Does my right hon. Friend recollect that the Bristol Brabazon was a pioneer of the airbus but that we did not have the engines to lift it? Now that we have the engines, will my right hon. Friend assure us that we will retain the position with the airbus that we established 15 years ago? Would he say whether financial difficulties are impeding progress on the V.G. development, and can he also say——
As both I and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State have pointed out on several occasions, we are determined to do all we can to get the V.G. project going forward. There are no financial considerations standing in the way on our side. As to the airbus, as I said in the debate on 21st November, we shall do our best to progress the airbus if an economic proposition can be agreed with our European allies. I do not think that my hon. Friend is accurate in saying that an engine for it exists. If a European engine is to be adopted for a European airbus, it would need to be developed.
I can give the right hon. Gentleman that assurance. We are very well advanced with contingency planning about what we should do. We would hope to make an announcement almost immediately if it failed.