HC Deb 07 June 1898 vol 58 cc973-5

Amendment proposed— Page 2, line 4, leave out 'one year' and insert 'two years."—(Mr. Warner.)


There are two points in this clause which I do not think are quite realised, and the Amendment I have put down seems to be necessary. It depends whether the "one year" refers to the first part of the clause as well as the second. This clause deals with very different things. One part deals with the question of the extension of the places in which the Militia may be employed, and the other deals with the calling out of certain people in the Militia. If the "one year" applies in to the extension of the first part of the clause, it will be really rather a serious injury, because the Militia cannot be, as it has always been, asked to volunteer to garrison either Gibraltar or Malta, or other places required to be garrisoned, and they have been required to stop there for more than a year. If you have a hard and fast rule that they may only be there for one year that will tie the Government down to bringing them back in time of war, perhaps at a most inconvenient time. If, however, it only applies to the second part of the clause I do not wish to press my Amendment. Then there is another point that I should like to have explained, and that is— Shall be construed as authorising the employment of any member of the Militia volunteering to serve for a period not exceeding one year, whether an order embodying the Militia is in force or not at the time. I want to understand the use of the word "member." I can quite understand that it is part of the plan of the Government to take the Militia. It is practically another reserve, but this clause as it stands, or as I read it, leads to the possibility of the Government doing what may be called a War Office job by using Militia officers for the purpose of active service, which is really the right of the Army when a small war is going on. The clause says "any member of the Militia." That, of course, includes any officer of the Militia, and might lead to the Militia officers being used in preference to the officers of the regular Army.


As regards the first point of the honourable Member, the period of one year was adopted because it was considered a necessary and convenient period, so far as the service was concerned. The period of one year also applies to the second part. As to the second query of the honourable Member, there is not the slightest intention to rely on this clause for the purpose of employing Militia officers in preference to the officers of the regular Army, but rather on the contrary.

MR. BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

If I understand the right honourable, Gentleman correctly there is no danger of the honourable Member having to take active service.


I do not think I quite explained myself properly with regard to whether the "one year" applies to the first part of the clause, which is in reference to the embodied Militia. The question of the embodied Militia serving for more than one year is rather important.


It is obvious that the first part of the clause cannot be carried out unless the "one year" also applies to the second part.

Question put— That clause 2 stand part of the Bill.

Agreed to.

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