Mr Phillip Whitehead: I trust that the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) will forgive me if I do not follow him into his excursions into racial theory and the rationale of events now taking place in the Zambesi Valley and elsewhere in Southern Africa. If I were to do so, I would strain beyond measure the tradition of non-controversy which I believe is expected of a maiden speaker. Indeed, hon....
Mr Phillip Whitehead: The whole House has made clear its concern for the future of the aerospace industry, but could the Minister tell us the present total of firm orders from airlines for the Trijet, and what proportion they represent of the total which the company envisages it will sell in order to meet the terms of this loan?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: asked the Minister of Aviation Supply if he will make a statement on his policy towards the European Airbus project; and to what extent this will involve Rolls-Royce Limited.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: On a point of order—
Mr Phillip Whitehead: I apologise for my inexperience in the House, Mr. Speaker. Is it not usual for an hon. Member to declare an interest when he asks a question?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: It is a particular pleasure for me to follow the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Rost), my near neighbour, for several reasons. First, because I had not expected to find so much on which I might agree with him, but we have found common ground in Rolls-Royce, a great firm which means so much to the Borough of Derby. The hon. Gentleman might perhaps have expected and, indeed, might...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: That is a matter of personal experience. My experience after some hours in the stack over these airports is that they are not good because of the congestion of aircraft over airports. There are too many aircraft circling airports because there are too many in service. That is why I believe that we may be in a situation in which airlines are not only contemplating mergers, but are grounding...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: rose—
Mr Phillip Whitehead: rose—
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Will the Minister tell the House whether at any stage a firm commitment was made by the three European Governments to share in the cost of developing the -61 engine, what proportion of the costs they were prepared to bear if such an offer were made and for what aircraft he sees the -61 engine being developed which could not have been developed with the two engines now rejected by the Government?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Give us the facts.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it would have been better for Her Majesty's Government to have gone directly to the other parties in the deal, the American Government and Lockheed, as soon as they knew the situation at Rolls-Royce on 26th January before the bankruptcy?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Will the hon. Gentleman clarify his phraseology? He said that the Government had supported the RB162. Will he now say that the Government will continue to support the RB162?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: asked the Minister of Aviation Supply what undertakings were sought from the President of the United States of America on Tuesday, 2nd February, or Wednesday, 3rd February, relating to a joint effort by the British and American Governments to save the RB211 project and the Lockheed Tristar; and what answer was received.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that reply, like his speech on Monday, will be received with dismay in the Derby area? Why were no satisfactory undertakings sought from the American Administration or the Lockheed Corporation immediately Lord Cole told the Government on 26th January what the Rolls-Royce position was?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: asked the Minister of Aviation Supply what is his estimate of the total number of redundancies directly involved in the immediate cessation of work on the RB211 engine by Rolls-Royce Ltd.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Is not the right hon. Gentleman, in fact, telling the House that the number of redundancies consequent on the cancellation of the project was not calculated when the Government were doing their costing on the full effects of the cancellation? Why cannot the right hon. Gentleman be honest with the House on what the full effects and the numbers involved will be?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: The whole House will appreciate that this is a debate in which party lines have not been strictly followed. The glum faces of some hon. Members opposite when listening to the hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Tebbit) sharply contrasted with the enthusiasm aroused on both sides of the House by the speech of the hon. Member for Portsmouth, Lang-stone (Mr. Ian Lloyd). The searching questions which he...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Indeed. I have come here to vote for the Bill. Like most of my hon. Friends, I would like to see this Bill amended to take in "all" the assets of Rolls-Royce and not merely use the word "any". That is now the view of most people who work for that great company. It seems ludicrous wilfully to break up the assets of this company just to have something that can be given as a sop to the more...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Perhaps if I read the right hon. Member's remarks it may become clear why there is such indignation not merely among the people who have worked upon the project but on many others who have its well-being at heart. The right hon. Gentleman said: we must ask ourselves what can now be the prospect of such an engine being available in time to compete with versions of the CF6 and JT9 which are...