Information Services

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th January 1984.

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Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North 12:00 am, 17th January 1984

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the information services of his Department.

Photo of John Stanley John Stanley Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

Seventy-one service men and 268 civil servants are engaged in the information services of the Department and of the individual armed services. They are concerned primarily with informing the public about the Government's defence policy and of the activities of the armed forces.

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

Will my hon. Friend ensure that his Department makes available suitable material to schools and educational and other institutions setting out the NATO and Western defence case, to ensure that there is a proper balance in peace studies and allied subjects?

Photo of John Stanley John Stanley Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

I assure my hon. Friend that publications from my Department to inform the public about various aspects of defence policy are freely available to teachers and those in the academic world who want to have the Government's view.

Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara , Kingston upon Hull North

Will the Minister take care to advise regular officers taking part in presentation schemes and teams that when speaking to the public they should not indulge in what might appear to be political polemics either about Governments or parties in this country or about the rulers of states abroad?

Photo of John Stanley John Stanley Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

As the hon. Gentleman is aware, the armed services have a strict tradition of party political neutrality. The presentations whereby the armed services seek to explain their respective roles that are carried on under this Government have been carried on under successive Governments.