Mr William Taylor: Married Regular officers aged 25 or over may be joined by their families overseas at public expense. We do not think it right to extend this entitlement to younger officers.
Mr William Taylor: I do not think that my reply will cause any dismay, because the facts are well known in the three Services. All three Services have long held the view that it is neither in the interests of the Service nor the individual to encourage young officers to take on family responsibilities in the early formative years of their careers when they might be absorbing the traditions of their Service and...
Mr William Taylor: I appreciate what my hon. and learned Friend has said, but nothing he has said invalidates the argument which I nut forward in my original reply.
Mr William Taylor: I understand that the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Cronin) is a professional medical man and I could not follow the last part of his supplementary question. Although officers under 25 years of age receive a marriage allowance, it is at a reduced rate.
Mr William Taylor: There has been no unreasonable expenditure in connection with this visit.
Mr William Taylor: Birds do nest in the springtime and sometimes we have to deal with the birds when they put the nests in the wrong places. I do not think that there has been any embarrassment to the Royal personage concerned in these arrangements. A certain amount of routine work was done—painting which should have been done a few months ago was delayed slightly and so on. The whole place was given a spring...
Mr William Taylor: A Royal Air Force Hastings aircraft of Far East Air Force crashed yesterday near Singapore while taking part in a routine supply dropping exercise. The crew of five and the eight soldiers who were in the aircraft were all killed. The cause of the accident is now being investigated by a board of inquiry. I should like to express my sympathy and that of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of...
Mr William Taylor: It is not the usual practice to publish either the report or the findings of such a board of inquiry, but if the board suggests any unusual causes or features of the accident I shall certainly consider the need for a further statement.
Mr William Taylor: My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence explained the general position to the House on 12th April. Staff discussions are proceeding on the detailed arrangements which flow from the assignment.
Mr William Taylor: This is part of a general N.A.T.O. decision and it is in the general interest of the West that the defence of N.A.T.O. in Europe should be as efficient as possible. A unified system in needed to achieve this. As for our purely national position, closer co-ordination with the European warning system is bound to be of value, and this fact must not be left out of the thoughts of the hon. Member.
Mr William Taylor: S.A.C.E.U.R. has the responsibility of deciding what orders shall be given under certain circumstances. The main point is that we still maintain the right to control our Fighter Command force in this country, and only in the context of the general requirement of S.A.C.E.U.R. would it be brought into action.
Mr William Taylor: The Lightning Mk. l's main armament is the air-to-air missile Firestreak, which is in service now. Later marks of Lightning will carry an improved missile at present under development.
Mr William Taylor: I am not able to give the date when the new weapon will be brought into service, but development is going on. There are certain restrictions, in relation to firing the present weapon, but they are not considered by the military authorities as being in any way seriously detrimental to the weapon. The new weapon will have, as one of its main features, a much wider field of attack.
Mr William Taylor: I can certainly confirm that.
Mr William Taylor: The Royal Air Force is studying the possible military applications of space vehicles with close interest.
Mr William Taylor: I am aware of those facts, but I would remind the hon. Member that other of my right hon. Friends have an interest in these matters. On this occasion I shall confine myself to saying that the Royal Air Force and the Air Ministry are always forward-looking. We are always looking into the future, and we shall not neglect our responsibilities in this regard.
Mr William Taylor: We are always in the closest consultation with the other Ministry.
Mr William Taylor: I do not see the relevance of the hon. Member's supplementary question, except that it might have been asked with the intention of taking me for a ride.
Mr William Taylor: A N.A.T.O. base?
Mr William Taylor: I thought that the hon. Member was talking about Holy Loch and I could not relate that to the Estimates.