held before 1979. The idea that there are not enough weapons in the West to sustain the so-called deterrent without cruise or Pershing is an absurdity. There are plenty of experts here and in the United States who can knock down anyone who tries to advance that proposition, because it is opposed to common sense.

If, as many American experts have said, a larger quantity of nuclear warheads is assembled on the American side than on the Russian side, it is nonsense to say that we must have cruise and Pershing to maintain the deterrent.

Mr. John Lee (Pendle)


Mr. Foot

The main point that I wish to press is directly apposite to the amendment and is the most urgent of all. What will be done to stop the nuclear arms race? What will be done to prevent making the pace of the race hotter month by month and year by year? The Government advance no proposals to this end, nor do either of the super-powers. In that respect I brand the Russians as much as the Americans.

One of the troubles is that when the super-powers discuss disarmament, they always say in the same breath, "But before we come to disarmament we must have a new scale of rearmament." That is exactly what President Reagan proposed after his election in 1980, and it is exactly what he is proposing now. That is exactly what the Russians proposed when they left the disarmament discussions. They said, "Before we have control we must have a few more nuclear weapons piled up."

The logic of that is as mortal to mankind from the mouth of a Russian general as it is from the mouth of an American general. It is even worse when it is mimicked in this House by the so-called Secretary of State for Defence

Mr. Cyril D. Townsend


Mr. Foot

The Secretary of State ought to have told us what the Government would do to get disarmament talks properly moving in the right direction, but he has said nothing.

Since the motion was tabled, there have been further fresh proposals on how we might start to stop the nuclear arms race by getting back to the negotiating table. Those proposals are contained in the so-called four continent initiative. The Prime Ministers of India, Sweden, Mexico and Greece and the six-power nations have made those positive proposals. It is tragic that before anyone has had time to examine them they should have been turned down by some junior spokesman from the United States. I dare say that they will be turned down by some junior spokesman in this country, if we can find one junior enough to do it. It might even be the right hon. Gentleman. I plead with him and the Government not to follow the example of President Reagan, particularly in an election year.

We know that President Reagan's devotion to disarmament is not to be trusted at any time, least of all at election time. Some of us can remember the basis on which he won the election four years ago. I ask the Government carefully to consider these latest proposals which emerged from leading neutral powers. They go much further than the ones put forward at the United Nations and include verification and all the other demands that it is right to have in such proposals. The Government must recognise that neutral countries which have no nuclear weapons have as much right to speak on these matters as those countries which have them. In some respects they may be saner than the countries with nuclear weapons, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli so brilliantly illustrated.

Mr. Cyril D. Townsend


Mr. Foot

Sometimes the nuclear madness becomes such an obsession with the scientists, the generals and others that they cannot think about it. Sometimes it infects Ministers of Defence. When the Secretary of State for Defence spoke on the subject I could not help feeling that he too was infected. What is needed is a new kind of initiative. If they listen to what is said by the right hon. Gentleman or even by the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East, the former Foreign Secretary, there is not a neutral country in the world that could not say that it needs the deterrent as much as anyone else

Mr. Cyril D. Townsend


Mr. Foot

The world is at one of the most critical moments in the whole history of arms control debates, more dangerous than at any time in the last 20 years. I plead with the Government to abandon all the rigmaroles they have been presenting to us on this subject over recent years and to support a real disarmament plan which is available to the world.

8.51 pm
Mr. Nicholas Soames (Crawley)

I regret that I have to follow the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot), for whom I have a good deal of respect. However, I find all these arguments very confusing when I recall the record of the Labour Government and their undoubted intentions.

The argument about cruise missiles and their deployment was convincingly defeated at the general election. Certainly we should stick to deployment. The unilateralist motion that has been put down by the Opposition merely confirms me in my belief in the apostolic succession, there being no other convincing way of accounting for the direct descent of the Labour party from Judas Iscariot.

What conclusions could we possibly seek to draw from the fact that deployment has successfully taken place? First, we were undoubtedly right to deploy, for the very reason that it is folly to expect the Russians to restrain themselves from exploiting circumstances which they see and perceive to be favourable to them. To do so is in every respect to misread history and the whole message of Russia. The essence of the West's task is to foreclose where we can every available Soviet opportunity. It is up to us to define the limits of Soviet ends. This is an attainable objective. By allowing the deployment of cruise missiles to go ahead in western Europe we have already achieved that in one sphere.

Secondly, we must seek to create and maintain a practical dialogue with the Soviet Union. We can afford to acknowledge that the interests of Communism and capitalism are irreconcilable. Nevertheless, we have to live in the same world. The secret in all these talks is to guard against excesses of conciliation on the one hand and of truculence on the other.

We have now come to a point where we must consider carefully our next move. What some Opposition Members have said is true; weaponry will continue to be developed simply because scientific and technical progress has always, sadly, taken precedence over political ideas. It is this particular form of intellectual rot in terms of arms control that we should set about seeking to stop.

The policies of all Governments since the war have been based on preventing potential aggression before it starts. At the same time, we have always claimed that we seek to reach agreements through diplomatic negotiations to limit and reduce the high level of armaments on both sides.

Unilateral disarmament by Britain and its allies is clearly not a safe or sensible alternative. Pressure for unilateral moves, as we have seen in our abandonment of chemical weapons, will clearly encourage the Russians to block any negotiations, in the belief that if they wait long enough the West will disarm on its own without seeking or asking for any Soviet reduction. We have arrived at a militarily adequate position. We must now play a far greater role in the formulation of the policies, ideas and discussions that go on to prepare the ground for the disarmament negotiations.

Generally speaking, relations with Russia are bad. I have recently been to Moscow. Perhaps the most striking impression that I came away with was the grotesque misconceptions that seem to exist on both sides. For example, they genuinely regard NATO as an offensive force. This is inconceivable. They seem to have a deep-rooted sense of insecurity, with a massive inferiority complex. Driving in from the airport I was interested to notice at the side of the road two enormous tank traps which mark the spot 13 miles from the front door of the Kremlin where the Red Army turned the Germans. This must bear very heavily on Russian thinking. In this country we must attempt to consider more the Russian point of view, because we cannot expect them to come up with any realistic ideas of their own. We should have confidence in ourselves when it comes to these matters. There is no reason for us not to play such a role. There should be no excuses about our shrinking resources and our limited influence. In truth it is a problem that since the war there has always been a question in foreign affairs of shrinking horizons.

We must acknowledge that the Russians are incapable of coming up with any realistic ideas of their own. I believe them to be paranoid, frightened and deeply distrustful. They are morally and intellectually bankrupt as a people and their system is entirely and definitively reactive.

We must try to persuade the American Administration to desist from the kind of verbal rhetoric which is so damaging. There is no harm in trading the conventional insults; when they are dished out, we have broad shoulders which can take them. When the Americans seek to question the very legitimacy of the right of the Soviet Union to exist, they are doing grave damage not only to their interests but to ours. We should lay out a long-term plan on which we should seek to get agreement, which I know is difficult, from all our allies on a step-by-step march to real progress.

The most important and likely place to achieve progress is, funnily enough, in confidence-building measures. I believe that the Stockholm talks resumed today. I know that they are considered small beer in the great realms of disarmament negotiations, but unless we start somewhere and go for an agreement—have the will to try to get an agreement and then reach an agreement—there will not be the necessary momentum to achieve agreement in bigger and more important spheres. That is a tiresome and, as my right hon. Friend said, difficult long-term process, but it is one in which we must be consistent.

I do not like to say this, and I do not doubt that it will be held up to great ridicule by Opposition Members, but I believe that America, through a variety of circumstances, which we all know, is as much a prisoner of its own ideology as is Russia. Europeans generally are greatly worried and, I believe, looking for someone to try to take an initiative to find a way through. I am talking not about bridge building or any naive nonsense, but of people coming up with genuine and realistic ideas which have merit and can be used as a platform for discussion by the super-powers. The Government should take the initiative. I believe that they could take up the challenge.

As to Soviet interests, I am inclined to think that the fundamental Soviet interest, embracing the past, the present and the future, is nothing less than total military invulnerability, the achievement of which would encompass offensive and defensive designs. That is at once an expression of great power and of a great and possibly growing sense of insecurity — a syndrome which shows no sign of dissipating. Military impregnability is the one continuing theme of Russian history, whatever the decade. For that very reason I ask the Goverment to rise to the level of events.

We should be bold and put up some new ideas. Let us break new ground and get on with steady, sensible but above all active diplomacy. There is no short cut. It is a long, unglamourous and disagreeable business. It carries attendant domestic political risks and requires an enormous effort of political will. This is no longer a military problem. It is for politicians to kill the presence of distrust, antagonism and suspicion.

9 pm

Mr. Stan Thorne (Preston)

It is clear that political, military, commercial, bureucratic and technological factors have influenced the making and deployment of cruise missiles. I shall not go into any of those factors in depth because I am sure that my comrades are anxious for an opportunity to speak.

President Carter and the breakdown over SALT II have been mentioned. We should remember that it was the Americans who failed to ratify SALT II. Since Reagan has come to power, there has been continuous American opposition to agreement about nuclear weapons. It is almost as if an anti-Soviet campaign or crusade is being pursued by American leaders. I recall not entirely dissimilar circumstances prior to the second world war which helped contribute to that war.

The United States is obviously intent on giving Europe some form of nuclear guarantee. Cruise represents that guarantee. I do not believe, as has been argued, that cruise is a response to SS20s. I believe that the United States needed new weapons and wished to use Europe, in the event of a conventional war, as a base for the launch of cruise missiles.

Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Thorne

No. I shall try to be brief and do not intend to give way.

Cruise missiles are an effective nuclear weapon. They could be used as part of a mass attack to destroy Soviet missiles that have not been launched. The main use for cruise, however, is fighting a limited nuclear war —limited, that is, geographically to Europe. That is the greatest threat to the British people.

Ground-launched cruise missiles in Britain can be fired at important military targets deep inside eastern Europe. Many people in the United States Administration appear to believe that fighting a limited nuclear war in Europe would not result in worldwide devastation. It is the theory of a first strike to avoid nuclear war — a quite unacceptable paradox. Cruise missiles make nuclear war in Europe more likely, not less likely. They make larger areas of the United Kingdom, which is our main concern, into high priority nuclear targets. The arrival of cruise missiles makes arms control almost impossible and the nuclear arms race irreversible.

Recently I attended a Western European Union meeting in Paris. The hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) tabled a motion about the militarisation of space—a Star Wars presentation. He assured me that it was the Government's policy in co-operation with Europe to take the arms race to space. The only way to prevent that and to ensure that there is no nuclear war is by negotiation. The road to peace is through genuine negotiation. Britain is not the junior partner of the United States and must not carry out its behest in various parts of the world. The Government should cease to act as if that were the case. They should take real initiatives towards peace by accepting the Opposition motion.

9.7 pm

Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)

The House is divided, as is often the case, by the perception of other people's intents. I listened with great eagerness and interest to my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames), who made an exceptionally distinguished contribution. It echoed many of my anxieties. My experience of life has left me with a deep suspicion of the intentions of the Soviet Union. It is necessary only to characterise the last two decades with one or two events to remember the fearsome and awful objectives of Soviet public policy.

As recently as last year, a deeply defensive, suspicious and aggressive Soviet Union shot down a civil airliner. I am not sure whether any other great country would preempt in such a way a rational discussion about the intent of an aircraft flying over its own air space.

I do not intend to perceive the debate in those terms, but to consider the nature of the Alliance and our response to it. We are a stronger and more forceful Alliance for being seen to be one in which each member decides and co-operates on matters of mutual interest. All too often the public perceive the initiative for its decisions as coming from the United States. That may be so because it is the most significant contributor to our own defence strategy.

I turn to the observations of the leader of the Social Democratic party. I accept that there will probably be no reasonable, rational movement towards negotiations this side of the United States presidential elections and possibly for even longer. We have difficulty in analysing +++++++ the political power structure of the Soviet Union, especially during what seems to be a long transitional phase.

It does not serve our interests as a free, independent nation not to have absolute and unquestioned control over which weapons are fired from our soil. There is no doubt that, if we do not possess the ultimate ability to determine whether we go to war, we are not a free, independent sovereign nation. One can dress that up as one wishes, but that remains the central truth.

I am worried that another nation, albeit with which we have had the greatest alliance and one with which we have lived in friendship for many years, and which I count most highly, may hold the final decision as to whether this country goes to war.

That is not because we have doubts. I note that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has satisfied himself that there is no question of an American weapon being deployed from the United Kingdom without the final sanction of a British Prime Minister. I understand the reasons for his view, as far as it goes, but who does not accept that interpretation? Unfortunately, many important Americans do not accept it. They include Robert McNamara, who was Secretary of Defence in the United States through some of the most turbulent periods of the 1960s. Many Americans will attest that, notwithstanding our friendship and alliance, or their understanding of the problems facing their allies, they would hold it incumbent upon the President of the United States to exercise such a final judgement. After all, he is not responsible to the electorate of Aldridge-Brownhills or to that of the rest of Britain; he is ultimately responsible to the American people. What he perceives to be in the interests of their defence is what will decide him about any action that must be taken.

That is a constitutional argument advanced by many senior Americans from all walks of life. Let me put it another way. Could you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, conceive of an American Government accepting a British RAF plane carrying nuclear weapons over which they did not have the ultimate sanction? I could not stand up as a representative of an American congressional district and advance that proposition without being lynched as someone who wished to undermine the sovereignty of the United States.

There is an unequalness in the Alliance that calls into question in the minds of many Britons the validity of such decisions. If my constituents and other British people feel that doubt, it is incumbent on a British Government to eliminate it from the discussion. I know full well that, if there were absolute certainty that we would ultimately make the decision, so that our people could accept the contention that there is a common, united European and United States approach on which individual sovereign nations have a veto, this debate would move to the next and more important stage of asking how we can negotiate with the Soviet Union to find the way towards a peaceful world.

9.12 pm
Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

So those of us who, for the past 18 months or more, have wanted a debate in the House on the nuclear deterrent have, by the skin of our teeth, got it—for two and a half hours. This must be the most momentous subject that can be considered by the House or by the public. How necessary such a debate is—it must be continued both inside and outside the House — was made clear by the chilling and candid illustration by the Secretary of State for Defence of what he called the momentum by which each successive Government were caught up when they entered office—how they entered into an inheritance of commitments, assumptions and philosophies from which at that moment they were unable to break free. Only debates such as this — debates to which contributions such as that of the hon. Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) can be made—can enable us over the years to take a new, and perhaps more rational, view of policies to which we have been committed.

We are assured that the underlying purpose of our nuclear armaments is deterrence—to deter the Soviet Union from making war against NATO. That proposition cannot rationally be made good, because I do not believe that there can rationally be shown to be circumstances likely to arise in such a conflict in which it would be in the interests and to the advantage of Britain to resort to using a nuclear weapon. That can be decided only by hypothesis. The hypothesis must be a deliberate assault upon western Europe by the Soviet Union, with the presumed intention of conquering and occupying it.

That is the hypothesis which one must adopt for testing the notion of deterrence, although I find it a hypothesis beyond my powers of imagination. That a nation so intensely jealous and fearful of the outside world, so anxious about its own structure and the great populations which it is itself controlling with difficulty, should want to annex 80 million Germans, 50 million Frenchmen and 55 million Englishmen—people of the most intractable sorts of the human species—passes my capabilities of imagination.

Nevertheless, that is the assumption that we have to make, to test the proposition that the nuclear weapon is needed for the purposes of deterrence. I proceed to do that as briefly as I can. I hope the House will realise that in doing so, and in doing so against time, there are many intermediate situations which it is necessary to ignore.

I take the case of an actual assault on the front line of western Europe. The answer to this in the good old days of the trip wire, the secure days of the early 1950s, used to be simple enough. The first Russian soldier to go over that line would result in the United States launching nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union. It was under the shadow of those wings—those absurd, grotesque wings —that for so many years the defence establishments of the European countries lived.

Then doubts arose. Somebody said, "Is it really possible to imagine that just because there has been an indentation in the eastern front line of NATO, therefore the United States will engage — now that the Soviet Union has made progress in nuclear technology— in a suicidal duel with the other major nuclear power?" The European nations began to say that they could not believe that. They could hardly believe that in much more desperate circumstances that would be the choice of any American Government or people; but that they would do it because of a minimal penetration into western Europe was incredible. With that the credibility of the NATO strategy and the notion of the deterrent began to dissolve.

So brains were put to work, and they discovered the principle of coupling. They discovered a form of nuclear weapon which it was assumed would involve American participation but would not invoke, at any rate at the first stage, the fatal nuclear duel between the major powers. This is how we come to be debating cruise. Cruise is the non-strategic strategic nuclear weapon. It is the nuclear weapon that will do the deterrent job for us without any of the inconveniences to which the notion of a nuclear deterrent was open.

So I proceed to apply the case of cruise to my incredible Russian invasion of western Europe. Let us assume that the Russians have made progress. After all, they are bound to make progress against the ludicrous strategy of "forward defence and flexible response", because that is what it means. So let us say that they make progress up to 100 miles, here and there, with their forces.

Now, the Secretary of State told the House the other day: The Government have made it absolutely clear that they will not use any weapons first. In the context, that meant nuclear weapons—

Mr. Heseltine


Mr. Powell

I am reading from Hansard, and I shall repeat what the Secretary of State said: The Government have made it absolutely clear that they will not use any weapons first. That means that they will not use nuclear weapons first.

Mr. Heseltine


Mr. Powell

It says that they will not use any weapons first." — [Official Report, 22 May 1982; Vol. 60, c. 820.] They will not? [HON. MEMBERS: "Any."] I see. They will use nuclear weapons, but not other weapons. I am amazed.

I had thought that the context clearly was that of nuclear weapons. Now we are back to the point made by the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) that if these weapons are in Europe and in the European countries, for the purposes of deterrence, even if we ourselves do not think that deterrence requires the first use of those weapons, those who are the masters of those weapons are likely to find themselves led to that conclusion.

So, neglecting the self-denying ordinance, which apparently the Government and the Secretary of State have imposed upon themselves, I propose the question: after the 100-mile penetration, is that the moment when we shall resort to the use of cruise in order to halt the Soviet advance?

It seems to me that the answer to that is no. The battle has not been joined. The forces in Europe have not made the test of strength. Redeployment is taking place and the decisive battle is still to come. Why at that stage, when all is still to be fought for, all still to be lost or won, deliberately incur the nuclear exchange which is implied by our balance with the SS20s of the Soviet Union?

So we proceed with the campaign. I advance rapidly to the decisive land battle. I will assume that the decisive battle is lost by NATO, that the Americans and other forces, so far as they can be extricated, fall back and their bases are withdrawn into the fixed aircraft carrier—the British Isles. The question now arises whether, in those circumstances, NATO, or what is left of NATO, or this country and the United States, will choose at that point to invoke a nuclear duel in European terms or whether we should say that we still have the opportunity of successful resistance of a reversal of progress of events, and must seek to bring that about by the rational means which are still at our disposal with the immense strength of the United States, with the Atlantic open behind us, with our forces still largely intact and with the bases in these islands.

So I advance to the last condition. It is the special case which I put to the Prime Minister during the general election when she had stated that the nuclear weapon was our weapon of last resort. It is the case in which we found ourselves in 1940. Let us suppose that our enemy at that time had been in full possession of the present nuclear armaments of the Soviet Union and we ourselves had, let us say, cruise. I asked the Prime Minister whether, on a dark night in August 1940, when the news came in that the barges were on the move from the Channel ports, we should have decreed for this country the certainty of widespread annihilation by resorting to the nuclear discharge against a nuclear power occupying the continent of Europe.

It might be—I hope that it would not be but it might be—that the United States would say, "Yes, we will incinerate the last Englishman," that the United States would say, "Yes, this is the time when we convert this struggle into a nuclear one." What I cannot believe is that any British Government would make that choice on behalf of the British people.

Therefore, I conclude on an assessment of each stage of a developing struggle with the Soviet Union that there is no point at which conversion of the struggle from non-nuclear into nuclear would be rational for us. — [Interruption.] It is to reason that we must appeal. It is no use resorting to the hypothesis of an insane opponent. Of course one cannot deter a madman. It is no use piling up armaments and expectations of unhappy consequences in order to deter a madman. Deterrence works only in a rational environment, and is intended to deal with a rational potenial opponent.

Mr. Matthew Parris (Derbyshire, West)

If the Germans had asked themselves the same question, would they have invaded?

Mr. Powell

They would have invaded if they had given what I argue is the only rational answer to which a British Government could have come. Remember, when one pleads deterrence, that one matches reason with reason, one matches probability with probability, one matches the situation of a nuclear Europe with the British Isles.

Certain gestures of the hon. Gentlemen opposite lead me to conclude that I am desired to reverse the argument and to pose the question: would not an aggressor in those circumstances seek to shorten the conflict, seek to make sure of his victory, by resorting to the use of a nuclear weapon, so that we use the term deterrence to mean deterrence of the use of a nuclear weapon by a superior and victorious enemy? My answer is again that rationally the purposes of a victor in those circumstances— a victor who supposes that what he has won or can win by force of arms is within his grasp—forbid him to convert that struggle into a nuclear struggle which would threaten to deprive him of the fruits of his victory.

Thus, whether one looks at it positively or negatively — deterrence of a Russian conventional attack, or deterrence of an aggressor using nuclear blackmail—I find no rational means by which to construct a situation in which, with any credibility or probability, the nuclear weapon—call it cruise—would be used by the United Kingdom. My conclusion is that this is not a weapon which it is the interest or need of this country to possess, or to allow to be stationed or operated upon its soil; and in that sense I give my voice.

9.26 pm
Mr. Phillip Oppenheim (Amber Valley)

It is necessary perhaps to remind Opposition Members of the real reasons why the Alliance took the decision to deploy cruise missiles.

It was in the mid- 1970s and late 1970s that the Soviet Union decided to deploy no fewer than 350 SS20 intermediate weapons. Each of those missiles, mention of which has been strangely absent from the lips of Opposition Members, has three warheads. Each of those three warheads has the power to destroy Hiroshima many times over. Each one of those warheads is many times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. That is why in 1979 the Alliance decided to deploy Pershing II cruise missiles. It decided to do it to modernise our obsolescent intermediate weaponry. Not to have done so would have been to be guilty of letting our weapons, particularly the F111, slowly sink into oblivion, obsolescence and ineffectiveness.

But the Alliance was not so foolhardy or irresponsible as to deploy, or threaten to deploy, cruise without offering the USSR the option of negotiated reductions. Firstly we offered an option which no true disarmer could criticise, the so-called zero option. This offered an end to the cruise programme, if only the Russians would dismantle their SS20s. I challenge any disarmer to say that that was a wrong offer, or that the Russians were right to reject it. Our offer was turned down flat by the Russians.

Instead, the Russians offered us a freeze whereby they would keep all their SS20s and we would not be able to deploy any cruise missiles. This shabby offer was quite properly rejected. Then the Soviets came back and offered to reduce their SS20s to the level of the Anglo-French independent strategic deterrent. Such a solution may appeal to the swollen ranks of the uninformed CND, but as the Anglo-French independent weapons are strategic they are not comparable to the intermediate cruise or SS20 weapons, which come under other reduction negotiations.

The Russians, as if acknowledging the bankruptcy of their negotiating position, left the Geneva talks. At every stage the Alliance offered the Russians realistic and fair options. First, it offered them the option of getting rid of intermediate weapons. Secondly, it offered them the option of reducing weapons to an equal but lower number on both sides. Both those reasonable offers, which should have been supported by all nuclear disarmers, were rejected by the Soviets.

What have been the attitudes and arguments of the opponents of cruise missiles? One of their main arguments is that cruise missiles will make Europe into a battlefield of the evil super- powers. What utter nonsense! As cruise missiles can reach the Soviet Union from Europe, the United States would inevitably be involved should such a terrible event take place. Secondly, the opponents of cruise missiles fail to notice that the United States has no fewer than 300,000 troops in Europe. Those troops would inevitably be involved in any nuclear war involving intermediate nuclear weapons and hence the United States would be fully involved.

The opponents of cruise missiles object frequently that the missiles would be operated by the Americans. Surely that is no different from the situation in the 1960s and 1970s when the Americans had control of the Poseidon submarines and F111 nuclear bombers that were based in Britain. Then as now, the ultimate sanction was held by the Prime Minister.

This brings us back to the position of the Labour party and the Labour Governments who were in power during the 1960s and 1970s. They accepted American control over nuclear weapons based in the United Kingdom. However, the Labour party—a different Labour party, admittedly, from that of today—accepted the need for nuclear weapons. There is strong evidence that it accepted the need for cruise missiles in early 1979. Did not Bill Rodgers say in 1980, when he was still a Labour Member, that when the Labour Government were in power in the mid- 1970s it was decided that theatre nuclear weapon modernisation was essential? That statement was not denied at the time by the right hon. Members for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) and for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Callaghan). How strange. Mr. Mulley, as he then was, attended a NATO conference in April 1979 and he was party to a statement to the effect that NATO could not rely on conventional forces alone. Mr. Mulley said: It is necessary to modernise theatre nuclear forces. That was Labour's position then and there was hardly a squeak of protest from Labour Members and Ministers. What is theatre nuclear modernisation if it is not Pershing II and cruise?

Labour sought potential political advantage in 1981 and 1982 and it came out against cruise missiles and all nuclear weapons. Individuals who had never stood out against nuclear weapons in the Labour party before 1979 suddenly found a new article of faith. If those people were antinuclear before 1979, and if it is such a fundamental issue, why did they remain in the Labour party in the mid- 1970s when a Labour Government fully supported our nuclear policy and multilateral disarmament? There is, indeed, an arrogance among unilateral disarmers. They appear to think that only they know the true path to peace. I do not want us to spend billions of pounds on nuclear weapons any more than they do—I have many far better ways of spending the billions of pounds that we spend on nuclear weapons—but I see nuclear deterrence as an unfortunate necessity, and the only guarantor of the peace.

The best argument that I have ever heard for that policy of deterrence has not come from a politician or a general. It was put to me by an old man whom I met in a miners' welfare club in my constituency during the last election. He had fought in both the first and second world wars. He told me that in the first world war the Germans had gas but we did not. Our troops, of course, suffered terribly from gas attacks during that war. In the second world war we as well as the Germans had gas, and no gas was used against our troops.

That gentleman had not voted anything but Labour all his life, but in 1983 he changed his vote, along with thousands of others. Judging by the absence of many Labour Members who were part of the Labour Governments of the 1960s and 1970s, and who accepted the need for an effective operational nuclear deterrent, it is the Labour party that has changed and not the old gentleman in the miners' welfare club.

9.35 pm
Mr. Gavin Strang (Edinburgh, Central)

When opening the debate, my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies) reminded us of the debates that took place during the INF talks which ended last December. He reminded us of the statements made by the Prime Minister and others, that if only NATO pressed ahead with the intention—if not the fact—of deployment, the Soviet Union would back down and we would obtain an agreement. That strategy has failed. I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House recognise that something has gone wrong.

In the few moments left to me, I should point out that the overwhelming responsibility for those talks breaking down lies with the NATO leadership. It is simply not true that cruise and Pershing II missiles are being deployed in response to the Soviet SS20s. That point has been made repeatedly, and, indeed, I was glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli made it earlier. In the course of the arguments about cruise missiles, statements were made by President Reagan and others to the effect that the Soviet Union had a monopoly of land-based intermediate range nuclear missiles. That is a very careful use of words. The word "missiles" excludes, of course, the American F111 bombers. The words "intermediate range" are used to exclude all the tactical nuclear weapons deployed in central Europe by the West. Most crucially, the phrase "land-based" is used precisely because we have deployed our weapons at sea and, above all, because the American Poseidon missiles are deployed in British waters.

The background to the negotiations is that there was broad parity between the Soviet and US arsenals. That is acknowledged by spokesmen in the United States and by any arms control experts who care to discuss the matter. Against that background of parity, the West sought to negotiate an agreement —the so-called zero option—whereby the Soviet Union would reduce its missiles and cut down its missile deployment and, in return, we would agree not to deploy additional missiles. In the final intermediate offer by the West, we offered to deploy only some of the additional new generation of missiles, provided that the Soviet Union made reductions in the deployment of its existing missiles. Thus, the prime responsibility must lie at the West's door.

I am opposed to the deployment of SS20s and, of course, to the Soviet Union's counter -measure to the deployment of cruise and Pershing. However, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) pointed out, the Soviet Union is doing exactly what it said it would do throughout the talks. We must look at the importance of that failure. I hope that it is common ground that that failure is important. It was very refreshing to hear the speeches of the hon. Members for Crawley (Mr. Soames) and for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd), because speeches by Conservative Members in previous defence debates virtually echoed the statements made by the American Administration.

East-West relations are worse than they have been for many years. Certainly they are worse than at any time since I came to the House 14 years ago. Europe is now the focus for the most dangerous escalation yet of the nuclear arms race. The nuclear weapons are deep strike weapons and they are part of the policy of flexible response. The nuclear weapons cannot be verified by conventional satellite procedures partly because they are small and mobile and no one can tell whether nuclear or conventional warheads are being carried.

We want all cruise and Pershing missiles to be removed from western Europe. I was interested in the remarks of the right hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen). Even he said that surely the NATO alliance would not pressurise the Dutch Government into deploying cruise missiles. If the Liberals do not support the official Opposition, they will make a mockery of what they said during the general election campaign. The motion is not unilateralist; it is confined to cruise missiles.

If the Government will not agree to the removal of cruise missiles, surely it is not too much to ask that they advocate a freeze on all existing deployment of cruise and Pershing and a Soviet freeze on deployment. Then we could try to get the talks going again. Surely that is not too much to ask, even of this Government.

9.42 pm
Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)

This has been one of the most sober debates that we have had on this subject for a long time. Perhaps that is because this Parliament has a fair time to go and people have time to think of the many issues involved.

For the first time from the Government side we have heard some refreshing speeches which show that some hon. Members are looking carefully at the problems. The hon. Members for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) and for Crawley (Mr. Soames) accepted the Government's possession of the weapons, but they have examined closely the Government's motivation and called upon them to examine the motivation of our alleged opponents to see whether our possession of the weapons has not aggravated or worsened the position. They questioned whether NATO should be thinking of some other gesture to convince the people of the East that we do not have hostile intentions. That is an important development, which we should welcome.

One feature that has been absent from the debate is the claim by the Prime Minister that she has a virtual veto over the use of cruise if it is to be deployed in the United Kingdom and perhaps set off. The Prime Minister has never been prepared to say what a "virtual veto" is. It is either a veto or it is not a veto. If it is a veto, is it absolute? Can we prevent United States forces in Britain from using the weapons if the President of the United States directs that they should be used and we disagree? The Secretary of State must answer. Can we prevent their use and if so, how and why? The right hon. Gentleman has failed to answer that in the past.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) dealt with the real reason for cruise being deployed here. He questioned the theory that it is as a result of the American agonising decision to respond to a West German request for tangible proof that the Americans would stay in Europe. My right hon. Friend quoted General Rogers' statement in March last year before the Senate armed services committee when he said: Most people believe it was because of the SS20 that we modernized. We would have modernized irrespective of the SS20 because we had this gap in our spectrum of defense developing and we needed to close that gap. That contained nothing about coupling, an agreement with western Europe or about a need to show American determination to remain in Europe. Was it not simply that the West Germans needed a gesture of support, and the Americans merely gave them what they had already had in the past?

The Government's amendment is complacent about the issues we are discussing. It shows a Maginot line mentality in its attitude towards the declared policy of NATO and an inability to move from it. There is a belief that it is so safe and secure that it is bound to succeed. It is almost, if I may misquote Descartes, "I wish, therefore it is. "

The motion raises two major points about the twin-track decision. It suggests that it offers the firmest foundation both to the security of the NATO Alliance and to the resumption of arms control negotiations. Let us consider the Alliance, its cohesion and security and its ability to face the decision on cruise deployment.

Cruise has created more dissension, more disunity and more unhappiness in the Alliance than anything at any time since its inception. We know that the Danes have refused to pay their part of the cost of the installation of nuclear weapons. But, more importantly, the Secretary of State has made public statements and has bullied the Dutch — some of the most loyal and active members of NATO, who have contributed their part—to force them to take weapons that the Dutch people do not want, that part of the Dutch coalition does not want, and that the Dutch Defence Minister does not want. It is ludicrous that a Foreign Minister wants it, just as our former Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Pym) wanted it, but the Dutch Defence Minister does not want it.

The effect of the Dutch problem has whittled into Belgium, which is also anxiously trying to decide its policy. But it is to the Germans, more than anyone, that the cruise decision will cause problems—even if we accept that Helmut Schmidt originally wanted it. The consensus of defence policy in Germany is shattered beyond recognition. At its last conference, the SDP moved into a position similar to that of the British Labour party. It was especially concerned about the apparent divergence between traditional NATO doctrine and what is in the American field manuals—the idea of the air-land battle, of the integrated, conventional, nuclear, chemical warfare method that was urged and advocated by the Americans.

The pressure in the Alliance is reflected in the attitude of the populations throughout Alliance countries. It is all very well for the Secretary of State to say that we have had the general election and this was the result. The problem exists and will not go away. It will not go away in Germany or Holland and it will not go away even if we get rid of all the women outside Greenham common. The people do not believe the Government—they believe it is an escalation in the arms race. They believe that the Government have thrown away a real opportunity to begin the movement towards peace and security.

The Secretary of State said that he believed in negotiated arms reductions. Yet the Prime Minister has thrown away the offer of the four continental non-nuclear power leaders to try to do something about that. On Tuesday she brushed it aside and said that she believed only in what NATO was doing and thinking. She uttered not a word of praise or encouragement, not even a suggestion that she would look at the matter; just a brushing away of it, sitting in her little bunker or dugout with no real thinking of what can be done.

The Secretary of State says, "We are prepared to negotiate with the Russians at any time." If so, he must say whether he is prepared to put Polaris on the table in the negotiations for INF. Is the right hon. Gentleman willing to say, "We are willing to negotiate away Polaris if that will achieve the reductions that the world wants"? Or is Polaris the Government's weapon of last resort, and therefore they are not prepared to put it on the table?

Because they are not prepared to do that, and because the Russians are not bothered whether they get blown up by cruise or Polaris—they just do not want to he blown up—we get nowhere. The Russians are determined that, whatever happens, they will not have it. Because of the lack of faith that people in Britain have in the Government's attitude to the negotiations, they are forced to say, "We do not want cruise."

The policy of the Labour party on this issue is clear and straightforward. [Interruption.] It is perfectly clear. Et is all very well for Conservative Members to complain at that and for people to ask what Bill Rodgers and others said. Bill Rodgers is not here now. When he was here I disagreed with him, as did the Labour party. Our policy is against the cruise and Trident system. We say, "Take it away because it serves no useful purpose whatever in the defence of our country. Its presence increases war." That is why we shall press our motion to a Division.

9.52 pm
Mr. Heseltine

With the leave of the House, I shall respond to the debate.

Everyone who has listened to the debate —and a significant number of hon. Members have stayed right through it—appreciates that it has been treated with the seriousness which the question undoubtedly deserves, and I shall respond to some of the important points which have been made.

The right hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen) suggested that there would now be value in freezing the limited deployment that has taken place of the cruise and Pershing II systems because the Soviets. having walked out, must be encouraged to return. I take a different view, and I know that the NATO Alliance would support the view that if one were to do that the Soviets would believe that they had secured a major objective of their foreign policy, which is to achieve a substantial imbalance in the deployment of this class of weapons system in the European area. One would, if one accepted the right hon. Gentleman's advice, be awarding a sort of prize to the Soviet Union for walking out of the peace discussion processes, and that would be unwise.

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion that the urgent need is to develop the conventional capability, particularly to attack the choke points of the Soviet Union if it were ever to mobilise. That is precisely why the Government have increased defence expenditure by about £3.6 billion a year, the vast majority of which is spent on conventional defence. That is in stark contrast to the policies of the Opposition, who not only want a non-nuclear policy, but have committed themselves to a substantial reduction in overall defence expenditure, including conventional expenditure.

The right hon. Member for Devonport and my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) spoke of the dual key. There is, of course, anxiety about this matter and it would be irresponsible not to recognise that. If the right hon. Member for Devonport was still arguing for the same sort of policies in opposition that he supported in government, a great deal of public unease would not have arisen in the first place.

There is a responsibility on politicians who were content, as members of the last Labour Government, to remain with the letter of assurance that we have from American Presidents—which satisfied them in respect of the F111s and Poseidon submarines—not, the moment they are in opposition, to suggest that that letter is not sufficiently guaranteeable for the cruise and Pershing missile systems.

Dr. Owen

The right hon. Gentleman keeps making that allegation. The only land-based nuclear missiles that were held during that period of Government were Lance, and they were under a dual key mechanism. The right hon. Gentleman should withdraw the allegation. The only other precedent was Thor, which was under a dual key mechanism.

Mr. Heseltine

The right hon. Gentleman is aware that the issue is not where the weapons are based, but whether they are under the control of the American or British people. The control which the right hon. Gentleman, then Foreign Secretary, was prepared to accept in respect of the F111s and Poseidons was the letter of assurance on which we now rest for cruise missile deployments, and nothing has changed in that circumstance.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Pym), in an especially impressive speech, outlined precisely the policies that are central to the defence interests of this country—we should believe in a policy of defence, but should pursue the opportunities for dialogue wherever they can be found.

My hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) made sensible and constructive suggestions on how to work up many of the approaches from a relatively low and unambitious starting point. We must seriously consider that option. My hon. Friend will be as aware as everyone else of the difficulty. When we thought that we had reached a point of dialogue with the Soviet Union—exactly as we were discussing matters in the context of SALT I leading to SALT II—the Western Alliance was faced with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and we could not seriously be expected to ignore the implications of that act of aggression for our attitude towards a constructive dialogue with the Soviet Union. That action brought a reaction within America which prevented the ratification of SALT II. It is important to note, as a sign of how much American Governments have consistently cared about this issue, that they have stood within the limits of SALT II, despite the fact that it has never been ratified.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) was perhaps not at his very best in understanding the concepts of the NATO Alliance. We have made it clear that this is a defensive alliance. We will use no weapons first, precisely because we will attack no one. That is the ultimate guarantee which Governments have been perfectly prepared to articulate, and is the one thing that should be of concern to those who might fear the NATO Alliance. There is nothing to fear, because we will not attack. That is the essence of what we are saying.

Mr. Foot


Mr. Heseltine

Forgive me, there is not time to give way. I am just coming to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. Perhaps the most interesting observation in that speech was in one of its jokes rather than its content. The right hon. Gentleman referred to his first decision to get rid of Bill Rodgers as defence spokesman for the Labour party. That reveals the real change that occurred in the composition of Labour's defence policies. The right hon. Gentleman, for as long as I can remember, has consistently believed in a policy of one-sided nuclear disarmament, so, of course, the first thing that he did upon becoming leader of the Labour party was to get rid of the Front Bench spokesman who believed in the policies which all Labour Governments since the war had pursued.

It was not a matter of reappraising the threat from the Soviet Union, pursuing a new policy of dialogue with the Soviet Union, or talking about a more effective deterrent. All his political life the right hon. Gentleman has sought to be in a position of power when unilateral disarmament was a possibility for his party. That is what he sought to achieve and what he has actually achieved for the Labour party.

Mr. Foot

Will the right hon. Gentleman now answer the main question that I put to him: what is the Government's response to the new initiative that has come from the Prime Minister of India and others to stop the nuclear arms race?

Mr. Heseltine

I am more impressed with the Foreign Secretary from the Federal Republic of Germany, who has just returned from Moscow and given his views of the attitude of the Russians to continuing dialogue. I believe that he is in a better position to judge the likelihood of what appears to be attractive on the surface as a gesture, but which, in terms of hard diplomacy, does not seem to have a prospect of success.

In reaching a decision on this matter the House must remember that, although we all share a passionate concern for dialogue, arms control and peace, the fact is that Labour Governments, one after the other, have had to face precisely the same difficult decisions as this Government face. Labour Governments have maintained Britain's independent nuclear deterrents. They carried through the modernisation of Polaris with the Chevaline process. They were deeply involved in the decisions that were to lead to the cruise modernisation programme. That is the reality of what Governments of the Western world have had to face when dealing with the Soviet Union.

It is recklessly and naively irresponsible, the moment they leave office, for Labour Members somehow to sweep aside the experience of those years in government and pretend that they will do things differently if ever they come to government again. I do not believe that they will return to government, because people realise that only a policy of deterrence and dialogue is credible, and only this Government offer it to the nation.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question: —

The House divided: Ayes 162, Noes 269.

Division No. 338] [10.12 pm
Adley, Robert Batiste, Spencer
Aitken, Jonathan Bellingham, Henry
Alexander, Richard Benyon, William
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Berry, Sir Anthony
Amess, David Best, Keith
Ancram, Michael Biffen, Rt Hon John
Arnold, Tom Biggs-Davison, Sir John
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Body, Richard
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Boscawen, Hon Robert
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Bottomley, Peter
Baldry, Anthony Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Braine, Sir Bernard Irving, Charles
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Jackson, Robert
Bright, Graham Jones, Robert (W Herts)
Brinton, Tim Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Brooke, Hon Peter King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) King, Rt Hon Tom
Browne, John Lamont, Norman
Bruinvels, Peter Lang, Ian
Buck, Sir Antony Lawrence, Ivan
Budgen, Nick Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Burt, Alistair Lee, John (Pendle)
Butler, Hon Adam Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Butterfill, John Lester, Jim
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)
Cash, William Lightbown, David
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Lilley, Peter
Chapman, Sydney Lloyd, Ian (Havant)
Chope, Christopher Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Lord, Michael
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Lyell, Nicholas
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) McCrea, Rev William
Colvin, Michael McCurley, Mrs Anna
Conway, Derek Macfarlane, Neil
Coombs, Simon Maclean, David John
Cope, John Major, John
Cormack, Patrick Malins, Humfrey
Corrie, John Malone, Gerald
Couchman, James Maples, John
Cranborne, Viscount Marlow, Antony
Crouch, David Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Maude, Hon Francis
Dorrell, Stephen Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Dover, Den Mellor, David
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Meyer, Sir Anthony
Dunn, Robert Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Eggar, Tim Miscampbell, Norman
Evennett, David Mitchell, David (NW Hants)
Eyre, Sir Reginald Moate, Roger
Fairbairn, Nicholas Monro, Sir Hector
Fallon, Michael Moore, John
Farr, John Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)
Favell, Anthony Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Fletcher, Alexander Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Fookes, Miss Janet Moynihan, Hon C.
Forman, Nigel Murphy, Christopher
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Neale, Gerrard
Franks, Cecil Needham, Richard
Gale, Roger Nelson, Anthony
Garel-Jones, Tristan Newton, Tony
Glyn, Dr Alan Nicholls, Patrick
Goodhart, Sir Philip Normanton, Tom
Goodlad, Alastair Norris, Steven
Gorst, John Onslow, Cranley
Greenway, Harry Oppenheim, Philip
Gregory, Conal Osborn, Sir John
Grist, Ian Page, John (Harrow W)
Ground, Patrick Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Grylls, Michael Parris, Matthew
Gummer, John Selwyn Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Patten, John (Oxford)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Pawsey, James
Hampson, Dr Keith Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Hargreaves, Kenneth Pollock, Alexander
Harvey, Robert Porter, Barry
Hayward, Robert Powell, William (Corby)
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Powley, John
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Hind, Kenneth Price, Sir David
Hirst, Michael Prior, Rt Hon James
Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling) Proctor, K. Harvey
Holt, Richard Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Hordern, Peter Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A) Rees, Rt. Hon Peter (Dover)
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock) Renton, Tim
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Rhodes James, Robert
Hunt, David (Wirral) Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Hunter, Andrew Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Roe, Mrs Marion Thompson, Donald (Calder v)
Rossi, Sir Hugh Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Rost, Peter Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Rowe, Andrew Thurnham, Peter
Ryder, Richard Townend, John (Bridlington)
Sackville, Hon Thomas Tracey, Richard
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Twinn, Dr Ian
Scott, Nicholas van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Viggers, Peter
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Shersby, Michael Waldegrave, Hon William
Sims, Roger Walden, George
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Walker, Bill (T'Side N)
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Walker Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Soames, Hon Nicholas Waller, Gary
Speed, Keith Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Speller, Tony Watson, John
Spencer, Derek Watts, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Squire, Robin Wells, John (Maidstone)
Stanbrook, Ivor Wheeler, John
Steen, Anthony Whitfield, John
Stern, Michael Whitney, Raymond
Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton) Wiggin, Jerry
Stevens, Martin (Fulham) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Winterton, Nicholas
Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire) Wood, Timothy
Stokes, John Woodcock, Michael
Stradling Thomas, J. Yeo, Tim
Sumberg, David Young, Sir George (Acton)
Tapsell, Peter Younger, Rt Hon George
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Temple-Morris, Peter Tellers for the Ayes:
Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M. Mr. Douglas Hogg and
Thomas, Rt Hon Peter Mr. Michael Neubert.
Alton, David Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)
Anderson, Donald Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Deakins, Eric
Ashdown, Paddy Dewar, Donald
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Dobson, Frank
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Dormand, Jack
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Douglas, Dick
Barnett, Guy Dubs, Alfred
Barron, Kevin Eadie, Alex
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Eastham, Ken
Beith, A. J. Evans, John (St. Helens N)
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Ewing, Harry
Bermingham, Gerald Fatchett, Derek
Boyes, Roland Faulds, Andrew
Bray, Dr Jeremy Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Fisher, Mark
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Flannery, Martin
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Foster, Derek
Caborn, Richard Foulkes, George
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Fraser, J. (Norwood)
Campbell, Ian Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Campbell-Savours, Dale Freud, Clement
Canavan, Dennis Garrett, W. E.
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Godman, Dr Norman
Carter-Jones, Lewis Golding, John
Clarke, Thomas Hamilton, James (M'well N)
Clay, Robert Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Hardy, Peter
Cohen, Harry Harman, Ms Harriet
Coleman, Donald Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Conlan, Bernard Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Corbett, Robin Heffer, Eric S.
Corbyn, Jeremy Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)
Craigen, J. M. Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Crowther, Stan Hoyle, Douglas
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham)
Dalyell, Tam Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Richardson, Ms Jo
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Lambie, David Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Lamond, James Robertson, George
Leighton, Ronald Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Lewis, Terence (Worsley) Rooker, J. W.
Litherland, Robert Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Lloyd, Tony (Stratford) Rowlands, Ted
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Sedgemore, Brian
McCartney, Hugh Sheerman, Barry
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
McKelvey, William Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Maclennan, Robert Skinner, Dennis
McNamara, Kevin Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
McTaggart, Robert Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
McWilliam, John Soley, Clive
Madden, Max Spearing, Nigel
Marek, Dr John Steel, Rt Hon David
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Stott, Roger
Martin, Michael Strang, Gavin
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Straw, Jack
Maxton, John Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Meacher, Michael Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Meadowcroft, Michael Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Mikardo, Ian Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Tinn, James
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Tomey, Tom
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Wareing, Robert
Nellist, David Weetch, Ken
O'Brien, William Welsh, Michael
O'Neill, Martin White, James
Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Wigley, Dafydd
Park, George Williams, Rt Hon A.
Parry, Robert Winnick, David
Patchett, Terry Woodall, Alec
Pendry, Tom Wrigglesworth, Ian
Pike, Peter Young, David (Bolton SE)
Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Tellers for the Noes:
Radice, Giles Mr. Don Dixon and
Randall, Stuart Mr. Frank Haynes.
Redmond, M.

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No.33(Questions on amendments):

The House divided: Ayes 254, Noes171.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Mr. Speaker

forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

Resolved, That this House welcomes the determination of Her Majesty's Government to implement the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's twin-track decision of December 1979 on intermediate range nuclear forces; deplores the unjustified Soviet departure from the Intermediate Nuclear Force negotiations in Geneva; and reaffirms that adherence to the agreed deployment programme offers the firmest foundation both for the security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Alliance and for the resumption of arms control negotiations.