HC Deb 02 July 1919 vol 117 cc956-8
45. Colonel ASHLEY

asked the Prime Minister how many of the staff of the new Ministry of Supply have already been selected, and how many are ex-Service men?


I have been asked to reply to this question and would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer I gave him yesterday, in which I said that if Parliament decides to set up a Ministry of Supply preference would be given to ex-Service men.

Colonel ASHLEY

May I ask for an answer to the question? I asked how many of the staff of the Ministry of Supply have already been selected and how many are ex-Service men?


That information I also gave yesterday. No appointments can be made to the Ministry of Supply until Parliament has decided to establish the Ministry, but I said that in the existing Ministry, out of the whole staff of 6,000, 2,000 were ex-soldiers.

Colonel ASHLEY

Did not the answer apply to the Ministry of Munitions, and is it not a fact that a great many gentlemen have been told that they will be taken by the Ministry of Supply as soon as the Bill is passed?


No appointments have been made, or can be made, until Parliament decides to set up the Ministry. Presumably it would be with the staff of the Ministry of Munitions. The figures for the Ministry of Munitions I gave to the House yesterday.

Colonel ASHLEY

Are we to understand that no promises of positions have been made to anyone?


That has been made clear. No promise can be given in regard to the Ministry of Supply.


Something almost equivalent to promises has been given them?


We cannot pursue the matter further by questions.

46. Colonel ASHLEY

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the reduction of staffs in the various public Departments, it is the policy of the Government to insist that no competent ex-Service man, graded as temporary or permanent, is discharged till all those who have not served have been dispensed with; and, in view of the changes now being made in the staffs of the various Departments, will any dismissal of ex-Service men and their replacement by women be discontinued forthwith?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)

A Committee is considering what immediate practical steps can be taken to extend the employment of ex-Service men in the Government service generally, and I hope that it may be able to report at an early date on the whole question. I am not aware that any Government Department is discharging ex-Service men and replacing them as suggested. If the hon. and gallant Member has any particular case in mind, I will gladly look into it on receipt of particulars.


Will the Government lay down what an ex-Service man is; whether a man who has been three or four years in a Government Department in khaki is one, or whether the description is limited to those who have actually served in the field?


I am not prepared to answer that.