§ 7 pm
§ Mr. George Foulkes (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley)
I beg to move, That this House do now adjourn.
Leave having been given this day under Standing Order No. 20 to discuss:
The decision by the Cabinet on the Trident refit and its effect on the Scottish economy.
I wish at the outset to thank you, Madam Speaker, for granting this emergency debate, which represents a recognition, at least by the Chair, of the gravity of the Government's announcement today, particularly as it affects Scotland.
Today's announcement represents a vague promise made on the back of a broken promise. The Government have had to promise a programme of work to Rosyth because previous promises to Rosyth about the Trident contract have been shamefully and completely broken. One cannot disguise the extent to which the workers of Rosyth have been let down by a Conservative Government.
It is not simply I who am saying that. Unfortunately, the only Conservative Scottish Members here today are lickspittle Scottish Members. I wish that the hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross (Sir N. Fairbairn) had been in his place today because—
§ Mr. Foulkes
I know he is ill, but he can still speak to the press. He speaks forcibly to the press and he speaks for Scotland far more than his hon. Friends on the Government Benches speak for Scotland. He is reported by today's Glasgow Evening Times as having said:I have no faith in a Government which has behaved in such a diseased way.That is the voice of a real Scots Tory with guts.
The promises that the Government made to Rosyth were unequivocal. The Minister of State for the Armed Forces said in November 1984 that the Government had settled where the Trident refits would be carried out, and he said that they would be at Rosyth. That position was repeated by Ministers from the Dispatch Box month after month, year after year, throughout the 1980s.
By the time the Government eventually reneged on that promise, over £100 million had been spent on a purpose-built facility for Trident. That money has now been poured down the drain. The taxpayers in the south-west of England and in Scotland will not be rejoicing at that waste of their money.
Lord Younger, Secretary of State when the commitments were given, wrote in his famous letter to The Times thata matter of good faith is involved here.He made it clear in that letter that he had given his word, on behalf of the Cabinet and the Government, to the people of Scotland that the submarine refit would go to Rosyth. He is now aware that his word of honour has been abused by the Government in backtracking on the clear pledges that were given.
As hon. Members pointed out earlier in the day, the present Secretary of State for Defence was then Secretary of State for Scotland and was party to the decision. Perhaps we shall have the spectre in five or 10 years' time 503 of Lord Rifkind writing to The Times complaining that the pledges that he has made today to Rosyth have been cast aside in another display of bad faith.
The future of Rosyth as the largest industrial concern is vital to the future of much of industry in Scotland. It is therefore vital that the Government fulfil their obligation to Rosyth, and get the figures right. In that connection, why is there not a consultative document before the House? When we have one, will it contain the full figures rather than the global figures that the Secretary of State gave in his statement?
I also remind the House that the existence of the naval base at Rosyth is inextricably linked to the future of the dockyard. The overall effect of the closure of Rosyth dockyard—were that to take place—would be the loss of up to 18,000 jobs in an area of already high unemployment. Hundreds of companies throughout Scotland are involved in work for the dockyard. Will the Secretary of State now do what he would not do earlier and estimate how much it would cost the taxpayer if all those jobs were lost?
§ Mr. Phillip Oppenheim (Amber Valley)
Does the hon. Gentleman not have a little shame in standing at the Opposition Dispatch Box complaining about job losses, when for many years Labour spokesmen called for the cancellation of Trident and for massive cuts in defence spending? Is he aware that, if those demands had been met, there would have been many more job losses at Rosyth and elsewhere?
§ Mr. Foulkes
I feel no shame whatever. The hon. Gentleman should feel shame as the PPS to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who will he imposing many cuts on the people of Britain, not just on people of Scotland.
§ The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Malcolm Rifkind)
The hon. Gentleman did not answer the question that my hon. Friend the Member for Amber Valley (Mr. Oppenheim) asked him. In 1987, the hon. Gentleman signed an early-day motion calling for the cancellation of Trident. He knows that, if his proposals and that motion had been accepted, there would be no jobs at Rosyth or Faslane for Scotland or for any other part of the United Kingdom. Does he regret signing that early-day motion? If not, how does he reconcile it with his protest today?
§ Mr. Foulkes
I am flattered that the Secretary of State pays so much attention to my signature on early-day motions—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] It is clear that the Government gave a commitment—[interruption.]—that Scotland, having the Faslane base on the west coast of Scotland, should have the benefit of the refitting on the east coast of Scotland.
§ Mr. Foulkes
The right hon. and learned Gentleman will have an opportunity to make his own speech, when perhaps he will answer some of the other questions that I am putting to him.
The defence arguments for the survival of Rosyth are also pressing. It is common sense that all the nation's ship refitting facilities should not be located at one yard. The same argument applies to retaining a nuclear submarine refitting capability at one yard.
504 For those strategic reasons, the Opposition have consistently campaigned for both yards to be kept open. Remember, submarines and their missiles are designed to be used in time of war, and at such times it is not inconceivable that refitting facilities would be targets. Having only one centre would leave us extremely vulnerable.
The pledges given in the past to Rosyth, including those by the recently deposed Chancellor when he was Minister for Defence Procurement, about the purpose-built facilities, are not irrelevant today. Are we to believe today's promises any more than we should have believed the false promises that were given in the 1980s? One need only examine the Tory election manifesto to find further evidence of promises made and broken—on taxes, benefits and tax cuts—in the past 12 months.
Until we have the real, full details of the announcement from the Secretary of State. we, the people of Rosyth and the people of Scotland will remain highly sceptical. When will the consultative document be published? Why is it not ready today? What sort of consultation will be carried out, and how long will it go on? Can we believe that it will be any different from the other consultations which the Ministry of Defence has had recently and which have turned out to be nothing more than rubber-stamping exercises, whether they were about Royal Naval stores, the Defence Research Agency or the Portland base? We need to know a lot more before this vague promise can be accepted as a copper-bottomed guarantee.
As I said earlier, the strong feeling in Scotland is that 18 ships is not enough. That is tiny compared with the 79 surface ships refitted at Rosyth over the past 10 years. The Secretary of State said in reply to my earlier questions that some of those 79 were smaller ships, unlike the 18 large ships. Will he tell us what guarantees there are of those smaller ships in the future?
§ Mr. Rifkind
I am happy to. The hon. Gentleman asked about the minor warships. There are 49 minor warships due to be refitted over the next few years, and all 49 will be refitted at Rosyth. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Foulkes
No one can be ungrateful for what the Secretary of State has said, but I will come to the reality.
§ Mr. Foulkes
I am not leaving anything aside. I will deal with it in detail. We need detailed figures.
The Secretary of State is surely aware that, given the Government's record, the workers at Rosyth will not be satisfied with blanket assurances and any overall total. If the Government have worked out a 12-year plan so exactly as to present it to the House, they should be able to set out a more exact timetable.
What ships will he refitted and when? What will be the level of work, under this so-called guaranteed programme of work, each year for the next 12 years? I hope that the Secretary of State will be able to tell us that in his speech.
Will the Secretary of State tell us how he arrived at the total number of job losses at Rosyth and Devonport'? Is he aware that the management at Rosyth are saying that the best case scenario will lead to 700 job losses, not the 450 that the Secretary of State claimed. That best case scenario assumes the refitting of one type 42, one type 23 and one type 22 every 18 months in addition to three aircraft carriers and 10 Hunt class mine warfare vessels. Can the 505 Secretary of State tell us precisely whether that is the level of work that will be offered to Rosyth? I am happy to give way to the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Rifkind
If the hon. Gentleman inquires further of the management at Rosyth, he will find that the figure of 700 includes jobs involved in non-Ministry of Defence work. The hon. Gentleman should recall that in my statement I referred to 18 major warships in addition to the 49 minor vessels that I mentioned just now.
§ Mr. Foulkes
The Secretary of State is wrong. I did check. There are 2,700 jobs at Rosyth on Ministry of Defence work. The management at Rosyth said that they will he able to sustain a maximum of 2,000 on the best case scenario, which, as I have said, is the refitting of one type 42, one type 23 and one type 22 every 18 months, in addition to three aircraft carriers, and 10 Hunt class mine warfare vessels. That is the very least guarantee we need, and I hope that the Secretary of State can give it tonight.
What will be the minimum total value of contracts placed with each yard over the 12-year period that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has specified? That will give us an idea of the balance of work for Rosyth compared with that for Devonport.
Given the state of defence planning and the monthly abandonment of commitments by the Government, how much credence can we give to today's announcement? How can we take seriously the promise of a fixed number of ship refits from a Government who are not only running down the size of the surface fleet but refuse to give an exact number for the size of the frigate destroyer fleet? As one of my hon. Friends said to me earlier, allocated work does not mean guaranteed work. Other yards which have had refitting will testify to that.
After today's announcement, we must ask what will happen to Rosyth after the year 2000, as its programme of work is run down over five years. There is the question of what will happen to the shipbuilding yards in the commercial sector which may have expected some of the surface refitting work to be allocated to Rosyth.
Has the Secretary of State made an estimate of what will happen to those shipyards? How many job losses will there be in those yards over the next 12 years, as the size of the surface fleet continues to reduce? The Secretary of State may remember that Lord Chalfont, chairman of Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd., said on "Panorama" in March that, if Government policy continues as it is at present, the seven private yards could be as few as one or two by the end of the century.
§ Mr. Foulkes
If the hon. Gentleman catches your eye, Madam Speaker, he will have a chance to speak. I said that I would be as brief as possible, because many of my colleagues wish to speak.
The Secretary of State has acknowledged in a very——
§ Mr. Bruce
The hon. Gentleman will know that there is good liaison on the shipyards between the south-west and Scotland, and I pay tribute to Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen for the help that I often receive from them. However, if the announcement today had been that the refitting contract was going to Rosyth, will he tell the workers at Devonport whether there would have been an 506 emergency debate? Are not those on the Opposition Front Bench having their strings pulled by the Opposition Members sitting around them?
§ Mr. Foulkes
The hon. Gentleman may not be aware that I did not receive a copy of the Secretary of State's statement until 3 o'clock this afternoon. My request for an emergency debate went in before noon.
The Secretary of State has acknowledged in a limited way the importance of planning. He sought to assure the House that strategy for Rosyth will be set out and guaranteed for the next 12 years. Leaving aside the doubts that I have expressed, which are felt by all Opposition Members, over the validity of guarantees from the Secretary of State, will he concede the value of such strategic planning? His defence policy completely lacks such strategic planning.
The suspicion is that this is not really the admission of planning into defence policy, but a manoeuvre brought about by political expediency. The concessions announced by the Secretary of State today—this is probably the most important thing I shall say—have come about as a result of the dedicated campaigning and pressure brought to bear by those at Rosyth.
That view was underlined today by the comments of Alan Smith of Babcock Thorn, who expressed thanks for the efforts of employees, trade unions and local councils. I pay tribute to those efforts, and to those of my hon. Friends the Members for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) and for Dunfermline, West (Ms Squire), who campaigned so well. We all wish my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, West a speedy recovery. We would not have had the guarantees from the Government without that campaign.
We will keep up the pressure to ensure that the Government fulfil in hard contracts the promises made today. The real test of this announcement is whether they are cheering at Rosyth today. They are not. Instead, cries of anguish are echoing across the Forth. Those are the people for whom we speak.
I hope that, in voting for the Adjournment motion, Opposition Members will show their support for a two-dockyard solution, for a strategic plan for the defence requirements of this country, and for the economic needs of this country into the next century.
§ The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Malcolm Rifkind)
This evening, Babcock Thorn, the management of Rosyth dockyard, issued a statement saying that its objective is to become the premier yard in the United Kingdom for surface ship refitting. The management have identified an important and valuable role for Rosyth. I believe that the statement that I made earlier, which indicates that in addition to the 18 major warships there will be 49 other vessels to be.refitted at Rosyth over the next 12 years, means that Babcock Thorn and its work force and the community in Rosyth can look forward to a large amount of work. That work will require thousands of people carrying out dedicated work in Rosyth in the interests of the Royal Navy and that will continue for many years to come.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I will give way in a moment. I must be allowed to begin my remarks.
I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) and noticed that, as is the tradition with the Labour party at the present time, a number of things were set aside. He not only set aside the call that he made some years ago for Trident to be scrapped, but he refused to answer the direct question whether he regretted that call and, if not, whether he could now reconcile it with his passionate case for Trident work going to Rosyth. I am happy to give way now if he wants to answer.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Three Labour Members want to answer that question, but the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley remains silent. That is probably a wise decision.
That is not all that is being set aside. A few days ago, the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley called for a solution that involved two dockyards with a future and not one. Today's announcement ensures two dockyards with a future. Two days ago, he called for an allocated work programme to the non-nuclear yard of 10 years. Today, we announced one of 12 years. Why cannot the hon. Gentleman acknowledge that his request has been more than met?
§ Mr. Home Robertson
The Secretary of State said that Rosyth was to be the surface ship refit yard. Will he comment on the four submarines that are currently at Rosyth—Churchill, Dreadnought, Swiftsure and Revenge? If we cannot have refit work on the Forth, we certainly do not want scrapped nuclear hulks there. They should be down the Forth on the next tide.
§ Mr. Rifkind
We want to discuss the decommissioned submarines with Rosyth. I understand the hon. Gentleman's point. There are no technical reasons why the submarines have to be at Rosyth rather than another port. That can be discussed and I am sure that we shall reach an amicable decision, which will meet the interests of the Royal Navy and reflect the current situation.
We shall shortly publish a consultative document. The hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley got into a lather about why it was not published today. He knows perfectly well that the matters were concluded and endorsed by the Cabinet only this morning and it takes a little time thereafter to produce the document. It will be published and the consultative period will start from the date of publication. I believe that it is appropriate that we should offer those directly concerned the opportunity to offer views on what we have announced. The purpose of the consultative period is to ensure that we have missed nothing in taking our decision. At the same time, I must make it clear that we have not made today's announcement lightly and I would be surprised if anything new came out of that consultation period.
The hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley made much of statements made in the 1980s about the future of nuclear refitting. Those statements were made 508 in good faith as, no doubt, was the hon. Gentleman's repudiation of Trident. The statements were entirely proper in the international situation that then faced us. When we made our plans for the future of nuclear refitting, who could have foreseen the end of the cold war, the end of the Soviet Union and the cataclysmic changes that have taken place and have resulted in a significantly smaller Royal Navy and additional capacity at Devonport and Rosyth? Those changes, which are highly welcome at the end of the cold war, have affected many aspects of our defence planning and have required us to rethink our plans in a number of areas, of which nuclear refitting is just one.
When it became apparent, for reasons that no one foresaw, that we would have more refit capacity and did not therefore have to rely on a new purpose-built facility, it would have been unforgiveable not to take advantage of the opportunities that that provided. That decision was not taken today or in the past few months—it was initiated two years ago. Some of the comments that we have heard today suggested that it had come as a total surprise that there had been a competition between Devonport and Rosyth for nuclear work, but in fact it was initiated in July 1991. Hon. Members knew that, and it was known at the time of the last general election. We did not go into the general election promising the Trident work to one yard rather than another. The hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley must control himself rather than make such claims.
The reduction in the size of the fleet, and the consequent reduction in our refit requirements, made it possible to carry out nuclear refitting in upgraded existing docks. That lay behind today's statement. Taking that approach allowed us to save the Royal Navy and the taxpayer more than £250 million. I am sure that no one seriously suggests that we should have done otherwise.
I was asked earlier about the use of consultants. The hon. Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) raised that matter when he saw my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. A range of specialist consultants have given advice: in particular, Coopers and Lybrand and, under contract to it, Allott and Lomax, which provided civil engineering advice, and AEA Technology, which provided advice on nuclear safety. They assessed the aspects of the proposals from the two contractors which fell within their area of expertise. It is quite proper so to use consultants, and that is what we would normally be expected to do. Their advice to us, quite properly, included much commercially sensitive information as well as classified material. It will obviously be published, so far as that is possible, and I can assure the House that the consultative document will be a full and free-standing explanation of the decision that we announced today.
My statement today was on the future of both yards. The future of Devonport will be based around the nuclear refitting work. The future of Rosyth will depend on its transition to a yard which can compete effectively for surface ship work. As I explained, that is not an easy transition, nor one that can be accomplished overnight. That is why, to help Rosyth accomplish the transition, we have set out an allocated programme, longer than the Opposition called for, which provides maximum opportunities.
§ Mr. Foulkes
The crux is the difference between allocated and guaranteed. I called for a guaranteed programme. The Secretary of State has given an allocated 509 programme, and he said a few minutes ago that Rosyth will be able to compete. That means that there is no guarantee whatsoever.
§ Mr. Rifkind
The hon. Gentleman is getting carried away and not thinking before he speaks. I said that more than half the surface ship programme was allocated to Rosyth. The competition will be for the other half of the surface ship programme. It is quite possible that Rosyth, Devonport and the shipbuilders will be able to compete for that work, and I very much hope that Rosyth will win a proportion of it.
§ Dr. John Reid (Motherwell, North)
I am glad of that clarification, although it was not necessary as we already understood that. [ Interruption.] I assure Conservative Members that we all did. We would like clarification of the first half. Is a guarantee being given to the people of Rosyth that the first half—unqualified allocations—will go to Rosyth, with no tendering, no negotiations, nothing to do with price and nothing to do with conditions? [Interruption.] Ah! Or are we talking about the intention to give it, subject to price and subject to negotiation? In other words, is the first half subject to no guarantee whatsoever, as we have been saying?
§ Mr. Rifkind
The hon. Gentleman can do better than that. We have said that in the next 12 years 18 major warships and all the minor warships will go to Rosyth. Allocated programmes are not new. We have had allocated programmes for Rosyth and Devonport for a number of years. Of course we hold discussions with the yard about price. We cannot simply say, "Whatever you charge we will automatically pay." The hon. Member for Motherwell, North (Dr. Reid) knows that that was a silly remark. I know that he did not mean it and that he certainly will not repeat it when he has thought about it.
We discuss with the allocated yard the price to be paid for a project to ensure that the taxpayer is not ripped off. That has been true of the way in which allocated programmes have been handled for Rosyth and Devonport. There is no change in the way in which allocated programmes are used. They have provided work for Rosyth and Devonport in the past, and that is what will happen in the future. It will be the same with Devonport. Devonport, in effect, has an allocated programme of the nuclear work. That does not mean that we shall give it the programme, whatever it charges. We shall discuss the price to be paid with Devonport.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I should like to continue. The hon. Member will have a chance to comment later.
The allocated programme builds on Rosyth's substantial experience of surface ship refitting. Many comments have been made in the past few weeks and months suggesting that Rosyth has no experience of surface ships. That is absolute nonsense. Rosyth has dealt with more than 79 surface ships, including frigates and destroyers, in the past few years. That is a very heavy programme.
The phasing will be organised in a way consistent with the practical management of the refit programme and ensuring a smooth transition from a mix of nuclear and non-nuclear work to refitting on surface ships only. The full allocation will include some of the Royal Navy's newest, largest and most advanced vessels, including 510 aircraft carriers such as Ark Royal and Invincible, neither of which has been dealt with at Rosyth in the past. Both will be available for refit at Rosyth.
Refitting an aircraft carrier is a major industrial task. It is perhaps not appreciated that it involves 65,000 man weeks of work and takes two years to complete. That is very similar to the length of time required for a Trident submarine refit. I have indicated that Ark Royal and Invincible will be available for work not at Devonport but at Rosyth as a result of the announcements today. It is a huge technical project requiring a wide range of engineering skills of the highest order. At the peak of refitting an aircraft carrier, 1,000 persons will be on the site on that vessel alone, quite apart from any others.
§ Mr. James Wallace (Orkney and Shetland)
It has been reported this evening that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland used the words "guaranteed programme of work". The Secretary of State for Defence has not so far used the word "guaranteed". Can he now tell us that there will be a guaranteed programme of work?
§ Mr. Rifkind
That is the distinction between guaranteed and allocated. I have indicated quite categorically and unequivocally the number of ships that will go to Rosyth, and their classes.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Many hon. Members want to speak in this short debate, and a long speech from me would not be fair to them.
These refits present considerable engineering challenges, but we are satisfied that Rosyth will be fully capable of meeting them and, indeed, will use this work as a springboard to bid for non-allocated work.
I am pleased at the response to my statement this afternoon from the chairman of Babcock Thorn, who said that he would direct all his efforts to ensuring that the programme of work was delivered and maxiinised. He said—I can do no better than repeat his words—that he believed that he could undertake the work and face competition with confidence and success. That is important. We know perfectly well how, until today, both yards maintained that that would not be possible if they did not win the nuclear work. Now that that matter has been resolved, it is good that Rosyth is facing the new opportunity in such a positive way. I welcome that attitude, and I am sure that the chairman's optimism will be justified.
With regard to employment, as in the past we expect both companies to continue to improve their productivity and hence their competitiveness. It is to be hoped that the increased competitiveness will enable the companies concerned at both yards to increase their workloads and hence their profitability. In that way, it should be possible to increase both productivity and efficiency and at the same time maintain or, indeed, increase employment levels. As at present, we expect the companies concerned at the two dockyards to continue to seek and to obtain commercial work to augment that provided by the Ministry of Defence. Such work tends to be of a general engineering nature, of which recent examples have included the refitting of railway carriages, refurbishing engines and other projects, both at Devonport and at Rosyth.
511 As I indicated this afternoon, however, the total Ministry of Defence workload is planned to decline towards the end of this decade. On the basis of the number of employees currently assessed as being necessary to fulfil Ministry of Defence work, there will be reductions of the order that I indicated earlier today. I acknowledge that, while 450 jobs at Rosyth or, for that matter, 350 at Devonport appear relatively few in terms of the total work force, it is regrettable that there should be any losses at all. We hope very much that both Rosyth and Devonport will be able to develop new areas of activity, thereby reducing the number of necessary job losses.
Our calculation of the employment consequences of the Government's proposals are based on detailed discussions with the two companies about their future business plans. Obviously the details of those discussions are confidential between us and the dockyard companies, but I can say that both companies put forward proposals both for nuclear refitting and for surface work only. The plans were discussed with the companies and with our specialist advisers. Thus, we have had from both yards information as to what a surface work programme might consist of.
I am conscious of the fact that this is a short debate. Having given way on a number of occasions, I intend now to come to a conclusion. Before doing so, however, I should say that I do not hide from the House or from anyone else the fact that this has been a difficult and painful decision. I am well aware of the aspirations at both Rosyth and Devonport, but I do not intend to take from Opposition Members—most of whom did not want Trident in Scotland in the first place—complaints about the outcome. That goes for the nationalist party in particular, which continues to hold that view. That did not make our decision any easier. What did make it easier, however, was the knowledge that the Royal Navy requires two dockyards, not one.
Over the past few months we have seen how the competition on the nuclear work has been of enormous benefit in saving the Royal Navy more than £250 million. That would not have happened had only one dockyard been in existence. The same principles apply to the surface ship programme, which consists of very many large warships. Therefore, I believe that those who, for very understandable reasons, will continue to be concerned about the future can take very considerable comfort from the fact that having two dockyards will not simply be beneficial in employment terms or helpful in resolving a difficult problem but will also provide major benefits for the Royal Navy. As a consequence, I believe that they can command confidence and support.
§ Madam Speaker
This is a very brief debate, and I seek the co-operation of hon. Members. I hope that speeches will be short so that as many hon. Members as possible may be called.
§ Mr. Menzies Campbell (Fife, North-East)
The decision that was announced today may have consequences for the next 30 years. It is therefore extremely important that we should examine with some care the precise use of language that we heard in the statement delivered earlier and in the speech that has just been made. It is important also that we should remind ourselves precisely what Lord Younger felt 512 compelled to write to The Times about a fortnight ago. In his letter, which has been quoted partly but not in its entirety, he says that he understands that the Government will soon be making a decision as to whether to maintain their intention to refit our nuclear submarines at Rosyth. He says:I believe that the financial and operational case for doing so is now clear, as is the strong case for concentrating our refitting of surface warships at Devonport.Thus, in the opinion of Lord Younger, a two-yard solution, with Rosyth taking the nuclear submarines and Devonport concentrating on surface warships, is the preferred conclusion. The noble Lord says:There is now, therefore, a clear opportunity to confirm a long-term role for both Rosyth and Devonport which will serve the Royal Navy well and safeguard thousands of jobs in both locations.Before a final decision is taken, I feel I must remind all concerned"—no doubt he had Ministers in mind when he said that—of a matter of good faith which is involved here.The next paragraph refers to the noble Lord's efforts to persuade public opinion in Scotland to accept Faslane. He goes on to say:One of the most powerful arguments which I deployed was there would obviously be many jobs for Scotland associated with operating and maintaining the submarines. I know that many in Scotland would therefore feel badly let down if a major part of these jobs were now to be removed from Scotland.I hope it will be understood that I would find it impossible to support such a move as my good faith would clearly be called into question.One could hardly have a clearer statement from a former Secretary of State for Defence who was previously Secretary of State for Scotland. That clearly shows the extent to which he believed that a commitment had been given.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Ian Lang)
The hon. and learned Gentleman may like to know that I spoke to Lord Younger today, who declared himself well satisfied with the arrangements announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.
§ Mr. Campbell
I had a small side bet with myself that, at some stage in the debate, there would be an intervention of that kind. We shall wait to see whether, in two days' time, The Times carries a letter telling us that the earlier one has been withdrawn, that the former Secretary of State for Defence no longer feels that his good faith has been impugned by the decision that the Government announced today. I shall wait for that letter before I make a judgment on the extent to which Lord Younger may have changed his mind.
§ Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge)
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that he is saying exactly what he said on the "Today" programme yesterday—that it is Liberal defence policy that the submarine refit should go to Rosyth? If he and the Liberal party believe that the work should go to Rosyth and not to Devonport, why have his colleagues in the west country been saying that it is Liberal policy to support the bid by Devonport?
§ Mr. Campbell
I have addressed several meetings of workers from both dockyards, and I do not recall the hon. Gentleman being there. During the past 12 months, I have made it clear that a two-yard solution was appropriate, with the submarine work going to Rosyth and the surface 513 work to Devonport. That solution lends itself to the host. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross (Sir N. Fairbairn) and the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker). If the hon. Gentleman is trying to claim that every party has a universal view on the matter, he is grossly mistaken. Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament who represent constituencies in the south-west have campaigned on behalf of their constituencies; who would have expected them to do anything other than that? They have campaigned on behalf of their constituents, which I regard as entirely right and proper.
§ Mr. Campbell
I shall not give way. When it comes to wisdom, I think that I can do rather better than the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Campbell
As my party's defence spokesman, I have made my position clear over the past 12 months. If the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) has only just woken up to it, that suggests that he has not followed the issue with much concentration.
I want to deal with the words used in the Secretary of State's statement. He told us that work was to be "allocated". "Allocated" means nothing more than "assigned", and work which is allocated can be reallocated. A moment ago, in response to an intervention, the Secretary of State tried to say that the position of Devonport was the same as that of Rosyth. He should read his own statement. He said:I am therefore announcing today our conclusion that, subject to satisfactory contractual negotiations, we shall proceed with the Devonport nuclear refitting facility proposals.There is to be a contractual relationship in respect of the nuclear submarine refitting, but we are not told that there will be a contractual relationship for 12 years for the allocation of work to Rosyth.
The language of today's statement carries the same emphasis and has the same substance as that which Lord Younger used many times when arguing the case on behalf of Rosyth. If the language used by Lord Younger can now be departed from, the same could apply to that used by the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Harris
The hon. and learned Gentleman rightly emphasises the importance of language. Will he explain something to the House and, in particular, to the voters in the south-west? In a BBC interview yesterday and again today, he said that he was speaking in his capacity as the defence spokesman for the Liberal party. Were the Liberal Members of Parliament from the south-west and the candidates in the county council elections in Cornwall and Devon saying something completely different? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman saying that they were not presenting Liberal party policy, or is it simply a case of the hon. and learned Gentleman saying one thing to some audiences, especially in Scotland, while his party, true to form, is saying something completely different in the south-west?
§ Mr. Campbell
If I am trying to conceal my position, going on the "Today" programme and telling the world 514 what it is is a pretty rum way of doing so. Those who argued for Devonport did so on a constituency basis, just as some Conservative Members argued against the hon. Member for Tayside, North and the hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross. Is the hon. Gentleman denying the hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross the right to express his opinion? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman not to be allowed to express his opinion because it might be contrary to the views of Conservative Members from the west country? [Interruption.] We appear to be taking part in the first round of what one might describe as Operation Christchurch. There is more emphasis on that than on the merits of the argument with which we are concerned.
When Lord Younger made his commitment, the present Secretary of State for Defence was the Secretary of State for Scotland. The commitment was made publicly and repeatedly, and I do not think it is unreasonable to infer that it was also the commitment of the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind), the present Secretary of State for Defence. If Lord Younger thinks that it is a question of good faith, is it unreasonable to ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he believes a question of good faith is now raised by his support for what he has announced today? It is a serious question to which we are entitled to an answer.
One of the things that is forgotten is that the nuclear refitting work will be guaranteed. That will make a contribution to the fixed costs of Devonport, which will enable Devonport, quite legitimately, to offer the most competitive prices for surface work. Which hon. Member of any party believes that in five years the Treasury will say that, because it had been stated on an evening in June in 1993 that the work would be allocated to Rosyth, it must abide by that statement and that it cannot explore the possibility of obtaining cheaper prices by going to Devonport? I cannot believe that anyone considers that a reasonable proposition.
§ Mr. Martin O'Neill (Clackmannan)
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the workers of Swan Hunter would endorse that point? They were promised the Royal Fleet Auxiliary work which was then taken from them and given to the people who built the Trident boats, which are now to be refitted at Devonport. They can make a sufficiently low bid because their overheads have been carried by the Trident programme.
§ Mr. Campbell
Precisely. The cost of this type of operation is as dependent on fixed costs as on revenue costs, so the advantage that Devonport will enjoy, quite legitimately, will give it a pre-eminent position in competition. Who believes that the Government will say that there can be no competition because, on an evening in June, they had said that they had allocated work to Rosyth?
§ Dr. Godman
As a lawyer, is the hon. and learned Gentleman completely satisfied that the allocation of commercial contracts for the refitting of warships to a commercially managed facility does not in any way infringe European Community directives on competition and public procurement?
§ Mr. Campbell
If the word "allocated" is used, it does not. If another form of language were used, which implied a contractual obligation, there might be a contravention. 515 The word "allocated" has clearly been used advisedly for, among others, the reason suggested by the hon. Gentleman.
It was notable that the words "strategic" and "operational" did not appear in the Secretary of State's statement, although Lord Younger clearly believed that operational matters in respect of nuclear submarines would best be served by a solution involving that work being allocated to Rosyth.
The cold war has finished. One does not wish to be too apocalyptic, but there have been substantial developments in missile technology. Which member of the Government will tell us that within the next 30 years no unfriendly country will have available to it missile technology that might enable it, if it were so minded, to target what may turn out to be the sole refitting yard in the United Kingdom? It is not sensible to create circumstances in which, through the operation of the marketplace, all refitting work is concentrated in one location. Equally, is it not sensible to take account of the fact—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce) has something to say, no doubt he will try to catch your eye later, Madam Speaker, rather than making inaudible observations from a sedentary position.
§ Mr. Ian Bruce
I am sorry, but I was having great difficulty in following the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument, because he started his speech by saying that all the refitting of nuclear submarines should be concentrated at Rosyth, but now he is saying that we should not concentrate the work in one place because of the threat from nuclear missiles. Can he explain that to the House?
§ Mr. Campbell
That is not what I said, and if the hon. Gentleman reads Hansard he will realise that. I said that we should not concentrate all our refitting work, submarine and surface, in one place. That would not make strategic sense.
There is also an operational reason for putting nuclear submarine refitting work at Rosyth. It is a gentle two hours by car from Faslane, where the submarines will be based. If ready access to information and equipment is needed, how better to obtain it than in two locations only two hours apart?
I look forward with interest to hearing the request from the work force at Devonport that they should now take the four decommissioned nuclear submarines sitting at Rosyth. The Secretary of State said that there would be negotiation about that, but I fancy that the negotiation may be rather one-sided, with the management of Rosyth saying, "Take them away; we do not want them." Where will they go? Will they be towed to Devonport? The people of Devonport may have something to say about that.
In a letter that must have been written in full knowledge of the changed circumstances on which the Secretary of State for Defence sought to rely in his speech, Lord Younger continued to advance the view that a two-yard solution was not only possible but desirable. The Government have failed to heed that advice, and in that respect I believe that they have failed in their responsibility.
§ Mr. Phil Gallie (Ayr)
I welcome this short debate, which follows a long period of doubt and argument. For me the past 24 hours have been the worst in many months. I really began to feel that Rosyth's argument for the maintenance of the submarine refit programme was about to disappear. The importance of the programme was the monopoly effect, and the long-term guarantee of work for people within the successful dockyard for many years to come.
The nuclear deterrence programme is a platform on which Scottish Tory Members of Parliament have long stood. We have argued the case with vigour, and in Scotland we used to be told that we were on a most unpopular platform. All the Opposition parties spoke against us. We welcomed the nuclear deterrent submarine fleet to Scotland, both to Faslane, where the operations were based, and to Rosyth, where we maintained the Polaris fleet successfully for many years. I must express my regret that the long tradition established over that period is about to disappear.
I stood for election in Dunfermline, West in 1987. I was a former dockyard apprentice, and I believed that I was arguing for the dockyard and for common sense dockyard policies. It did not do me a lot of good, I must admit, although the Labour party and the Scottish National party both opposed Trident. At that time the Labour party was prepared to decimate defence spending, so the result of the election defied belief.
The hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) referred to my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Younger. I must remind the hon. Gentleman that times change, and that the ending of the cold war has brought a major change. When Lord Younger was Secretary of State for Defence, defence spending was rising year by year. And year by year Opposition spokesmen said, "Cut that expenditure. It is disgraceful. We should spend the money elsewhere." Now defence spending is falling, and we must examine the realities of the financial arguments. We must get the best deal possible for the money that the MOD spends on land, at sea and in the air. We must seek the best value.
On that basis our requirements had to be re-examined. I am sad to say that the re-examination was not at any time to Rosyth's advantage. I regret the need; I regret that that had to happen. In December and January things looked gloomy for Rosyth. But I am delighted to say that the Secretary of State for Scotland appeared to step in and to use a heck of a lot of influence to ensure that there was a rethink, and the Government pulled back from what seemed an inevitable decision in favour of Devonport. My right hon. Friend ensured that there was a level playing field, and Rosyth was given a chance to submit a fresh bid.
At that time the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley criticised the Government in the House for the delay, just as he criticised the Government yesterday for having taken so long to come to a decision. But I should say that it was in the interests of Rosyth and of Scotland that the Government took such a long time. We had to ensure that the final decision was based soundly on both economic and strategic sense. The time that has been taken suggests to me that the decisions have been reached on a logical basis.
§ Dr. Godman
I thought for a moment that the hon. Gentleman was going to call me his hon. Friend. There is a good deal of sense in what he says about times changing, but some things remain constant, and one of those is ministerial bad faith. It was Lord Younger who, as Mr. George Younger, sold Scott Lithgow down the river despite his promises to support that yard's submarine-building capability. He reneged on those promises, and that is my fear with that odd-job lot on the Government Front Bench. I do not share the hon. Gentleman's confidence in them.
§ Mr. Gallie
Clearly the lion. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godrnan) and I differ about some things. On occasion we share common views, but certainly not on this issue. I identify with his recent comments on law and order, but those are not the subject of the debate tonight.
Over recent months a heck of a lot of hypocrisy has been in evidence. I have been delighted to work with Members of all shades of political opinion from all parts of Scotland to try to project the Rosyth argument. I believe that we had a good argument. Yet I hear that I have been criticised. I believe that I was called a "lickspittle" tonight by the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley. That is shameful. I stick to my principles, not like the hon. Gentleman who changes from side to side. One day he believes in CND; the next clay he wants Trident at Rosyth. What nonsense. If he is talking about lickspittles, he should at least put his credentials to the test and stick to his principles.
Recently, the Fife regional council became a nuclear-free zone. However, it wanted the Trident contract to remain at Rosyth. I must pay the people in the Fife region a compliment—they put up a good fight. It is a pity that they did not think about some of the things that they were saying before they were forced into the battleground.
When I look at hon. Members from the Scottish National party—I must say this with a bit of humour—I remember recently watching families from Rosyth coming ashore at Westminster pier from a pleasure cruise. One member of the SNP was standing with a placard in one hand and a child in the other. What did the placard say? It said: "Rosyth is home for Trident". That is hypocrisy.
§ Mr. Gallie
The child believed what the placard said because her family fortunes had been tied up for many years in the maintenance of the nuclear programme.
We must examine the strategic reasons why Devonport has been selected. There is a 90-day period in which we must examine the credentials. Rosyth's strongest argument was its link with Faslane. I believe than. that important aspect was considered but I would like further confirmation. From the figures presented, there is little doubt that Devonport's argument was fairly won. Once again, the figures must be presented and scrutinised. They will be carefully analysed over the next few weeks.
The dismal feelings that I had yesterday were based on a belief that we were faced with many thousands of job losses in either Devonport or Rosyth. I am pleased that the figures announced by the Secretary of State for Defence do 518 not justify our worst fears. Having said that, the loss of 450 jobs at Rosyth is something that I do not welcome. Indeed, I regret it.
Rosyth has the competence to maintain the surface fleet in the next 10 years. The work force will build their skills and achieve a level of excellence that will ensure that they can compete with any other yard in the land in the years ahead. Rosyth will have a future based on the skills, enthusiasm and drive of its excellent work force. I welcome the words of the management at Rosyth today who stressed that their aim was to become the premium yard in the United Kingdom for surface ship refitting. They have a premium work force and will achieve that aim.
Over the next 90 days, I seek an assurance from my right hon. and learned Friend on the issue of the allocated vessels. At Rosyth, a level of skills has been built up in the nuclear health physics field, but those skills will not be able to be used fully in the coming years. Rosyth and Devonport have maintained traditional links over the years. I would like to think that there will be a place for some of the workers at Rosyth to undertake the nuclear work at Devonport in the years ahead. One aspect that I must not ignore is the fact that 3,000 jobs are still tied up at Faslane. Faslane is important to the Scottish economy and we must not forget that.
In conclusion, I simply record my thanks to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister who met the Scottish Conservative Back-Benchers. He listened attentively and seemed to have a good grasp of all the issues. I thank the Secretary of State for Defence, who had an open door for us, and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who listened to us yesterday when there was a late bid from Rosyth. Above all, I thank the Secretary of State for Scotland. I share his disappointment tonight. His enthusiasm and determination for a prosperous Scotland and a prosperous Rosyth for the future will be ongoing.
§ 8.6 pm
§ Mr. Henry McLeish (Fife, Central)
We do not need any lectures on principles from Conservative Members. The hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) made a distinguished and excellent presentation at one of our joint parliamentary press conferences. The difference between that presentation and his speech tonight is marked. One issue that annoys the Scots intently is that Conservative Members speak with one tongue in Scotland, speak with another voice on joint platforms and say something else again in the Chamber. That is hypocrisy. Essentially, that is at the heart of the problem.
The key political issue that the Government have tried to avoid is the betrayal over the question of Trident coming to Rosyth. It does not matter how we dress up the alternative—we have simply ignored the issue of why, after so many promises, Trident has gone to Devonport and the surface fleet has gone to Rosyth.
§ Mr. McLeish
I will not give way.
In my constituency this evening, there is concern about the statement. There are three parts to that concern. Between now and the year 2000, we will have allocations but no guarantees. Between the year 2000 and 2005, we will have fewer allocations and simply no guarantees. What will happen beyond 2005? There is no 30-year 519 guarantee for the apprentices and those who have made a commitment to the defence of the United Kingdom. We simply have a three-phase campaign which could result in a significant diminution of employment in Fife and Rosyth.
The question that my constituents want answered is, when does an allocation become a guarantee? In a programme on Friday 18 June, John Foster, a member of the Scottish lobby, asked Lord Younger an important question about the future. I quote:'Mr. Rifkind, the Defence Secretary, has always decreed that there will be two dockyards', he said. It has been suggested anyway that Rosyth, if it did not get the nuclear refitting, would get some guaranteed surface refitting work possibly for a period of years.The general view expressed in Scotland is that it is difficult to believe that there would be an effective solution for Rosyth because, presumably, the work would be competitive and there would have to be a level playing field. Anything less than a full-term guarantee that Rosyth will he written into surface refitting for the foreseeable future would not be good news.
§ Mr. McLeish
The essential core political issue, which has not been addressed despite opportunities to do so, is the difference between an allocation and a guarantee. It is simply that the Government have no long-term intention of sticking to the commitment made to give the surface work to Rosyth. I challenge the Minister to translate the question of allocations into a specific guarantee.
My hon. Friend the Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) got to the nub of the matter by suggesting that an allocation was not a guarantee. My constituents cannot pay mortgages or work on the basis of glib allocations, especially given the track record of the Conservative Government over the past decade. That major core issue has not been addressed.
We have examined the figures given in the statement today. Our anlaysis differs greatly from that of the Secretary of State for Defence. No one believes that there will be only 450 job losses at Rosyth. The figure could be 1,000 or much higher. So the first question is, when will the Government come clean? I hope that the next 90 days will not masquerade as consultation but will give us the truth about the political package which the Government present as a business issue.
What about the 12 years of work? I have already raised the point and I do not want to dwell on it. However, hon. Members have made the point that the largest number of allocations of work will not substitute for copper-bottomed guarantees to the work force, their families, Fife people and people throughout Scotland.
§ Mr. McLeish
No. I will not give way.
My hon. Friend the Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley made it clear that the allocations of work could become complex if there were a problem of price or 520 scheduling of work. One is dealing with a reasonably small number of ships over a long period and with substantial technical work. My belief, which is shared by my constituents, is that the arrangement gives the Government an opportunity to duck their commitments, as they have done in previous years.
We shall probe the Government on many outstanding issues. The main task of Labour Members is to secure the largest number of jobs for Rosyth. The statement today will not do so. That is why my hon. Friends have expressed anxieties about it.
I have heard much hypocrisy from the Conservative Benches, but also from the Scottish National party. I wish to remind the House of a recommendation made by an SNP health council to a district council in Scotland on 25 November 1992. There was a debate about the future of Rosyth. The recommendation was that the district counciltotally oppose the deployment of Trident to Rosyth Dockyard".The Conservatives then said the opposite. They wanted Rosyth to get the Trident refit. My friends in the party on that council moved that, in order to reach an agreed resolution that would satisfy all involved, the council should invite the management and work force to come to the council to make their case. The vote was 12:11. All the SNP members voted against inviting the management and work force to make their case. That is hypocrisy. I await with interest the comments this evening of any SNP Member.
Scots know the guilty party in the betrayal of the promise of the Trident refit for Rosyth. They will not accept the overtures from the SNP, which did nothing to assist the campaign to help the work force to secure that contract. Scots will admire honesty and hard work on their behalf, but they will not accept the treachery of both the SNP and the Conservative party on this vital, strategic, industrial, employment and economic issue. That is the agenda. We shall continue our campaign.
§ Mr. Gary Streeter (Plymouth, Sutton)
I am pleased to make a brief speech in this important debate. Naturally, the news that Devonport has won the Trident contract has been well received in Plymouth tonight. It has been a long and fierce battle. However, there is an affinity between Devonport and Rosyth dockyards. Of course, there will be an understanding in Devonport tonight of how the workers at Rosyth feel. There will be pleasure that the Government package announced this afternoon was a substantial package of jobs, hope and future for Rosyth. That news is also well received in Devonport and Plymouth tonight. It is what we want and we welcome it.
We have heard a great deal about Rosyth in the debate tonight. That is right, but it is important for a few minutes to paint some of the background of the case for Devonport. I begin by thanking my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and his colleagues in the Government for the way in which they have handled this difficult process of the contract race. My constituents understand what a difficult decision it has been and they respect the way in which my right hon. and hon. Friends have conducted themselves throughout.
I wish to explain why the issue is so important to Devonport and paint the economic backdrop. All the traditional industries in the west country—agriculture, fishing, defence-related industries, tourism and so on—are 521 in decline for a range of reasons. Many Members of Parliament regard the west country as a pleasant place to go on holiday. So it is, but the backdrop to the region is economic decline. We have high unemployment and the economic trends are going against us.
Our dockyard has a fine history. Devonport exists because of the dockyard. It has been there for 300 years. It is the reason why we are there. Since 1985, when the private management of the dockyard took over, we have lost 7,500 jobs through scaling down our defence needs. We have paid our part of the peace dividend. All of us in Plymouth know families who have lost jobs in the dockyard in the past seven years. We have taken our fair share of the pain, believe me.
In addition to that backdrop, Plymouth is peripheral. As it is so far from other large cities, inward investment has not come our way very easily. That is not the case for the centre of Scotland. Plymouth is the engine room for the west country and the dockyard is the dynamo for that engine. That is why the issue is so important to us in Devonport. That is why we fought so hard.
What was our case? It is perfectly true that some years ago there was no question but that the nuclear submarine would be maintained at the RD57 project at Rosyth; that was everyone's assumption. It would cost the taxpayer more than £450 million. But two years ago, the management at Devonport, headed by Mike Leece and Peter Whitehouse, realised that all the skills, equipment and facilities necessary to maintain the Trident submarine were found at Devonport. The dockyard could have a part of that work.
The dockyard put forward a scheme to the Ministry of Defence. It was painstakingly put together. It drew on the experience that Devonport had of refitting nuclear submarines. It drew on the skills of our work force in Plymouth. It was substantially cheaper than the RD57 project. It would save the taxpayer more than £150 million. The bid had to be taken seriously. No responsible Government could have turned their back on that bid.
Suddenly, there were two possible options for maintaining the Trident submarine. Rosyth rightly realised that the RD57 project was too expensive. It bravely made a bid based on upgrading its existing clocks. The Government had to decide between the bids. The Devonport bid put its capital cost at £236 million. Its operational costs were lower than those at Rosyth. It met the safety requirements. The two bids had to be taken seriously.
Collocated with the dockyard at Plymouth is the Navy base. That is another reason why the dockyard is there. As it was so important to maintain the dockyard in Plymouth, the whole community swung behind the bid of Devonport Management Ltd., including the local authority under both Conservative and Labour control, the trade unions, the county council, the chamber of commerce and local Members of Parliament. They did so because it was vital to our community.
It is perfectly true that we pressed the case. During the election campaign in April last year, the bid was the biggest issue that faced Plymouth, probably Devon and Cornwall and perhaps even the whole of the west country. In the election campaign, we saw the grotesque spectacle of the Labour defence spokesman coming to Plymouth and shouting for Devonport, then going up to Scotland and saying that the work must go to Rosyth.
§ Mr. O'Neill
On a point of order, Madam Speaker. As I am the person to whom the hon. Gentleman is referring, I must tell him that I did not do that—it is just not true. If he looks at the press clippings from both parts of the United Kingdom, he will see that what he said may be in a Tory party brief, but it is not the truth.
§ Madam Speaker
That is not a point of order for me. The hon. Gentleman might have sought to intervene—which he seems to have done.
§ Mr. Streeter
I am grateful for that intervention/point of order. I encourage the hon. Gentleman to look at the press clippings again and at the leaflets distributed by the Labour party at the general election because he will see a different story. He is directly quoted as rooting for Devonport.
For all the reasons that I have outlined, the community of Plymouth got behind the Devonport bid. We were fighting for our lives, for our city and for jobs for our young people. That was why there has been such a fierce debate and such a fiercely fought competition. I pay tribute to the management and work force of Devonport Management Ltd. which made the running in the contract race, and handled itself skilfully. I pay tribute to its tenacity and professionalism. Those are the reasons why its bid was successful.
Why did we win the contract race? It was simply because our bid complied with the specifications of the Ministry of Defence. It was £64 million cheaper than the Rosyth bid in terms of capital and operational costs. What choice would any responsible Government have in those circumstances? The Navy was happy with the Devonport hid and clearly there was little choice for the Government but to accept it.
The competition process has thrown up one successful result: the taxpayer has gained enormously—to the tune of about £250 million. No responsible Government could turn their back on that. No wonder the Conservative party espouses competitive tendering and market testing as an essential part of government—it is the best thing for the taxpayer. The Devonport bid was cheaper than the Rosyth bid, which is why we won and why the west country is tonight grateful to DML for the way in which it conducted itself.
It is also recognised in the west country, however, that only a Conservative Government would have delivered Trident to the west country. That fact is now abundantly clear—the Labour Front-Bench team has made its position clear. Despite the burdens on the taxpayer and the costs, the Labour Front-Bench team would have buried their heads in the sand and given the contract to Rosyth. There is news in that, but what has shocked the people of the west country is the revelation that the Liberals' official party policy—despite what the party was saying locally—was to give the contract to Rosyth. That has devastated people in the west country, who will not forget or forgive that.
§ Mr. Streeter
I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman for his intervention because I have in my hand a statement that he made yesterday when he spoke on Radio 4. It was a shock because we in the west country have been bamboozled by the Liberals, who gave us the impression that they were fighting for Devonport as that was their official party policy. However, that is not so; yesterday, the hon. and learned Gentleman said:Well, I have made a judgment in my capacity as the Defence Spokesman for my Party…I believe that the two yard solution which the Secretary of State has argued for can best be exemplified by sending the nuclear submarines to Rosyth and the surface ones to Devonport.That statement has gone down like a lead balloon in the west country. The Liberal Democrats tried to pull the wool over our eyes; they have been exposed for what they are—a party that has turned its back on the west country.
The outcome of the important contract race is that Devonport has won because it offered the best value for money for the taxpayer. We have seen that competitive tendering works—it has saved money for the Navy and the taxpayer. The Government have clearly committed themselves to a two-yard solution. They have proved that that is their intention; they have given assurances and provided the people of Rosyth with a package of compensation of work and hope which the people of the west country support.
§ Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)
If nothing else, the speech of the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Streeter) has confirmed that today's decision was not a financial or strategic but a political decision. The hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton chose to interpret it in that light.
If hon. Members had any doubt about the winners and losers of today's events, they needed only to look at the south coast Members of Parliament who were celebrating opposite the House of Commons earlier today. No doubt the Secretary of State for Scotland would use the phrase that he used in a Scottish newspaper this morning—a phrase that I would never use—and describe them as the "bloody English". I think that they are merely politicians celebrating a victory. The Secretary of State for Scotland should be present now to explain why he was defeated.
We are trying to find a guaranteed future for Rosyth. Various parties will have different ways of finding that future. The question before us today is whether the announcement from the Secretary of State for Defence will provide that guaranteed future. The information that we have received and our experience of Government guarantees and commitments show that the answer must be no.
As has been said, there is a difference between allocated work and guaranteed work, although—given the loose words that he used on television earlier this evening—that difference seems to have escaped the Secretary of State for Scotland. Even on the basis of the allocated work, I suggest that the reduction in personnel at Rosyth will be much greater than the estimate of 450 that we have been given.
The Secretary of State for Defence gave us some new figures this evening. He said that, over and above the 18 major surface ships that he had mentioned this afternoon, a further 49 surface ships would be allocated. A quick calculation suggests that 67 surface ships in the next 13 524 years will be allocated, which is fewer than the 79 that the Secretary of State for Defence mentioned in his statement this afternoon.
§ Mr. Salmond
If the hon. Gentleman sits down, I might be generous to him later in my speech, which is more than can be said for the Secretary of State for Defence who refused to give way to me earlier.
As I was saying—if the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Robertson) would care to listen—those figures would result in a total of 67 surface ships in the next 13 years being allocated—fewer than the 79 which have been turned around by Rosyth in the past 10 years. In addition, there are the five nuclear refits that Rosyth completed in the same period, using the huge dedicated work force that it has for this purpose. That seems to show that the estimated 450 job losses on such a programme—even if we accept that the allocated programme will go to Rosyth—is a serious underestimate.
What is the competitive position that Rosyth will face? As the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) said—he has most successfully made the point—Devonport will still be in a position to compete for the unallocated surface work. Due to the overheads which Devonport will be able to carry on a range of activities, the price that it submits will inevitably be lower than that of any other shipyard or dockyard. The chances are that its tender price will become the prevailing price which Rosyth will be expected to meet for the allocated work. That will place Rosyth at an unfair disadvantage to Devonport in a competitive market.
§ Dr. Godman
The fate that the hon. Gentleman is spelling out for Rosyth is precisely the fate suffered by the employees of Scott Lithgow. At the time the then Mr. George Younger made all sorts of promises, but there was no way in which Scott Lithgow could compete with Vickers of Barrow-in-Furness in terms of submarine building. That sent Scott Lithgow down the Clyde.
§ Mr. Salmond
The hon. Gentleman's point is well made. In an interview in The Herald yesteday, Mr. Alan Smith said:If they get the submarines, they will be strong enough to do us down … Yes, they will be in a position to knock us for six, fighting vigorously to get the surface ships as well. It would spell the beginning of the end for Rosyth.Rosyth will face unfair competition over the unallocated sections of the surface work, which will affect the prevailing price even of the allocated section. It comes ill from the Secretary of State for Defence to claim the benefits of competition for the nuclear refit when his announcement this afternoon ends such competition.
What guarantees were given by Lord Younger in his statement in The Times earlier this month? Once again the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East put his finger on it when he pointed out that the Secretary of State for Defence was reduced to partially quoting the man who was his predecessor as the Secretary of State for Scotland. The context of the letter makes quite clear the extent of the breach of faith that Lord Younger was fearful of—he campaigned and sold nuclear bases to Scotland on the argument that the refitting work would come to Rosyth. Clearly that is a substantial breach of faith.
§ Mr. Salmond
I shall let the hon. Gentleman intervene later in my speech if he has a little patience.
However the extent of bad faith went further than that. The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) quoted what Lord Younger said in the "Scottish Lobby" programme broadcast on 19 June and pointed out that Lord Younger had already anticipated exactly the solution that was announced and defended by the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Defence this afternoon, and said that it would be inadequate and would not guarantee the future of Rosyth.
Later in the same interview in "Scottish Lobby", he was asked whether it was just a personal breach of faith, a personal commitment that he made in the mid 1980s when he had responsibility, or whether he interpreted it as a breach of faith by the entire Government. The interviewer said:So it seemed then a terrible breach of faith—I mean you yourself have talked about the concern that you personally would feel about this. But it would be a terrible breach of faith by the government wouldn't it?The answer from Lord Younger was:Well, I think it would. If you take it we were persuaded in Scotland that there were the jobs and we therefore agreed to go along with all the other bits of it. I think to let it be fixed up in Scotland and then take away some of the jobs is something you should only do with a very very overwhelmingly good reason".Perhaps Lord Younger found his overwhelmingly good reason when the Secretary of State for Scotland phoned him up earlier today and said, "I am in the most incredible political fix. I cannot persuade my Cabinet colleagues, but can I rely on you to keep quiet and pretend that the breach of faith is not as extensive as you have indicated in your letter in The Times?"
It was a breach of faith by the Government and not just by Lord Younger. That is why it is incredible that the Secretary of State for Scotland should be heralding his announcement as an extraordinary victory for his lobbying power in Parliament. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would like to intervene now because I am about to deal with the point that I am sure he is going to make.
§ Mr. Raymond S. Robertson
The hon. Gentleman is talking about guarantees and allocations. What guarantees could he give the people of Rosyth on the basis of the first paragraph of his own party's defence manifesto which said:The SNP is committed to a non-nuclear Scotland. An independent Scotland will immediately withdraw from the UK's Trident programme and will order nuclear weapons and installations off our soil. There will be no place for scandalously expensive, impractical and ultimately useless nuclear weapons."?What guarantee could the hon. Gentleman give the people of Rosyth when that was his manifesto?
§ Mr. Salmond
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that free publicity for the Scottish National party manifesto. was coming to exactly that point.
Rosyth in an independent Scottish context would be a non-nuclear first-line base. An independent Scotland—[Interruption.] Believe it or not, Denmark, which is a similar maritime country to Scotland, has naval bases and dockyards. The difference between Rosyth in a British context and a Scottish context is that in a Scottish context it now is the No. 1 nuclear base and dockyard on the east 526 coast of Scotland whereas in a British context it is a second division, B-league base and is now subject to a very uncertain future indeed.
§ Mr. Salmond
If the hon. Gentleman cares to examine the budget proposals that we put forward for an independent Scotland, he will see that, because of the distortion and concentration of defence expenditure in the south and south-west of England, it is possible to reduce the overall defence budget in Scotland and still maintain around the current expenditure on procurement because Scotland lost out so badly in the last United Kingdom defence budget.
Turning to the point I was about to make on the general election campaign, the right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King), the then Secretary of State for Defence, was arguing with me in a radio interview. "Where would Rosyth be," said the right hon. Gentleman, "if it were not able to bid and compete for nuclear refitting work in an independent have a guaranteed future in an independent Scotland.
What there surely should be agreement on tonight is that there is no guaranteed future for Rosyth in a British context. So next time we hear Conservative and Labour politicians arguing in general election campaigns in Scotland that the only way to secure the future of defence bases in Scotland is to maintain the union it will get the horse laugh from the Scottish people that it richly deserves after this afternoon's betrayal.
In conclusion, the Secretary of State for Defence said earlier today that he will find——
§ Mr. Salmond
The hon. Gentleman has heard me say that I am not giving way, so perhaps he will resume his seat.
The Secretary of State for Defence told us earlier this afternoon that there would be an amicable solution to the question of whether the rotting nuclear hulks would be left at Rosyth or exported down south. The only amicable solution to that question is that these nuclear hulks should be removed immediately because no one in Scotland will accept a future for Rosyth as an elephants graveyard for nuclear submarines.
§ Miss Emma Nicholson (Torridge and Devon, West)
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for giving me a few moments in this valuable Adjournment debate. I claim a right to two or three minutes on behalf of my constituents who provide perhaps 15 per cent. of the work force of Devonport dockyard. May I say how wonderful it is that we have won the contract on merit. The quality of the work in Devon is superb and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Streeter) who represents the constituency next to mine has pointed out, there is no question but that the best dockyard has won the contract.
Of course it must be very difficult to have lost and perhaps that is why the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson), in whose constituency the Devonport dockyard resides, is not in the Chamber and 527 has not spoken. The reason is that he is in direct conflict with his right hon. and hon. Friends on the Labour Front Bench. Winning must be a somewhat bitter pill for him, just as the debate tonight is a bitter pill for Liberal Democrat Members, who have said such different things in the west country from the public pronouncements of their defence spokesman tonight and yesterday.
I should like to thank the Secretary of State for Defence on behalf of my constituents in Bere Alston, Bere Ferrows, Were Quay and the Yelverton area, who provide such a high proportion of the work force in the Devonport dockyard. I should also like to thank the Secretary of State for Defence on behalf of those at the Appledore shipyard in the northern part of my constituency who also assist in the repair work at the dockyard, and to whom other work is sometimes given.
We have a fine sea-going and shipbuilding tradition, as hon. Members with whom we have been linked in Scotland know, and I want to make it clear it gives me no pleasure or happiness to learn of the unhappiness at Rosyth. It is sad when one cannot win everything. But it is not a case of winner takes all, because the Secretary of State for Defence has managed such an equitable division with only 450 job losses in Rosyth. That is remarkable. Many months ago, a trades union leader from Rosyth told me that he was expecting at least 2,000 or 3,000 over the next four years. Now a Conservative Secretary of State has managed to prove him wrong, and I for one rejoice in that.
This was a wonderful decision by the Secretary of State. On behalf of my constituents who work in Devonport I want to pay tribute to every west country Conservative colleague, regardless of whether he or she had a direct involvement. They have all banded together and fought for this superb decision.
I extend my good wishes to Rosyth; I am delighted that only 450 job losses are forecast and that a full programme of work lies ahead for that magnificent yard.
§ Mr. John McFall (Dumbarton)
The guilty man is the Secretary of State for Scotland. Throughout the 1980s, we had nothing but promises, promises, promises, but where have those promises led us? Between 1980 and 1993, promises were freely made every year. I remind the House of the promise in 1984 given by the Minister responsible for the armed services, the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Mailing (Sir J. Stanley):I should like to take this opportunity to announce that we have now settled where the refitting of the Trident submarines will be carried out; it will be at Rosyth."—[Official Report, 29 November 1984; Vol. 68, c. 1122.]The former Chancellor, the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Thames (Mr. Lamont), said, as reported in The Herald on 10 December 1985:Commercial management of the Royal Dockyards offers the prospect of attracting even more work than there is at present, and it is the Government's intention to push ahead with this advancement. There is a brighter future for Rosyth.The right hon. Gentleman should tell that to the workers of Rosyth and of Scotland on this day.
Rosyth has been betrayed—a fact of which I was clearly reminded when I received a phone call on Monday morning from the press to tell me that there had been a full nuclear alert on Sunday at the Faslane nuclear base. We 528 were reminded of the consequences of having such bases in our constituencies. There is a price to be paid—a certain tension in the air. We have to live with those consequences.
At my surgery a couple of weeks ago, someone who works at the base came to tell me that he had leukaemia. I do not for a minute say that the base is responsible, but health and safety issues in a nuclear environment have to be faced by those of us who represent areas such as Faslane. If we bear such responsibilities, surely we should also have the benefits of the maintenance of Trident. This simple argument has been put to me and my fellow Members time and again.
As for the strategic considerations, as the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) pointed out. Rosyth is but a gentle two-hour drive from Faslane. On strategic grounds alone, therefore, the nuclear submarine refitting should be located at Rosyth.
I keep in regular touch with the workers at the base. Many of them tell me that they might prefer not to be working there, but it is at least a job: it keeps body and soul together. It keeps families intact. This decision, therefore, is taking effect against a background of the employment black spots in our constituencies. Rosyth will become an employment black hole after this.
In his short and eloquent speech, the Secretary of State talked about Rosyth but did not mention jobs or training. The defence industries are being run down, and we will lose jobs. In Coulport, a total of 800 jobs have been and are being lost. This is a continuing problem, yet the Secretary of State made no mention of alternative employment possibilities or of arms conversion possibly providing other jobs. The Government have simply failed to tackle that—a severe omission.
Rosyth trains half the engineering apprentices in Scotland; in other words, it provides the skills base for Scotland. People gain a fine training and in Faslane, whose apprentices I also know. This whole skills base is to be lost as a result of the loss of Rosyth, and the Government have nothing to offer us——
§ Mr. McFall
The Government have trumpeted the idea that competition prevails, although there is surely also a strategic dimension. In a letter to The Times on 11 June, the Earl of Perth said that, by giving the work to Devonport, we are putting all our eggs in one basket, and that makes no strategic sense. Competition alone will not serve the primary strategic interest.
As for the Navy's own preference, I believe that a number of dirty tricks have been played. It is claimed that the Navy prefers Devonport, but I spoke to senior naval ratings only a few weeks ago in my constituency. They described the differences, as they saw them, between the south of England, with its urban chaos, and Scotland, with its free open spaces and cleaner environment—much better to live in, in short. Hon. Members should not believe the stories about the Navy wanting Devonport. Dirty tricks have been played in this campaign.
One of the dirtiest tricks was the sleazy remark of the Secretary of State for Scotland, who sidled up to the Dispatch Box earlier. He has been mute on this issue all day, but he is the one who should resign. He claims that, in a covert conversation that cannot be corroborated, Lord Younger agreed with the Government's decision today. Let us remind ourselves what Lord Younger said: 529One of the most powerful arguments deployed is that there would be many jobs for Scotland associated with operating and maintaining submarines.Translated, that means that the submarines are operated from Faslane; the maintenance of the submarines is undertaken at Rosyth. Lord Younger cannot go back on those words. They hang like a millstone around his neck and around the neck of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
The message of today's exercise is: never trust a Tory. A Tory promise is a broken promise, and it causes heartbreak for thousands of people in Scotland. That is the message of this despicable exercise. The Secretary of State for Scotland should be ashamed of himself for his lack of spunk. He should remove himself immediately from the Cabinet.
§ Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge)
Coming as I do from the west country, I too welcome today's decision. It was the longest, most sustained campaign in which I have ever been involved. In it, we put to the Government the position that seemed to me from the outset militarily and economically right and in every way unanswerable.
But one can take nothing for granted in this life, and it was clear that political considerations might have impinged on the Government to make them, as some thought, turn their face away from what they would otherwise have done. I never thought for a moment that that was likely. I am sure that the Government have been greatly aided in coming to their conclusions by the sustained support of Conservative Members who had carefully considered the problem, and who believed that this option was military and economically right, and right for the west country.
The last thing that I would want to do on such an occasion is meddle in other people's grief. If I represented Rosyth, I too would be disappointed. I assure Opposition Members that I will not meddle in their grief—except perhaps to mention that there is something faintly ludicrous about a party which has for so long espoused the unilateralist cause, a party in which so many members once trumpeted their membership of CND, now queuing up to call for the maintenance of nuclear weapons in nuclear-free zones. It is bizarre.
However, I will give them this much credit: at least they were prepared to engage in bare-faced, brazen cheek with a straight face. Coming as I do from the west country, I know beyond doubt that no one in the west country ever thought that a Labour Government would safeguard their position in regard to defence; no one looks to a Labour Government to support them in that regard.
If people do not look to a Labour Government for the defence of their country, they perhaps believe—in a misguided way—that the Liberal Democrats can be entrusted with it, and that they are sound when it comes to the maintenance of Trident. In assessing that view—even before the "Today" programme yesterday, with which I shall deal shortly—they might just have wanted to consider the record. Liberal Democrat Members told people in the west country that they too were doing all they could to ensure that the Tories did not backslide on their commitments to Devonport.
As long ago as 1983, the right hon. Members for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock) and for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) appeared on a CND platform in Hyde Park. The right hon. Member for Yeovil said: 530Let us be clear…this country does not need Cruise, and NATO does not need Cruise.Just a year later, he featured in a CND launch in the Morning Star, along with the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms Ruddock), who was then the parliamentary Labour CND chairman, and the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Dr. Strang). The occasion was a CND campaign against Trident, which the three declared to be an £11 billion white elephant.
Just to make his position clear, the right hon. Member for Yeovil described Trident asa monstrous folly which we should divest ourselves of as soon as possible".In 1988, when asked in the context of his own election campaign for the leadership of his party, "What about Trident then, Paddy?", he replied:No! For Polaris at the last election, read Trident at the next".Let me bring the House right up to date—although there is never anything really up to date about the Liberal Democrats. Anyone who has ever tried to canvass in a road after a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate has gone up it knows that they do not just change their policies from year to year, from election to election or from constituency to constituency; they change their policies from house to house. It is a case of "What do you want to hear? What would you like us to promise? We will promise it to you."
Only two years ago—for the Liberal Democrats, that is a very long time—they drew up a policy document entitled "Reshaping Europe". It was produced in 1990. It stated:Last year, we called for 'a gradual reduction in spending as a proportion of national wealth'. In the changed circumstances of today we propose a bolder objective. We call for a reduction of at least 50 per cent. in real terms in UK defence expenditure, phased in over the remainder of she century'''.It went on to explain those proposals, just in case people could not understand. It stated that its proposals envisaged'reductions in the size of the army from 160,000 to 73,000 … and in the Royal Navy of around half of its present size (to 24 frigates, 13 attack submarines and 2 aircraft carriers)'"—and just for good measure,the RAF being cut 'by 12 from the present 31 combat aircraft squadrons'.The idea that a party that could propose such a programme and policy would be capable of throwing its weight meaningfully behind a proper option for Trident is ludicrous; but, understandably, people can be beguiled. In recent weeks, in the west country, the Liberal Democrats made the same point time and again, particularly in the council elections. It would be almost incredible, were it not true. They said that the Tories were a bit soft on Trident, and were not putting their back into the campaign. They were saying that that last push to give the Trident contract to Devonport needed Liberal Democrat support—as the rope supports the hanging man, I suppose.
§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker), the hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross (Sir N. Fairbairn) and the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie)—who came to a press conference last week and told the people assembled there that tha Trident contract would definitely go to Rosyth—did what they were entitled to do, and exercised their right to campaign on behalf of constituency interests?
531 If the hon. Gentleman is concerned about the official position of the Liberal Democrats, let me tell him that I have checked my diary and discovered that, on 25 February. I went to a meeting in the office of the Minister of State for Defence Procurement, who will wind up the debate. I was one of a number of Members of Parliament campaigning for the two-yard option—that is, for nuclear submarines at Rosyth and surface work at Devonport. All the hon. Gentleman had to do was ask his hon. Friend about our policy, if he was in any doubt.
§ Mr. Nicholls
The hon. and learned Gentleman cuts such a ludicrous figure that I would like to think that, when I am campaigning in Teignbridge at the next election, he will speak on my platform. All I fear is his support. I do not know what his social diary may include; I do not know at what times he meets my hon. Friends. I am talking about the lies, lies, lies and more lies told by the Liberal Democrats during the county council elections, about how we would be soft on Trident and they would make the final push.
§ Mr. Harris
Was the information given by the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) conveyed by the Liberal Democrats in Cornwall and Devon during the county council elections? I did not observe any such information; I suspect that they sang a very different tune.
§ Mr. Nicholls
The tune is the one that I have mentioned. Yesterday, the cat was finally let out of the bag. Under some stiff questioning on the "Today" programme, the hon. and learned Gentleman spoke; perhaps he was so cynical by then that he did not need stiff questioning to produce the information, but I shall do him the credit of believing that it was stiff questioning.
He said:Well, I have made a judgement in my capacity as the Defence spokesman for my Party … I believe that the two yard solution … can best be exemplified by sending the nuclear submarines to Rosyth and the surface ones to Devonport".In an earlier intervention, the hon. and learned Gentleman said that he was just arguing a constituency point.
§ Mr. Nicholls
It is not just that the impression has changed from one house to another; it has changed in the course of a debate. I could understand if the hon. and learned Gentleman was campaigning because Rosyth was in his own electoral yard, but he was saying that it was the official policy of his party to behave in this way. He was throwing the weight of his party behind an option that would have deprived the west country of what it needs.
The one thing that comes out of this business is that the Liberal Democrats have betrayed the people they claimed to champion. In all the celebrations tonight, the one thing that the Navy in Plymouth and the west country needs to know is that, when it came down to it, it was betrayed by the one party that pretended that it could be relied upon. I use this term in an entirely parliamentary way: it is utterly contemptible, and the people of the west country swill not forget.
§ 9 pm
§ Mrs. Irene Adams (Paisley, North)
I am grateful for a few minutes to speak in the debate tonight; I know how many hon. Members are waiting to get in.
Rosyth is not in or adjacent to my constituency; it is a good few miles from it. However, such is the nature of the work at Rosyth that many jobs throughout Scotland are dependent on it.
Today, when this announcement was made, I asked the Secretary of State if he could tell us how he had come up with the figure of 450 redundancies at Rosyth. It never fails to surprise me how glibly the Government roll a figure of 450 job losses off their tongues. They seem to forget that the families of 450 people have seen their future go down the river tonight. That does not seem to mean a great deal to them.
If, when they were looking at Rosyth, they had given some thought to defence diversification, we might not be concerned about the jobs at Rosyth, but might be looking at putting jobs and training in other places.
My constituency will lose jobs because of the announcement today. I did not get an answer when I asked what the ancillary job loss would be. However, since it is estimated that 18,500 jobs in Scotland are dependent upon Rosyth, and therefore that there are five times as many jobs outside as inside the dockyard, I can only assume that there will be five times as many job losses throughout Scotland as there will be in the dockyard itself. That will mean a job loss of almost 2,500 in Scotland, not 450—and 450 is a very conservative estimate in anybody's book. It is estimated that of those 18,500 jobs there are probably about 1,800 in the vicinity of my constituency.
I have to tell the House once again that, since the Conservatives came to power in 1979, my constituency has lost an unbelievable 89 per cent. of its manufacturing base. I know that that is difficult for the House to believe, and it is a sorry situation. It will certainly not be helped by the announcement that was made today, as Babcock Thorn, the major employer at Rosyth, is also the major employer in my constituency. Therefore, we will undoubtedly be affected once more by the job losses announced today.
The Government made no mention of training when they mentioned the redundancies. Again, Rosyth is the biggest trainer of apprentices in Scotland, and training jobs have gone completely down the river as well.
I recently visited Rolls-Royce in my constituency. It, too, is a major employer, and it has announced 450 job losses in my constituency in the last few weeks. Rolls-Royce tells me that in the last five years it has trained 36 apprentices. The last six will complete their training this year, after which the company has no plans to train any further apprentices. I have to assume that, if 450 jobs are going at Rosyth, there are a good number of apprenticeships going as well.
I can see no hope for my constituejcy in the announcement today for manufacturing jobs. All we have had in their place have been very low-paid service jobs, where people are working for between £1.20 and £2.40 an hour, with no future.
I am not greatly impressed by the promises that the Government have made today, because they have made promises in the past. We heard about Lord Younger's promise to keep Rosyth going for Scotland. In 1979, the same Lord Younger, when he was Secretary of State for Scotland, promised, when the first major job losses came 533 in the west of Scotland at the Talbot car plant at Linwood, in the constituency of Renfrew, West and Inverclyde, that he would see what he could do to make sure that manufacturing stayed in that area.
He promised that, even if we had to make rubber ducks, manufacturing would continue at Linwood. Not even a rubber duck is made at Linwood now. On that vast site, where once 5,000 people were employed, there are a few retail jobs and a few service jobs, but absolutely no manufacturing jobs.
I can only assume that the same would be the case at Rosyth. Once more, we have empty promises, with nothing to back them up. It will be death by strangulation, as it has been in my constituency.
We have not suffered a major job loss in one blow; we have suffered death by a thousand cuts. That is exactly what is going to happen at Rosyth. We have not had the guarantees that we require from the Government. They continually tell us that we will get the job allocations, but I would be most grateful if, in winding up, the Minister will tell us that he guarantees that there will be only 450 job losses at Rosyth.
§ Dr. Godman
May I point out to my hon. Friend that, at the time of Scott Lithgow being pushed out of submarine building, similar promises were made by the same Ministers—Lord Younger and his then right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Thames (Mr. Lamont). Those promises were utterly worthless. I share my hon. Friend's deep concern about the real number of jobs that will be lost.
§ Mrs. Adams
The promises have been worthless. They were worthless at Linwood and for the coal industry. They are worthless at Rosyth, too. I should be grateful if the Minister could point to promises that were not worthless.
I ask the Government again about the number of redundancies—450—which I still question. What consultations have the Government had, and what estimates have they made of the ancillary job losses, both in the west of Scotland and throughout Scotland?
§ 9.5 pm
§ Mr. Ian Bruce (South Dorset)
I intend to deal specifically with the calumny that has been put about by Opposition Members that in some way the Government have attempted to treat Rosyth unfairly. It is absolutely clear that the Government have bent over backwards to look after Rosyth and the Scottish defence industry.
It is interesting to speculate about what would have happened if the Opposition had become the party of Government at the last general election and if one of their shipyards, as it would have been then, had come to them and said, "We can save £250 million on the refitting of the Trident submarines by using an existing dock rather than building a new one." I am sure that they, as the party of Government, would have checked the figures for both Devonport and Rosyth. If Opposition Members believe that they would have thrown away £64 million of savings by awarding the contract to Rosyth rather than to Devonport, they should say so clearly.
What is the Government's record? At every stage, once Devonport began to bid for the contract, Devonport won against Rosyth. Did the Government immediately say, "Right, we'll go to Devonport and close the door on Rosyth.'? No, they kept going back to Rosyth and saying, 534 "Look at the figures again." Even when it became clear that Devonport would win the contract, I am absolutely certain that my right hon. and hon. Friends made every effort to ensure that work would go to Rosyth, so as to keep the two-base option that the Opposition talk about. However, they did not listen to what was said about that in today's statement.
I shall give a small example, for the benefit of those who are going on BBC television at Rosyth at the moment regarding their belief that this is a political fix on behalf of Conservative Members with constituencies in the south-west. What we said clearly to the Government was, "You can't ask for fair competition between Devonport and Rosyth and then, when Devonport wins, turn to the Scottish Office and say, 'We understand the difficulties that the Conservative party faces in Scotland, so we'll take the work away from Devonport and give it to Rosyth."'
Hon. Members will recall that time and again before the last general election the Royal Navy told the Government that it felt that it could close one of the Royal Navy bases—not one of the dockyards but one of the bases. The Royal Navy costed that out and found that there were real savings to be made by closing the Royal Navy base at Rosyth. The same costings showed that it was not cost-effective to close Portland. The Government acted to preserve jobs at Rosyth and to maintain the Royal Navy base there.
In order to keep to its long-term costings, the Royal Navy had to do a half closure of Portland, leaving the helicopters where they were, and save money at Portland. My constituents have paid the price of trying to look after the best interests of people in Rosyth. One has to remember that any money that is saved is saved for Scottish taxpayers as well as for English, Welsh and Northern Ireland taxpayers.
§ Mr. Salmond
Does the hon. Gentleman know what percentage of United Kingdom defence procurement is spent in Scotland? Does it surprise him to hear that it is well under the population's share?
§ Mr. Bruce
Considerable defence spending occurs in, for example, Fife and Faslane. The hon. Gentleman likes to chop the United Kingdom into parts and to speak separately of Scotland and England and so on. It is illogical to do that in this context because in parts of the country, such as in the south-west of England, enormous numbers of people are employed in the defence industries.
I invite the hon. Gentleman to spend his holidays in Dorset. He will discover how many Scottish accents can be heard among those living in Weymouth and Portland. Those Scots have come to work there. Indeed, I have a useful name when canvassing. All the people who live there are part and parcel of the nation's defence industries.
The Government's proposals go to the heart of attempting to help Rosyth. The whingeing Jocks who have been sent here—not the Jocks who are back home, who are not the whingers—and who constantly try to put it about that the Government are not looking after the Scottish economy are a complete calumny and should be shown to be that.
§ Mr. Martin O'Neill (Clackmannan)
We can do without the sort of Scottish-English nonsense that we just heard from the hon. Member for South Dorset (Mr. 535 Bruce). Some of us, for one reason or another, have been involved with the dockyards question for a long time. My hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown)—who must be elsewhere for this part of the debate—and I were involved in the contractorisation measure, about which we had grave misgivings.
At that time we worked equally with the work force in Devonport and Rosyth. Whenever I went to Devonport I received an extremely warm welcome. Such was the welcome for us and other Labour candidates when we visited the area that Labour won the seat. The same happened in Barrow, where the submarines about which we are talking are still being constructed.
My constituency is not part of Fife, though it adjoins Fife region. I pay tribute to the efforts of that region and all involved there for the work that they have done in the defence of their dockyard. About 350 people in my constituency are employed there. As my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, North (Mrs. Adams) said, innumerable places across the central belt of Scotland will be affected by the Government's decision. It is not a question of 350 or so jobs. Far more than that number of people will be involved. Hi-tech jobs in Fife were created specifically because of the character of the work carried out at the dockyard.
We are told that there will be an allocated programme, but the Secretary of State has been silent on the issue. He is not the most shrinking of violets in normal circumstances. He is not the sort of person—typical of advocates—to use one word when 10 will do. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is always prepared to define and refashion what he says. But tonight his silence is deafening.
His coyness is an admission that the Government do not know what the size of the surface fleet will be. I recall in the 1980s hapless civil servants going before the Select Committee on Defence and being asked about the size of the fleet. The conventional wisdom, according to the defence White Papers of the time, was that it was about 50. A controversy was caused when the man replied, "It is probably 42 at the moment." He was called back the following week and the figure was 38. It then came down to 32 and now it is 35 to 40. Perhaps the Minister will give us the revised standard version of that figure. I make that point because we cannot believe any of the forecasts about the size of the fleet.
Since contractorisation, problems have been created for Rosyth and Devonport because of the changes in the profile of the fleet. There have not just been changes in the profile of the surface fleet. Half of this debate would not have been necessary had it not been for the decision of previous members of the Defence team to stop ordering SSN—strategic submarine nuclear—leaving a gap in the nuclear-powered fleet. For the benefit of the neanderthals on the Conservative Benches, there are nuclear submarines that do not carry nuclear weapons. That is what we are talking about.
I would not be unhappy if there had been a justification for the failure to continue ordering and it had been put in an appropriate defence context. We have yet to hear that. We no longer need the SSNs. We no longer need ships sitting in the north Atlantic listening for the Soviet fleet 536 coming from its northern haunts. Therefore, for us to talk with any degree of certainty about the Rosyth dockyard is very dangerous.
My next point has been alluded to, but it is worth repeating. The part of the work that is not allocated and will be up for competition may involve competition between Rosyth and Devonport. We know that Devonport has extensive wharf areas that could be used for doing bits and pieces of work. In fact, Devonport Management Ltd. is always complaining about its overheads because of the size and scale of the yard. The important point about Rosyth is that it is modern and compact and is using its space effectively. That enables the work force to move about easily when work needs to be done.
My point is not just that DM L will have an advantage. We must realise that the people at VSEL at Barrow, where the submarines are constructed, will not turn their backs on them. At the moment, they are desperate for any work that they can get. That is why they were able to get the work on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Best of luck to them—if there is competitive tendering, to the victor the spoils. We must not kid ourselves that those companies will be standing idly by. We must not forget that Yarrow on the Clyde will be looking for work as well.
The assurances that have been given—if we can dignify the words by that description—are worthless. In the absence of any clear strategic justification for what is happening, everything that the Government say could be subject to change tomorrow.
This is the product of an extensive budgetary exercise. There are now savings. However, we find that there will be a saving of about £12 million on the capital budget out of a possible budget of about £240 million. The difference is 5 per cent. In revenue terms it is about £80 million out of a total budget of £3 billion. It has to be a close-run thing. Other considerations will have to be brought to bear. If there is to be only one centre for the maintenance of nuclear submarines, it seems sensible for it to be near the base from which the vessels operate. If that is the case, it must be Rosyth. There is a synergy for Devonport in these reduced circumstances. It is correct that the surface fleet can operate easily out of the southern waters. It can get into the Atlantic and to virtually any part of the globe that it wants. It is exceedingly difficult to ensure that such flexibility is available in Rosyth.
I argued at one stage that, if the size of the nuclear fleet were big enough, we should have two bases and two sets of facilities. That was perhaps gold plating—an allegation with which people who get close to defence arguments are sometimes tarnished, and I might have been wrong. I certainly would have been prepared to advance effective, strategic arguments and enter into a proper debate. We have yet to achieve that tonight, and I look to the Minister to provide it in his reply.
Will the Minister also state specifically what will be the size of the surface fleet of frigates and destroyers? We are not considering the small ships, which are important to Rosyth, but which could be easily dealt with in a number of other places—Yarrow, as I have mentioned, is just one such place. Plastic-bottom boats could go to Yarrow without any difficulty. Let us secure the big jobs for Rosyth to keep people in employment and guarantee its future.
I remember the last threat to Rosyth, when many of us said that its loss to Scotland would be equivalent to the 537 loss of Ravenscraig. The numbers and the spin-off technologies are the same, and the assurances were given by the same people. They let us down last time and I do not doubt that they will do so again.
§ Mrs. Angela Browning (Tiverton)
As a Member representing a Devon constituency, I join my colleagues in welcoming today's decision in favour of Devonport. My constituency is almost 50 miles from Devonport, but despite that my constituents work in the yard.
I wish to mention another element which has not been mentioned but which is critical to Devonport and Rosyth—the importance of the dockyards as purchasers within the local economy. For example, in Devon and Cornwall, 600 companies which employ 30,000 people are suppliers to the Devonport dockyard, so today's decision is equally important to the small business community in the south-west, who primarily supply the dockyard. They and the chambers of commerce will greatly welcome today's decision.
In my capacity as a spokesman for the Small Business Bureau and Women into Business, I have been invited many times to speak to the small business community in Scotland. I therefore know that small businesses play an equally important role in the Rosyth area.
We warmly welcomed today's statement about programmes for surface ships at Rosyth. Many Conservative Members, myself included, will pressure Ministers to maintain a credible and modern surface fleet, which we believe to be critical to Britain's capability as an island nation and to our integral role within NATO. I say to Opposition Members that Conservative Members will certainly welcome Ministers' efforts to ensure that Rosyth plays its full part in the commissioning of new ships for the surface fleet.
Opposition Members have used much strong language about today's decision. I shall not challenge each of their speeches, but it is important to challenge some of the comments that have been made. The word "strategic" has been used. Although I am not a military expert, my grandfather and brother were submariners so I am aware of the importance of the statement that my right hon. and learned Friend made this afternoon. My right hon. And learned Friend said:But, more important, we are not able to accept any proposal which would deprive the Trident submarines of a dedicated emergency docking facility for significant periods; which would mean that the single nuclear refuelling facility was used for all our submarines, so exposing us to unacceptable risks in the event of an incident or other difficulty; and which, indeed, is untested from a technical and safety point of view.It is extremely important that in peacetime, following an incident at sea involving a submarine, especially a nuclear submarine, we can deal effectively in dock with such problems. Having heard a first-hand account of a fire in a submarine, I am only too well aware of the way in which such incidents affect submariners.
I want to express support for the remarks of my hon. Friends, especially my hon. Friends the Members for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) and for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls). During the 1980s—before I became a Member of Parliament—I spoke for Peace through NATO. I spent many a long evening in many a village hall up and down the country and abroad debating the case for the NATO alliance. I 538 argued for the nuclear deterrent on behalf of NATO. I spoke in support of the independent deterrent, which the Conservative party has protected.
§ Mrs. Browning
They were sitting on the other side of the platform, arguing the unilateralists' case, along with friends who are perhaps better known nationally for their association with Greenham Common.
It is a bit rich to hear now from Opposition Members a long argument about how defence industry jobs will be lost. We are all concerned about that matter. It is understandable that hon. Members whose constituents are affected should make their representations. However, it must be remembered that, had matters been left to Labour Members or, as has been pointed out, to Liberal Democrat Members, there would be no nuclear submarines in this country. Having a nuclear deterrent was totally against their policies.
We have heard much cant about how this decision was taken by the Government. Why has there been such a sudden change of heart on the part of Labour and Liberal Democrat Members? Why have they suddenly embraced the nuclear deterrent? It is not because they share the conviction of Conservative Members about the stability of our role in NATO; it is for party political, opportunist reasons only.
My hon. Friend the Member for Teignbridge quoted the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown). I have no need to quote the right hon. Gentleman, as indelibly printed on my memory is an occasion in the winter of 1983, just after the right hon. Gentleman became a Member of Parliament. He sat on one side of the platform of a village hall, arguing the unilateralists' case, while my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam, (Lady Olga Maitland)—I regret that my hon. Friend is not present in the House—sat with me arguing the NATO case. Having been a Member of Parliament for only a year, I regard it as really quite something to hear such cant and hypocrisy.
§ Mr. Michael Connarty (Falkirk, East)
I should like to take up the challenge that was thrown down by the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mrs. Browning) and by several others, including the Secretary of State for Defence, when they asked how we could defend the case for refitting Trident, a nuclear submarine with nuclear weapons, at Rosyth although we did not support Trident. The fact that I shall not do so at this stage—no doubt another opportunity will arise—is based not on any fear but on respect for my hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell, North (Dr. Reid), who will undoubtedly deliver a resounding winding-up speech on our behalf.
Let me get to the substance of the question about where the Trident submarine should be maintained. I did not seek out Lords who had moved from ministerial positions to high directorships in banks for the purpose of finding out what people thought about this decision and of assessing the statement of the Secretary of State for Defence; I took the trouble to phone people who work in Rosyth and who live in my constituency of Falkirk, East.
The naval base trade unions have put out a statement in which theydeplore the loss of work taken from Rosyth to try to secure the future employment of some Tory MPs.539 Union representatives met the base commander, Captain York, at 3.30 pm today and were amazed to find out that they would have to wait two weeks or more to see in print the logic of the Secretary of State for Defence and the Cabinet. They are shocked at the fact that they cannot debate immediately the facts that brought about the demise of some of the work that they would have had. They spoke to me in particular about the likely impact on the resources base of the naval yard.
The naval base currently supplies Babcock Thorn with support equipment for submarine refits. Rosyth naval yard is a minor war vessel operating base, I am told. There is concern that that may not continue. I do not know whether it was a joke or a straight statement, but the union representatives said that they thought that there was a danger that the Secretary of State would turn it into a mini-minor war vessel operating base. I think that the word "mini" is used in the sense of "much shrunken" rather than as a reference to the old car.
The support service at the naval base must be safeguarded. Today, we heard only about the 450 jobs that are to go immediately because of today's decision, but the existing naval yard rundown plan already means the loss of 1,500 jobs in the next four to five years. We were still told that today's statement implied no other Ministry of Defence job losses. The rundown will leave only 1,400 jobs at the base, and I believe that they should be guaranteed—a word that seems to frighten the Secretary of State for Defence so much at the moment. Will the Minister of State for Defence Procurement guarantee that the 1,400 jobs will still exist at the end of the planned rundown?
Alternatively, will the support equipments that are presently sourced at Rosyth for Babcock Thorn be sourced at Devonport in future? If they are to be sourced at Devonport, will further jobs he transferred there from Rosyth? The workers have not been told; perhaps the Secretary of State forgot to mention it.
Mike Gardiner, who lives at Bo'ness in my constituency, is the staff spokesman at Rosyth naval yard. He is also the vice-chair of the Whitley council for the employees. Like Mike and his members, I hold no brief for the anger levelled at the work force or the community of the Devonport area. This is not a nationalist question; it is about Conservative incompetence and lack of feeling for the people who have given their lives to the naval yards in both areas.
The workers and the House know who betrayed the people of Rosyth, and there is no doubt that it is a betrayal. The Secretaries of State for Scotland the right hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Lang) and for Defence the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) perpetrated what is a betrayal, given the promises made by previous Administrations. The Secretaries of State were supported by what I would call the bleating of the hon. Members for Ayr (Mr. Gallie), for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Robertson) and for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Kynoch). I have labelled them the "Scottish Tory Members' own job club"—hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.
I have every confidence that the work force at Rosyth will join the management in fighting for the yard's future. In the 100-day consultation period, I am sure that we shall fight alongside them. Even after the consultation period, 540 regardless of the outcome, the work force and management will fight on the ground to try to win orders and secure their futures, but with no thanks to the Conservative Government.
I remind the House that we have not yet reached 1994. The Government originally guaranteed the workers at Ravenscraig that the plant would survive at least until then. Scottish voters will remember that betrayal and this betrayal. I suggest that the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Defence give Lord Younger a ring to see whether there are any jobs left in the City.
§ Mr. Richard Ottaway (Croydon, South)
The House may be wondering why a Member representing a London suburb is intervening in the heavy gunfire between Scotland and the west country. I do so because I had the privilege to serve in the Royal Navy for nine years, between 1961 and 1970. I was primarily a Devonport man but I visited all the nation's ports, including Rosyth.
I hope that the hon. Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) will not take it as a sign of disrespect if I say that I did not find Rosyth an especially attractive place, although we were always well received there after a hard exercise in the North sea. I had many good times there, and we were always pleased to arrive. Our favourite trick was to hold a sweepstake on the ship's bridge to see what time we would go under the Forth bridge; the captain always seemed to win. We were always made welcome at Rosyth, and the ships always got fixed.
The Navy found that Devonport was, by and large, a more agreeable place. It had better weather, for a start, and was more popular among those on the lower deck and in the wardroom. I had the misfortune to be on board HMS Eagle when she ran aground in Plymouth sound in 1969. I was impressed by the ability of Devonport dockyard to dock the ship promptly and undertake repairs.
As users of Devonport's services, we also experienced the frustration of the dockyard's unionisation and its demarcation disputes. The overmanning led to the Labour Government reducing the dockyard's manpower by 4,000 between 1965 and 1969 and announcing a review in 1969 which resulted in a further 5,000 job losses. That puts today's announcement into perspective. I do not envy my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State the difficult decision that he has had to make. I consider that, in the changing circumstances, he is not bound by any announcement made in 1984.
The decision is right for two fundamental reasons. The first is the location of Devonport in the western approaches, which gives it a central place in history. It is the port from which Drake set sail against the armada, and it is unthinkable for the Royal Navy to have any other strategic centre. Secondly, the decision is right on commercial grounds. Devonport was chosen because it represents the best value, and savings for the taxpayer, whom I represent. Yet we can still keep Rosyth open with a loss of only 450 jobs.
I listened to the speech by the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes), and I have never in my life heard more hostages being given to fortune. First, he said that the announcement was divisive. If holding, such a competition is divisive, so be it—let us have more divisiveness. The hon. Gentleman implied that 541 he would not have held a competition, so the savings of £250 million that have been found would not have been realised. The hon. Gentleman said that simply because he opposes competition and the benefits that it brings.
The hon. Gentleman also said that the position of the Secretary of State for Scotland, as a Scottish Member, was untenable. It would have been a darn sight more untenable if my right hon. Friend, as a Scottish Member, had favoured Rosyth and ignored the relative merits. Finally, the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley said that the Government were putting political dogma before the security of the nation. Coming as it does from the party that opposed the deployment of cruise missiles at the height of the cold war, that is nothing but cant, humbug and hypocrisy. I urge the House to support the Government.
§ Dr. John Reid (Motherwell, North)
I must tell the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Ottaway) that we would have considered it untenable if the decision had been made purely on the basis of the nationality or the constituency interest of the Secretary of State, whether he had favoured Scotland or England, Rosyth or Devonport. The decision should have been based on strategic issues. It certainly should not have been based on the criterion used by the hon. Member for Croydon, South, with his naval experience—the fact that the climate in Devon is warmer. On that basis, we should have given the refitting work to the Bahamas. But the hon. Gentleman's argument was typical of the sort of speech that we have heard tonight.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for allowing us this emergency debate. It is the first since 13 April 1988, and the first that you have granted in your illustrious capacity as Speaker. We recognise that you granted the debate not for any parochial or regional reason, nor for any narrow political reason, but because of the importance of the issue.
Lest there be any doubt in anyone's mind, let me make it plain both personally and on behalf of the Labour party that we pay tribute to the workers, management and representatives of both yards. I bear no ill will towards the workers of Devonport, any more than we did towards the workers of Swan Hunter when we had half a day's debate on that subject less than a month ago. We bear no ill will towards any workers fighting against the decline and decay of their manufacturing industries. We blame no group of workers anywhere in Britain for trying to secure their future and that of their families. That is one reason why we argued for a two-yard solution.
However, I bear ill will towards a Government who make what should be a strategic defence decision by turning community against community in this country, when all our communities are suffering the decline and decay of our traditional industries. One of the local Members of Parliament, the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Streeter), made that decline clear in his speech—and what a commentary that was on the miserable failure of the Government's economic and industrial policies. The Government's attempt to achieve vital strategic defence decisions purely on the basis of the cost-cutting mentality of the bazaar has led to the dereliction of their duty as strategically oriented defence Ministers on behalf of the United Kingdom. The accusation tonight is not of parochialism or nationalism—it is that the Secretary of State for Defence is guilty of 542 a lack of strategic defence analysis, a misunderstanding of the competitive policy that he said he wishes to foster, months of dithering and delay which have led to distress for all parties in this competitive procedure, and years of deception.
Our position was made clear at least a year before the Government discovered what they now call the two-yard solution. We made it clear that, as long as the Trident system is a vital part of our security posture, it is simply crazy to have only one facility in Great Britain where it can be refitted, repaired and serviced. Therefore, both Rosyth and Devonport should have been kept open to retain the capacity to handle Trident in addition to nuclear-powered submarines and conventional ones. The decision is another example of a Treasury-driven policy.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I accept that the hon. Gentleman called for the cancellation of one of the Trident boats, which would have had major implications. The reason why I wanted to intervene is that he said that the Labour party believed that both Rosyth and Devonport should he provided with facilities for the refitting of Trident submarines. Has he worked out what the cost of that would be? Is he suggesting that a Labour Government would find hundreds of millions of pounds to ensure that the second yard had the expensive Trident refitting requirements?
§ Dr. Reid
The Secretary of State managed to make two mistakes in his intervention. First, I did not call for the cancellation of the fourth Trident. Secondly, I did not say "facilities"—I said "capability". [ Interruption.] He should check that in Hansard. It is an important distinction.
If the Secretary of State wants me to answer the question whether it is sometimes in the interests of the strategic defence of the country to subsidise a project, rather than always taking a decision on the cost-cutting basis of the bazaar, the answer is yes. Indeed, in his relatively short time in the Ministry of Defence he may not have found that the £20 billion that is spent every year is a subsidy because it is direct expenditure from the public purse and by the taxpayer. That is our complaint.
The Secretary of State told us that he gave us guarantees at some stage. What is the guarantee that the same thing will not happen to Rosyth as happened to the guarantees over Ravenscraig? What is the guarantee that the same will not happen to the frigate fleet of about 50, which became about 40 and is now about 30? Indeed, the Secretary of State, who is engrossed in briefing his colleague, did not use the word "guarantee". He is a Queen's Counsel and is praised as one of the brightest minds at the Scottish Bar. Yet he told us that he does not see any difference between "allocation" and "guarantee". If he does not understand the difference in plain English between allocating work and giving a guarantee that the work will eventually end up in a yard, he should not be at the Scottish Bar or in charge of the Ministry of Defence because he will end up giving a guarantee of everything to everyone.
543 I will not refer to the promises that have been made tonight because other hon. Members have already referred to them. When we talk about those promises, let me make it clear that the Secretary of State cannot distance himself from the statements that have been made and the pledges given by the Government to the Rosyth workers over the past eight years. If those promises and pledges had been given to the workers at Devonport by his predecessors in the name of Her Majesty's Government, we would be taking the Government to task in exactly the same way. It is one long record.
While I am talking about promises and changing of minds, it comes difficult for us to hear the previous Secretary of State for Scotland accusing people in the Chamber of changing their minds on steel, Trident or anything else. He is the man who pledged his undying commitment to Scottish devolution and sold out for 30 pieces of Cabinet silver and his first foot up the greasy pole. None of us will take lectures from the Secretary of State about changing our minds.
The Secretary of State treated us to a bizarre spectacle tonight. He cannot hide behind the Ministry of Defence or the chiefs of staff. He cannot huddle in his bunker in the Ministry of Defence because the man who was sitting in the Scottish Office as Secretary of State for Scotland was the very man who stood before us tonight and broke every one of the pledges made by the former Secretary of State for Defence and other Ministers to people in Rosyth and Scotland. He acquiesced in their statements. Indeed, he revelled in the assurances given to the workers of Rosyth. Today he has led the way in the betrayal of every one of those promises. For that, he will not be forgotten in Scotland.
I finish not with Scotland but with Devonport. Tonight I warn the workers at Devonport in the same way as we warned the workers at Swan Hunter and others warned workers throughout the country, including Ravenscraig. They should not take a simple opportunistic decision based on short-term political criteria from a Tory Government as a guarantee of their future. It will be as shaky in the long run as the promises that have been made tonight to the workers at Rosyth.
Especially in defence policy, the Government have no strategic analysis. They have no commitment to promises given. They have no friends. They have one aim, and it is not the defence of Britain—it is the survival of those who sit on the Government Front Bench. We shall not forget that, and in the long run the workers at Devonport will not forget it either.
§ The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Mr. Jonathan Aitken)
Madam Speaker, we welcome your decision to grant the debate tonight. [Interruption.] We welcome it even more now that we have heard the Opposition's case. It is to spend more taxpayers' money, to give away the whole Trident submarine programme according to all the policies that the Labour party has outlined for years, and to produce a piece of complete rubbish as an argument and a case tonight.
We must begin by emphasising that we are debating a truly national issue. The issue is the right location for our 544 submarine refitting. One would not have thought that we were discussing a national issue from listening to the case that the Opposition deployed tonight.
It is astonishing how conspicuous by their absence have been the Opposition Members who for months have come to my office and to the Chamber arguing for the nuclear refitting facility to be placed at Devonport. For example, where is the leader of the Liberal party, the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown)? Where are the other Liberal Members who campaigned throughout the west country in the county council elections such as the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor)? On the Labour Benches, where are such characters as the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson)? It seems that they have all been sent home for supper. [HON. MEMBERS: "He is herel The hon. Member for Devonport is conspicuous by his silence.
Tonight we have been treated to a parochial Scottish wake which was not justified. The lugubrious pessimism, breast beating and lamentations have not proved justified. The Opposition have not given credit to my right hon. and learned Friend for battling for and winning a 12-year allocated programme for surface ship refits for Rosyth. It will result in 18 major warships and 49 minor war vessels being refitted at Rosyth, including, we hope, the Ark Royal and the carriers, which will be available to Rosyth for the allocated programme.
§ Mr. Aitken
No, I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman as he has not participated in the debate.
What we have heard from the Opposition is the stunning argument that——
§ Mr. Foulkes
The Minister of State for Defence Procurement is in retreat—earlier, at least we were given "allocate", although we did not get "guarantee". Now all that we are receiving is hope. Let us have a guarantee.
§ Mr. Aitken
The hon. Gentleman must not play silly semantic games. I am coming to the bizarre proposition about guarantees and allocations. I shall now relate my remarks to the hon. Gentleman's speech, as he opened the debate. We heard sound, fury and synthetic indignation signifying nothing. Leaving to one side—in the immortal phrase of the Leader of the Opposition—the fact that the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) was one of the principal signatories of the 1987 early-day motion urging the Government to cancel Trident in the light of the changing international climate, leaving aside the fact that only three days ago he moved an amendment in the defence debate in the House to negotiate away our Trident submarines as part of disarmament negotiations, and leaving aside the fact that only two days ago he was calling for a ten-year allocated programme for Rosyth, the hon. Gentleman has given no credit to the fact that the Government have given it a 12-year allocated programme.
I shall now turn to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) who speaks for one part of the Liberal party—the part that was not campaigning in the west country at the county council elections. He said, with an old-fashioned Gladstonian air, as if God had put an ace up his sleeve, that what Lord 545 Younger had said was a crucial factor in the debate. I thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman was well answered by two salvoes from the Conservative Benches.
One salvo came from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, who had spoken to Lord Younger earlier in the day and had received the clear impression that he was well satisfied by the fact that a 12-year allocated programme has gone to Rosyth. The second salvo came from my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallic) who made it clear that times had changed since then. That is true—times have changed with the ending of the cold war, the collapse of the Berlin wall and the dissolving of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw pact. Naturally, we now require fewer nuclear submarines.
§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
The Minister knows that Lord Younger wrote his letter to The Times less than a fortnight ago. Is the Minister saying that Lord Younger's position, as represented by the Secretary of State for Scotland, entirely contradicts what he wrote in The Times?
§ Mr. Aitken
We shall see what Lord Younger has to say. I am confident that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland was correct.
I shall now turn to the great semantic argument on "contractual", "allocated" and "guaranteed"—the conjuring trick that the Opposition have tried to perpetrate tonight. I shall steer them through the semantic fog. I shall first explain the contractual relationship that we expect to establish with I)ML in Devonport. We intend to place a contract at Devonport for the construction of the upgraded nuclear facilities. The word "contract" applies to that construction programme, not to individual refits in that instance.
We shall handle refits in the allocated programme at both dockyards by inviting a single tender for each refit against a Ministry of Defence specification. On the basis of that tender, we shall negotiate a fixed and fair price. That applies both to the surface ship refits at Rosyth and the nuclear refits at Devonport. The allocated programme means that no other yard is invited to tender. It is wrong for the Opposition to cast doubt on the genuineness of our proposal to allocate work to Rosyth. As my right hon. Friend said, we have many years' experience of running allocated programmes and an "allocation" means just that—work is allocated in advance to a dockyard and is not available to be done elsewhere.
§ Mr. Aitken
No, I shall not.
Of course we have to ensure that the system is not abused and that we do not give the dockyard a blank cheque. That is what the hon. Gentleman is arguing for, but we have some concern for value for the taxpayers' money.
§ Mr. Aitken
The hon. Gentleman cannot have been listening to my right hon. Friend's statement. He said that 18 major war vessels and 49 minor war vessels will be in the programme.
546 In the past, Rosyth has always been satisfied with its allocated programme. We believe that it will he even more satisfied with its larger allocated programme over the next 12 years.
I now turn to some of the other speeches. I owe it to the House to pick up the speech of the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), the leader of the Scottish National party. I have never heard a more hypocritical performance. He was arguing for the refit facility to go to Rosyth, but what does the Scottish National party manifesto say? It says:The SNP is committed to a non-nuclear Scotland. An independent Scotland will immediately withdraw from the United Kingdom's Trident Programme and will order nuclear weapons and installations off our soil.".
§ Mr. Aitken
If that was supposed to be a clarification of the Scottish National party policy, the hon. Gentleman is welcome to it.
One or two serious points were made in the debate. The hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) asked about the operational reasons for keeping refitting at Rosyth because of its proximity to the Clyde submarine base. Of course we considered this, but the operational considerations had to be balanced by the fact that some £64 million of taxpayers' money could be saved by the Devonport decision, and that was the reason which tipped the balance.
My hon. Friend the Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) savaged the Liberal party in his admirable speech and made it clear that time and again the Liberals have said one thing in one part of the country and something else in another.
My hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce) gave the Government considerable credit for striving to help Rosyth. The Government have made great strides in trying to soften the blow of not winning the Trident refitting contract—a 12-year refitting programme keeping redundancies down to 450.
§ Mr. Connarty
I am willing to rescue the Minister who is obviously sinking fast. Will he consider the question that was asked through me by the convener of the naval yard staff union? What guarantees are given for the 1,400 jobs and the supply of equipment for some of the refits, even if they go to Devonport? They now come from Rosyth to Babcock Thorn.
§ Mr. Aitken
No Minister can give guarantees from the Dispatch Box. We are making our best estimates on the redundancy figures. What we believe, based on the business plans of the companies themselves, is that we have made a credible estimate and all over the country people who had been predicting many thousands of redundancies have been proved quite wrong by the potential redundancies that are likely to be suffered.
The hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Connarty) also asked about the Rosyth naval base. I can tell him that there is no connection between jobs in the royal dockyard and in the naval base at Rosyth.
547 In conclusion, it was inevitable that the Government's decision on where to locate the refitting of Britain's nuclear submarines would be difficult and tough and inevitably would be unpopular in whichever region did not get the Trident contract. The communities in Rosyth and Devonport had a great deal at stake and the dockyard management companies fought their corners hard in many representations to Ministers and in a great many Adjournment debates in recent months.
The Government's view was that our duty was clear. It was to rise above the local and regional lobbies, and to make a decision that was strategically right in the interests of the defence of the realm, operationally right for the Royal Navy, economically right in the interests of the taxpayer—I remind the House that about £64 million has been saved by the decision—and, above all, right in the national interest. We believe that we have got the decision right, and we commend it to the House.
§ Question put, That this House do now adjourn:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 209, Noes 281.550
|Division No. 307]||[10 pm|
|Adams, Mrs Irene||Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)|
|Ainger, Nick||Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)|
|Allen, Graham||Denham, John|
|Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)||Dewar, Donald|
|Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)||Dixon. Don|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Donohoe, Brian H.|
|Austin-Walker, John||Dowd, Jim|
|Banks. Tony (Newham NW)||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth|
|Barnes, Harry||Eagle, Ms Angela|
|Barron, Kevin||Enright, Derek|
|Battle, John||Etherington, Bill|
|Bayley, Hugh||Fatchett, Derek|
|Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret||Field, Frank (Birkenhead)|
|Bell, Stuart||Flynn, Paul|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Foster, Rt Hon Derek|
|Bennett, Andrew F.||Foulkes, George|
|Benton, Joe||Fyfe, Maria|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Galbraith, Sam|
|Berry, Dr. Roger||Galloway, George|
|Betts, Clive||Gapes, Mike|
|Blair, Tony||Gerrard, Neil|
|Boateng, Paul||Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John|
|Boyce, Jimmy||Godman, Dr Norman A.|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)||Gordon, Mildred|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)||Gould, Bryan|
|Burden, Richard||Graham, Thomas|
|Caborn, Richard||Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)|
|Callaghan, Jim||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||Grocott, Bruce|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Gunnell, John|
|Canavan, Dennis||Hardy, Peter|
|Cann, Jamie||Harman, Ms Harriet|
|Clapham, Michael||Hattersley. Rt Hon Roy|
|Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)||Heppell, John|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||Hill, Keith (Streatham)|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Hinchliffe. David|
|Coffey, Ann||Hoey, Kate|
|Cohen, Harry||Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)|
|Connarty, Michael||Home Robertson, John|
|Cook, Robin (Livingston)||Hood, Jimmy|
|Corbett, Robin||Hoon, Geoffrey|
|Corston, Ms Jean||Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Cousins, Jim||Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)|
|Cryer, Bob||Hoyle, Doug|
|Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)||Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)|
|Darling, Alistair||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Davidson, Ian||Hutton, John|
|Illsley, Eric||Pike, Peter L.|
|Ingram, Adam||Pope, Greg|
|Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Jackson, Helen (Shefld, H)||Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)|
|Jamieson, David||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)||Prescott, John|
|Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)||Purchase, Ken|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Jowell, Tessa||Randall, Stuart|
|Keen, Alan||Raynsford, Nick|
|Kennedy, Charles (Ross.C&S)||Reid, Dr John|
|Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)||Richardson, Jo|
|Khabra, Piara S.||Robertson, George (Hamilton)|
|Kilfoyle, Peter||Roche, Mrs. Barbara|
|Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn)||Rooker, Jeff|
|Lestor, Joan (Eccles)||Rowlands, Ted|
|Livingstone, Ken||Ruddock, Joan|
|Llwyd, Elfyn||Salmond, Alex|
|McAllion, John||Sheerman, Barry|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|McCartney, Ian||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Macdonald, Calum||Short, Clare|
|McFall, John||Simpson, Alan|
|McLeish, Henry||Skinner, Dennis|
|McMaster, Gordon||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|McNamara, Kevin||Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)|
|McWilliam, John||Smith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)|
|Mahon, Alice||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|Mandelson, Peter||Soley, Clive|
|Marshall, David (Shettleston)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)||Stevenson, George|
|Martlew, Eric||Stott, Roger|
|Maxton, John||Strang, Dr. Gavin|
|Meacher, Michael||Straw, Jack|
|Meale, Alan||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Michael, Alun||Thompson. Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)||Tipping, Paddy|
|Milburn, Alan||Turner, Dennis|
|Miller, Andrew||Vaz, Keith|
|Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)||Wallace, James|
|Morgan, Rhodri||Walley, Joan|
|Morley, Elliot||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)||Wareing, Robert N|
|Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)||Watson, Mike|
|Mowlam, Marjorie||Welsh, Andrew|
|Mudie, George||Wicks, Malcolm|
|Mullin, Chris||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)|
|Murphy, Paul||Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)|
|Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Winnick, David|
|O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)||Wise, Audrey|
|O'Brien, William (Normanton)||Worthington, Tony|
|O'Neill, Martin||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Paisley, Rev Ian||Mr. John Spellar and|
|Patchett, Terry||Mr. Andrew Mackinlay.|
|Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)||Bendall, Vivian|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Beresford, Sir Paul|
|Alexander, Richard||Body, Sir Richard|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)||Bonsor, Sir Nicholas|
|Allason, Rupert (Torbay)||Booth, Hartley|
|Amess, David||Boswell, Tim|
|Ancram, Michael||Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)|
|Arbuthnot, James||Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Bowden, Andrew|
|Ashby, David||Bowis, John|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes|
|Atkins, Robert||Brandreth, Gyles|
|Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)||Brazier, Julian|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Bright, Graham|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Brooke, Rt Hon Peter|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)||Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)|
|Baldry, Tony||Browning, Mrs. Angela|
|Banks, Matthew (Southport)||Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)|
|Bates, Michael||Burns, Simon|
|Batiste, Spencer||Burt, Alistair|
|Bellingham, Henry||Butler, Peter|
|Carlisle, John (Luton North)||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Carrington, Matthew||Hannam, Sir John|
|Carttiss, Michael||Harris, David|
|Cash, William||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Churchill, Mr||Hawkins, Nick|
|Clappison, James||Hayes, Jerry|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif)||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey||Hendry, Charles|
|Coe, Sebastian||Hicks, Robert|
|Colvin, Michael||Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.|
|Congdon, David||Horam, John|
|Conway, Derek||Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)||Howard, Rt Hon Michael|
|Cope, Rt Hon Sir John||Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Howell, Rt Hon David (Gdford)|
|Couchman, James||Howell, Sir Ralph (North|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)||Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)|
|Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)||Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)|
|Deva, Nirj Joseph||Hunter, Andrew|
|Devlin, Tim||Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Dicks, Terry||Jackson, Robert (Wantage)|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Jenkin, Bernard|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Jessel, Toby|
|Dover, Den||Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Duncan, Alan||Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)|
|Duncan-Smith, Iain||Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine|
|Dunn, Bob||Key, Robert|
|Durant, Sir Anthony||Kilfedder, Sir James|
|Dykes, Hugh||King, Rt Hon Tom|
|Eggar, Tim||Kirkhope, Timothy|
|Elletson, Harold||Knapman, Roger|
|Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)||Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)|
|Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)||Knight, Greg (Derby N)|
|Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)||Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)|
|Evans, Roger (Monmouth)||Knox, Sir David|
|Evennett, David||Kynoch, George (Kincardine)|
|Faber, David||Lait, Mrs Jacqui|
|Fabricant, Michael||Lang, Rt Hon Ian|
|Fenner, Dame Peggy||Lawrence, Sir Ivan|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||Leigh, Edward|
|Fishburn, Dudley||Lennox-Boyd, Mark|
|Forman, Nigel||Lidington, David|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Lightbown, David|
|Forth, Eric||Lilley, Rt Hon Peter|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)||Lord, Michael|
|Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)||Luff, Peter|
|Freeman, Rt Hon Roger||Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas|
|French, Douglas||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|Gale, Roger||MacKay, Andrew|
|Gardiner, Sir George||Maclean, David|
|Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Garnier, Edward||Madel, David|
|Gillan, Cheryl||Maitland, Lady Olga|
|Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair||Major, Rt Hon John|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||Malone, Gerald|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Mans, Keith|
|Gorst, John||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Grant, Sir Anthony (Cambs SW)||Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)|
|Greenway, John (Ryedale)||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Grylls, Sir Michael||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Hague, William||Mellor, Rt Hon David|
|Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie (Epsom)||Merchant, Piers|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Milligan, Stephen|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Moate, Sir Roger||Spencer, Sir Derek|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)|
|Montgomery, Sir Fergus||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Moss, Malcolm||Spink, Dr Robert|
|Needham, Richard||Sproat, Iain|
|Nelson, Anthony||Squire. Robin (Hornchurch)|
|Neubert, Sir Michael||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Newton, Rt Hon Tony||Steen, Anthony|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Stephen, Michael|
|Nicholson, David (Taunton)||Stern, Michael|
|Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)||Stewart, Allan|
|Norris, Steve||Streeter, Gary|
|Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley||Sumberg, David|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Sweeney, Walter|
|Ottaway, Richard||Sykes, John|
|Page, Richard||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Paice, James||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Patten, Rt Hon John||Taylor, John M. (Solihull)|
|Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend. E)|
|Pawsey, James||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Thomason, Roy|
|Pickles, Eric||Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)|
|Porter, Barry (Wirral S)||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Porter, David (Waveney)||Thurnham, Peter|
|Portillo, Rt Hon Michael||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)|
|Rathbone, Tim||Tracey, Richard|
|Redwood, Rt Hon John||Tredinnick, David|
|Renton, Rt Hon Tim||Trend, Michael|
|Richards, Rod||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Riddick, Graham||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm||Viggers, Peter|
|Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn||Waldegrave, Rt Hon William|
|Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)||Waller, Gary|
|Robinson, Mark (Somerton)||Ward, John|
|Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)||Wells, Bowen|
|Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela||Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Ryder, Rt Hon Richard||Whittingdale, John|
|Sackville, Tom||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim||Wilkinson, John|
|Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas||Willetts, David|
|Shaw, David (Dover)||Wilshire, David|
|Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian||Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Wolf son, Mark|
|Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)||Wood, Timothy|
|Shersby, Michael||Yeo, Tim|
|Sims, Roger||Young, Rt Hon Sir George|
|Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Soames, Nicholas||Mr. Sydney Chapman and|
|Speed, Sir Keith||Mr. Irvine Patnick.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.