HC Deb 08 June 1939 vol 348 cc593-4
50. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is aware that the official in charge of air-raid precautions in Fife, appointed at a salary of £600, has gone on a visit to Canada; and, in view of the serious problems of defence that have arisen in certain parts of Fife, will he consult with the Fife County Council with a view to a reconsideration of this appointment?

Sir J. Anderson

I understand from the local authority that the A.R.P. organizer for Fife returned from four weeks' leave at the end of last week. Suitable arrangements were made for his work to be carried on during his absence.

Mr.. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware that there is very great and deep disquiet at the casual way in which the protection of the people has been taken in hand, and is it not a scandal that a man should be appointed at £600 a year and immediately proceed on a holiday to Canada? Will the Minister not consider the fact that A.R.P. wardens are, at their own personal expense, carrying on the work and whether this £600 could not be better spent?

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the gentleman in question is a man of the highest public spirit and that his appointment gave general satisfaction?

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is it not a clear case of being shot at dawn?

Mr. Gallacher

On a point of Order. I put what I considered was a fair supple- mentary question, and before there was any chance for me to get an answer the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) got up and made a foolish distraction. May I have an answer?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Sir Alfred Knox.

Mr. Neil Maclean

On a point of Order. Is it not the case that the supplementary question by the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) was the first one he has put upon the original question, and is he not, therefore, entitled to a reply before we go on to another question?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

No, that is not the case. As I stated yesterday, the House must recognise that all these matters concerning supplementary questions are entirely in the hands of the Chair. It is obvious that if all the supplementary questions hon. Members want to ask were allowed, that sometimes not one-tenth of the number of questions on the Paper would ever be answered.

Mr. Maclean

Further to that point of Order. Is it not the case that although it is now almost a quarter to 4, we have had only 50 questions called and that that is due to the fact that in the earlier part of the question hour, seven, eight or nine supplementary questions have been permitted by you, Sir?

Mr. Gallacher

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply to my question, I want to give notice that at the earliest opportunity I will raise this matter on the Adjournment of the House and take that opportunity of dealing with this gentleman who goes on a trip to Canada.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Member is quite entitled to give such notice, but he is not entitled to misuse the opportunity by making assertions at the end of the notice.