HC Deb 14 May 1970 vol 801 c1432
11. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, having regard to fresh evidence on the effects of CS gas used in Belfast, details of which have been sent to him, he will ban the use of this weapon until the Himsworth Committee has reported.

Mr. Callaghan


Mr. Jenkins

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider that answer? Is not the proper course to ensure that no human being should be subject to any noxious process until its effects are fully known and medically examined? In these circumstances, will he at least not suspend the use of this gas until the Himsworth Committee has reported?

Mr. Callaghan

No, Sir. Being concerned with the welfare of every human being, I include in that the British Army and those soldiers who are having to withstand a great deal of attack and abuse.

Mr. McMaster

Will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that all possible steps are taken to avoid the use of CS gas except in the most extreme circumstances, in view of the serious effect on quite innocent people living in the area where it is used? Will he instead endeavour to arrest as many of the rioters as possible and bring them before the courts as quickly as possible?

Mr. Callaghan

This question has been answered before and the G.O.C. needs no reminder from me or the hon. Gentleman that he should use this weapon only in extreme circumstances where the alternative is something that the House would generally regard as worse. He must be supported in his decision to use it.