§ 27. Mr. GALLACHER
asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the statement contained in Air Raid Precautions, Handbook No. 2, that respirators alone are insufficient to give adequate protection against vesicants, such as mustard gas and lewisite, and complete suits of oilskins are advocated for combating these gases, it is proposed to issue such suits to the civilian population at the public expense?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
The handbook referred to is intended for the guidance of members of first-aid parties and others, whose duties might make it necessary for them to work in places where vesicants may be present in considerable quantities. The Government will provide protective clothing for these Services. One of the Government's recommendations to the civil population will be to remain indoors in a gasproofed room. The object of this is to protect them from vesicants in 627 liquid form and so do away with the need for protective clothing.
§ Mr. THORNE
Will the hon. Gentleman be good enough to ask the Government to put a question down to the League of Nations to abolish air-bombing so as to put an end to all this trouble?
§ 41. Mr. GALLACHER
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Wing-Commander E. J. Hodsoll, a Home Office official, stated publicly on 23rd October, 1935, that the gas mask for the protection of the civilian population now being developed under his direction will only give immunity from poison gas for 15 minutes; whether this type of gas mask includes cardboard and string in its construction; and whether he is satisfied that this mask will afford genuine protection against possible gas attacks and not merely an illusion of protection?
§ Mr. LLOYD
The gas mask referred to will give protection for at least 15 minutes against the highest concentrations of gas ever likely to be encountered. Against such concentrations as civilians might normally experience in time of war, this respirator will last several hours. No string will be used in the construction of the respirator and I can assure the hon. Member that the materials will be amply robust for the purpose required. I am satisfied that the respirator will give genuine and adequate protection. The Government would not be responsible for any respirator which, in their opinion, did not fulfil this condition.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
How much are these gas masks to cost, and will the entire working class have an opportunity of securing them free?