HC Deb 30 June 1937 vol 325 cc1948-9
25. Mr. R. Acland

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the inability to identify the aeroplane which flew over London on the morning of Friday, 18th June, and the consequent uncertainty whether it was or was not a foreign machine, he will make regulations prohibiting the flying of aeroplanes, other than those of the Royal Air Force, over cities after 10 p.m. or after some other hour; and, in order to enforce such regulations, will he consider the advisability of consulting with the Home Secretary regarding the provision of facilities for the police for using aeroplanes?

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead)

My Noble Friend is advised that he has no legal power to make such regulations as the hon. Member suggests. The second part of the question does not, therefore, arise. My Noble Friend is, however, glad that publicity has been given to this matter and he is arranging for the attention of civil pilots to be drawn to the undesirability of indulging in unnecessary private flying over cities at a late hour.

Mr. Acland

Would it not be advisable to take legal powers, and would it not be a great advantage if the flying squad could actually fly?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

The question of whether the flying squad should fly or not is a matter for the Home Secretary. With regard to the taking of legal power, probably there is general agreement that one does not want to have legislation involving restrictions unless the case is absolutely proved. Up to now the complaints have not been sufficient to justify that.

Mr. Crossley

Have the Air Ministry any power to restrict the flying of aeroplanes advertising trade products?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

As far as I am aware there is no difference in the case of such aeroplanes as compared with any other.

Major Colfox

Is the Minister aware that it is a very frequent practice for aeroplanes to fly over London at night, and that there was flying going on last night between midnight and 1 a.m.?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

Like the hon. and gallant Member, I was also up between those hours, and heard it.