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Trident Missile

Volume 78: debated on Tuesday 30 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the timing of the replacement of Polaris submarines by Trident.

The United Kingdom Trident II force is planned to enter service in the mid-1990s.

Will my right hon. Friend make it absolutely clear that the replacement of Polaris by Trident will in no way undermine our surface fleet?

I give that assurance categorically. The Polaris boats will remain in service until such time as the Trident boats are able to maintain continuous patrol.

If Trident is to continue to the point that the Minister has just mentioned, will he make arrangements for an alternative to the proposed dumping of asbestos from Faslane in my constituency, in the rural village of Glenboig, which is wholly unacceptable?

I think that the hon. Gentleman has already made points in regard to that matter. Of course, it has to be properly attended to.

Will my right hon. Friend estimate the savings to the nation as a result of the excellent performance of the pound over the past two months?

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made it clear what the effect of a one cent change in the pound-dollar relationship would be on the overall cost of the programme, but I cannot give my hon. Friend the exact figures at the moment.

Will the Minister answer the question asked by his hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor)? Will he give the House a categorical assurance that the surface fleet will not suffer at the expense of expenditure on Trident or Polaris at the moment?

The answer that I gave my hon. Friend was that the deterrent would not suffer ahead of the introduction of Trident. If I misheard my hon. Friend, I apologise to him. The plans for the surface fleet are well known. If the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends will have the patience to wait until tomorrow, more will be revealed on that matter.