Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:04 am on 21 March 2019.

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Photo of John Woodcock John Woodcock Independent, Barrow and Furness 11:04, 21 March 2019

I wonder, Mr Speaker, whether you can imagine the scene at the great Scottish home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, Faslane naval base, on 29 April 1969, when a crew of submariners slipped out in one of the Barrow-built R-class submarines and thus began Operation Relentless, which has, 24 hours a day, for every single minute, protected the UK from the threat of nuclear blackmail. As the Leader of the House will know, because I know she can do her maths, on 29 April it will be 50 years to the day since Operation Relentless began. Does she not think that there should be a debate in Government time to commemorate this extraordinary achievement? No matter what one thinks of the nuclear deterrent, I know that Members across the House will want to thank all those involved, from the shipwrights across the United Kingdom who built the submarines to the submariners who have served in them. I have already made a conditionally successful application to the Backbench Business Committee. However, the scale of this achievement surely deserves Government time, given the amount of attention that the Navy is giving to this issue over the coming weeks and months.