Defence

Part of LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL (GENERAL POWERS) BILL [Lords] (By Order) – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1959.

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Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper 12:00 am, 27th July 1959

The answer to all these questions is in our document on the subject. I hope that the Secretary of State will not slide off answering the criticisms which have been made of the state of our forces and of their equipment by asking question on this one subject which, as I have pointed out, is a matter of foreign policy and not of defence. I will, nevertheless, give the right hon. Gentleman the answer to that question, but he will convict himself if he does not deal with the other criticisms which have been made of him.

The answer to that one is that the question of possession is different from the question of ownership and independent control. As the right hon. Gentleman will see in the non-nuclear club declaration of our party, we are dealing with the independent manufacture and the independent control. At the moment, as the Secretary of State would say if he were honest with the House, we do not manufacture any tactical nuclear weapons of our own. We have no independent tactical nuclear weapons. The Secretary of State is being more dishonest than he could possibly expect to get away with.

I assert—let the Minister deny—that there is no independent tactical nuclear capability in this country today. Therefore, anything that we would be saying on that would be no different from the position today. If the right hon. Gentleman feels so sure that we ought to have an independent tactical nuclear capacity, why has it not been provided?