Vote a. Number for Air Force Service.

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th March 1948.

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Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 15th March 1948

I presume that if nobody is going to attack there will be no expenditure on either side. I do not believe that anybody has produced any evidence to show that the Russian air force intends to attack us. I suppose the merits or otherwise of the Estimates can be argued on those lines. I protest against being called upon to vote a sum of £194,396,000 at a time of economic crisis. We seem to be living in watertight compartments. We have a "Black Paper" on Economic prices one day, and then, forgetting all about that, we are asked to agree to the Army and Air Force Estimates. I object very strongly at a time when basic petrol is such a burning question that we should be called upon to agree to £6,690,000 for the purpose of supplying the Air Force with petrol when, according to the Under-Secretary, the Air Force is able to rehearse only with "Moths" which are inadequate for the present emergency.

We are told that we are to disperse our aircraft all over the Empire and that we are to build aeroplanes in Winnipeg and to make our bases in central Africa. What is to become of the people in the industrial areas who have to bear the attack of the atomic bomb. I say that we are not justified in passing these Estimates and that this is a betrayal of humanity. I hope that we shall never see these Estimates carried to their logical conclusion. If Members generally asserted themselves and were realistic, they would fight these Estimates line by line and refuse to grant the money that is now being asked for.