HC Deb 06 December 1950 vol 482 cc359-60
51. Mr. Blackburn

asked the Minister of Defence if he will institute an immediate review of all measures of defence against surprise attack.

Mr. Shinwell

I can assure the hon. Member that the measures necessary to guard against a surprise attack are kept fully under review in the light of the international situation.

Mr. Blackburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in this country we have not yet taken power to inspect shipping on its arrival in our ports, as has been done in America? Is he aware that our radar defences are pitifully inadequate, and that these matters ought to be priority No. 1 for him and the Chiefs of Staff?

Mr. Shinwell

On the question of inspection of shipping, I recently replied to a Question by another hon. Member. I would beg the House to understand that it is not possible to furnish details of the action taken because to do so would impinge on security.

Mr. J. Langford-Holt

Is the Minister aware that about two weeks ago the Secretary of State for War said that it would take about 48 hours fully to man the present radar system? Is that adequate?

Mr. Shinwell

I cannot say, but if my right hon. Friend said so I accept it.

Brigadier Head

Does the Minister consider that existing arrangements regarding the Home Guard are sufficiently clear to allow rapid organisation in case of necessity?

Mr. Shinwell

The Home Guard is another matter and I dealt with it in a Question the other day. The Home Guard has not yet been formed.

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