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TORPEDO CONTRACT: A £63m contract for Royal Navy submarine torpedos was won yesterday by GEC-Marconi Naval Systems The Defence Procurement Minister, Roger Freeman, said the deal would create 40 jobs at the company's plant at Waterlooville, Hants. However, as 80 per cent of the manufacturing and processing work would be sub-contracted, the order would safeguard hundreds more jobs across British industry, he disclosed.

The Spearfish torpedo is a highly advanced modern system designed to destroy all known and predicted enemy submarines and surface ships.

It is already in service and will progressively replace the ageing Tigerfish torpedo by the turn of the century.

PEERAGES: A total of 49 former Conservative MPs have been awarded peerages since 1979, against 32 former Labour members, the Prime Minister told Denis McShane (Lab, Rotherham).

Over the same period 115 Tory MPs have received knighthoods, against two Labour MPs, Mr Major disclosed.