HC Deb 01 December 1948 vol 458 cc1999-2000
45. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Prime Minister if he is now prepared to make a statement regarding a Secret Session of Parliament to discuss defence matters.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

I have given careful consideration to the suggestion that there should be a Debate in Secret Session on defence matters. While in war-time secret sessions were useful, I do not think that we should be well advised to hold them in time of peace.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind that there is grave concern in certain parts of the House, and certainly outside, regarding the state of our Fighting Forces, and, as the Debates which we have had on these matters have been most disappointing, will he reconsider the matter?

The Prime Minister

I do not think that the holding of a Secret Session would be a good way of meeting any apprehensions that may exist.

Mr. Pickthorn

In view of the distinction made between a time of peace and a time of war, can the Prime Minister tell us which we are in now?

Mr. Gallacher

May I ask the Prime Minister, in view of certain hints put out by certain people about the unreliability of hon. Members, whether he is aware that, in any future Secret Session, the members of the Communist Party attending it will do so on the understanding that they are attending a Secret Session and that nothing will come out from them?

Mr. Donner

If there is to be no Secret Session, will the Prime Minister give us fuller information in public?

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