§ Mr. Home Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) why, pursuant to his answer of 7 November,Official Report, column 253, he has reversed his decision announced on 21 October, Official Report, column 446, to place HMS Humber in reserve; and if he will make a statement;
(2) when, pursuant to his answer of 7 November, Official Report, column 253, it was decided to place HMS Ribble in reserve; to which Royal Naval Reserve sea training centre it was allocated; and where those Royal Naval Reserve personnel affected will now have access to sea training.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
The decision to place two River class minesweepers in reserve was taken earlier this year as part of our annual review of the forward equipment programme. Originally HMS Humber and HMS Helmsdale were identified. It was decided subsequently that HMS Ribble should be placed in reserve rather than HMS Humber which was in better condition. HMS Ribble had been allocated to HMS Eaglet in Liverpool; HMS Humber will replace HMS Ribble there, and will continue to provide access to sea training for Royal Naval Reserve personnel.