HC Deb 18 July 1900 vol 86 cc385-7


Order for Second Reading read.


I think there need be very few words said in moving the Second Reading of this Bill. It has two objects. In the first place, it will abolish the present restrictions in the use of the supplemental section of the Army Reserve. At present, under the Reserve Forces Act of 1882, Reservists of a certain category can only be got at when the whole of Sections B and C have been exhausted. Many difficulties arising out of that division have been revealed during the war on the first place, on 20th December we had to call out 8,000 men of Sections B and C who were not needed. I think the House will see that that is very hard on everybody. It is hard on the taxpayer, who has to pay the man full pay when he is not doing full work; it is hard on the Reservist, who has, perhaps, thrown up his employment and is not wanted but sent back; it is hard on his wife, whose arrangements are dislocated by receiving separation allowance for a few days and then the allowance ceasing; it is hard on the charitable associations which have come forward with such humanity to assist in these matters; and it is hard on the officer in charge of the mobilisation, who, at a time when the depot is already clogged with men, has to deal with additional men for whom he has no need; and it is hard on regimental tradition. I think that, while preserving the principle that we should take the men who last left the Army first, we ought to apply that principle to regiments and not to the whole of the Reserve. If you want a few Reservists you fall back on the men who left a year ago, and, if you want more, you take the men who left two years ago.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Wyndham.)


I think the main object of this Bill is one that can be accepted. There is only one point that I am doubtful about, and it is a humble and sordid question. There are two classes of men who have different obligations. One class get 6d. a day and the other class get 4d. a day. Supposing I have served in a regiment in which you have a great many sixpenny men, and I personally am not called upon until you have exhausted all the sixpenny men in the other regiment, is there not a danger of injustice being done in dealing with the two classes? I am afraid that is an important omission from the statement. We should have, of course, to give sixpence in every case, and a proper chock on the number under Sub-section (ft) would be only to pass men into that section who are efficient. I believe the proper way to keep it within limits is by raising the standard and paying the reserve properly.


asked whether this Bill did not involve the placing of an increased charge upon the expenditure of the country.


No, I do not think that follows at all. That is a question that will be debated when the Estimates come on. It depends on the policy of the Government of the day—whether they wish to have many or few.


said he presumed that the 4d. men were to have 6d., and that would mean an increase on the cost of the Reserve, unless they reduced the total number. He did not suppose that this or any Government was likely to reduce the number of the Reserve. He thought the country was ready to meet the small increased expenditure on the Reserve, looking to the magnificent way they succeeded in filling up the regiments.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.