HC Deb 21 June 1951 vol 489 c680
18. Brigadier Prior-Palmer

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made with the organisation of Civil Defence mobile columns: whether they are to be equipped with wireless for inter-communication; and what vehicles will be available to them.

Mr. de Freitas

Plans for an experimental mobile column are far advanced, but I cannot yet make a detailed statement.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Can the hon. Gentleman say what vehicles are to be used? Will they be commandeered vehicles or will their own vehicles be issued to them?

Mr. de Freitas

They will have all the vehicles they require and they will be issued to them, but I am not yet ready to make a detailed statement.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Considering that these mobile columns are one of the key features of the new organisation of Civil Defence for dealing with atomic attacks, could the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will press on with this important problem?

Mr. de Freitas

Yes, Sir. It is because this is an entirely new conception that we are not launching it until we have worked it out carefully, especially with the military.

Mr. Ian Harvey

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his reply is almost identical with those he has given in reply to similar questions over a long period and that the general impression—which is growing—is that there is no sound Government policy?

Mr. de Freitas

I would certainly not agree with that.