HC Deb 11 June 1959 vol 606 c1166
35. Mr. Swingler

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that members of local authorities charged with civil defence responsibilities are granted all facilities to view the conduct of exercises.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith)

I am sure that local authorities responsible for civil defence exercises are very willing to afford such facilities when they can.

Mr. Swingler

Is the hon. Lady aware—I am sure she is—that I recently drew the attention of the Secretary of State to a case where there appears to be an exclusion of a member of a local authority on grounds of political prejudice? Will the Department make it clear to local authorities that all members of local authorities who have responsibilities should at all times be given access to the exercises under their charge?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I cannot accept the expression of prejudice raised by the hon. Member. A lot depends on where the exercise is held and whether it is in a confined place. The council nominated observers to go and, quite obviously, we could not interfere with the local authority and whom it nominated for its own functions. If the constituent of the hon. Member still feels he has a complaint to make, it should properly be directed to the local authority.