§ Sir CLEMENT KINLOCH-COOKE
asked whether an Admiralty order was recently sent to the men employed at Chatham Dockyard stating that not more than 2 per cent, of the Territorials employed would be allowed to re-engage in the local Territorial units, which include two squadrons of Imperial Yeomanry, three companies of Royal Engineers, and two companies of the 5th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment, besides a considerable number of men belonging to the Kent and Sussex Artillery and bearer companies of the Royal Army Medical Corps; whether he is aware that such an order would practically mean that a very large number of men now belonging to the units named have attended their last camp, because the 2 per cent. limit would prohibit all except about 180 of the Kent Territorials employed from again engaging in the force; if so, whether the order was issued after consultation with the Secretary of State for War; and whether the effect of such an order on other large employers of labour has been considered?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Orders have recently been issued after reference to, and with the concurrence of, the Army Council, that not more than 2 per cent, of the total number of employés at each dockyard shall be allowed to engage in the Territorial Force. The hon. Member will recognise that the position of the Royal dockyards in relation to the Territorial Force is essentially different from that of the ordinary private employer, and that in this matter considerations of national safety demand that not only the requirements of the Territorial Force shall be taken into account, but the requirements also of His Majesty's Navy. The question whether in exceptional circumstances any re-engagements shall be permitted, notwithstanding that the 2 per cent, limit is exceeded, is at present receiving the attention of the Admiralty.