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Volume 481: debated on Thursday 30 November 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to prevent an organisation named Peace Pledge Union from hindering recruitment for Civil Defence and undermining the morale of those who have already been recruited in Civil Defence by circulating a defeatist pamphlet entitled, "Civil Defence: What You Should Do Now."

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell), on 23rd November.

Is the Minister aware that this pamphlet contains subversive statements alleging that deep shelters will only be available for the Government and advising members of the Civil Defence organisation to leave the country or to make sure that they will not support the Government? In view of these statements, could not a special Act be introduced, such as the one which deals with people subverting the Armed Forces?

No, Sir. For one thing, I think that the hon. Gentleman is exaggerating the influence of this pamphlet, and I am not anxious to take unnecessary powers to restrict freedom of expression, no matter how foolish.

Is this the pamphlet to which the Minister referred as subversive in his statement in the "News Chronicle"? Has the right hon. Gentleman read the pamphlet, and is he prepared to put this alleged subversive pamphlet in the Library, so that Members can judge for themselves?

No, Sir, I have not alluded to this pamphlet as subversive, but I have read it and I gather from the Questions I have been asked that a large number of hon. Members have read it, and that it has had no effect on their patriotism.