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Rosyth Base

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 7 May 1947

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty, if he has considered a letter from the Methil Co-operative Society, sent to him by the hon. Member for West Fife, urging the retention of Rosyth naval base and its continued use for the repair of naval and merchant ships: and what reply he has made.

Yes, Sir, and I have written to my hon. Friend referring him to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty on 20th November, 1946, to the hon. and gallant Member for West Edinburgh (Lieut.-Commander Hutchison).

Is the Civil Lord aware that a very large number of communications have been sent to him during the past few weeks, and that the answer he has given to them is the same that we have been getting regularly for three years?

Will the Civil Lord say when a decision can be made on this question, and will he give us an approximate date on which he will receive a deputation to give the final decision—the final favourable decision?

I am quite aware of the considerable number of communications which are received, and also of the desire of deputations to come along. Indeed, my noble Friend and I have met one or two only recently. I can assure the hon. Member that this matter is under consideration, and that the final decision will be reached as soon as possible.

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether there has been any consultation with the Minister of Defence in this matter, in view of the strategic advantage in two world wars of having a naval base in Scotland?

I can inform the hon. and gallant Gentleman that this matter has been considered by the Minister of Defence, and was, indeed, considered by him before he became Minister of Defence. Before any final decision is made he will be consulted in connection with it.

Will the hon. Gentleman consider the major factor, besides the solvency of this Co-operative Society, in deciding whether they get this port or not?

Arising out of the Civil Lord's original reply, can the hon. Gentleman say whether, conversely, any communication has been received from Rosyth naval base urging the retention of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher)?