HC Deb 11 December 1958 vol 597 cc487-8
6. Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider the institution of a long service medal for members of the Civil Defence Corps on a basis analogous to the medals given to the ambulance service or special constabulary.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Representations that such a medal should be instituted have been received, and are being considered. I am not yet, however, able to make any statement in the matter.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he would agree that it is both customary and desirable that those who give long service to a great voluntary movement of this nature should receive some form of public recognition?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. That is partly why I have the matter under examination.

10. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the statement by Lieutenant-Colonel Cowley, a Civil Defence officer, that enrolling for Civil Defence by local businessmen and shop assistants would have a considerable bearing on their remaining in their normal employment in their home locality in time of war, was made with his authority.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Renton)

No. Sir. My right hon. Friend is informed that Lieut.-Colonel Cowley made it clear that he was expressing his personal opinion.

Mr. Allaun

Nevertheless, does that statement represent the Minister's view? Is he aware that it is being widely regarded as a form of blackmail to get people to join the Civil Defence? Will he instruct his officers not to use this undesirable form of inducement in future?

Mr. Renton

No, Sir. That statement does not represent Government policy, as I said in the main Answer. I am not aware of any form of blackmail of the kind which the hon. Member suggests. The official recruiting leaflet on Civil Defence says: Your part-time service as a member of the Civil Defence Corps does not relieve you from any legal requirement to which you might be subject in war-time, e.g., service with Her Majesty's Forces or liability to take or remain in other work of national importance.