Clause 12. — (Interpretation)

Orders of the Day — Supply. – in the House of Commons on 2nd April 1941.

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Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Photo of Mr Lewis Silkin Mr Lewis Silkin , Camberwell Peckham

The question has been raised as to the definition of a Civil Defence force, and I have been asked by the Association of Municipal Corporations to put the following points: The Clause declares that "Civil Defence force" means any civil organization established for forestalling or mitigating attacks by the enemy I should like to know, first of all, whether fire prevention services are to come within the definition for the purposes of the Bill. The other point is whether rest centres and places of that sort are to come within the definition of "Civil Defence force." It is doubtful whether, on the words as they stand, they could come within that definition as an organisation established for forestalling or mitigating attacks by the enemy. I hope that it may be possible for the Minister to remove doubt and to declare that if it is desired he can include the fire prevention services and rest centres as performing work of a Civil Defence force.

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

The definition is very wide, and, I think, wide enough to cover the categories mentioned by the hon. Member if necessary. It is not necessary, however, because fire prevention duties are part-time, whereas the duties of those called up under this Bill will be whole-time. Therefore, while the definition may be wide, these people to whom the hon. Gentleman made reference will not come within its ambit.

Photo of Mr Thomas Harvey Mr Thomas Harvey , Combined English Universities

Will the Minister deal with the question of rest centres? There are many people engaged in rest centres, doing full-time work and, if necessary, going about from one centre to another.

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

I think they are women.

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

If they are engaged in forestalling or mitigating attacks by the enemy, they will be included. If not, they will not be included.

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Remaining Clauses ordered to stand part of the Bill.