Yes, Sir, but yesterday the Prime Minister simply said that he could not add to the information given before, and so far we have had no information except an unsupported assertion that this will save us money and effort. Was anything told the Prime Minister at Bermuda about the state of development or about anything at all? Is it true that no single Thor yet exists, and if all this is true, how can it be asserted by the Prime Minister that it saves us time and money? Ought not the Minister to share what information he has with the House?
I do not think that I ought to give as long an answer as the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. I think we shall have occasions shortly when it will be possible to go into these matters. I do not think I could do so in an answer of this kind. However, these weapons are in an advanced stage of development, and plans have to be made a long time ahead.
It is not our custom to give information about the exact state of development of our own weapons, and I think it would be highly improper for me to give information about the state of development of the weapons of other people.
Would the Minister explain to the House how he can frame any intelligible defence policy, or expect the House to criticise it, unless we have some approximate idea as to when these intermediate range ballistic missiles will be ready? Surely the Minister must know that?
The hon. Gentleman asks two questions. First, how it is possible for the Government to make their plans. Well, we have a good deal of information about all this. He then asks how the House can form its opinion about these things. On matters of defence there are certain limits outside which it is not desirable to go.
Is the Minister aware that we have certain advance information about these guided missiles, and that is the cost? Is he aware that they have been criticised by prominent American admirals on the ground that each cost £ 20,000? How many of them are we going to fire off before we solve the economic crisis?
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us if we are going to get guided missiles tested in the United States and then test them again on the rocket range at South Uist? Is he aware that he is going to spend about £ 12 million on South Uist, and will not this guided missile programme be an extraordinarily expensive addition to our defence costs before it is finished?
But the hon. Gentleman asked about the arrangements in his Question. Perhaps he remembers the Question? It referred to the range in America, which is for testing long-distance ballistic rockets. There is no question of testing weapons of that kind in the Hebrides.