Will my right hon. Friend comment on the so-called missile gap? Is not it well within the capability of British shipyards to launch Polaris submarines and put them into commission before the V-bomber force is obsolete?
It is certainly within the capacity of British shipyards to put the Polaris fleet into service and I hope at a reasonably early date. As to the missile gap, I do not accept that there is a gap, although no doubt there will be a period when enemy defence is growing in strength and we shall be doing something about that. I think it will be dealt with in the debate.
Is it not a fact that"Dreadnought"was laid down three and a half years ago and that she has not yet dived and that this period is about twice the interval taken by the Americans in similar circumstances? Can he guarantee that the Polaris programme will not be lengthened by such a tremendous amount of time?
At this moment the design work has started and that is the first thing. As that starts we can begin to place contracts. At the appropriate moment I shall say something about how the streams of production will start. I was not proposing to say so at the moment.