HC Deb 26 October 1983 vol 47 cc375-93

Question again proposed.

Mr. Hunter


Mr. Boyes

I earlier commented on the absolute contempt for local democracy and local government shown by Conservative Members. If people feel that there is inadequate provision for civil defence in a certain area, they will replace those running the council. That is what democracy means. Every Conservative speaker tonight has implied that elected representatives of local authorities are irresponsible and that Conservative Members are responsible. Secondly—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is becoming a rather long intervention. The hon. Gentleman must end with his second point.

Mr. Boyes

I am sorry to take so long, Mr. Speaker. Could the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) define what he understands to be the meaning of local democracy?

Mr. Hunter

By a strange coincidence, the hon. Gentleman gives the cue to my next point. I was about to refer to the article that we all received from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, which acknowledges that in the wide range of local government services we know of no other significant statutory duty upon local government which has not been complied with". That is my point. A statutory duty has been imposed on local government that is not being fulfilled and observed. That is our quarrel—

Mr. Boyes

It is not a very good quarrel.

Mr. Hunter

With the advantage of hindsight and from the experience of last year's Hard Rock exercise, it is obvious that successive Governments of both parties have let matters slide. I therefore welcome the statutory instruments. I quarrel with nothing in them. They are a laudable attempt by central Government to regain control of a deteriorating position.

The word that I would use to describe the statutory instruments is the same word as that demanded by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley)— "realistic". The statutory instruments are realistic and entirely practical. They do not impose excessive demands on regions or districts in manpower, time and resources. Indeed, they allocate more resources to local authorities.

The statutory instruments steer the middle course between twin absurdities. I mentioned one absurdity—the unsatisfactory conditions now prevailing. The other is in seeking to allocate too much of our finite and limited national resources to civil defence. I acknowledge that that is an equal absurdity.

Although there is nothing in the statutory instruments with which I quarrel, we must not delude ourselves that they provide all the answers. They do not. In all my travels, discussions, reading research and conversation connected with civil defence, I have come across one overriding criticism which has not been touched by the regulations. It is the argument that our civil defence measures are blighted by a lack of standardisation and that that chronically impairs efficiency.

First and foremost, there is lack of standardisation in communications equipment. Within the sub-regions that make up the south-east zone in which the county of Hampshire falls, the counties can communicate with the sub-region headquarters, but lateral communication between counties across the zone, between districts and from regions down to parishes is imperfect, simply because there is a lack of harmonisation in the equipment that is used. We must move rapidly towards central Home Office procurement of communications equipment, which is totally harmonised.

The lack of standardisation can also be seen in the related recruiting and training of volunteers. At present, there is no national syllabus for instructing volunteers. That is much to be lamented. At present, someone who gains knowledge, expertise or proficiency in one part of the country might find himself totally unqualified and untrained if he were to volunteer his services in another part of the country. Of course, that does not apply to the upper echelons of the emergency services, because the civil defence college at Easingwold provides uniformity at that level.

I should like to make one suggestion about volunteers. In my view, there is scope within the existing youth organisations and movements, especially in the cadet forces of the armed services, to include civil defence training. I do not say that those organisations should take on civil defence in a major way. Rather, I suggest that there is here a potential pool of recruitment for volunteers. I urge that due attention be paid to the possibility of civil defence being an option in the training programme of those organisations.

Some of my comments and other comments that have raised questions from the Opposition Benches have been detrimental to local authorities. Of course, there is another side to the coin. The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives has said: Civil Defence is uniquely a significant duty imposed by law, which local government does not carry out. Nor, it should be added, is that duty adequately performed by the Government Departments and other agencies equally concerned. I endorse that. I know from the contact that I have had with civil defence officers that there is a lack of confidence in the Home Office, particularly in the F6 department.

I welcome these draft regulations.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. The Front Bench Speakers are hoping to catch my eye at 10.50 pm, so brevity would be appreciated on all sides.

10.8 pm

Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery)

Those of us who are convinced of the need for a comprehensive system of civil defence to cope with all forms of disaster are disturbed that the Government have failed to grasp the nettle of this problem in putting forward these regulations.

The Minister of State is still trapped by the 1948 Act with its terms of reference restricted to hostile attack. Liberal Members believe that the regulations are unacceptable because they are a half-hearted attempt at a little bit of civil defence, and impose the obligations to carry it out and pay for it in the wrong places. Such is the half-hearted nature of the regulations that I fear that the Minister of State has not read the regulations properly. I refer in particular to regulation 4(1)(b) of the general functions regulations. I had the impression that the Solicitor-General had indeed read the regulations, because when the Minister of State was explaining that regulation he left the Chamber.

The regulations are objectionable on three principal grounds. First, they create a clumsy framework which imposes a multiplicity of obligations on a multiplicity of local authorities to do a multiplicity of things. The general functions regulations require neighbouring county councils to draw up plans to deal with the same problems in neighbouring areas with similar types of population and similar geographical characteristics. It is important to ensure that such regulations secure the future of democracy in local areas; but it is nonsense to duplicate functions and not provide a national framework to ensure that planning is done reliably.

One hears terrible stories. I think of the well-known and often-quoted incident of an emergency exercise in an area where there was only one keyholder for the emergency centre. The man left the key at home and had to return in his car to collect it. In another example, the local authority failed to provide adequate air conditioning. During an exercise it was discovered that anyone who went into the emergency centre would suffocate more quickly than he would perish as a result of a nuclear explosion. Central planning is essential. Central direction is needed, not for what happens inside an emergency centre, but for organising and equipping it.

Secondly, we oppose the regulations because the financial burden upon local authorities is an unacceptable imposition. The Minister of State said that regulation 4(1) (b) will merely involve increased expenditure of £2 million. I urge Government Members to read that regulation, because it does not provide merely for the expenditure of a couple of million pounds. It requires a local authority: to establish, equip and maintain, in premises at each of the places specified in paragraph (3) below in relation to them, an emergency centre in which to control and co-ordinate action to be taken by them in the event of hostile attack or a threat of hostile attack". An emergency centre cannot be in a school or village hall or in the local football stadium directors' offices. It must be located where it can survive not just the threat of hostile attack but hostile attack itself. That involves enormous expenditure.

I am even more disturbed about the fact that the grant regulations remove any reimbursement for the expenditure involved in establishing, equipping and maintaining emergency centres. They remove grant-aid and place the entire burden on the local authority. There is at present a 100 per cent. grant for the establishment, equipping and maintaining of these centres. If the draft regulations are passed, there will be no grant. It will be cut from 100 per cent. to zero. The result will be that 513 emergency centres will have to be built at a cost of about £102 million. Those are the estimates put forward at a time when central Government's total civil defence budget is a mere £69 million. It is intolerable for local authorities to have to look to the ratepayers for what must be enormous capital expenditure. If it was intended that the regulations should do only what the right hon. Gentleman says that in effect they will do, they should have been drafted in that way. If that is what he intends, that is not what he has got. He has in the regulations a power to impose much greater obligations on local authorities.

Our third reason for opposing the regulations is that civil defence provision is completely inadequate. "Protect and Survive" has been mauled to pieces on all sides and that includes some Conservative Members. We should compare regulation 4(1)(b), which sets up the emergency centres, with what is proposed in schedule 2 for the ordinary population — the ordinary people of Montgomeryshire whom I represent and the constituents of right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House. What is being done to safeguard the ordinary population? Where are they to go? Is any start being made? I know that it would be a long job, but is any start being made to provide somewhere for them to be protected against nuclear explosions other than under their dining room tables or under the stairs? I suppose that a start is being made, but what a start!

Schedule 2, paragraph 4, provides for the utilisation of existing buildings only. Not one building is to be erected, not one structure is to be provided afresh for the protection of ordinary members of the public. That is an undeniable interpretation of the regulations and one which the right hon. Gentleman would not seek to deny. We say that there is no commitment in the regulations for the protection of the public and we have heard nothing today to change our view that the Government have not grasped the nettle and are not prepared to give a commitment for the protection of the public as a whole.

Mr. Hurd

I have followed the hon. Gentleman carefully and I still think that he is wrong about the emergency centres. We are not seeking a power to force local authorities to build new centres at the cost he imagines. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland will develop that point. I think that the hon. Gentleman will accept that the draft regulations mark a step forward for the protection of the general public in as much as local authorities are for the first time required to survey existing buildings or natural features to identify those which could be used in an emergency as shelters for the general public. That is a step forward.

Mr. Carlile

I shall deal with the right hon. Gentleman's two points in the order in which he made them. I cannot agree with his interpretation of regulation 4(1)(b). I ask him to read it again and take appropriate advice on what it means. It does not mean what he says. On his second point, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that there is a step forward, but it is a small and inadequate step without the necessary commitment. The right hon. Gentleman is hamstrung and trapped by the Civil Defence Act 1948. That Act sets out two grounds on which the Minister can act: first, to take such steps as are "necessary" for civil defence, and secondly to take such steps as are "expedient". We have the feeling that he is prepared only to take such steps which he considers to be necessary but unfortunately is ignoring those which are expedient.

A Home Office pamphlet entitled "Civil Defence: The Basic Facts" issued in recent days stated on the first page: We must therefore maintain a level of civil defence activity which is proportionate to the degree of risk and which provides a firm base for rapid expansion should the danger of war increase. My party is committed to civil defence. We believe that the regulations fall so dismally short of providing anything approaching a level of civil defence activity which is proportionate to the degree of risk that we must oppose them.

10.21 pm
Mr. Keith Best (Ynys Môn)

I listened with care to the hon. Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile). I appreciate his party taking the view that it believes in civil defence — an honourable view to take, but one which unfortunately is not shared by Her Majesty's Opposition. I hope that the hon. Gentleman has the grace to accept that it is a step forward, as my right hon. Friend pointed out to him in an intervention, to have local authorities look at buildings which could be used as shelters. Although he and I may agree that the provision which is being made is not a panacea for all ills and is not the ultimate, nevertheless it is a step in the right direction.

I regret that the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) is not in his place—I appreciate that he may be taking a cup of tea—because as he spoke I was reminded of the story of the young cavalry officer who proposed a suicidal attack until restrained by his sergeant major with the words, "The aim, sir, is to surprise the enemy, not amaze them." The right hon. Gentleman put forward the most extraordinary proposition that, while he is not personally against civil defence, he is against it in the nuclear war context. However, he did not try—I suspect that he would not be able to do so—to explain how one could have civil defence in one form of military or civil emergency but not in another.

In that respect there is no distinction between the concept of a conventional or a nuclear war in civil defence terms; the object is to try to preserve as many lives as possible. That is true of whatever form of aggression is visited on our people and it is illogical for the right hon. Gentleman and his supporters to try to suggest otherwise. Indeed, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) said that there was no way to distinguish one from the other. I suggest that he sorts out with his right hon. Friend exactly what the Labour party is saying.

The benefit of these regulations is their concentration on training, spreading the message of how people can have greater confidence in the future by enabling them to look after themselves. I hope that the Minister will extend that principle into other spheres; if local authorities are to undertake the training message, should we not look at, say, schools and other institutions where training along these lines could take place?

Let no Labour Member be under any illusion about the enforcement of the law. Local authorities which refuse to carry out the civil defence regulations will be in breach of the law of the land. If they do not like the law, they can seek to have it changed in this place. They cannot change it unilaterally by deciding to abrogate their responsibilities and place the populations in their charge in greater jeopardy in the event of conflict breaking out. It is so much better if those local authorities can co-operate with the Government in what is a joint exercise, which I believe should remain so. The last time that comissioners went into local authorities was in the 1950s. They went to Coventry and St. Pancras and the operation was not especially successful. It is to be hoped that we can continue to keep a measure of agreement.

I am sure that you will understand, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I speak with some smugness. I am a happy man, just as the hon. Member for Montgomery should be a happy man. Both he and I live in nuclear-free Wales. That means that if there is to be a conflict involving nuclear weapons, he and I and other hon. Members who have the privilige and distinction to represent the fair Principality will be exempt from the holocaust. I can only sympathise with those of my colleagues who have the misfortune to represent English constituencies.

Does any one believe that a nuclear-free zone can exempt us from the effects of a nuclear war? I fear that the proposition is being advanced seriously by the authorities that have declared these zones. In so doing, they are deluding the British population. What nonsense it is! My hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Mr. Finsberg) posed a scenario in the Kremlin in which Mr. Andropov might have said, "Leave the GLC alone. Leave London alone, because it has declared itself to be a nuclear-free zone." Most of the local authorities in Wales have not even bothered to tell the Kremlin that they have declared nuclear-free zones. Mr. Andropov will not have the benefit of that knowledge. What nonsense this is—

Mr. Boyes


Mr. Best

The concept of deterrence is twofold. The major factor is to pose to a potential aggressor the capacity to inflict upon him unacceptable damage. A corollary to that aggressive posture and that form of deterrence is to convince the potential aggressor that one has the ability to survive the form of attack that might be visited on Britain and, more importantly, the will demonstrably to survive such an attack. The events that are taking place in nuclear-free zone authorities are manifestations of the absence of will to survive in the event of an attack.

Opposition Members are saying that civil defence is no good and that there is no point in having any civil defence regulations because in the event of war we shall all die. Unfortunately, many of them will be mightily surprised when they find themselves still alive at the end of it and having to deal with the problems—

Mr. Boyes


Mr. Best

I regret that I cannot give way to the hon. Gentleman. I should like to do so, but the shortness of time makes it impossible for me to allow him to intervene. I shall not give way to him out of respect to other hon. Members who wish to contribute to the debate before the Front Bench replies commence.

In a pamphlet that we have all received, the nuclear-free zone authorities put forward an extraordinary dichotomy. They say that there is no point in having civil defence regulations because in the event of war we shall all die. They are assuming that there will be an all-out nuclear war with a blanket attack on the entire United Kingdom so that, effectively, the British Isles will sink beneath the waves. That is not realistic. Even if it is realistic, how can the same authorities come to the conclusion in the same document that expenditure on civil defence is insufficient? They cannot have it both ways. Either the entire concept of nuclear defence is a wicked deception on the British people—

Mr. Boyes

Exactly; I agree.

Mr. Best

—which is not the case, or we are not spending sufficient money on civil defence.

Dr. Marek


Mr. Best

The civil defence regulations may not be the last word in sophistication, but they are better than nothing. Anything, in this respect, is better than nothing. It is a foolish and genuinely gross deception of the British people for Opposition Members to seek to put across the message that, in the event of a war, whether nuclear or conventional weapons are used, there will be no survivors. That is patent nonsense; it is a wicked message for Opposition Members to put across. If they ponder the nonsense of that argument they will realise that one must plan for survivors. In that event, the duty rests fairly and squarely on the House and local authorities, which have a statutory duty, to protect the lives of the citizens whom we and they have the privilege to represent.

10.31 pm
Mr. Ken Eastham (Manchester, Blackley)

This has been an amazing debate. Tory Members lacked conviction. I only wish that tomorrow the newspapers would report in full some of the statements by Tory Members so that the British people understand the muddled thinking within Government ranks.

The Minister amazed me when he commenced by saying that he thought that we should take politics out of civil defence. I wonder how anyone can take politics out of such a serious subject when invariably we are talking about war and weaponry. I think that it is a highly political issue. I am sure that all the British people think so, too.

Reference has been made to Hiroshima. The weaponry used at Hiroshima was like a peashooter compared with the weaponry now at large in various European countries and pointed at this nation. We are living in fool's paradise if we try to convince ourselves, as we have done on several occasions tonight, that civil defence will be like the old air raid precautions of 1939. That is more or less what Tory Members said. In 1939 they said that the war would be fought like the 1914 war. They never learn from the mistakes that they have made consistently.

The regulations represent an act of cruel Government deception. They are trying to fool the people about nuclear weaponry. The debate is not about civil defence, but nuclear warfare, and nothing less. We should not allow the Government to try to kid the people that they are interested solely in civil defence. Most authorities already operate forms of civil defence. When there is an air disaster, the fire and ambulance services and emergency forces are used readily, so we have to dispose of that argument, and face what the debate is about. It is solely about nuclear warfare. The Government are trying to lull the British people into believing that there is defence and that the bombs can be sent back into the sky and will not explode. We have been listening to such nonsensical things in the debate.

The Government have been trying to deceive the people. We have read authoritative reports by the British Medical Association and heard eminent scientists and even military leaders firmly saying that there is no defence against nuclear weapons. Even Lord Louis Mountbatten was in those ranks. He said that it was all futile.

Mr. Best

Read his speech.

Mr. Eastham

We have read his speech. It is most embarrassing to many Tory Members. I notice that that speech is rarely quoted.

Mr. Boyes

I notice that Tory Members have gone quiet now that my hon. Friend has said that.

Mr. Eastham

The Association of Metropolitan Authorities is on record as having denounced what the Government are trying to do and said that civil defence is being provided.

I wish to refer to a pamphlet entitled "Emergency Planning Team", which was introduced in 1981 by the then Conservative-controlled Greater Manchester council. The document, which was not written by Labour politicians, refers to nuclear war, not civil defence, air disasters and such matters. The document on the front page states: Scientific advice says that 60 per cent. of population would survive serious nuclear attack on this country if action similar to that suggested in this booklet is taken". The document also makes the following priceless remark: Price rises of food items, crop failures and commodity shortages have reinforced the advantages of a housewife's well-stocked store cupboard. It seems that the wealthy can make their way to their well-stocked and deep hunkers, but the poor, the unemployed and the pensioners will not be in that position.

Appendix B to the pamphlet refers to some of the items that a family should have in stock: A cooker (camping gas type) with spare container or kerosene type with 5 gallons of paraffin, lighting (camping gas) candles and matches, buckets, garden water can, basins, shovel and spade, axe or hatchet, clock (not mains electric model), spare underwear, drip-dry clothing, rubber gloves, lice and flea powder, rodent poison, change of outer garments, boots and strong shoes, books, games, paper and pencils, a whistle or gong, radio, torch, saw, screwdriver and a hammer. Domestic pieces such as mugs, plates, soup bowls, jugs, teapot, tupperware containers, cake tins, water—2 pints per person per day for 7 days. Food: Milk, baby food, coffee, tea sugar syrup, treacle or honey, Marmite, Oxo, soups, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables, rice — tinned, butter, margarine, meat, biscuits, sweets, vitamin tablets and pet food.

Mr. Stuart Holland

All under the stairs!

Mr. Eastham

All those goods are expected to fit under the stairs.

The document shows a sketch of a door leaning against a wall with sandbags on the top. An entire family are meant to crawl into that small space with the 97 gallons of water, the pet food and everything else. This document shows the absurdity of the whole situation facing us.

Let us face facts. People living in modern accommodation do not have cellars. Often, they live in high-rise flats. The document makes no mention of what would happen to them. It summarises the barmy thinking in Government circles about advising people how to make themselves safe.

A clergyman friend of mine told me recently that he has said to his parishioners that, if the sirens sound for a nuclear attack, he will open the doors of his parish church and they will all go inside and die together.

10.41 pm
Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North)

I will not follow the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) into his church. I will leave him to it.

I welcome the regulations, two sets of which apply to Scotland. I see them as part of a continuing process of improving the nation's civil defence capability. If I have any argument—and one always does — it is that the regulations do not go far enough quickly enough. However, I regard them as a positive step.

An enemy attacking the United Kingdom would have to attack Scotland. Our strategic position would make that inevitable. For example, the civilian radar installations and communications network would have to be knocked out by an aggressor if it intended an airborne or seaborne attack against the United Kingdom from the north, the west or the east.

I regard death from a bayonet as being just as unacceptable as death from a nuclear device or any other modern fiendish weapon. I also cannot accept the view that injury from a bayonet or a nuclear device is acceptable, but I argue that if a potential enemy has such weapons it is wise and prudent to plan against their possible use against the citizens of this country. That is why I have always advocated that we should have a viable civil defence organisation, complete with viable civil defence plans. We must plan before we can organise. I welcome the regulations, because they are a positive step towards the planning stage.

Anyone listening to the debate would think that all that we are concerned about in this ghastly world is nuclear attacks. I remind the House that more people died at Stalingrad than at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Yet people talk about fighting a conventional war in Europe as if it were acceptable. One rarely sees demonstrations by the so-called peace movement against a conventional war in Europe, but it could be nothing but ghastly and horrendous. The casualties would certainly exceed those at Stalingrad, and that cannot be acceptable to anyone who wants peace.

Deterrence has worked both ways. Each side has deterred the other and has believed that it has deterred the other. We have enjoyed peace in Europe for nearly 40 years.

Soviet policy, especially its military policy, was fashioned by the horrors of the Hitler war. After all, the Soviet Union had a non-aggression pact with Hitler and it is not surprising that the Soviets do not trust the West. I would not do so if I were in the Politburo. We must remember that when trying to negotiate with the Soviet military. Twice in recent times they have seen their land invaded by foreign armies that have reached the gates of Moscow. That has conditioned their attitude.

However, can we be certain that in 10 or 20 years, when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—that massive conglomeration in which the Russions are a minority—faces demands for more civil freedoms and more consumer expenditure and, with a failed harvest, confronts unrest such as that now seen in Poland and other satellite countries, the men in the Politburo at that time might not be tempted into risky military adventures against the West?

That is the possibility about which we must think and against which we must plan. That is the possibility against which we must adequately prepare ourselves. Deterrence has worked. There is evidence that it has worked. Can we be sure, however, that, if the Soviets perceived any weakening in our determination to deter, they might not be tempted? Sane and rational people who want serious negotiations and Arms reductions recognise that they must go hand in hand with sensible policies of deterrence and civil defence.

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) is, I understand, in agreement with those local authorities that do not accept the law or the edicts of central Government. He said, in effect, that he supported them, and he gave his reasons for doing so. At their invitation, I have participated in debates in the council chambers of two authorities in Scotland that have declared themselves to be nuclear-free zones: Dundee City and Stirling district. The cases presented by the controlling Labour groups in those debates did not follow, not even remotely, the lines of the right hon. Gentleman's argument this evening. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman's hon. Friends will be able to tell him whether he or those local authorities are out of step.

Declaring a city, an area or a district to be a nuclear-free zone is about as effective as calling one's own home a burglar-free zone. It is one of the great nonsenses of our time. In an intervention earlier this evening, I mentioned that it was not unknown for local authorities in this country to refuse to accept the edicts of central Government. Before the 1939–45 war, the Clydebank council in Scotland refused to build Anderson shelters. As a result, many people died unnecessarily in the Clydebank blitz. That is a lesson that we should never forget. Clydebank council genuinely believed that Hitler would never attack Clydebank, but it forgot to tell him so. Clydebank was attacked, and many hundreds died.

Surely we can all agree on the need for peacetime planning, peacetime training and sensible precautions. People try to draw distinctions between nuclear and conventional war, but civil defence means no more than the defence of the civil population against possible events. Anyone who looks at the world we live in and rejects such things as impossible is not being realistic. We must take a realistic view of what may happen, although no one wants it to happen, and make our plans accordingly. If we plan sensibly and prudently, and do not pretend to be doing anything else, there is every possibility that we will be given the necessary co-operation. The public will see that we are being sensible. They will accept that no one, either in the Kremlin or in Downing Street, intends to fight a nuclear war and that we are simply planning properly for what may happen.

I have sat through the whole debate, and it has been most useful and interesting. If Opposition Members can find anything in my speech to suggest that I am a warmonger, they must be taking it out of context. I am a man of peace, but not a member of the peace movement. I believe that the best way to keep the peace is to do what we are doing.

10.49 pm
Mr. Bruce Millan (Glasgow, Govan)

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said, we oppose these regulations, not because we are against civil defence as such, but because we believe that we are dealing not with a genuine attempt at a credible civil defence policy, but with an exercise in dishonesty and deceit.

The Minister of State complained that the debate about civil defence had been politicised, as though that had happened without regard to the Government's actions in the past four years. But of course it is the Government who have politicised the subject and who have turned this issue into an acute political debate. Indeed, the Minister made a very political speech this evening. We also heard a very political speech from the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker). Other highly political speeches relating civil defence to the Government's defence policy have been made repeatedly by Conservative Members.

Of course, an example of the way in which the debate has been politicised is the Government's attempt to pretend that we could survive a nuclear war in a reasonable and civilised way if we took a few sensible, simple precautions. We simply do not believe that. The process started with that infamous document "Protect and Survive", published in 1980. When my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackely (Mr. Eastham) read out a list of the items that one is supposed to take into the little home shelter in the event of a nuclear war, he was doing no more than reading out details from that pamphlet. It has been comprehensively derided and ridiculed ever since its publication.

The Government's attempt to pretend that we could survive a nuclear war in some sort of reasonable order is not unconnected of course with the whole of the Government's defence policy. It is humbug for the Minister to say tonight that the Government are concerned only about humanitarianism, and that this issue has nothing to do with defence policy. Several quotations have already been given, but I shall give a few more. The present Home Secretary once said: Civil preparedness should be adequate if the credibility of the military deterrent strategy is to be maintained. The former Home Secretary said: Civil defence…this important element of our defence strategy…an expanded civil defence programme is both prudent and necessary to achieve an appropriate balance in our defence capability. These regulations, and the Government's whole attitude towards civil defence are very much bound up with the Government's overall defence policy. That is the first reason why the whole question has become an acute political issue. The second reason is that the Government have not followed the logic of their argument that it is possible, with suitable civil defence arrangements, to provide a civilised form of life after a nuclear war, by then providing the considerable sums necessary to make that policy a reality.

The Government estimate that the civil defence policy for this country will cost between £60 million and £70 million a year. However, we spend £16,000 million a year on defence as a whole. It is impossible to take the Government seriously on the logic of their own argument when that is the sum of money that they are providing. I looked at the rate support grant figures for Scotland and at what is provided by way of specific grant in 1983–84 in Scotland by this Government, who are so dedicated to a credible civil defence policy. The sum is £l.2 million for the whole of Scotland in the current year. That makes nonsense of all the Government's protestations about the adequacy of their civil defence policy.

Let us look at the "intellectually honest" approach of the Government—to borrow a phrase from the Minister. It is revealing to look at the original draft of the civil defence regulations which was sent to local authorities and to compare it with what we have before us tonight. On the subject of evacuation, for example, the Minister of State challenged my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook when he mentioned the original evacuation proposal. The Minister, who is presumably in charge of civil defence, incredibly was not aware that the original regulations contained proposals for evacuation. I have the original draft regulations, and as my right hon. Friend said, local authorities were asked to plan for transferring members of the civil population from one area to another in the event of hostile attack. That is evacuation.

That proposal has been dropped. Why has it been dropped over the past year? Have the Government made some new assessment of its necessity? Has there been some significant change in the nuclear threat which makes evacuation no longer the right response in the event of hostile attack, or would it cost significantly more for local authorities to plan meaningfully for evacuation than the Government are willing to make available for civil defence?

What about shelters for the public? That was another matter mentioned tonight which has been dropped from the regulations. The original draft said that local authorities were to provide public civil defence shelters. One must note the phrase that followed: whether or not priority of admission is accorded to specific persons or classes of person. Local authorities were originally supposed to categorise members of the community into those who were to have priority for shelter and those who were not. That requirement has been dropped from the regulations. If the Government were serious about protecting the population and believed that there could be some genuine survival after a nuclear attack they should be asking local authorities to provide public shelters on a considerable scale, but they are not.

What about control centres? My right hon. Friend asked the Government about them because, under the original regulations the control centres were meant to be suitable for the period after the hostile attack. In other words, if one is going to run any community after a nuclear war there has to be a control centre which will be operational after nuclear attack. That also has been dropped from the regulations.

The local authorities simply have to provide control centres, but if they are not properly protected they will go when the balloon goes up just the same as everything else. That makes a farce of all the talk about central planning and so on that we have heard from the Government.

The Government have lost all credibility with the general public, and not just CND supporters, on their civil defence policy. Many members of the public who are not CND supporters believe in nuclear deterrence but do not believe that we have a credible civil defence policy from the Government. Any responsible body which looks at the subject comes inevitably to that conclusion.

We have had quotations from the BMA study and, as the Minister acknowledged when it was published originally the Government tried to smear it and say that it had been subject to undue CND influence. I am glad that the Government have at least had the good grace to withdraw that disgraceful allegation.

I want to quote one matter from the BMA report. It is not about taking a view as doctors and non-experts on the subject of nuclear warfare, but about the scale of possible attack on this country in the event of a nuclear war. Here is what it says about the casualty figures that might be expected following the detonation of a single, 1-megaton weapon over the United Kingdom: The explosion of a single nuclear bomb of the size used at Hiroshima over a major city in the United Kingdom is likely to produce so many cases of trauma and burns requiring hospital treatment that the remaining medical services in the United Kingdom would be completely overwhelmed. That is the reality that we face from a single bomb of the size used at Hiroshima if it were exploded here. If there were a nuclear war, we should not be expecting anything as simple as that to deal with—we should be expecting bombing thousands of times more serious than what happened at Hiroshima. That is what makes it so disgraceful for the Government to pretend that, if we all take simple, sensible steps, somehow civilisation can go on much as before.

The Royal College of Nursing is another organisation that the Government like to quote to us, when there are troubles in the NHS, as a highly respectable and responsible organisation. Its working party report, produced the other day, said this about "Protect and Survive": The Home Office booklet 'Protect and Survive' is, in our view, a naive and misleading misrepresentation of the effectiveness of the measures recommended as a means of protection in anticipation of a nuclear attack. All the Government's civil defence policy is a misleading representation of the real problems that we should face in the event of a nuclear war. The Government have not persuaded the BMA, the RCN or any expert or professional body outside the Home Office, as my hon. Friends have said, on the credibility of their civil defence policy.

Mr. Hurd

We have persuaded the BMA and the RCN that they should join us in carrying out our plan. Will the right hon. Gentleman, following that example, persuade local authorities to do the same?

Mr. Milian

I am coming to the local authorities, but what the right hon. Gentleman has said about the BMA and the RCN is misleading.

Mr. Hurd


Mr. Milian

I was coming to the local authorities because it is principally with local authorities that we are dealing tonight. The Government have not persuaded the local authorities of the sense or purpose of these regulations. That is not unconnected with the fact that there has been a breakdown in relationships between the Government and local authorities over the past four years. What can the Government expect when they have dictated to and bullied local authorities unmercifully over the past four years? The Government have tried to determine rate levels, are penalising authorities over levels of expenditure, and have forced up local authority rates and the rest.

As a result of this breakdown, the Government would have been lucky, even if they had produced credible arrangements, to have had local authority co-operation. However, they do not have that, and the Government are deluding themselves if they believe that passing these regulations will mean that they suddenly have local authority co-operation when they have dragooned local authorities into doing their bidding simply by passing the regulations. There is no question of breaking the law, as some Conservative Members have suggested. I am not advocating that any local authority should break the law, and I hope that none of them will do so. However, there is a vast difference between breaking the law and cooperating enthusiastically. There is a large area in between those two, and the very most that the Government can expect from local authorities, and not only Labour-controlled ones, is a reluctant acquiescence in the regulations, if they are passed.

If the Government believe in the importance of civil defence, do they really want the regulations and organisation to be carried out by reluctant local authorities that will drag their feet and not give the wholehearted cooperation essential for success? It is no use Conservative Members talking about Home Office officials rather than Home Office Ministers forcing local authorities to do something that they do not want to do; monitoring them, sending in comissioners and so on. Apart from the defects in merit, the regulations will not work because they will not receive the minimum level of co-operation to make them work. Local authorities do not believe in the regulations, and they are sensible to take that view.

Why does the Minister think that he will improve the position by trying to marry civil defence with the handling of civil emergencies? That will not solve the problem. Every local authority accepts responsibility for dealing with civil emergencies, but if the Government think that, because local authorities accept that responsibility they will willingly accept the responsibilities in the regulations, they are deluding themselves.

If the Government are to get themselves out of the mess they have made on civil defence, they will have to begin on an entirely different basis. They must admit what we all know to be true—that we cannot survive a nuclear attack in any civilised way. The idea that we can produce plans and regulations to enable us to survive is absolute nonsense and an absurdity. While the Government try to persuade local authorities and others of that, they will have no sensible civil defence policy. If the Government accept that—I do not believe that they will—it may be possible to talk sensibly to local authorities.

We have probably gone past that stage. There was the first glimmer of recognition of that fact in the speeches of hon. Members opposite tonight. All the talk about centralised control recognises that the Government will not achieve their objectives by leaving the matter with local authorities. If the Government believe that they have the right civil defence policy, they had better take over complete responsibility for it. They will not get the job done by local authorities, either willingly or unwillingly.

The attitude taken by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, without dissent from Conservative members —the regulations are anathema to local authorities—is that if the Government want this civil defence policy they had better organise it themselves and not pretend that they can do it with the co-operation of local authorities.

The Government have brought this chaos and disaster upon themselves. The regulations will make an already chaotic position even worse. If the Government had any sense they would withdraw them, even now at this last minute, and think again.

11.9 pm

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Michael Ancram)

We have had what I am sure all hon. Members agree is a comprehensive debate on civil defence —the first of its kind for some time. On occasions, we have perhaps strayed beyond the exact limits of the regulations into the wider sphere of nuclear weapons and national defence. That is not surprising. However, I want to concentrate mainly on the case for civil defence, which I believe stands on its own.

The case, essentially and simply—and I believe that it should be restated — is that no Government can guarantee that this country will never again be involved or caught up in war, directly or indirectly. Even if we were to give up our nuclear deterrent, abandon our NATO allies and be prepared to submit unconditionally to any military threat, there could still be no assurance that this country would not be subject to some form of attack in war, and no assurance that we could wholly escape the effects of any nuclear conflict between other nations. The facts of geography—inescapable as they are—make this plain. So, even if we took those extreme steps, we should still need civil defence. If we cannot be sure that we shall never again be involved or caught up in any kind of warfare, nuclear or conventional, we have a duty to do what we can to protect our people from its effects, were it to happen.

The Government understand the concern that is felt by many caring and honest people about the possession of nuclear weapons. We share that concern and we share their desire for peace. That is why we maintain our strenuous diplomatic efforts to promote disarmament and make the world a safer place. However, the world would not be a safer place if we denied ourselves our capability to deter aggressors, and the need for civil defence measures would not disappear if we disarmed. Every country must undertake civil defence measures to protect its people. Any Government who do not do so are ignoring their basic responsibilities.

Essential services in Britain are provided through a complex division of duties between central and local government. That division can operate effectively only if there is good will and a responsible attitude on each side. When we came into government in 1979, we found a need to invest greater effort and resources in civil defence. We made it clear that the former partnership with local authorities should continue so that we could achieve the necessary improvement in our national civil defence planning. We identified with the local authorities as our main partners because they have the relevant experience, resources and knowledge of the particular needs within their own areas. Regrettably, although there have been notable exceptions, by and large authorities did not respond adequately to the lead we provided in 1980. My hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) illustrated that fact remarkably well. It has left the population in large areas of the country without adequate arrangements for their welfare and protection in the event of war. What is perhaps more important, it has disrupted the preparations of many other responsible authorities.

Mr. Deakins


Mr. Ancram

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman, but, in view of the time, I shall not give way very much during my speech.

Mr. Deakins

I thank the Minister for giving way. Will he say something about the role of public utilities in providing essential services and how they fit into this pattern of central and local government co-operation?

Mr. Ancram

I shall come to that matter when I answer the questions that have been asked during the debate.

Clearly, the situation that the Government inherited could not continue. We in government have played our part by encouragement and exhortation and by making available our share of additional resources, but these have not been used, and authorities have been able to shelter behind the inadequacies of the earlier regulations. That is why the regulations for England, Wales and Scotland now before the House are necessary. They are necessary to make sure that basic local preparedness is carried forward and to assist those authorities which are anxious to protect their people by strengthening, extending and setting out more clearly the duties of local authorities and by providing increased financial support for local expenditure. We seek to achieve those aims not by rejecting the policies followed by the Opposition when in government, but rather by adopting them, building on them and extending them only where necessary. Scottish Members who were in the House 10 years ago—some of them are here tonight—will find much that is familiar in these regulations if they compare them closely with those made in 1975 by the then Secretary of State for Scotland, now Lord Ross of Marnock.

These regulations are in no sense warlike instruments. They merely provide a basis for local authorities to take simple precautions at minimal cost as an insurance premium against such an event happening. The then Labour Government's spokesman, the hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing), said: It is the sincere hope of all of us that the plans will never need to be implemented, but that is no reason for not attempting to make them".—[Official Report, Third Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, 7 May 1975; c. 10] What the hon. Gentleman said then holds true today. I hope that the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Deakins) and, more importantly, the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Milian), who was the Secretary of State for Scotland and responsible for civil defence in Scotland, will appreciate that when they were in government they took the view that they say we should not take tonight.

That is why I was surprised to hear Opposition Members suggest that some authorities will pay no heed to the regulations. I do not believe that this will be so. I am confident that no responsible local authority will fail to discharge statutory duties laid upon it by Parliament. But, even if I am wrong, I want to make it plain that the people of this country must and will receive adequate protection.

I remind my hon. Friends that the powers exist to ensure that the functions prescribed in the new regulations are carried out, and that it remains open to us to use these powers should any authority be so irresponsible as to disregard the fundamental interests of its citizens I hope that it will not be necessary to use those powers.

Many matters were raised, and I cannot deal with them all. The Opposition case seems to be divided into two parts. Some Opposition Members believe that civil defence is unnecessary and wrong because they happen to be against the nuclear deterrent. I find it more difficult to understand others, particularly on the Opposition Front Bench, who claim that their opposition is based solely on the Government's presentation of the civil defence proposals and that they are not against civil defence itself.

The right hon. Members for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) and for Govan spoke about evacuation. The Government never made a decision to move to an evacuation policy —[Interruption.] If the right hon. Member for Govan would listen for once, he would find out the truth. The first draft of the regulations required local authorities to prepare evacuation plans in case the Government decided in future that a national evacuation scheme was made necessary by an international crisis. We continually review that part of the policy. No decision has been taken. In view of the misunderstandings among local authorities at the time, which were reflected in Opposition Members' speeches tonight, the proposal was dropped from the regulations.

Mr. Strang

If the Government want an objective debate on the evacuation issue, they should publish the internal Home Office report on evacuation.

Mr. Ancram

The hon. Gentleman should know that there is no such report within the Home Office. The matter is continually reviewed.

A number of hon. Members talked about emergency centres and the cost that they might impose upon local authorities. I should like to clear up the misunderstanding. Many centres already exist and cover counties in England and regions in Scotland. By and large they are modest schemes. The centres tend to be in the basements of large municipal buildings. The cost of repairing and converting is between £10,000 and £30,000. Therefore some of the figures that have been bandied about by Labour Members do not bear further consideration.

Mr. Hattersley

I am anxious to understand what it is that makes a room in a basement a control centre. How would we distinguish it from a different room in a different basement that was not a control centre?

Mr. Ancram

Apart from anything else, if the right hon. Gentleman had been studying the regulations, he would have found a communications system within that room. I do not know how many basements he visits in which he expects to find technology of that type, but certainly that is not my experience of basements generally.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Mr. Finsberg) asked my right hon. Friend to avoid delays. I can reassure him that the regulations come into effect 28 days after they are approved by Parliament, so there will be no delay.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

I was able to read that. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State said that after the regulations come into force the process of consultation will be drawn out. That was what I wanted reassurance about.

Mr. Ancram

We will, of course, over a period, receive and discuss suggestions. It would be a strange system were we not able to do that. I can assure my hon. Friend that within 28 days of the regulations being approved they will become effective.

The hon. Member for Walthamstow made an important point about compulsory training. The regulations do not compel any individual local authority employee to take part in civil defence if he refuses to do so. That has been said categorically to the TUC and to the local authority associations. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be satisfied on that point.

My hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Latham) made several interesting points to which I listened with a good deal of attention. I cannot say at the moment whether the resources for the inspectorate or the regional structure would be justified, but I am sure that he will appreciate that that depends to a large extent on the manner in which local authorities discharge their functions after the regulations are passed. We will certainly keep such proposals in mind, but at present I do not consider that there is a case for them, until we see how the regulations work in practice. My hon. Friend also asked about the staff in the Home Department. I should like to reassure him that the civil defence staff of the Home Office, of the Scottish Home and Health Departments and of the Civil Defence college have been substantially increased since 1980 and they will monitor the performance of local authorities.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) suggested that a 100 per cent. grant for civil defence might be an appropriate way of dealing with this matter. Civil defence must necessarily be a local authority responsibility, because in an emergency it will be the responsibility of local people. It is therefore right that they should make a financial contribution to the cost of the service, although that contribution is being kept small. The combined effect of 75 per cent. grant and 100 per cent. grant on certain expenditure is that about 85 per cent. of local authority expenditure on civil defence is borne by central Government.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) asked about the casualty estimates. I suspect that he has been visited by the same man who has been to see me in my constituency, because I recognised some of the facts and figures that the hon. Gentleman produced. When the Home Office casualty assessment rules are revised, the results will be published, probably next year. I know that the Home Ofice expects that it will be possible to reach broad agreement on the ground rules within the scientific community for casualty assessments from particular levels of attack. I hope that those will be available as rules which may then be applied in a rather less divisive way than some of the assumptions which we have heard tonight.

Too many people incorrectly assume that if war came —we all hope that it will not—it would take a form that could be predicted either by the Government or by themselves. That is absurd. We can as readily predict the type, location, duration, intensity and casualties of natural disasters as we can of war. That is why we question the claim that any war would inevitably be fought with nuclear weapons and on such a scale and with such intensity that inevitably the whole population would be wiped out.

No one can know in advance what form a future conflict might take. It might involve, as some of my hon. Friends have said, no more than conventional bombing; it might stop at limited nuclear exchanges; it might extend to full-scale nuclear warfare. As the opponents of civil defence cannot know what would happen, they cannot properly claim that inevitably everyone in the country would be killed and that there is no point in laying plans to help the survivors.

What we face, in short, is the need to plan flexibly for circumstances which are unpredictable. The Government have never denied that any attack on this country involving nuclear weapons — no matter how few — would be horrendous and that the casualties would be appalling. Equally, it is wrong of those who disagree with the need for civil defence to deny that under any conceivable form of attack there would be many survivors, that their numbers would be increased if sensible protective measures were taken in advance and that their prospects for continued survival and recovery would be far greater if proper plans were formulated.

It is even more wrong to suggest that civil defence is a war-mongering activity. It is quite the opposite. It is, as my right hon. Friend said, a humanitarian endeavour intended to relieve potential human suffering. It is paradoxical that those who claim to have the interests of their fellow citizens at heart at the same time seek to obstruct protective measures being taken on their behalf. These measures need not be elaborate. Those who claim that civil defence is useless because there is no defence against nuclear weapons are ignoring the realities.

The Government are committed to peace—a peace which we believe our defence policy will maintain and preserve. But we recognise, as we must, that no Government have control over our own destiny. In an imperfect world there must always be dangers and risks, and it is these dangers and risks which in all responsibility we must be prepared to reduce. We cannot completely eradicate them, and it is essentially foolish to suggest that we can, so we have a moral responsibility—both central and local government—to make contingency arrangements to alleviate the hardships which may result.

There is nothing inconsistent in preparing for eventualities which we hope and believe will not occur. The last Labour Government did so in terms of civil defence, and we are doing the same. It is the insurance which many of us take out to cover things which we hope and believe will not happen to us in our ordinary lives and yet which commonsense dictates we should make provision for.

That, in essence, is what civil defence is about. It is ensuring as best we can and within the realistic limits of our capabilities and our assessment of the risk the survival of people whose lives might otherwise be lost, and enhancing as best we can their continual survival and rehabilitation. That is why these new civil defence regulations have been laid before the House.

I find it difficult to understand the view of some hon. Members that we should not bother. I do not intend to discuss their motives. I will only say that they would have us believe that a threat is the less if we do not guard against it and that a risk is diminished if we do not provide for it. The lessons of history do not bear that out. However, they go further, for they seek to undermine the basic responsibility of the state, and that is to secure and protect the survival of its citizens. Any Government who ignore that responsibility forfeit their claim to the trust of the people. This Government will not shirk that responsibility. Nor, I believe, will the House. That is why I ask with confidence for the approval of these regulations tonight.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 335, Noes 195.

Division No. 51] [11.30 pm
Adley, Robert Benyon, William
Alexander, Richard Berry, Sir Anthony
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Best, Keith
Amess, David Bevan, David Gilroy
Ancram, Michael Biffen, Rt Hon John
Arnold, Tom Biggs-Davison, Sir John
Ashby, David Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Aspinwall, Jack Body, Richard
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Bottomley, Peter
Baker, Kenneth (Mole Valley) Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Baldry, Anthony Boyson, Dr Rhodes
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Braine, Sir Bernard
Batiste, Spencer Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Bright, Graham
Bellingham, Henry Brinton, Tim
Bendall, Vivian Brittan, Rt Hon Leon
Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay) Brooke, Hon Peter
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Harvey, Robert
Browne, John Haselhurst, Alan
Bruinvels, Peter Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Buck, Sir Antony Hawksley, Warren
Budgen, Nick Hayes, J.
Bulmer, Esmond Hayhoe, Barney
Butcher, John Hayward, Robert
Butler, Hon Adam Heathcoat-Amory, David
Butterfill, John Heddle, John
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Henderson, Barry
Carttiss, Michael Hickmet, Richard
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Hicks, Robert
Chapman, Sydney Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Chope, Christopher Hill, James
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Hind, Kenneth
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hirst, Michael
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Clarke Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Clegg, Sir Walter Holt, Richard
Colvin, Michael Hooson, Tom
Coombs, Simon Howard, Michael
Cope, John Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Cormack, Patrick Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Couchman, James Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)
Critchley, Julian Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Crouch, David Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Currie, Mrs Edwina Hunt, David (Wirral)
Dickens, Geoffrey Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Dicks, T. Hunter, Andrew
Dorrell, Stephen Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Dover, Denshore Jessel, Toby
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Johnson-Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Dunn, Robert Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Jones, Robert (W Herts)
Eggar, Tim Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Emery, Sir Peter Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Evennett, David Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Eyre, Reginald Key, Robert
Fairbairn, Nicholas King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Fallon, Michael King, Rt Hon Tom
Farr, John Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
Favell, Anthony Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Knowles, Michael
Finsberg, Geoffrey Knox, David
Fletcher, Alexander Lamont, Norman
Forman, Nigel Lang, Ian
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Latham, Michael
Fox, Marcus Lawler, Geoffrey
Franks, Cecil Lawrence, Ivan
Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) Lee, John (Pendle)
Freeman, Roger Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Fry, Peter Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Gale, Roger Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)
Galley, Roy Lightbown, David
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Lilley, Peter
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde) Lloyd, Ian (Havant)
Garel-Jones, Tristan Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Lord, Michael
Glyn, Dr Alan Lyell, Nicholas
Goodlad, Alastair Macfarlane, Neil
Gorst, John MacGregor, John
Gow, Ian MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Gower, Sir Raymond MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
Grant, Sir Anthony Maclean, David John.
Green way, Harry McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Gregory, Conal McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds) Madel, David
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Major, John
Grist, Ian Malins, Humfrey
Ground, Patrick Malone, Gerald
Grylls, Michael Maples, John
Gummer, John Selwyn Marland, Paul
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Marlow, Antony
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Maude, Francis
Hampson, Dr Keith Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Hannam, John Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Hargreaves, Kenneth Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Mellor, David Sims, Roger
Merchant, Piers Skeet, T. H. H.
Miller, Hal (B grove) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Miscampbell, Norman Speed, Keith
Mitchell, David (NW Hants) Speller, Tony
Moate, Roger Spence, John
Monro, Sir Hector Spencer, D.
Montgomery, Fergus Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Moore, John Squire, Robin
Morris, M. (N'hampton, S) Stanbrook, Ivor
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Stanley, John
Moynihan, Hon C. Steen, Anthony
Murphy, Christopher Stern, Michael
Neale, Gerrard Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Needham, Richard Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Neubert, Michael Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Newton, Tony Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Nicholls, Patrick Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Norris, Steven Stradling Thomas, J.
Onslow, Cranley Sumberg, David
Oppenheim, Philip Tapsell, Peter
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S. Taylor, John (Solihull)
Osborn, Sir John Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Ottaway, Richard Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Temple-Morris, Peter
Parris, Matthew Terlezki, Stefan
Patten, John (Oxford) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Pattie, Geoffrey Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian Thornton, Malcolm
Pink, R. Bonner Thurnham, Peter
Porter, Barry Townend, John (Bridlington)
Powell, William (Corby) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Powley, John Tracey, Richard
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Twinn, Dr Ian
Price, Sir David van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Proctor, K. Harvey Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Pym, Rt Hon Francis Viggers, Peter
Raffan, Keith Waddington, David
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Rathbone, Tim Waldegrave, Hon William
Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover) Walden, George
Renton, Tim Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Rhodes James, Robert Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Wall, Sir Patrick
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Waller, Gary
Rifkind, Malcolm Walters, Dennis
Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Ward, John
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Robinson, Mark (N'port W) Watson, John
Roe, Mrs Marion Watts, John
Rossi, Sir Hugh Wells, John (Maidstone)
Rost, Peter Wheeler, John
Rowe, Andrew Whitfield, John
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Whitney, Raymond
Ryder, Richard Wiggin, Jerry
Sackville, Hon Thomas Winterton, Mrs Ann
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Winterton, Nicholas
St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N. Wolfson, Mark
Sayeed, Jonathan Wood, Timothy
Scott, Nicholas Woodcock, Michael
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Yeo, Tim
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Young, Sir George (Acton)
Shelton, William (Streatham)
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Tellers for the Ayes:
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Mr. Carol Mather and Mr. Robert Boscawen.
Shersby, Michael
Silvester, Fred
Abse, Leo Bagier, Gordon A. T.
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Banks, Tony (Newham NW)
Alton, David Barron, Kevin
Anderson, Donald Beckett, Mrs Margaret
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Beith, A. J.
Ashdown, Paddy Bell, Stuart
Ashton, Joe Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Bermingham, Gerald
Blair, Anthony Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Boyes, Roland Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) John, Brynmor
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Johnston, Russell
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Caborn, Richard Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Campbell, Ian Kirkwood, Archibald
Canavan, Dennis Lambie, David
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Lamond, James
Carter-Jones, Lewis Lead bitter, Ted
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Clarke, Thomas Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Clay, Robert Litherland, Robert
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Cohen, Harry Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Coleman, Donald Loyden, Edward
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. McCartney, Hugh
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) McGuire, Michael
Corbett, Robin McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Corbyn, Jeremy Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) McTaggart, Robert
Craigen, J. M. McWilliam, John
Crowther, Stan Madden, Max
Cunliffe, Lawrence Marek, Dr John
Cunningham, Dr John Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Dalyell, Tam Martin, Michael
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Maxton, John
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Maynard, Miss Joan
Deakins, Eric Meacher, Michael
Dewar, Donald Meadowcroft, Michael
Dixon, Donald Michie, William
Dobson, Frank Mikardo, Ian
Dormand, Jack Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Douglas, Dick Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Dubs, Alfred Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Duffy, A. E. P. Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Eadie, Alex Nellist, David
Eastham, Ken Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Ellis, Raymond O'Brien, William
Evans, loan (Cynon Valley) O'Neill, Martin
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Ewing, Harry Park, George
Fatchett, Derek Parry, Robert
Faulds, Andrew Pavitt, Laurie
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Pendry, Tom
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Penhaligon, David
Fisher, Mark Pike, Peter
Flannery, Martin Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Prescott, John
Forrester, John Radice, Giles
Foulkes, George Randall, Stuart
Fraser, J. (Norwood) Redmond, M.
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Richardson, Ms Jo
George, Bruce Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Godman, Dr Norman Robertson, George
Golding, John Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Gould, Bryan Rooker, J. W.
Gourlay, Harry Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Rowlands, Ted
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Ryman, John
Hardy, Peter Sedgemore, Brian
Harman, Ms Harriet Sheerman, Barry
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Heffer, Eric S. Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Skinner, Dennis
Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall) Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Home Robertson, John Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Snape, Peter
Howells, Geraint Soley, Clive
Hoyle, Douglas Spearing, Nigel
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Steel, Rt Hon David
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Stott, Roger
Strang, Gavin White, James
Straw, Jack Wigley, Dafydd
Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth) Williams, Rt Hon A.
Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen) Wilson, Gordon
Thompson, J. (Wansbeck) Winnick, David
Thorne, Stan (Preston) Woodall, Alec
Tinn, James Young, David (Bolton SE)
Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Wallace, James Tellers for the Noes:
Warden, Gareth (Gower) Mr. Harry Cowens and Mr. Ron Leighton.
Wareing, Robert
Welsh, Michael

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Civil Defence (Grant) (Amendment) Regulations 1983, which were laid before this House on 12th July, be approved.

Resolved, That the draft Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983, which were laid before this House on 12th July, be approved.—[Mr. David Hunt.]

Resolved, That the draft Civil Defence (Grant) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 1983, which were laid before this House on 12th July, be approved. That the draft Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) (Scotland) Regulations 1983, which were laid before this House on 12th July, be approved.—[Mr. Ancram.]