The hon. Gentleman will be aware how fully we have debated these issues in successive defence debates. The Soviet submarine threat in the Mediterranean, for example, has been the subject of much concern, but the hon. Gentleman will know that our concentrating our forces in N.A.T.O. will help N.A.T.O. to deal with the problem. But he must know that, except by totally inordinate cost far beyond the capacity of this country, it would be impossible for Britain to take on the problem which he has mentioned.
The right hon. Gentleman has already been answered by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence in terms of the role of the Navy and of the Air Force in the new situation which will appertain after 1971. When the right hon. Gentleman refers to complete withdrawal, implying, no doubt, that he would have partially withdrawn, he must recognise the facts given by my right hon. Friend—that to keep even a small contingent there would mean a continuous escalation of costs, because of the need to defend the supplies and the stockpiles for them and then to have further facilities for defending those who are defending the stockpiles.
I have told the right hon. Gentleman that it has been answered many times by my right hon. Friend. As the right hon. Gentleman well knows, for a long time we have been fully stretched by trying to take on commitments which our resources will not fulfil. That was the position when the right hon. Gentleman was Chancellor of the Exchequer and was trying to cut this expenditure still further, which we have done for him.