HC Deb 15 May 1919 vol 115 cc1758-9

The following question stood on the Paper in the name of Colonel WEDGWOOD:

53. To ask the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the issue by the War Office of a circular published in the Press directing officers in command of units to send in weekly reports as to whether the troops under their command can be trusted to assist in strike-breaking and as to whether there is any growth of trade unionism among the men; whether this circular really was sent out; if so, when it was sent out; and whether the War Cabinet were informed of the issue and sanctioned this attempt to use officers for secret service purposes?


This question was put down on Tuesday. It was answered by a Special Notice question yesterday. Is it usual to have a Special Notice about questions which are already on the Paper of the House?


The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Labour party submitted the question to me as an urgent question, and I called upon him. I was not aware until this morning, on looking through the questions, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman had given notice of a precisely similar question. If I had known that at the time I would not have called upon the Leader of the Labour party.


asked whether a document has been sent to commanding officers from the War Office asking for information regarding the troops under their command, and asking whether they will assist in strike-breaking and parade for draft overseas, especially to Russia; and whether the document and the instructions contained in it will be immediately withdrawn?

Captain GUEST (Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury)

I am afraid I can add nothing to the answers given yesterday to questions on this subject asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Fife (West).


Are these Reports, which were being sent in weekly, still being sent in to the War Office, or has the practice been discontinued?

Captain GUEST

I have ascertained that the Reports are still coming in. No order has been issued to discontinue the same. I propose to-morrow morning, on the return of the Secretary of State for War, to bring this matter to his notice.