HC Deb 11 December 1984 vol 69 cc901-2
10. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Defence to which chief constables and to which fire officers general guidance has been given concerning safety aspects of movements of nuclear weapons: and when such guidance was last issued.

Mr. Stanley

Guidance is issued to those chief constables and fire officers who have a need to know, and is kept up to date. For security reasons I cannot give details.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware that this morning I received a letter on this matter from the Prime Minister, who says that guidance is given to chief constables and fire officers about the transport of nuclear weapons through their areas, "where necessary"? For the benefit of those who live in Leicester and other cities through which Chevaline and other missiles are transported, will he say whether the words "where necessary" mean that chief constables and fire officers are or are not told when such weapons pass through their areas?

Mr. Stanley

We are not willing to disclose which chief officers are notified, as that would involve disclosing routes and methods of transport.

Mr. Peter Bruinvels

Does my right hon. Friend accept that the people of Leicester will welcome the news that such information is to remain confidential? Does he further accept that they are grateful for what has been done by the chief constable, the police and the fire services, and that any attack on them is completely unwarranted and undeserved? It ill-becomes the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner) to behave like that and scare the people of Leicester in such a way.

Mr. Stanley

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his responsible attitude.