HC Deb 28 February 1995 vol 255 c835
14. Mr. Wilkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what options he is currently considering for the future use of the Royal Naval college, Greenwich.

Mr. Soames

We are considering a number of options for the future occupancy of the Royal Naval college at Greenwich, if, following consultation, we should decide to form a joint service command and staff college at Camberley. The defence options being examined are for the home for a restructured defence school of languages or for a tri-service chaplains school.

Mr. Wilkinson

My hon. Friend will know that the Royal Air Force chaplains school at Amport house already provides an ideal setting for the Royal Navy as well as for the Royal Air Force. Could not the Royal Naval college at Greenwich be used as a tri-service cadet college, where cadets of all three services could learn military science, discipline and the traditions of each service, before going to their respective establishments?

Mr. Soames

My hon. Friend has asked a popular question and I am happy to assure him that we would not allow any proposal to go forward for Greenwich that was not entirely fitting for the future use of the Royal Naval college. I am delighted to confirm that Amport house remains very much in the frame. I hope that we will be able to reach a conclusion that I know will please him. In any event, he has until 10 March to ensure that his views are put on paper.

Mr. Raynsford

Rather than prejudging the outcome of the consultation supposedly taking place on the location for the new joint service command and staff college, will the Minister recognise that the figures published in the consultation paper are dubious and suspect and that there is a serious case for revising those figures and considering Greenwich as the best and most effective location for the college?

Mr. Soames

The hon. Gentleman is fighting his corner in a robust and vigorous fashion, as he should be. Today I signed a long letter to him which I hope sets out the answers to some of the questions that he has raised. The hon. Gentleman has asked to come to see me to discuss these matters and I shall be pleased to meet him and to hear what he has to say. I would like to straighten out one misapprehension: we have certainly not yet made up our mind and we shall not do so until we have considered all the representations and the consultation is complete.