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Vote a. Number for Air Force Service

Part of Orders of the Day — Air Estimates, 1962–63 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th March 1962.

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Photo of Mrs Judith Hart Mrs Judith Hart , Lanark 12:00 am, 12th March 1962

I was glad to hear the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. K. Lewis) agreeing with what has so often been said by my hon. Friends and what is now, clearly, beginning to be realised more generally throughout the country, that when we talk of a nuclear war we are talking about something which would obliterate the whole country within a few minutes. It is good that in no speech from hon. Members opposite so far have we heard any contemplation of the possibility of Britain surviving a nuclear war.

I shall comment a little later upon the point that the hon. Member made about the possibilities of conventional or limited war, which was, indeed, the theme of his speech in so far as he was relating his remarks to the need for getting additional personnel in the Royal Air Force to take part in the event of limited war.

I want to speak particularly about our strategic striking power, which is one of the main themes of the Estimates and accounts for 10 per cent. of our defence budget. I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will pay me the courtesy of replying to some of the remarks that I shall make. I do not wish to sound discourteous to him, but I remember that a year ago I asked a number of questions and made a number of comments but he made no reference whatever to them, valid though I believe they were to the debate.