HC Deb 03 June 1954 vol 528 cc1465-6

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House, at its rising Tomorrow, do adjourn till Tuesday, 15th June."—[The Prime Minister.]

Mr. Geoffrey Bing

Before the House passes this Motion a comment should be made from this side on the remark made by the Leader of the House that we could have a discussion on Civil Defence at any time when the Opposition put down a Supply Day. Surely, from what was said a little earlier, one reason for coming back a day earlier is so that the Government may put forward their views on Civil Defence instead of waiting for the Opposition to put them forward.

We have had a lot of talk from the Home Secretary about the importance of making his views known throughout the country, but apparently he is not prepared to see that we have an extra day in which to discuss the subject. If the Government cannot give time for it, that is a very good reason for not passing this Motion and, instead, for discussing Civil Defence.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

I entirely agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing). It is a matter of very great regret that the House has not found time to discuss Civil Defence recently. We have heard certain criticisms of the Coventry City Council, but the fact remains that the House has not found time to discuss the matter or to give any guidance to that Council.

What is more, the House has never had any Civil Defence exercises. Serious consideration of Civil Defence is essential for the guidance of the people of this country. Not only Coventry is asking this question. It is being asked by an authority in Wales. Some of us are alarmed, at a time when there has been enormous military expenditure—

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member seems to be making a speech about Civil Defence. The Motion before the House is to the effect that at its rising tomorrow the House should adjourn. Any further remarks which the hon. Member desires to offer must be related to that Motion.

Mr. Hughes

Until we get a firm assurance from the Government that they will treat the problem of Civil Defence seriously, I oppose the Motion, Sir. The hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu), who was chairman of the Select Committee on Estimates, completely indicted the Government's policy. By this enormous expenditure on so-called offensive weapons the Government have neglected the interests of the civil population.

Mr. Crookshank

All I said was that if a debate was desirable it could be held on a Supply Day at the request of the Opposition to whom, I hope, the hon. Members will make their representations, should they so desire.

Question put, and agreed to.