HC Deb 17 February 1959 vol 600 cc195-6
47. Mr. Swingler

asked the Prime Minister, in view of Her Majesty's Government's policy with regard to the evacuation of the civil population in the event of war and to the defence of bomber and rocket bases, what steps he is taking to co-ordinate the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Minister of Defence in these matters.

56. Mr. Mikardo

asked the Prime Minister, since it is the Government's policy to defend only air and rocket bases on the ground that the country as a whole cannot be defended against nuclear attack, to what extent he has coordinated the policy and responsibilities of the Home Department and the Ministry of Defence in this matter.

The Prime Minister

The responsibilities of the Departments concerned with defence against a possible nuclear attack on this country are clearly defined and the policy is fully co-ordinated.

Mr. Swingler

How is it possible to reconcile these policies? Is it not a fact that the Home Secretary is engaged, in a very meagre way, in preparing Civil Defence against what is euphemistically called conventional air attack, while the Minister of Defence is engaged in threatening nuclear retaliation against any and every form of attack? How does the Prime Minister reconcile these policies?

The Prime Minister

There is nothing irreconcilable. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary carries out his part of the duties in close co-ordination with those of the Defence Minister.