HC Deb 06 July 1944 vol 401 cc1288-91
14. Commander Locker-Lampson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the use of the alert in Southern England may mean that operatives cease work during the alarm, and are paid despite this; and if he will initiate a different form of alert, which would free workers for work and avoid this economic loss.

7. Mr. Molson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether as the sounding of the siren for alerts in Southern England interrupts the war effort and business, without serving any useful purpose, he will reconsider the practice in so far as pilotless planes are concerned.

Mr. H. Morrison

In view of the special arrangements made with industry, the assumption on which my hon. Friends' Questions are based is not well founded.

Mr. Moelwyn Hughes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the alert now given in Southern England is appreciated by large masses of the population outside industry, such as housewives?

Mr. Morrison

I am very much obliged to my hon. and learned Friend.

Mr. Sorensen

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, so far as the London population are concerned, they do appreciate the improvement in the siren?

Wing-Commander James

Is it not a fact that since the warnings have been sounded, we have not had the opportunity of seeing the hon. and gallant Member for St. Marylebone (Captain Cunningham-Reid) in his place?

Mr. Shinwell

I hold no brief, for the hon. and gallant Member for St. Marylebone, but might I ask, on a point of Order, whether an hon. Member is entitled to make insinuations of that sort against another hon. Member?

Mr. Speaker

Insinuations should not be made. The question was out of Order.

Mr. Edgar Granville

Will the right hon. Gentleman make certain that the arrangements for the siren, or the cuckoo warning, in factories in Southern England will be made uniform for all districts, so that we shall not have a siren in one district, and none in another district?

Mr. Morrison

I am afraid that the trouble with my hon. Friend is that he lives on a border-line. It is, of course, the case that, with people who live near where two warnings are issued, that may happen. If he has any specific case, I will look into it, but at some points it cannot be helped.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Home Secretary aware that there is a factory in Southern England where the roof spotter makes a commentary, and that there is an absolute minimum of time lost as a consequence?

Mr. Morrison

That is an interesting suggestion. I am sure it would be useful so long as the commentary is related to activity in the air.

Mr. Hutchinson

Are any forms of warning other than the warning by the siren under consideration?

Mr. Morrison

Ideas are always under consideration, and my mind is not closed to any suggestion or idea that comes along. But my own personal view is that, taking it by and large, the warning system is working to the general satisfaction. It is a complicated business, highly controversial. The alarm within the alert, for instance, has been a most valuable thing; and, if I may take the unusual course of saying so, I would like to pay tribute to the officers of my Department, the Royal Observer Corps, and the General Post Office.

18. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, on the occasion of flying-bomb attacks on Southern England, he will order the suspension, until further notice, of public warning by siren between midnight and 7 a.m.

Mr. H. Morrison

The hon. Member may be assured that the officers responsible for issuing warnings take all possible steps to avoid unnecessary disturbance at night.

Mr. Driberg

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear this point in mind—that, although warnings are very necessary in the daytime, at night, when these raids are fairly frequent, most of the people who go to shelters are there by midnight, anyway, and the rest want to get some sleep?

Mr. Morrison

If my hon. Friend was awake all night, he would know that we take account of that. I do not want to say too much, but he may be sure that his point is not overlooked.

21. Mr. Hutchinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied that the system of public air-raid warnings is suited to the existing conditions; and whether he intends to introduce any changes.

Mr. H. Morrison

I am satisfied that the public air-raid warning system is operating effectively, but my hon. and learned Friend may be assured that I shall not hesitate to introduce any changes which may be necessary.

Mr. Hutchinson

Will my right hon. Friend consider whether a warning may not be given by some system of gunfire?

Mr. Morrison

That suggestion has been made, and is before us. On the other hand, there are considerable sections of public opinion which would be particularly annoyed by gunfire.