asked the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) the number of ships chartered for the accommodation for guests of Her Majesty's Government for the Naval Review on 15th and 16th June; and the cost of chartering;
(2) the estimated cost of providing transport for guests of Her Majesty's Government to the Naval Review at Spithead on 15th and 16th June;
(3) the estimated cost of providing accommodation for the guests of Her Majesty's Government on board Her Majesty's ships at the Naval Review at Spithead on 15th and 16th June.
Three liners are being chartered for the accommodation of guests of Her Majesty's Government for the Naval Review on 15th June. A number of guests will also be accommodated in an aircraft carrier and certain other of Her Majesty's Ships. It is not normal to give the details for which the hon. Member asks, but the total for these items will be about £43,000.
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman tell us whether these liners have been drawn out of normal trade or whether they were laid up? Would he not agree that this seems to be a travesty of social values when we are giving free accommodation and free transport at this time and then putting on a charge on surgical instruments for sick people?
The three liners in question were chartered out of service. I think I am right in saying that, but I will confirm it. With regard to the hon. Gentleman's other Question, I do not think that that is at all the view of the House, or, indeed, the view of his colleagues, because the response to my right hon. Friend's invitation to come to the Review has been considerable.