HC Deb 07 April 1982 vol 21 cc342-3W
Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if, in view of the adverse effect on the United Kingdom's negotiating position of holding an exhibition to promote sales of military equipment at the same time as the United Nations special session on disarmament in New York, is taking place, he will postpone the British Army equipment exhibition due to take place from 21 to 25 June.

Mr. Pattie

No. There is no conflict of interest between these two events. We are fully committed to the pursuit of arms control and disarmament, but we have always recognised that, until multilateral agreements on disarmament that maintain the security of nations at lower levels of forces are achieved, the United Kingdom and other countries around the world will have to rely on adequately equipped armed forces to protect our independence and deter aggression. Just as we need to buy arms from our allies from time to time, so countries without their own defence industries will look to the United Kingdom and other industrialised nations to supply them with the equipment they need to defend themselves, and it would be inconsistent for us to deny them the right to adequate means of defence.