Is not the hon. Gentleman mistaken? With the development of Trident, which can operate from American bases, even nuclear fanatics will recognise that both Polaris and its bases will become redundant'? In those circumstances, would it not be a complete waste of public money, apart from anything else, to replace Polaris with Poseidon?
As Trident's range is about 6,000 miles, it does not need a base here. Therefore, why should we make this country—a highly crowded country—a sitting duck for a superseded but still suicidal weapon?
We shall continue to make our bases available to the Americans so long as they want them. As the hon. Gentleman surely knows, the purpose of the nuclear deterrent is to prevent war. It does not, therefore, increase the risk of war.
I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman a question on which I pursued his predecessor but never had a very acceptable answer. Will he give an assurance that before any steps are taken radically to alter the nature or character of the Polaris fleet the House will be informed and allowed to express its views on them, rather than have a fait accompli simply reported to it as a matter of Government intention?