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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 Mr Richard Collard Mr Richard Collard , Norfolk Central 12:00 am, 12th March 1962

Of course, there will never be any lack of defeatists. I recall that there was a great deal of defeatist talk about how the Royal Air Force, in the early days, would be able to deal with the Luftwaffe, but that turned out all right in the end.

As to its credibility for the future, we have heard that this year the stand-off bomb, Blue Steel, will be coming to Bomber Command to be fitted and used on the V-bombers and that about 1965 the great American weapon Skybolt, the long-range stand-off bomb, will be in the service of Bomber Command.

Not only is it effective and credible, but our independent force has the great admiration of our American allies. The right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), who, I am sorry to say, is not in his place, laboured his contention during the defence debate that none of the top defence people, as I think he put it, in Washington had any time for or anything good to say about our contribution to the Western deterrent. I cannot help whom he talked to, how long he stayed in Washington, or in what kind of glorified circles he moved, but I am quite certain that he was wrong. Those of our American allies who know, have the highest regard for our nuclear capacity, and, like us, regard it as a vital factor in the Western Alliance.

I have, therefore, thought it right to do what I could to correct some of the tendentious, highly inaccurate and almost wicked things said in denigration of this great force, of which we should be proud and, indeed, of which we are proud. I conclude by congratulating my right hon. Friend on the achievements of the Royal Air Force, on the plans which he has for it, and, in particular, on the British Strategic Bomber Force.