HC Deb 05 April 1951 vol 486 cc368-9
33. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy in regard to ensuring that all members of the Civil Defence organisation are completely trustworthy; and what steps he is taking to screen members and applicants as to national loyalty.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey de Freitas)

I know of no means of ensuring that all members of any organisation are completely trustworthy, but I have no doubt that local authorities exercise a reasonable discretion in accepting volunteers for the Civil Defence Corps. Local authorities can, of course, dispense with the services of volunteers at any time. It would be the duty of the central Government to take action in respect of any person who engaged in activities likely to endanger national security.

Sir T. Moore

In view of the recent cases of disloyalty in other fields of Government service, would it not be advisable to take special precautions in this most essential organisation?

Mr. de Freitas

The Question refers to screening of members of the Civil Defence Corps. That is absolutely impossible, just as it is impossible to screen members of the Armed Forces.

Mr. H. Hynd

Would my hon. Friend not agree it is very desirable that members of certain suspect organisations, such as "The Link," should not be enrolled in Civil Defence?