Polaris Base, Holy Loch

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Power – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st December 1964.

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Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury 12:00 am, 1st December 1964

asked the Prime Minister whether it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government that the United States Polaris base should remain in Holy Loch; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

With permission I will answer this Question and Question No. 10 together.

Members of the Royal Corps of Military Police assisted the Buckinghamshire County Police—

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the maintenance of this American base in Scotland is a very effective way of making the Alliance strong?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Well, it is a very big subject. We have debated it many times, but certainly the position is as I repeatedly stated when I sat on the other side of the House, that this would be kept in its present form unless and until, as a result of any possible changes in nuclear policy within the Alliance, there were a requirement for it as a N.A.T.O. base.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, even if the necessity for a nuclear base in Britain is accepted—and I do not accept it—in Scotland we regard its situation as being extremely dangerous—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—in view of the fact that it is far too near the greatest industrial centre in Scotland?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

When this was debated when the original agreement was signed, my right hon. Friend the then Leader of the Opposition advanced very substantial criticism on the actual siting in that particular part of Scotland. This was very strongly put by a number of us, but it is now in fact there, and I do not think anyone would suggest uprooting it and sending it to a different part of Scotland.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Does the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies agree with the Prime Minister's endorsement of this Polaris base, and, if so, did he change his mind before or after entering the Cabinet?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

My right hon. Friend always, I think, agrees with me. I should start to get worried if he ever agreed with the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

On a point of order. The order Paper says that Questions to the Prime Minister will begin at 3.15 p.m. Today they started at 3.19. Possibly the Prime Minister might have been able to complete answering the Questions to him if we had started punctually. May I respectfully ask you, Mr. Speaker, if you yourself could help when there is a long string of supplementary questions to the Minister replying before the Prime Minister, so that the Prime Minister can start punctually?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

No. I proposed to call the first of the Prime Minister's Questions at 3.15. It is a matter of misfortune, or not, according to the view taken, that the Question which last occurred before 3.15 was answered together with two other Questions, involving, of necessity, if we were to get a proper balance, a certain number of supplementaries. I regret this distortion, but cannot from the Chair help.

Photo of Sir Raymond Gower Sir Raymond Gower , Barry

May I respectfully ask your guidance, Mr. Speaker, in view of the great anxiety and the great uncertainty caused by the ill-defined nature of some of the financial proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in view of certain statements to the Press, as to whether there is to be a statement now, or an Answer to Questions No. 50 and No. 56, which are related to following Questions to the Prime Minister? Is it possible for the Chancellor to make a statement, or to answer the Questions which are of supreme importance?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

It is a curious fact that hon. Members whose Questions are not reached are from time to time tempted to raise them in this way. I would not wish to give encouragement to the practice.

Photo of Brigadier Terence Clarke Brigadier Terence Clarke , Portsmouth West

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I heard you call Question No. 7, and the Prime Minister said that he would answer Questions 7 and 10 together. If I had not heard him say that I would have postponed my Question No. 10 to him. May I please postpone that Question, because it is a jolly good one?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

The proper method of postponing a Question is not by addressing the Chair in this fashion. The hon. and gallant Member, with respect, is not quite right in saying that I called the Prime Minister to answer No. 7. It was No. 8, and the Prime Minister proceeded, in error, to answer something else, and when I gave him the opportunity he got hack to the right one.