§ 13. Mr. Trotter
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the extent to which the future procurement of equipment for the armed forces will be affected by the experience of the Gulf war.
§ Mr. Alan Clark
We are considering the outcome of the campaign and the conclusions to be drawn from it in this as in other areas.
§ Mr. Trotter
Does my right hon. Friend agree that, whatever the detailed lessons to be learnt from the Gulf campaign may be, there can be no doubt that we still need tanks for the British Army? Does he agree also that there is no reason why we should not proceed with placing a new order and that that order should be for the successful Challenger?
§ Mr. Nellist
Should not one of the lessons of the Gulf war—about the availability of equipment—be absorbed not only within the right hon. Gentleman's Department but commercially? For example, the Birmingham arms fair will open two weeks from today. What is the difference between General Pinochet and Saddam Hussein? Why is the Department laying out the red-carpet treatment for the Butcher of Santiago to come to this country, go to Royal Ordnance plc, go to British Aerospace, and, in two weeks today, go to Birmingham? Has the Department learnt nothing at all from the Gulf?