HC Deb 17 June 1986 vol 99 cc904-5
14. Mr. Cohen

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many representations he has received concerning the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation force goal for United States chemical weapons: and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stanley

To date this year my Department has received about 50 letters from Members of Parliament and some 90 direct from the general public on the subject of United States plans for chemical weapon modernisation.

Mr. Cohen

Is the Minister aware that a United States Senator recently described the bigeye chemical weapon as the turkey to end all turkeys? The British public do not want it on their soil, and it does not represent a realistic form of defence for Britain. If the earlier statement that it will be kept in the United States in peacetime is to be believed, will it not he a sign to the Soviet Union that war is imminent if it is shipped over here? Should we not make it an early Christmas for that turkey, by saying that we will not have it on our soil?

Mr. Stanley

I note the hon. Gentleman's view that NATO would be better served by having no reinforcement plans whatever. That is not the view on this side of the House.