HC Deb 06 April 1944 vol 398 cc2151-2
10. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the reason for the delay in answering two registered letters from the residents of St. Mary Cray, Kent, dated 22nd February, 1944, and 17th March, 1944, signed by Mr. E. Hackett Jones and others, and containing a petition with approximately 2,500 names.

Mr. H. Morrison

When the petition was received the regional commissioners were already investigating the possibility of modifying the system of duties to which the petitioners refer. These modifications could not, however, be introduced until experiments under actual raiding conditions had been carried out, and the scheme for the region as a whole had been approved and promulgated. I regret to learn that while investigations were taking place certain members of the Services refused to carry out the duties assigned to them. Although the petitioners have not received a formal reply to their representations, the members of the Services have been informed of the changes in their duties and I hope that this reply will dispose of the matter.

Sir W. Smithers

While realising the pressure on Government Departments just now, may I ask my right hon. Friend if he proposes to take any disciplinary action against the official responsible for this lack of courtesy; and does he not think that these public-spirited people might at least have received an acknowledgment.

Mr. Morrison

I understood that this was being dealt with by the regional commissioners. I admit that there was some delay in my Department, for which I am sorry, but we are working under great pressure, and I think that disciplinary action would be making very heavy weather of it.

Sir Herbert Williams

Does not "great pressure" in Government Departments mean that five people are doing a job where, in private life, one would be engaged.

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir, that is a gross libel on Government Departments.