Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 160,600, all ranks, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at Home and Abroad, excluding His Majesty's Indian Possessions, during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1926.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Colonel ENGLAND
I should like, first of all, to offer my congratulations to the Minister on his excellent exposition this afternoon in presenting the Estimates to the House. The question as to the number of rejections for the Army he treated very seriously, and rightly so, for it is certainly a very serious matter. But I do think that, probably, we are setting up a much higher standard than was the case prior to the War. However, the recruits coming into the Army at the present time are men of whom we can be proud. In going about the streets one cannot help being struck by the very splendid physique of these men, and I feel sure the recruiting 1954 authorities are picking out the best, and rejecting those who, probably, would have. been accepted prior to the War. The Minister mentioned that he thought the dole was keeping many men from joining the Army. I wonder if that can be the case, or whether the dole is keeping away the poorer type of man and getting the man of better spirit to come forward and do his duty.
The Supplementary Reserve is a very delicate question at the moment, but I do hope that the Secretary of State will lay hold of—I was going to say the olive branch—that was held out this afternoon, and proceed to discuss with the leaders of the trade union movement the question of not only withdrawing the ban on the men joining, but that he will take into consideration the question of inducing men to join. If it is clearly laid down that the, men are not expected to be mobilised to aid the civil power, I am sure there will he no difficulty in obtaining sufficient men to fill up the ranks.
Stress has this afternoon been laid on the question of the transportation units. There are a lot of tradesmen who may he induced to join this Supplementary Force. In my district with which I am well acquainted the men who might have been 1955 expected, the bricklayer and the joiner, are not joining, and I do not think that there is any ban on their joining up. If, however, inducement is offered to them personally, I myself think the additional pay ought to be in itself sufficient inducement to enable them to join. After all is said something added to a workman's income always means a little more money, and these men are not called upon to leave their work and to do a fortnight's training in camp. The bulk of them will simply have to report, probably, twice a year and draw their pay. There is not the difficulty in getting away from their work to attend camp, or to go through any training in arms; when called up they are simply called up to carry on in their own special line. There is also, I think, room for further encouragement of boys' technical training schools. The system is one, I think, which has only to be worked in order to train boys in technical work for the Army. I quite agree, too, and would like to stress the plea made from these benches this afternoon on behalf of the ex-ranker officer. I am quite aware that the position is a difficult one, but I do think that the Secretary of State might, take the matter again into consideration.
The Territorial Force was mentioned, and also the question of recruiting, which is one which will have to be seriously considered in the very near future. I have found that the difficulty with officers in the Territorial Force is one that takes a lot of getting over when it comes to the matter of the qualifying examination. Many young men are able to devote their fortnight's holiday to going to camp, and are quite willing for the first, second, or third year to have a fortnight's training, but they have at times considerable difficulty with their employers. If some means could be found by which their training could be done at holiday times it would be well. A young fellow may have to take his holiday from his firm at a specified time, and if other time has to be found for the training he is prevented, for objection is raised by employers, and, it may be, a possible refusal of the time. I have wondered whether it would he possible for officers to take their qualifying examination during the period in which they are in camp? If the camp is at Aldershot, or one or other of the military centres, there should be no difficulty in 1956 arranging it. If that were done, there would be a very large increase in the numbers joining the Territorial Force. The difficulty in obtaining men for the ranks—and possibly it will be a great difficulty in the coming year—is that at the end of four years men will be wanting to retire. At the end of the four years' service many men retire solely because they have got tired of wearing the same uniform. Their only chance of getting another uniform is to leave the ranks, go away, and rejoin later. We ought to leave no stone unturned to retain these men. At the end of four years a man is becoming really valuable, and if he can be induced to stay another two, three, or four years, it is worth while. I hope the Minister will take into consideration the question of seeing whether he can get over the difficulty by offering a bigger inducement to the men, who have been recruited for the four years, to continue their service.
§ Mr. HOMAN
In addressing the House for the first time I feel sure that the usual courtesy extended to new Members will be extended to me. I desire to move the abolition of the Corps of Military Accountants (page 267 of the Estimates), for which, taking everything into consideration, £300,000 is asked. In order, really, to explain What I have in mind I must go into the details of the administration of the Army. There are in the North South, East and Western parts attached to each Command a Pay Office. We gel that under the heading of "Pay." Looking at this in the Estimates we find that there are 766 men in the Pay Offices at home and abroad, and in addition to that we have 744 more men in the Corps of Military Accountants. I myself cannot see how exactly this particular regiment functions apart from drawing their pay. The Pay Offices deal with all allowances and so forth of the various regiments in their respective Commands. The only thing they do not deal with is the question of Supplies. That is dealt with by separate Departments. The question of food o and so on is dealt with entirely, I believe, by a separate Contracts Department for which there is an Estimate (on page 284) which shows (Army Contracts Directorate) a sum of £37,645. The cost of food, fuel, etc., for all ranks is stated definitely in the Estimates. There is a certain amount of food, bread, 16 ounces, meat so much, 1957 and I believe it is the function of the Contracts Department to supply these necessary articles. The Royal Army Clothing Department is, in itself, a self-contained business. I cannot see exactly how this particular regiment functions apart front being a second Accountancy Department. I believe it is only a branch service. In going through the Estimates I find that these two regiments, the Royal Army Pay Corps and the Corps of Military Accountants are side by side with each other, not only at home, but abroad, for at. Gibraltar there are three officers and 11 men of the Royal Army Pay Corps, and one officer and nine men of the Corps of Military Accountants. Right away through you see this, from Northern China, where we find there is one. officer and four men of the Royal Army Pay Corps and two men of the Corps of Military Accountants.
This particular regiment was thought of during the War; towards the latter end of 1918. It appeared in the Estimates for the first time during the year 1919–20. Since then it has appeared year by year, and has gone on and has functioned in the way that it does. I earnestly suggest that this particular department is not required, but taking one view of the case, the particulars that are necessary for them are obtained from the pay office, in their particular areas. What. will be the position of this Corps of Military Accountants if war broke out again? If they could not obtain their particulars from each regiment or command they would be idle. In the event of war there is no commanding officer, let alone a pay officer, who could or would have time to furnish all the necessary particulars upon which this department depends. During the late War we did not have this particular department, or before the War, and the Army carried on quite well with the Army Pay Office, which is really an accountancy department. If the reform I suggest is carried out, at least 700 men at present employed would be absolutely at liberty for fresh duties. I appeal to the Committee to consider the suggestion that I make, that public money should not he voted, or taken from the taxpayer, to any arm or department which does not yield proper value, or which is, in fact, no earthly use whatever. I say there could be a considerable reduction in the staff. Not only so, but in the 1958 cost, if my suggestion were carried out. The cost., additional to that of the Royal Army Pay Corps, works out at over £296 per man; that is, nearly £300 per man is spent on duplicating the work of the Royal Army Pay Corps. I wish to make it perfectly clear that I have no axe to grind in respect of the Royal Army Pay Corps, neither have I any prejudice against any members of the Corps of Military Accountants, but I do most sincerely object to money being wasted in this way. When this regiment was formed, the suggestion was put forward that the officers should be, if possible, qualified accountants, either chartered accountants, incorporated accountants, or in some way qualified; but since that time I believe that rule has been relaxed a little, and we arrive at the present time with the regiment increasing in numbers and in expense year by year, and, if the ultimate object could he put into operation, it would end in having an accountancy department with every regiment of the British Army at home and abroad. If they formulated all their particulars and got all their statements and placed them before the Minister, what real information would they have given him? In the event of war—and I believe we keep an army because of the possibility of war—all the Minister desires to know is how many men, how many guns, how many rifles he has got, and so on. He does not want to know that he has got so many guns which, on the books, have depreciated by 33⅓ per cent., or so many rifles upon which 25 per cent, has been written off. That is of no interest to him. What he wants to know is whether those particular armaments are service able and useful. If this regiment goes on we shall arrive at this ridiculous position: A form will be sent down to an accountant at a regiment—any given regiment—stating "On the 16th June'—any particular year, say 1925—"you were supplied with one horse, costing £50, I want you to state the position on 1st September, bearing in mind the number of hours that this horse has worked, the amount of food it has consumed, and so on, in order that this Department may arrive at the depreciation on the same horse." After we had arrived at the depreciation on the horse, or on anything else, it leads us nowhere. In the Army a thing is either serviceable 1959 or it is not serviceable, and in the event of war the whole of this Department will automatically cease, it is bound to cease, because there would be no means of obtaining the particulars which at the present time are the basis of their existence.
I appeal to the Committee to refuse to pass this particular Estimate. We have been told by the Minister this afternoon that there is a Committee reporting on this particular matter. One Report has been issued, but I believe it is a Departmental Report, and not a Report which has been brought before the House. The Minister also mentioned the second Committee, which has not yet reported. Assuming that the reorganisation which I have in mind is brought in to-morrow, it would take six months to put this particular accountancy branch into a state of proper organisation. Therefore, if money must be voted, I feel that only half of the Estimate for 1925–26 should be allowed to pass the Committee. It is futile to carry on a thing which is of no use. I do not know the individual who invented this particular Corps of Military Accountants, but I feel sure that, with due application, he could have amplified the present Royal Army Pay Corps to a very small extent, and so put us into the position we were prior to the War, when we had all the particulars necessary.
§ Major CRAWFURD
I beg to mere to reduce the Vote by 100 men.
As a recent fellow sufferer of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, may I extend to him my congratulations on the matter and the effect of his first speech in the House? We who sit on these benches will welcome very warmly anybody who speaks and works in the interests of public economy, and, if I may say so, the hon. Gentleman has not only done that, but has also succeeded, being a master of the subject with which he dealt, in making his first speech in Committee a most interesting one—a result which it is not always easy to achieve.
It is on wider grounds than those he referred to, however, that I move a reduction of this Vote. With all due respect to the right hon. Gentleman who spoke 1960 for the Government earlier this afternoon, I wish to express my profound disappointment with the nature of that statement. It is not so much of the presentation of the contents of his speech that I complain, as of the very limited scope of the speech itself. The statement, although admirably performed and accurate in exposition, seemed to me to be the kind of statement that might very well have been made by a manager of a department store who was introducing to the public his spring catalogue, rather than the statement of a Minister presenting Estimates bearing on very grave matters of policy. Reference has already been made by the hon. and gallant Member for Montrose (Sir R. Hutchison) to the question of co-ordinating the various ministries of defence, and although it would not be in order on this Vote to discuss matters that arise in relation to the other services, it is also true that nobody can realise, criticise, or evaluate these Estimates unless he has at the back of his mind the Navy Estimates and the Army Estimates.
I want hon. Members for a moment to consider the position of the Government and the right hon. Gentleman opposite in this respect. The Estimates presented to us to-day were, I believe, by a few thousands pounds less than the equivalent Estimates presented last year, but the Secretary for War pointed out, in the course of his statement, that as a good many sources could be drawn upon in regard to accumulated stocks, this did not really represented the full figure that had to be considered. I can quite recognise that within the last few years, when Government has succeeded Government with considerable rapidity, it has been a little difficult for any Minister or any Department to take a long view of the future in regard to the things which he controls, but now that period has apparently passed away. We are now being treated, not so much as has been the case during the last few years, when things have been like a film being unrolled with considerable rapidity, but with a slow motion presentation of the same thing. Therefore I think we are entitled to ask that Estimates of this kind that fighting services should represent our policy, and I want to draw the attention of the Committee to the position of the right hon. Gentleman in this matter.
1961 Here we have the chief, the head of the present Government at the present time, engaged in a plea for peace. We welcome the change in the tone of the Ministers representing the party opposite. The Prime Minister has put in a plea for peace here and abroad. We find the Foreign Secretary at present arguing in Geneva, or I should say, that he is not so much arguing as deciding to reverse the policy of his predecessor on the ground that it was too war-like. You have two of the principal Members of the Government actually engaged in a peace crusade. I ought to say that the endeavours of these two right hon. Gentlemen are directed to a peace crusade, and actually while this is going on we have presented to this House Estimates which, to put it very mildly, will go a very long way to cancel the efforts of the two colleagues of the Secretary of State for War. Not only is that so, but these Estimates represent that other present strength of the Army in the view of the Government should remain and not be reduced. These Estimates must be considered coupled with the corresponding Estimates of the other Services, and then we find not only do they tend to cancel the efforts being made by the two colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman, but they go far to stultify a good deal that has been said in this House during the present Session, not only from above, but below the Gangway on this side of the Committee, but also from the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite.
Let me take one or two significant facts. Take the very figure referrer? to this afternoon of the proportion of those ejected from amongst the new recruits of the Army. Is it not perfectly clear from the mere statement of that figure that there s a vast scope for the extension of the public health services? Take again the Debate that we had the other evening inaugurated, I believe, from the benches opposite with regard to the education of juvenile unemployed. Take also the matter about which we all gave pledges during the recent election, the removal of the means disqualification from Old Age Pensions and pensions for widows. There was also the statement of the professions—I am using the word without any wrong significance—of the President. of the Board of Education.
1962 Take the admissions which have been made with regard to the administration of unemployed benefit—all these things go to show, not only that there is a need, but that that need is recognised by all sections in this House, and there is general agreement that there is more money wanted to promote what we Ian social reform. All these objects tend to be defeated if our military expenditure is kept up. It has not only been kept up year by year, but under various Governments the tendency has been to increase military expenditure. We are getting back almost to the period of 1914, when expenditure on armaments tended to increase and go up year by year because of a danger and a peril that was threatening. As we have so often argued from these benches, that danger has been removed, and if we are to help forward the work of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and those who are working in the interests of peace, I conceive it to be the duty of this Committee not to increase but to decrease our military and similar expenditure.
I want the Committee to consider the effect, not only on social reform in this country and the peaceful endeavours of members of the Government, but also on the opinion of other nations. It is only a few days ago that we were discussing in this House the Air Estimates, just as we are now discussing the Army Estimates, and reference was made from time to time, of course with all due reserve, to air construction and air development in the friendly country of our ally, France. Is it not perfectly clear that just as we are bound to take notice of the armaments of other countries, other countries are bound to take notice of any increase of armaments in this country? I say that this policy is definitely taking us away from the path of peace, and from what is the declared policy of all parties in this House.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
I want especially on this Vote to call attention to a matter that has been raised in the form of questions relating to Broughty Ferry. During the negotiations it had been made clear some considerable time before that the first part of the negotiations not being successful with regard to the exchange of the ground, a new position was taken up, and T, personally, had the duty of seeing whether or not the Department would be 1963 prepared to make an actual negotiation for the disposal of the Castle altogether. The Castle was bought by the Department from the old-time Broughty Ferry Town Council, before it had been included within the boundaries of the City of Dundee, and the cost at that time was somewhere about £6,000. It was hoped, at the time when the matter was presented to the City Engineer, that the Department would be able to come to an arrangement, and, in view of the latest announcement by the Secretary for War to the effect that it is not now going to be disposed of at all, I want to bring to the notice of the Committee this letter which I have received to-day from the City Engineer, Mr. George Baxter:—I regret very much that matters have taken the turn they have. I was certainly led to believe, by the officers who have charge of this matter, that this place was absolutely no use in time of war, and I was asked if I would provide training ground. I agreed to do so at very little expense to the Department. We could have given off a good many acres not far from the Castle, and they could have had the Castle for barracks at any time, if they wanted it.As is pointed out by the secretary of the Broughty Ferry Merchants' Society, if the Corparation were able to get possession of the Castle it would be of great advantage to the community of Broughty Ferry, which for some years has been advertised as a summer resort, and has been very successful in that direction. Even if it be not possible to overcome the difficulties that seem to have arisen quite recently, the secretary of the Broughton Ferry Merchants' Society makes the following suggestions:hailing all effort to secure this desirable result—the Castle and grounds as a pleasure ground for the people—the Society desire to suggest that at least the War Office might, as at Edinburgh and Stirling Castles, give access to a part of the building, the Lower, for instance, and permission to enjoy the Castle Pock view, the mound between the Castle and the river. They wish to point out, also, how unsightly and dilapidated are the buildings around the Castle. A site that might well be as pretty as that facing Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street Gardens is—well, let the War Minister just come and see it. It reminds one of the site of the City Victoria Art Gallery when showmen's booths prevailed, only worse.This is a historic castle, going back to the fifteenth century, with very remarkable records and with all the accessions that have been provided in recent times to 1964 enhance the beauty of the place and bring visitors, which all means business to the district, as well as to the City of Dundee itself. It is now rather unsightly, as can be imagined from this testimony here. There is the further great disadvantage that the promenade, which is a very beautiful setting to the riverside, is completely blocked by unsightly buildings, or, rather, erections, around the Castle grounds, which render it necessary for visitors to make a long detour in order to reach the sands. Some few months ago there appeared in the Press special notices and photographs of the decampment that had then taken place, several of the large batteries being removed. There was, therefore, ostensible evidence to the general body of the public, which was confirmed by the officers' statements to the City Engineer, that the Department were really getting done with the place.
Then it has been pointed out that, as we are well aware, there are encampments at Buddon and Barry, and I notice that on another Vote provision is being made for a further expenditure of £13,000 at Buddon. Is it not possible that any farther operations that may now be contemplated at the Castle might be conducted. at Buddon, which is only a very few miles away? Moreover, the Castle is situated in the midst of a residential neighbourhood, the inhabitants of which have from time to time had to make strong remonstrances in regard to the severe reverberations from the guns at the Castle, and also in regard to damage to property within the houses. The special appeal now made is that any operations that may be presently in view might be undertaken at some place such as I have suggested, which is away from the district altogether. It has been suggested that the Secretary of State might himself visit the place, and I would make the further suggestion that the Prime Minister, who is shortly going to receive the freedom of the city, might use his influence with the Secretary of State for War, and thus might make some little practical recognition of what I am very pleased to see the city is going to confer upon him. It would be a very graceful act on his part if he would enable some of us to take Broughty Ferry Castle, attempts to take which have been made in past centuries, lout 1965 have never been successful. Many people, from what they can see, imagine that it is of little or no practical use to the War Office now. It was taken over simply for war purposes, and although there are symptoms that arrangements are being made for the next war, this is certainly a pacific suggestion. Could not this old-time castle be obtained for the community, so as not only to make it accessible to visitors, but also to enable the corporation to continue their promenade, and thus enhance the interests of the community? I earnestly commend this to the serious consideration of the Secretary of State.
§ Major TASKER
So far from supporting the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Major Crawfurd) to reduce the Vote by 100 men, I am going to say quite plainly that I should like to see an extension of the Territorial Army to double its number. The complaint made by the Secretary of State to-day as to lack of recruits is due, in my opinion, to a good deal of unnecessary irritation to which officers and men are subjected in the Territorial Army. It is no new thing, because they have been suffering from irritation from the military authorities for a long time. It takes various forms. Looking at the Estimates I find no less a sum than £798,600 devoted to the permanent staff. That is equivalent to 16 per cent. of the whole Vote. How can the staff employ their time? Not in encouraging the Territorial Force. I am amazed, speaking as an old Volunteer and Territorial, that there are half the number of men in the Territorial Force that there are to-day. One of the most fruitful causes of irritation is correspondence. May I read a specimen of the correspondence that emanates from the War Office? I could not commit it to memory, because to me it is something almost priceless. This is the letter:The attached Artily form B. 178 is returned to you for favour of disposal in accordance with instructions contained in Appendix 77 of A.C.I. 455 of 1917 (d) (f) as amended by A.C.I. 23 of 1918, namely, to the officer commanding as named in the Schedule to General Instructions issued with A.C.I. 13 of 1917 amended by 40 of 1918, i.e., to Officer Commanding Depot.As far as I can make out, really what it means is that the attached form should be returned to the officer commanding the depot. That is putting it in the language 1966 of a Territorial. That is what the staff is engaged upon. Think of the bewilderment of some of the adjutants and the orderly room staff hunting out these A.C.I.s and wondering what the unintelligible gibberish is all about.
I suggest that, instead of spending this huge sum of money on the staff, it should be devoted to training the men. The men are willing and eager enough, because if they were not, they would not be giving up their summer holidays every year. It is all very well to blame the employers for not giving their men time off, but everyone has to go to camp at the same time, and the patriotic employer cannot possibly let 75 per cent, of his staff go off at one and the same time—August Bank Holiday. If the Government have money to spend on the War Office staff, I suggest they should devote a considerable portion of it to staff tours to trained officers. Hon. Members opposite may not think that I, as a Tory, am a democrat, yet I entirely agree with them when they are pleading that officers should go through the ranks, because I believe before you are fit to command you ought to learn to obey, and I know this full well, that, on trek, if officers had to carry a pack weighing, theoretically, 40 lbs., but practically nearer 60—and when you have done a dozen miles it feels like 600—and 250 rounds of ball ammunition, they would not expect them to march four hours without halt, which, by the way, breaks Regulations. We do not want gentlemen with brass hats coming down and patting us on the back and going away and doing things which are a constant source of irritation. With regard to what has been said about command pay, it is a weird and wonderful office. No one understands their computations and you get no redress. In the end you accept whatever pay they send you, because command pay is such a wonderful and weird institution that you cannot make head or tail of their calculation, and you give it up as a bad job.
There is another point. When men lose part of their kit, they are subjected to a good deal of irritation. A man loses a pair of trousers. He goes to the quartermaster serjeant, the major, the colonel, the brigadier, G.O.C. division, and then, perhaps, a requisition is made to Pimlico. Then the fun starts. Directly Pimlico gets hold of it, you get memorandums 1967 and a Court of Inquiry is held to explain how and why the trousers were lost. The findings of the inquiry go through the various channels, O.C. battalion, brigadier, G.O.C. division, G.O.C. Eastern, Western, Northern or Southern Command and War Office. It goes all the way back again, and then another Court of Inquiry is held. This is not romance, because I remember one such Court of Inquiry about a pair of trousers, and, unfortunately, the officer who presided in the first instance had gone overseas, and a young Territorial captain, who had just got his three pips, was put in charge. He was a very rash young officer, and the Committee will realise how inexperienced he was when he wrote the finding of the Court was:
Damned trousers still lost." What would have happened to him I do not know, but he was sent overseas, he made the supreme sacrifice and I suppose the War Office conveniently forgot all about it. These matters ought to be stopped. If you are going to ask men to give their Saturday afternoons and Sundays to learn to shoot, to learn to drill, to learn discipline, to take their place in the firing line in the time of emergency, they ought to be encouraged rather than discouraged.
Then there is the process of court-martial. Of that cumbersome process, the court-marital itself, I have nothing to complain about. It is the aftermath of the court-martial. I believe it is an established fact in the Army that whenever a Territorial sends out the finding of a court-martial it is always sent back for correction. A star should have been put in red ink instead of black. Back it goes. I have had some experience of courts-martial. I was never court-martialled myself, I do not know why, but it. was my misfortune, or good fortune, always to be selected for that honourable post of prisoners' best friend, and I have incurred more than one commanding officer's displeasure because I never failed to get my man off. That was a bit of luck for the man and perhaps a misfortune for me. I hope the Committee will not entertain the reduction for a moment. I hope to see encouragement given to these men who give of their best, and are still willing to give of their best, and to see it greatly increased, but in future volunteer and Territorial battalions must not 1968 be robbed of their battle honours. The unit in which I served provided not less than 6,000 men, and 5,000 of them were drafted to other battalions in regular regiments. The regular regiments got the credit of those battle honours and the Territorial battalion got the credit for none of them. That is another sort of irritation. I hope that there is going to be a change in the method adopted by the War Office towards the Territorial battalions, which will, I trust, expand and grow until they are twice their present strength.
§ Sir NEWTON MOORE
I sympathise very sincerely with the struggles of the Territorial officer, as they have been expressed by the hon. and gallant, Member who has just spoken. As an old citizen soldier, and one who went in from the ranks, I appreciate the troubles that the officer has to put up with in going round and asking as a personal favour from employers that they will enable their men to get off work, and to put in efficient training. It is a great pity that the Territorial Force has not been increased. I disagree with the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Major Crawford) who has argued that this Vote should be reduced. While we are prepared to give the Minister credit for making a reduction of something like £500,000 in the Estimates, there are many hon. Members who are somewhat disturbed in their minds as to whether the retrenchment has not been too drastic. The hon. Member for Walthamstow said that practically nothing had been done. If he will cast his eve over the White Paper he will see that since 1922–23 the Vote has been reduced from £62,300,000 to 152,000,000 in 1023–24, and to 145,000,000 in 1924–25, while this year it has been reduced to £44,500,000.
Money wisely spent on the forces is a necessity to national safety, and should be looked upon more or less as a national insurance premium. While it is necessary at the present time to take risks, in view of the financial position of the country there is always a possibility of securing popular approval at the expense of the better judgment of the Government and their advisers. I hardly think that the establishment as it now exists will allow us to have at our command those reservoirs of men and materials which are so absolutely essential in the event of any 1969 emergencies abroad, whether they are within or without the Empire. In many ways our military responsibilities are greater now than they were in 1913. Although the menace of Imperial Germany has been removed, it cannot be denied that; there are very many more men under arms in Europe to-day than in 1913, while under cover of the peaceful guidance of regimental associations, we know that in Germany and other nations there are hundreds of thousands of men who could be very promptly and effectively mobilised, equipped and made ready for war at short notice.
The present Secretary of State for War said two years ago that a Defence Force was the best guarantee for the liberty of the world, and with due economy and on a sufficient level we should be doing more for the freedom and happiness of the world than anything else that we could do. There is a difference of opinion as to what constitutes economy and a sufficient level. What is the state of our preparedness to-day? Two years ago the Minister said that we could be prepared within six weeks to despatch two divisions overseas, and that within another three months another division would be ready. Do hon. Members consider that that is a sufficient state of preparedness, especially as we realise that as far as Australia is concerned she has not anything like the active forces she had in 1914, while as regards Canada, although she has a big red book containing the list of organisations, yet, as far as men are concerned, I doubt whether you could get more than 10 per cent. on the commanding officer's parade.
The late gallant and distinguished Field Marshal, Sir Henry Wilson, speaking in this house in the course of a very memorable speech two years ago said, in reply to the Minister, that we might be in this position as far as our defence was concerned: (1) we might have an Army not sufficiently strong to prevent war; (2) we might have an Army not sufficiently strong to win, and (3) our Army might be just sufficiently weak to lose the war. What category are we now in? I should be very glad if the Minister would give us some indication as to the preparedness of the forces at the present time for effective overseas work. The late Secretary of State for War 1970 emphasised the fact that out of the £44,000,000 of this Estimate something like £8,000,000 goes in non-effective pay, which cannot be reduced in any way. It is for pensions. The right hon. Gentleman, whom we were delighted to hear, and whose term at the War Office is recognised as a credit to himself, emphasised that fact, and also endeavoured to point out to the Minister how necessary it is to amend certain Regulations that have been sent out, which have had a reverse effect to that which was intended.
I should like to ask a question with reference to the Empire Group Settlement Scheme, for which the men are being trained at Catterick. Of what does the training consist? It is very essential that if the men are to be sent out to West Australia, they should be given a chance to make good. They are going to one of the most delightful climates in the world, with good soil and plenty of water, but at the same time there are heavy forests, and these men will have pretty hard work to make good. Whoever is responsible for the scheme, I hope they will not be niggardly, but will see that these men have an opportunity in the next five or six years to make good. If the settlement is a success, it is bound to be a great encouragement to others. I would like to see a stream of emigrants going out of the same type of ex-service men as used to go out in the old days from India, when they compounded their pensions, went to West Australia, and made good and became excellent citizens.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I wish to make a few observations on the recruitment of the British Army, but, before doing so, desire to explain that I and those friends of mine who take very much the same point of view in regard to armaments, would have moved this year, as we did last, a very large reduction of the total strength of the British Army, had we not taken the opportunity on the Air Vote of explaining our point of view in regard to the futility of all armaments. But to-night I wish to draw attention to one or two points in connection with the recruitment for the British Army. Before I do that I would like to make a comment on the extraordinary fact brought out by the Secretary of State for War in his Memorandum that no fewer than five out of every eight recruits who offer themselves for enlistment are rejected on the ground 1971 that they are suffering from physical defects. To many Members of this House it is an astonishing corroboration of what we, on this side, are constantly saying about the rottenness of the present social system. That it should produce such dreadful physical effects upon the male population of this country is a striking condemnation indeed of our present capitalist society.Iil fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates and men decay.We know—we have it before our eyes every day—that the wealth is accumulating in this land, and we here have it on the indisputable authority of the right hon. Gentleman that the men are decaying. That fact is something which ought to give us all food for reflection. There is no ground for us to be astonished at this extraordinary revelation of the physique of the working class of the country. We are merely reaping what we have sown. If you herd the great mass of your people in slums so that they have to live in single rooms or two rooms, if you habitually under-pay them, if you place large numbers of them in a state of unemployment, if you fail to allow your hoards of guardians to give them adequate relief to maintain their physique, inevitably you are bound to get a very inferior type of physique for the great mass of your people. Therefore you have no right to be astonished when these facts are brought to your notice. I would point out to the hon. Member below the Gangway, who unfortunately is not here now, that, when he suggests in this connection that what is necessary-is a great extension of the public health services of the country that is not going to the root of the evil. You have to do very much more than extend your public health services if you are going to make this nation as a whole a really Al nation physically. We have got to give people infinitely better houses. We have got to pay them very much higher wages, and when they are unemployed we have got to see that they get adequate maintenance for keeping themselves physically fit. Not until you do those things will you be able to get from your working classes physically fit men.
One or two observations now with regard to recruitment for the British 1972 Army. I take first, on page 3 of the Memorandum, a paragraph by the Secretary of State for War dealing with recruitment. He points out that the British Army offers to men good food, clothes, housing accommodation, good education and chances of promotion, and yet the requirements of the Army are not being met. Presumably that sentence is meant to be a note of astonishment. May point out that that is a most misleading statement of the conditions under which a man is called upon to enlist in the British Army. There are company promoters in the great City of London, who are sometimes accused of issuing grossly misleading prospectuses on the ground that they suppress some very material facts. I cannot conceive any prospectus which in that respect is more misleading than this statement by the right hon. Gentleman, because after all why do we enlist men in the British Army? What is the main purpose and function of the British soldier? lie is to fight the battles of his country, and the essential fact which is kept out of this paragraph is that, in return for these advantages, the soldier is expected to give the country a lien on his life and on his limbs, and that is a lien which, if the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues continue in office for any considerable time, is likely to be exercised.
Any honest Secretary of State for War, when he is appealing for recruits, ought not only to put before potential recruits all these glowing prospects of pay and travel and education, but he ought also to make quite clear to the r 'el-nit the essential thing which he is to give 'a return. if the rigid, hon. Gentleman will not do it there arc some of us in the country who are determined, so far as our limited abilities will allow us, to see that side of the picture is presented to the potential recruit. A long time ago the poet Shelley described the British soldier as the innocent martyr of other men's iniquities. That was true then, and it is still true to-day, and he also said that it was the function of the soldier to kill other people who had never done him any harm. That is also as true to-day as when it was written, and there are some of us on this side of the House who are determined to use every possible occasion for making it quite clear to potential recruits that, if they do hand 1973 themselves over to the power of the military, they are putting themselves in the position in which they may be used for all sorts of purposes, and made to suffer for all sorts of blunders and crimes on the part of statesmen.
I want to go to the reason which is given by the right hon. Gentleman for the slackness in the recruiting. He says that it is war weariness. I do not quite know what is meant by war weariness, hut if he means by war weariness that the young men of the present day have a deep loathing of and repugnance to war itself, if he means that they realise the futility and the horror of it, and that they are reluctant to sacrifice themselves in that business, then I am prepared to agree with him that war weariness is the reason why recruits are not coining forward as rapidly to-day as they were in the days before the War. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are!"] Then they are not coming forward as rapidly as the Secretary for War would like them to come forward. For my part, I see no reason at all why any men in this country, in the light of their recent experience, should offer their bodies as a shield for the war profiteers of this country. I see no reason at all why they should allow themselves to be made the pawns in the great game of diplomacy which is played by right hon. Gentlemen opposite time after time; because it must never be forgotten that, though it is right hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Government Front Bench and plan these war moves, who put the pieces here and pieces there which lead to devastating outbursts and the tremendous sacrifice on the part of the people—although it is right hon. Gentlemen who do these things, they are not the people who pay the price. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] The right hon. Gentlemen are not the people who pay the price. I am speaking of right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Front Bench opposite. They sit at home and they direct operations and send the other people out to do the fighting business.
I pass on to another point. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"] I do not know whether I ought to pass on to another point in view of those observations. I think it is fairly common knowledge that the War Cabinet and the War Council of this country, whatever it might have done before it became a War 1974 Cabinet or a War Council, did very little indeed in the way of actual fighting, in meeting the enemy troops or enemy sailors or enemy airmen. It stayed at home and directed the operations. It sent the other people to fight and did not fight itself. I pass on now to deal with the economic incentive. I see that the right hon. Gentleman says that the lack of recruits may possibly be due to the lack of economic incentive which unemployment used to provide. It is true that unemployment used to provide an incentive for recruitment. As I have reminded the Committee, a very distinguished soldier, the late Lord Roberts, never believed in this humbug of a voluntary Army. He preferred to call a spade a spade, and said that our so-called system of voluntaryism was really the conscription of hunger, because we used the fact that people were unemployed and could not get food wherewith to meet their requirements to drive them into the Army.
There are suggestions now abroad, as a result of what the right hon. Gentleman said, that the dole should be taken from the able-bodied unemployed in order to force them into the Army. I see that that great pillar of the Conservative party, Mr. Harold Cox, writing in the "Sunday Times" yesterday, was actually suggesting that the unemployment benefit should be taken away from the fit males, and that in that way they should be forced to join the Army. I know there was a Conservative Member—ho may not be a Member now, but he was in the last Parliament—who actually put it, to the Secretary for War that the dole should be taken away from these people in order to stimulate recruiting. All that I have to say on that is that if right hon. Gentlemen opposite really want to produce a tremendous convulsion in this country, if they want to mobilise the last man in the Labour movement against them, they will start a campaign of compulsory recruitment of this kind; they will take away the unemployment benefit from the fit male and try to force him into the Army. What a mean, miserable and contemptible subterfuge it is after all. If our voluntary system is not working as a voluntary system, do not let us have economic conscription, do not let us have hunger conscription, but let us be perfectly honest and straightforward, and 1975 say, "This question of national defence is a national responsibility and a national duty. It is something which should fall on the rich and the poor alike," and if we must have men for the Army, let us be honest and have a complete system of conscription with no hunger conscription about it at all.
One other word about this extraordinary Memorandum. I want to deal with the references which are made to parents. It is suggested that if the parents are able to get a little more money it will go far towards removing any antipathy to military service that there may be among the parents of potential recruits. I represent a working-class constituency, and I want to say on behalf of the working men and women, the parents in that constituency, that I regard this as a deliberate insult, a despicable innuendo against working-class parents. The suggestion is that the only reason why working-class parents do not want their sons to go into the Army is that they are not able to make enough out of them if they go into the Army. It is cowardly and contemptible to say that thing about working-class parents. Working-class parents are as fond of their sons as are the rich. They have hearts to feel just as much as the rich people have. To say that they object to their sons going into the Army only because they cannot get so much money out of them is, well, unworthy of an English gentleman—I will put it like that.
The reason why the great majority of the parents of the working classes do not want their sons to go into the Army is that they did not. bring them up to be Main or maimed in war. They have memories as well as the rest of us. They have eyes; in the streets they can see the maimed and crippled ex-service men walking about; they can see the hundreds and thousands of unemployed ex-service men. Even if they have not been to France, they have seen the pictures of those acres upon acres of graveyards which are scattered all over Europe. They know these things, and it is for these reasons and not from any miserable petty cash consideration they are reluctant to see their sons go into the Army and be used, as they may he used, in some other great useless tragedy. If the right hon. Gentleman is so concerned about getting recruits for his Army, why 1976 should he confine his attention to the parents of the working classes? So far as I know, there is no barrier in the British Army against a man of the aristocracy, of the wealthy classes, or the middle classes joining the ranks of the British Army. If the right hon. Gentleman wants his recruits, let him go to the wealthy classes, to the mothers in the wealthy classes, the middle classes and the aristocracy, and let him tell those people that there are recruits needed for the British Army for the defence of this country. They will not worry about cash. They have plenty of cash. I invite him to go to these people and ask them to send their sons into the Army, and not come along to the poor working-class mothers and insult them by saying that the reason they do not want their sons to go is because they cannot make enough money out of it.
My last word is in connection with the Supplementary Reserve. I do not pretend to speak with anything like the authority or the influence of the right hon. Gentleman on my own Front Bench who has already spoken. In spite of all that has been said by the right hon. Gentleman opposite and, indeed, in spite of what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman sitting in front of me, I want to make it quite clear that, if any trade unionist joins this Supplementary Reserve, he is going to expose himself to the possibility of being put under the jurisdiction of military law in the event of any great national emergency. This is a very wide and very elastic term. I want to point out to my hon. Friend here and to the Labour movement as a whole that we on this side have pledged ourselves to do everything in our power to prevent this country being dragged again into another great war, and there are various methods of accomplishing that. We in the Labour movement a re very proud a the fact that we think we prevented a war with Russia some two or three years ago when we mobilised councils of action and threatened the country with a great national strike. At any rate, it is conceivable that in the last resort, after every other method has failed, the great mass of the working classes, in order to prevent this country from being stampeded into another war, may have to organise a great national strike. In that connection I want to say that if 1977 trade unionists allow themselves to be inveigled or cajoled into joining this Supplementary Reserve then when that time of great emergency comes and they 'e ant to stand four square with all their organised comrades in this great attempt to prevent a war taking place, they will find they have put themselves under the heel of the swashbuckling people in Whitehall and will not be able to help themselves. I hope they will not allow any smooth words on the part of the right hon Gentleman opposite to deceive them, but they will use their own judgment. I hope they will realise that right hon. Gentlemen opposite are not to be trusted in this respect, and they will have nothing whatever to do with this Special Reserve. I have very much pleasure in supporting this reduction.
§ Colonel Sir ARTHUR HOLBROOK
The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War, in his opening speech, said very few of us would understand the Estimates, as they are pretty complicated. I quite agree. So the hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Major Crawfurd) came to the conclusion that we were spending as much money to-day on the Army as we were during the War.
§ Major CRAWFURD
I only rise because this is the second time that inference has been drawn incorrectly from what I said. I said nothing of the sort.
§ Major CRAWFURD
The only reference I made to the figures of this year was when I pointed out that there was a reduction of a few thousands on the figures of last year.
§ Sir A. HOLBROOK
In 1920–1921 we spent £164,000,000 on the Army. To-day it is £44,000,000. The reduction has taken place as rapidly as in the circumstances could be expected, having regard to the fact that there were certain terminal charges in connection with the War. The Secretary for War has also evidently miscalculated the opinion as to the course of recruiting. He puts it down to various reasons, but we know now from the hon. Member for Shore-ditch (Mr. Thurtle)—I was rather surprised he said it, because I know he gallantly stood in the ranks during the 1978 War—the real reason why we are not getting recruits. It is that he and some of his colleagues go about the country persuading men not to join the Army. He has twitted this side by saying that we are not prepared to allow our sons to go and fight for their King and country. Lot me tell the hon. Member for Shoreditch that nearly all the Members on the Front Bench were engaged in the War and some of us were not afraid of letting our sons go out. I had six of my boys who went out in the War and I am proud of it. They all put on uniform when they were lads of 14 in the cadet companies of their public schools. I was not ashamed to put on the uniform of the King myself. I was too old to serve, but I put in five years during the War. The idea which the hon. Member seems to have that the people of this country are not likely to join the ranks does not extend to the county of Hampshire. The county of Hampshire is very proud to say that we sent into the Army, the Navy and the Air Forces a greater number of young men than any other county in England, and we shall continue to do it notwithstanding the efforts of hon. Members on the other side of the House. The right hon. Gentle o the Secretary for War referred to the magnificent spirit displayed by our soldiers. I quite agree. We all as Englishmen are proud that our young men stood in the trenches and kept back the German fighting machine. I feel that we are rather short in our memories after the War.
We do not always recognise the services which have been rendered, and although I have withdrawn my Amendment, I cannot allow myself to be speaking on this matter without referring to the Army pensioned ranker officers, whose cause I have espoused for the last two or three years. The right hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) and the hon. Member for Montrose (Sir R. Hutchison) have spoken on the question this evening. I consider that we are a little mean in dealing with these ex-Army pensioned Regular officers. These men came, when their services were much needed, to train Kitchener's Army. They came at the call of Lord Kitchener and did their duty splendidly. I have many instances of them in my own observation. I feel that those old pensioned Regular non-com- 1979 missioned officers are entitled to the same consideration as young men promoted from the ranks, many of whom were trained by them. They should be given an opportunity of retiring with the same pensions as the serving soldier promoted from the ranks. I have withdrawn the Amendment which was down in my name because I hope the Prime Minister will fulfil the promise he gave to me during the Election to have a discussion in this House on the question, and perhaps I may bring the matter forward as a Private Member's Motion later on. Whatever may be the result—and I believe if I get a free vote I shall carry my Motion—I hope that the War Office will exercise a liberal spirit and, if they are unable to go all the way, that they will at any rate recognise the principle that non-commissioned officers who trained the Army should receive some consideration in this respect. I shall suggest, later on, the remuneration for which I shall ask if I do not carry a Vote of the House in favour of the whole of my proposal.
We have heard a great deal about economy in Army administration and an hon. Member has advocated the cutting down of the accounts branch. I agree with him. I cannot sec the necessity for having an Army Pay Department and an Accounts Department doing practically the same work, and I think they might be combined. I also think the Remount Department might be amalgamated with the Army Veterinary Corps During war-time on Salisbury Plain, the Remount Department brought in the horses for service and they were taken over by the Veterinary Corps to be examined and passed. Surely the one organisation might do all the work and thus effect a considerable, saving. We have heard that this year there are to he manœuvres. I speak now on a subject which affects my division very materially, and that is the question of land, hitherto under arable cultivation in the neighbourhood of Salisbury Plain, in regard to which the War Office has recently issued an Order to the effect that it is to he turned into grass. This is creating a large amount of unemployment among agricultural labourers in that district and I think that the scheme might be modified, because a lot of this land could well be employed as before for arable 1980 cultivation such as wheat growing, and it seems against public policy that it should be turned into grass by order of the War Office.
While we are economising, we should at the same time consider the position of the old soldiers, particularly those in receipt of 10s. per week campaign pension. I made several applications on behalf of the men receiving this allowance, because when food prices were advancing and other pensioners were getting some addition to their receipts in consequence of that rise, the men receiving campaign pensions were put outside that category. I appeal to the War Office to reconsider the case of these old soldiers, all of whom are pretty aged and many of whom are in very poor circumstances, and to see if it is not possible to give them the same advantages as other pensioners. We have heard a great deal about the Territorials, and having served for the greater part of my life in the old Volunteers, I feel that something should be done to make the Territorial Force more popular than it is. Hon. Members opposite have said that a man is asked to give up his holiday in order to go and serve his country. What better holiday could any man have than a fortnight's soldiering in the open air? I put in 40 years of my life as a Volunteer, and. being a busy man, the only holiday I could get was my week or two in camp and I was very much better for it. I would encourage every young man to join the Territorial Force. He is not going to do himself any harm by joining, and if our Territorial Army were properly encouraged, its strength could be maintained.
I wish now to refer to a branch of the tiny to which I was attached (luring the War, namely, the Royal Army Service Corps. A change has taken place in the pay of the officers of that corps. Under the old system, officers received what was known as corps pay, and as they have enormous responsibilities, I feel that they were entitled to draw corps pay, but under the new system, officers who are not members of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers are deprived of corps pay, which I think is unfair. Many young officers recently joined, who are qualified as mechanical engineers, draw corps pay while senior officers with long practical experience are deprived of this 1981 advantage. I am quite sure that the Secretary for War does not appreciate the feeling aroused by this change. I was amused at the time when the papers were full of praise for the great advances of pay to be given to officers, because I happened to know the cases of two officers, one a captain in the Army Service Corps and the other a lieutenant of Engineers. If an addition was made to their pay in one respect they were at the same time deprived of corps pay, and the result of the so-called increase was an loss to each of one shilling per day, and yet there was boasting in the papers about the great advantage conferred on the officers.
May I point out to the hon. Member for Shoreditch that while he was complaining of young men being forced into the Army, the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Dr. Shiels) was complaining that the sons of working men could not get into the Army hon. Members opposite cannot have it both ways. There must be some reason why the hon. Member for East Edinburgh is so anxious to get the sons of working men into the Army, and I think myself that the hon. Member for Shoreditch, in his heart, is just as much a soldier as any man who has served in the British Army. A short time ago a reduction was made of 5½ per cent. in the pay and required pay of officers. I cannot understand why that reduction was made at that time, because in the same week I saw in the paper that tramway workers had received Os. per week extra because the price of food had gone up. When I asked a question about the reduction of officers' pay, I was told it was because the price of food had fallen. At the same time there was a newspaper announcement that furnace men and associated workers in the Midlands who were due for a reduction of pay had been told that their pay would not be reduced because the price of food had gone up. I do not know why the War Office should have chosen that particular time to reduce the officers' pay. Another feature of that reduction struck me as most unfair. A man who retired on a pension of, say, £200 a year had a bonus given him on his pension to meet the increased cost of living. The 5½ per cent. reduction was calculated, not on the bonus, but on the retired pay which the man had already earned. He is not very much better off 1982 than he was before, if, indeed, he is so well off. Surely it is a mean thing to take 5½ per cent. off a man's pension, which he has earned and on which he has retired.
With regard to the employment of soldiers when they retire, I am glad to find that there is a greater consideration shown to-day to men who have served, but I think we ought to go a great deal further. The Post Office and other Government offices of that character might be reserved for ex-service men. Let them be trained while serving, and be able to take these posts afterwards. In war time we are all anxious to recognise the wonderful gallantry of the men who fight for us, but when the war is over in a very short time they are forgotten, and there seems to be no desire then to see that these heroes are fully recognised. There is an office called a sub-postmastership, and I am told that there are thousands of them in this country. Why should not these sub-postmasterships be given to senior non-commissioned or regular officers when they retire? Some of these berths are worth £300 a year, I am told, and it would be a very nice job for a man who has served his country, and I do not see why they should be given to civilians only. Again, we have established the Navy, Army, and Air Force Institutes, and if you go into any of those institutions, you will find that very few of the employés in them are ex-service men. Surely, above all things the Navy, Army, and Air Force Institutes should be reserved for the employment of ex-service men.
I want to say a word about the question of armaments and ammunition, referred to by the Secretary of State for War. I think this country recognises the immense service which has been rendered by the National Rifle Association for many years in training men to shoot. That Association to-day is in a very serious condition, because its funds have been depleted, and unless some assistance is forthcoming, the Association will not be able to carry on its work for many years longer. I think that, having regard to the work which that Association has done in training men to shoot, not only in the Volunteers and the Territorial Force, but in the Regular Army and in the Navy, some national grant should be made in order to ensure the carrying on 1983 of their work. It is one of great importance, and although hon. Members opposite are looking forward to the time when there will never be a war again, we have to be ready if other nations are armed also.
It is no good our sitting clown quietly and saying we are quite safe. You know, if you carry your mind back to school days, that the big bully always punched the small boy; who, he thought, was very weak, and it is the same with nations. We may want to stop war, but if we get ourselves so weak as to attract the ambition of some bullying nation, they will come down and smite us, and we shall not be able to defend ourselves. Great empires before us have gone under in the same way. Take Rome. You know very well that the Roman people got idle and luxurious. [HON. MEMBERS: "At the top!"] It was the masses of the people who were idle and luxurious. Look up your history, and you will find them drawing doles and being fed by national funds. What happened? When the barbarians came, they were not ready to defend themselves, hut were wiped out. I do not believe that we English people want to see a recurrence of that sort of thing in our Empire, and, therefore, I hope the Committee will not pass the Amendment reducing the Vote. I think that we are getting, very close to the margin of safety, and we cannot., in our isolated position, afford to take risks. We have to see to it that our forces are maintained in such a position that we can be quite sure of defending ourselves in time of need.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
The speech with which we have just been favoured comes from an hon. and gallant Gentleman who has justified the reputation of being a patriotic soldier, and who has contributed not only by his own services but through his family to the forces in this country. He has offered criticisms which, I hope, have merited the attention of the Secretary of State, but I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman will forgive me if I say that if the same things had been said from the benches above the Gangway here, they would have met with a very different reception from the Committee. It often happens that what is said is of the least importance, and that the man who says 1984 it is of the most. The hon. and gallant Member who replied for the War Office referred to purely technical matters, as did the Secretary of State himself. The statement with which this Debate opened was of a purely departmental character. I do not say that with any degree of contempt for departmental matters. The clearer they are, the better, and nothing could have been clearer than the statement which the right bon. Gentleman gave to us at the opening of the Debate. He dealt only with the technicalities of his office, and in moving the Speaker out of the Chair I submit that it would have been as well, and of great service to the House, if he had dealt with his large Estimates from a broader point of view, and if he had pointed out to the House the justification that there is for them in a time of peace, when disarmament is one of the topics discussed by all international statesmen, in Europe as well as in America, when the necessities of the Empire are no greater than they were before, and when the whole character of war has been completely altered. If I am not giving a correct description of the military situation in the world, I am afraid the Secretary of State is partly to blame for my lack of education, for he said not one single word on these subjects.The figures of the Estimates themselves are most eloquent. It is quite true, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman said in opening his remarks, that there have been tremendous reductions since the War was concluded, and so there should have been. To have had war expenditure carried on in pewee time would have been more than our finances could stand. The Exchequer would have been unable to carry on in the last two years it there had not been immense reductions, and the reductions have taken place continuously until two years ago. Now we seem to have reached a new stability in war expenditure, and it is that new stability of somewhere in the region of £45,000,000 for the War Office which I venture to challenge to-night. A point that I would like the Secretary of State to clear up, if he will, in concluding this Debate, is how he can justify an increase in the Army Estimates for this year. I know that on the total figures as they have been published there is an apparent decrease of £500,000, but that is bringing into account terminal charges, and if they 1985 are left out, the maintenance of the Army actually comes to more this year than last year.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS indicated dissent.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. Let me turn to the terminal charges, and explain to the Committee how it is that these terminal charges have been reduced, how it happens that the figures are so adjusted that there is an apparent decrease of £500,000 in the total expenditure. These terminal charges are not likely to be repeated. The figures for the maintenance of the Army—and the right hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity of clearing up that point if he can—are actually greater than they were in the previous year. Let me point to a very remarkable fact with regard to the maintenance charges of the Army. I look through the various items, from page to page and from item to item, and I find that the one important head under which there is a reduction is the head of the Territorial Force.
It is a remarkable comment upon the efforts made by the right hon. Gentleman and his highly skilled staff to maintain the Territorial Army, that actually the. expenditure on the Territorial Army in these Estimates shows a drop of over 2400,000, the only big head on which there is a drop in the maintenance of our Force under any arm. If the right hon. Gentleman will be so good as to explain) how he (,in justify the claim that there has been no reduction, he will no doubt be able to clear up the point by explaining why there should be a reduction on the Territorial Force. As I understand the, accounts, very much the same effect is shown in these figures by the manipulation of the Territorial accounts as by the accounts as a whole. The fact remains that we are stabilised somewhere in the region of £45,000,000.
I want to press on the Committee, if I may, the necessity of our taking a much wider view of our military commitments. We cannot deal with the Army in isolation. There are now two other arms no less important than ever they were. The Air Force has entirely altered the balance of our defensive forces. The demands which must, of necessity, be made on it, if it is to keep pace with the military 1986 progress of the time, and the inventions which, year after year, will become more rapid, following on the heels of each other, necessitate a heavy expenditure on the Air Force, if we are to rise to the standard of one single Power. There is no inclination—I do not think the country would tolerate it—of our sinking into the position of a second Naval Power in Europe; so that there is not likely to be much reduction in naval expenditure under our present military system. But the justification for the expense of the Army has been altered by the experience of the last 10 years. The rise of the Air Force has certainly reduced the Army in importance, and no account of that appears to be shown in the present Estimates.
In the discussion on the Air Votes, the Secretary of State for Air complained of the fact that he could not obtain enough money from the Treasury for research, for the extension of his machines, for the training of his men, for the capital expenditure at home, and in every case where the point was pressed upon him by those who are capable of speaking with great authority in this House, his justification always was that the Treasury could not spare him any more money than was then at his command. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War is in a more fortunate position. He has got all he has asked for, arid if he gets it, it will certainly riot be available for the other forces. it is not only a question of the other defensive forces. We are having to spend more and more money every year in great schemes of social reform. They are being pressed upon Parliament from both sides of the House. To their honour be it said, there are a certain number of Conservative Members of Parliament who never cease in the Debates of our Civil Departments to press new proposals upon the Government for the amelioration of the lot of our people, greatly to their credit. But from where is the money to come? The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the course of a few weeks, will be telling us how bare the cupboard is. He will, no doubt, describe to the House the success with which he has kept the spending Departments in order, and will tell us it is impossible to give us something in the way of postage, something in the way of pensions beginning at an
1987 10.0 P.M.
earlier age, and devoting money to other social services, because his revenue will not permit him. I am sure it is the desire of everyone in this House to see our taxation less. It is up at a level now which not only embarrasses the individual, but is an impediment to the recovery of trade. The only way to bring about reduction of taxation is by the reduction of expenditure in the spending Departments, and if we have to make a choice as between the spending Departments, the first choice ought to fall on the War Office. The Secretary of State, of course, holds a War Office brief. He will make a case for his Department. I only wish he had made it at the beginning of this Debate, and then we should have known where we stand. He would no doubt, have been able to show how preferable it is to have a large. Army than to have a large Air Force. He would, no doubt, have been able to show how much he is doing for the social amelioration of the people by spending for the War Office, rather than spending it, say, for the Ministry of Health or on education. All these things can be done quite easily if the right hon. Gentleman takes purely the view of his Department, but he is a Cabinet Minister, and must take a broader view of the government of this country. He must respect the claims of other Departments as well as his own, and take into consideration the financial necessities of the country, and the burden of taxation which must be thrown upon the taxpayers. If he does that, he will be brought hack to one conclusion, and that is, in one direction or another some one of the spending Departments must reduce its Estimates. The right hon. Gentleman has failed to reduce his. They are up this year, and he has not yet justified it to the House.
If the right hon. Gentleman has failed to take into consideration the relation of the Army to the Air Force and the Navy, may I make another suggestion to him? It is that this is an appropriate occasion on which he might point out to us exactly what function the Army has to perform in these days. We all are well aware of the situation in India and the limitation that that places upon every Secretary of State. The linked-battalion system, which is 1988 probably one of the most ingenious systems ever invented for army organisation, must be considered, and the requirements of India will, to a large extent, settle the size of the British Army. Then we have commitments in Egypt, which might have been different. We have commitments in Iraq, which are rapidly being reduced, and the more rapidly the better We have commitments in Palestine, which are now down, we are assured, to a minimum. But what is the real function the British Army has to perform? I hope the right hon. Gentleman will explain to the House, and when he has dealt with the Army as a whole, I think we are justified in asking him what functions he intends the various arms of the British Army to perform.
I notice we are still spending about £1,900,000 a year on cavalry. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how cavalry are to be used in the modern conditions of warfare? I am sure he is as well aware as anybody in this House of the fact that, during the Great War, the cavalry were, to a very large extent, unused. It is quite true that amongst the Cavalry officers there sprang up some of our most brilliant generals. [An HON. MEMBER: "Palestine!"] I am coming to that. I am now talking about the Great War on the Continent of Europe. The cavalry, to a large extent, were unused during our European operations, and they justified themselves almost entirely in Egypt as well as Palestine. Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that the cavalry need be maintained up to its present size, that is to say, 12,693 men? That is adding, of course, the Indian forces to those not borne on the Indian Army but borne on our own. Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that we need maintain our cavalry to that number, or what can be done with them in Egypt or Palestine? If he has any other function which they have to perform, it would be a kindness to the House to explain what function that is. It is a remarkable fact in these days, when the whole history of warfare has changed through our experience of the Great War, that the total expenditure on the engineers comes to very nearly £400,000 a year less than is spent on the cavalry. One is tempted to the reflection that the cavalry is much more spectacular than other parts of the Army.
Sir J. DAVIDSON
I only want to say that if we had had more cavalry at the end of the Great War, we should have finished the War much more expeditiously.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is quite entitled to his own opinion, but it is a matter of experience, and I very often see it stated that—
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I have already said that the only justification, so far as I heard, for the maintenance of a very large cavalry force is for the Middle East, and the Secretary of State ought: to be able to show quite eaisily how the requirements work out for that force of cavalry, and not only the cavalry but the other forces as well. The right hon. Gentleman should justify in these days the maintenance of such a large cavalry force. If the right hon. Gentleman will do that he will throw some light upon the men that are required for the British Army.
Not only have we to deal with the military situation as we find it in the Middle East and in India: we have also to remember what is the International situation. If there was ever a time when agreement on disarmament might have been dealt with practically by those who rule over us, this is the time. The atmosphere is favourable to-day in America, as it has never been before—even the events of the last 24 hours have, I think, justified us in saying that a Disarmament Conference, which deals with Armies as well as Navies, and the Air Force, is more possible now than it was a month ago. The right hon. Gentleman who has placed before this House on more than one occasion Estimates which he has defended on purely technical grounds, is a Member of the Cabinet. He should join hands with the Foreign Secretary and with the Prime Minister himself, and urge the holding of a Disarmament Conference in which we might take the lead.
I can see no justification in our always waiting for a lead on this subject made either by one of the other Powers or a President of the United States. To 1990 carry the United States with us so far as the Navy is concerned a disarmament agreement would be worth it. But in matters of the Army an agreement made with European Powers would meet all our necessities, and would enable us to bring about a reduction in the Army and would set free a large amount of money which would be available for social services, if not for a reduction of taxation. Both of them are needs in this country; and the right hon. Gentleman had it in his power to do it, and to take a larger conception of the duties which fall upon him as a Member of the Government as well as the Secretary of State for War.
The last word that I have to say on this subject is that I would like to say, quite emphatically, what is the Liberal attitude with regard to the Army. We do not share the views of the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle). We are not pacifists in that sense. We believe in our having an Army for the prosecution of Imperial needs. We believe that those needs should be kept within the narrowest possible limit. We believe that primarily those limits should be restricted by international agreement. We regard it as the duty of the Government to bring about that international agreement. We press for this, not only on humane grounds and for the preservation of the peace, but also on financial grounds. I do not believe it possible for this country to bear its present immense financial strain, or for its trade to recover, unless the Army Spending Departments are practically and drastically reduced.
§ Colonel COURTHOPE
I desire to deal with two or three points in connection with the Territorial, which I shall endeavour to put before the Committee as briefly as possible. They have relation to certain officers of the permanent staff. I know where the difficulty lies. It is this: many individuals on the permanent staff of the Territorial Army are excellent men and well fitted for their jobs, but their general status is not as high as it should be, and the Territorial Army suffers practically in this respect. The former instructors were a. better class of men than those you are getting to-day for the Territorial Army from the Regular units. I do not think my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State knows this, but I assure him that it is of the utmost importance that really a good 1991 class of warrant officer or non-commissioned officer should go to fill these posts in the Territorial Army, because in many cases these instructors have a position of considerable responsibility without a great deal of oversight, and it is the better class of men who act up to this responsible position and are able to hold their own in their locality.
There is another reason why the better class of instructor is necessary, and that is at the annual training, and still more on mobilisation. The warrant officers and non-commissioned officers of the Territorials have their many duties to perform for which they have no special training, and to which they can only look for guidance to the permanent staff instructors who are posted to their units. It is quite an exception to-day to get a permanent staff instructor from a regular unit who can even keep a pay mess book. It is a task to keep that somewhat complicated book, which is a very important item in the administration of the unit on mobilisation. I hope that the Secretary of State may be able to give some sort of assurance that efforts are being made to see that the best class of regular sergeants are being selected for the Territorials, and that there shall be no risks that the men who are not quite up to their job in the Regulars shall be dumped on the Territorial Army, where they may do infinitely greater harm than they could possibly do if they were with their regular unit.
The second point which I think my right hon. Friend might find very easy indeed to meet is this: Some of the permanent instructors have to maintain a certain amount of position in their locality. They received great help in doing so in days gone by because they were granted local unpaid warrant rank. That has been taken from them. No question of cost or increase of pension is involved, and I cannot see why the War Office should find it difficult to restore this unpaid local warrant rank. It is not only important for the men's status among the civil population in the district in which they are working, but it is very important at times that the permanent staff instructor should be senior to the Territorial sergeants with whom he is working. It quite frequently happens that a sergeant in the Regular Army, when posted to a unit, finds himself 1992 amongst a number of Territorial sergeants all of whom are senior to himself; and when he is responsible for instructing them in their duties it is very difficult if he is unable to exercise discipline or assert his seniority.
The third point I want to raise is the question of the number of Territorial officers. At the present time we are only allowed to fill our officer cadre up to peace establishment. That peace establishment is just sufficient, and only just sufficient, for the effective handling of a unit—I am speaking of infantry, but I believe the same thing applies to other arms—in camp, at their annual training. It does not allow of a sufficiency of officers for scattered units in the country districts, so as to enable each local detachment to have an officer looking after it. What will happen on mobilisation is very difficult to conceive. I have a suggestion to put to the right hon. Gentleman which I hope he will consider favourably, and I will put it in alternative forms. To start with I will take it as admitted that we Territorials should not ask for an increase of paid officer ranks for the purposes of annual training, and that we should be content with our peace establishment for that purpose, but I suggest that we should either be allowed to fill our officer ranks up to war establishment, so that we may have other officers not only training themselves. but training our local detachments, during the rest of the year, when we are not undergoing annual training, or as an alternative, and I think this is better, I suggest that we should be allowed to fill the officer ranks of a peace establishment, not only for the active unit, but for the corresponding unit of the Class A regimental reserve. That regimental reserve will be required at once on mobilisation. If we have only the one set of peace establishment officers, it will be a very difficult thing indeed to man the second line battalions which we shall be asked to form the moment we mobilise. We might. manage the senior ranks, because the senior officers, when they reture, usually transfer to the regimental reserve for some years before dropping out altogether, but that is not the case with junior officers: and if you want to get subalterns and junior captains for the Class A reserve, you must commission them for that purpose 1993 in most cases. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether he should not be allowed to do so, and whether a commanding officer might not fill his regimental reserve with junior officers as well as his service battalion as long as he took the peace establishment into consideration. The only effect that would have on the Estimates would be to increase the outfit allowance, and that is a very small price to pay for the benefits and extra security which would accrue to the country if those officers were commissioned and trained. I hope my right hon. Friend will not turn down this suggestion without due consideration.
§ Mr. KELLY
I want to ask a question with regard to the War Department. The service members have been confining their remarks to those in the fighting force and the War Department, and I hope they will pardon me if I do not deal with that particular section. I am wondering whether those in control of the War Office are doing what is to the advantage of the country at this time. Recently they decided to centralise certain stores departments, and they have taken one of the Departments to Didcot. I have often wondered why they have removed that stores depot to Didcot, a place which seems most unsatisfactory and unsuitable for such work. It is In a low-lying country, and yet they are retaining and holding material that may be needed for the forces, but about which there will be complaints in the near future. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give the House some of the reasons why they have moved so much material to Didcot when it is a place so unsatisfactory for that purpose. I am very glad that the Prime Minister is present, because within the last few weeks he has been making an appeal to those of us in the trade union movement to meet together with the employers, not only to secure peace in industry, but in order that there may be something of a constructive character set up. I want to ask the Prime Minister if he will just look at the War Department, and he will find that it is an anti-trade union department.
§ Mr. KELLY
I have in my hand a circular issued by the War Department. It is issued by F6 department of the War 1994 Office, and in Clause 3 it states that writers and clerks must sever all connection with trade unions immediately they are placed on the establishment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear hear."] Some hon. Members say "Hear, hear," hut I did not think there were any hon. Member opposite who would enable us to tell the country that they were opposed to trade unions at this particular time. The point is here in the circular; and the right hon. Gentleman, in answering a question last week, stated something which, I suggest to him, was not accurate—he was misinformed. He stated that this was in operation prior to 1923. I want to say to him now, as representing those men and speaking for them, that it was not in operation prior to 1923, when his Department operated it, and are operating it again, in discriminating between trade uninonists at the present time. The hon. and gallant Member for Basingstoke (Sir A. Holbrook) spoke a few moments ago of the reduction in the salaries of officers. May I remind him that the men on the industrial side of the War Office had their wages reduced, time and time again, and even to-day the War Department is paying as low as 49s. per week to men in their employ at Woolwich Arsenal. That is a great deal lower than the salaries suggested by the hon. and gallant Member for Basingstoke as being paid to the men on whose behalf he was complaining. Although we have pointed out to them that this wage is one on which it is impossible to maintain anything like a reasonable standard of life, we have been unable to persuade the War Department to make any increase.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman when he is going to give us an answer with regard to the engineers who are employed on the War Department vessels, who some years ago were promised establishment? The War Office is sheltering itself behind some committee which is sitting on this matter. It appears to have been sitting for a considerable time, and it is unfair to these men, who have been in the service of the War Office for no long, and who are now denied establish-men. [An HON. MEMBER: "Amen!"] I thank you. The "Amen" might very well come from those who in Lancashire are unable quite to appreciate what is required in the industrial field. Some of us are endeavouring to persuade the 1995 Government, at any rate, in conducting its Departments, not to be as bad as some of the Employers whom we know in the Lancashire district. I ask the Secretary of State for War if he will look into these matters with regard to wages, with regard to Didcot, and with regard to the men in the War Department vessels.
§ Lieut.-Colonel SPENDER-CLAY
I do not intend to follow the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) throughout his speech, but I should like to make one or two remarks about what he said. He said that we on this side of the House objected to trade unions, but I think he did not realise the old saying, "You cannot serve two masters." When you are dealing with the Forces of the Crown, you have to make up your mind whether your duty is first to the Crown or to your trade union. That is a point which we have noticed several speakers on the other side have ignored as regards the duties of the citizen to the State. They have put their duty to their trade union higher than they do their duty to the State. That is an attitude which I deeply deplore, and which I think is unworthy of any Member of this House.
One of the things that strike me in connection with this Vote is that there does not seem to me to be a sufficient reserve for the Regular Army. I think the figure at the present time is somewhere about 50,000, rising eventually to a larger figure, but we are also told, in the words of the Memorandum, that the Territorial Army is the accepted medium for the expansion of the Army. What would that mean in the event of war, which Heaven forbid? It would mean that we have at the present time two Regular divisions, or whatever the number may be, available for overseas service, and a certain number of reserves. What happens when those reservists, through the wastage of war, are not available? I would ask the Secretary of State, does it mean that, should we have the misfortune to go to war, and the Regular Army, owing to wastage, practically disappears, we are to infer that the remainder of the Regular Army are to become drafting units for the Territorial Army? Otherwise how are you going to keep your Regular Army up to the scratch? There are deeper questions connected with it, hut it seems to me that while we talk 1996 about disarmament, and desire disarmament at present, if the Government had signed the Protocol, as advocated by the Leader of the Opposition, we might easily find ourselves in the position of having to fight a big war on behalf of the Treaty of Versailles. That is a position which I should be sorry to visualise, but which would undoubtedly entail a large number of reservists in order to maintain our Regular Army.
May I add a word to supplement what has been already said on the other side of the House as to the advisability of a joint purchasing board for the three Services? I know that the Army and Navy at Gibraltar, Singapore and other places have a board which is worked jointly instead of each having one board. I am certain that the development of joint purchasing would be an economy, and, I believe, would be a benefit to each. of the fighting Services. It is quite as important that there should be a full interchange of ideas in the General Staff of the three forces. I understand that on the Imperial General Staff there is a sub-committee representing the three forces who meet—I only hope they really do meet—and discuss the strategic problems of the moment. I am not one of those who advocate a Ministry of Defence as long as we have proper co-operation between the three forces. That is essential, both from the strategical, the tactical and also the administrative point of view. I hope my right hon. Friend will do all he can to secure that.
I should like to say one word with regard to the Supplementary Reserve. I deplore some of the speeches I have heard to-day. There may have been tactlessness in approaching the members of the Transport and Railway Workers. Of that phase of the case I am not in a position to judge. But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) said what the men were afraid of was that they would be in the position of being called out. to blackleg their own members. It would be perfectly possible—we all have to recognise it—for the Transport Union, combined with other unions, to hold up the whole of the country, and the whole future of the country may be jeopardised owing to the action of the National Union of Railwaymen combined with other unions. But let us remember that 1997 there is something worse than black-legging the unions and that is endeavouring to blackmail the State owing to the power you have in holding up the whole of the food and the transport of the country it is fair to point that out, that it is possible for these three unions to be in such a position that the whole State may be paralysed. This Supplemental Reserve is an absolute necessity to the regular Army and I hope those feelings of fear may be removed but there is no excuse for putting the State second and the trade unions first.
§ Sir ROBERT HAMILTON
During the last three years I have watched Estimates being brought in for the Army. the Navy and the Air Force, and I have observed with growing concern the absence of any desire really to cut down the expenditure on these three Estimates. The Estimates make it very difficult for the country to get hold of what the expenditure as a whole is. The only way that we can treat the expenditure on one Estimate is by regarding it in connection with the whole expenditure on armaments. Three remarkable things have happened during the last month which are closely related. In the first place, the Protocol has been killed; in the second place our Army, Navy and Air Estimate, have gone up by £7,500,000, and in the third place a large building contract for ships has gone to Germany. If hon. Members will consider these three facts, they will see that they are very closely related. If we want to reduce our taxation, to save our trade and to secure peace, we must cut down expenditure on armaments.
I will put one question to the Secretary of State for War, and that is with regard to the staff of the War Office Before the War, the Army consisted of 186,000 men, and the total staff of the War Office was 2,800. To-day the force is 160,000 and we have a staff of 4,319. That demands explanation. Undoubtedly, there is a great opportunity there for economy. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will pay attention to that, and, if possible, assure the House that the large staff is going to be reduced.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
It will be for the convenience of the Committee if endeavour to reply to the large number of questions which have 1998 been addressed to me in Committee and during the previous Debate. First. let me thank my predecessor, the right hon. Member for Ince (Mr. Walsh), for the speech that he made, and for his general concurrence in the Estimates which I have had the honour to place before the House. There is one point he made with which I ought to deal. He called attention to the large non-effective Vote, and said that we were spending this year £7,800,000, nearly £8,000,000, out of the £44,500,000 of this Estimate on non-effective services. He said this was a large sum which ought to be dealt with in some way, and he seemed to suggest that it was possible to reduce it. Let us consider of what this £8,000,000 consists. It is for the retired pay and pensions of men who have given service to the country, and which we cannot reduce without a breach of contract. I hardly thing the right hon. Gentleman realised that the phrase "non-effective," which might appear to anybody who did not realise what it meant a likely item for reduction, because it was non-effective, covers an actual contractual liability on behalf of the State.
The right hon. Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) asked me how I can justify an increased Vote. He would have it that it is an increase although I have claimed that it is an actual decrease in cash of £500,000. I pointed out, I hope with honesty, that that was due very largely to a reduction of the war terminal charges, which have been reduced by close upon £700,000, and that, therefore, the cash required was an increase, which I admitted, on last year's Vote. That was not all. While I was quite candid, the right hon. Gentleman was not quite candid, because he did not take into account what I pointed out, namely, that to ascertain what the cost of the establishment of the Army actually is, you have to take into account not merely cash, but also the expenditure out of stores. There is no excuse for not realising that fact. I would call attention to page 4 of the same Estimates, which show clearly that the net decrease in stocks is £2,698,000, and that if you take cash and stocks for this year and last year, you have for this year's Estimates £48,216,000, compared with last year's £49,240,000, or a reduction of £1,000,000. So I claim that, notwithstanding that the war terminal charges 1999 are reduced, the actual Vote which I am asking the Committee to approve on account of cash and stocks is about £200,000 to £300,000 less than last year's Estimates.
I will try to 'deal with the various questions which hon. Members have raised. The hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee), the hon. Member for Montrose (Sir B. Hutchison), and the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) raised the question of recruiting, from various points of view. The hon. Member for Limehouse said, as if it were a great discovery, that recruits to the Army came in frequently from economic pressure. That is true and always has been true. Before the War among the recruits whom we got for the. Army, many were the sons and relations of ex-soldiers or serving soldiers. If you wish to classify them broadly, you have on the one hand that type of recruit, and on the other hand you have the recruits, some of course attracted by the Army as such, and others who were at the moment in a position of being unable to find civilian employment which suited them, and who came into the Army. That has always been so, and I have no doubt will always be so, and a man does not make any the worse soldier because of that. It is no new discovery in the Memorandum which was issued to hon. Members, but the hon. Member for Shore-ditch was very indignant, and claimed that I was not honest. I do not know why he suggested that he was more honest than I, but he claimed that it was a cowardly suggestion in the White Paper that parents were restraining their children from joining the Army, because of, as he called it, the dole. I have never made any suggestion of the sort, and the hon. Member is wrong, because he will not read the paper. He puts his own gloss, which is a false one, upon the paper that I have circulated.
§ Mr. THURTLE
It says on page 4, paragraph A:Arrangements are being made whereby a soldier can remit a weekly allotment from his pay to his parents through his accounts. This will, I hope, go far towards removing any antipathy to military service there may be among the parents of potential recruits.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
Why should that be a cowardly suggestion'? One knows that there are many poor 2000 families in this country who have to take from their sons a part of their unemployment benefit. But that is not a cowardly suggestion it is a statement of fact. What I say is, that it is better that these poor families, who have to take against their will from their sons a portion of the unemployment benefit, should take a portion of a sons pay as a soldier in the Army, and it is because I know that they want to do that rather than take a part of the unemployment benefit that I am making arrangements whereby, instead of the soldier having to go out and buy a postal order at the post office, he can say that. a portion of his pay shall be paid by the Paymaster through his accounts to his parents, if he choose, and only if he choose I know that every young man, however well he resolves to remit a postal order week by week to his parents, is forgetful some weeks. That is the habit of the young man, and it is much easier that he should give an instruction to the Paymaster that a part of his pay shall be remitted direct to his parents. I hope that that will have the effect of enabling some of these poor households to benefit by the pay which the soldier gets. Why is that not honest? Why is it cowardly?
§ Mr. THURTLE
My point was that the over-riding consideration which prevented parents allowing their sons to go into the Army was that they did not want their sons to be used for the purposes of war, and not a financial consideration at all.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
That was a second point made by the hon. Member, and I will deal with it presently. The hon. Member suggested that this statement in the Memorandum was cowardly, and he used another adjective which I cannot remember.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The hon. Member has supplied my lack of recollection. He says it is cowardly and contemptible. I ask any hon. Member to judge whether the statement is not in fact true, natural, and neither cowardly nor contemptible. I have emphasised the desire to get recruits of the right class into the Army. Perhaps I have over-emphasised it, because the hon. Member opposite has been gloating over the fact 2001 that only 30,000 joined the Army last year. I could have done with 34,000, not because I wanted 34,000 as an addition to the serving ranks, but because I wanted to add quickly to Reserve, and if I had the 34,000 we could have transferred, as we call it, prematurely, 7,500 men to the Reserve. Actually we got 30,000. That was more than enough to make up wastage, and it enabled us to transfer to Reserve prematurely a certain number of men. Transferring prematurely to Reserve means that, instead of a man serving his due time in the Army, he is given his discharge earlier, and transferred to Reserve. The object of that policy, as we know that we are short of Reserves, is to increase the Reserve as quickly as possible. Hon. Members from all sides of the House have called attention to the fact that we have not as many Reserves as we had before the War.
We have not, even now, as many Reserves as we ought to have, considering the strength of the Army and the duties that it may be called upon to perform. We have deliberately adopted the policy of allowing men, before their term is up, to leave the Army and be transferred to Reserve. I n that way last year we added an additional 6,000 men to the Reserve, and this year I hope we shall add an additional 5,000 men to Reserve. At the end of this year we shall have some 99,000 men in Reserve. One of my hon. Friends was talking of 52,000 as if that were the actual Reserve. That is not so. It will be at the end of this year 99.000. Those who look with delight upon us not getting so many recruits as we should desire ought not to crow too much, because, after all, we got 30,000 last year, and that was a great many more than we got pre-War, notwithstanding that the Air Force also are recruiting, and there are many other calls upon those recruits.
Let me deal next with the Reserve. The hon. Member for Tonbridge (Lieut.-Colonel Spender-Clay) called attention to the question of the Reserves. I would like to get Reserves as quickly as I can. We are getting them fairly quickly, and in the course of two or three years, I hope we shall have the full complement of the Reserves. The right hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) put in a very eloquent plea, supported by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member 2002 for East Lewisham (Lieut.-Colonel Pownall), for the Militia as a means of strengthening the Reserves and supporting the Regular Army. I do not want to say anything final on the question of the Militia. I realise, as well as they do, the great value that that force was in the past; the great use it was in the War, both in providing actual battalions for overseas work and. more useful even in providing reserves for the Expeditionary Force. It may be that our Reserves do not grow with sufficient rapidity. It may be that we shall have to revert to the pre-War. Special Reserves or Militia, not, indeed, on a scale or the size of the pre-War Militia. Neither my right. hon. Friend nor my hon. and gallant Friend thought that would he necessary, but it may well be that some form of Special Reserve or Militia may give us the reserve that may become necessary.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
My right hon. Friend is talking about the Reserve. hoping that in the course of the year it may be up to 99,000. Am I right in understanding that these Reserves are Supplementary Reserves, that they really are mechanics and artisans?
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
No. That does not include the Supplementary Reserve at all. That does include men specially enlisted in Section D, some of whom are specialists. That is true, but it does not include anyone on the Supplementary Reserve which is a reserve, a part, for the moment at any rate, of the ordinary sections A, B, C, or D of the Reserve. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that, although we still want actual fighting reserve, the reserves for the fighting ranks, we also want as reserves men who are specialists both in the Supplementary Reserve and in the ordinary Reserve, and we are getting a supply of these men with special knowledge who have done their period of service in the Army and who can pass in the ordinary way to reserve. Specialists are in two categories, the ordinary Reserve and the Supplementary Reserve. The figures I was giving deal only with the ordinary reserves.
The hon. Member for the Wells Division (Sir R. Sanders) called attention to grievances of four of the Yeomanry regiments with regard to battle honours. I am just like my hon. Friend. He repre- 2003 sents a county with one of those Yeomanry divisions. I represent a division of a county with one of the Yeomanry regiments, and I have done my best, having the same feeling towards the county regiments that he has, to bring them within the rules which govern the distribution of war honours. If it were true that we could do this merely by a stretching of the Regulations to cover these four regiments, I do not think the question would have been raised this evening, but it is not so, unfortunately. If the Regulations are stretched to cover these four regiments, at least another 100 regiments are entitled to consideration.
§ Sir R. SANDERS
Can the right hon. Gentleman give me that quite clearly. Are there 100 other regiments which have actually been kept in one brigade, and then have not been able to get the battle honours which that brigade has earned.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
I will make this offer to my right hon. and gallant Friend. Let him come and see the War Office file on this subject. It is a most difficult question. I do not want to argue it here, because I do not believe it would interest the Committee generally. But when the right hon. and gallant Gentleman says that these regiments served as regiments during this period, that is exactly what is denied. What actually happened was that they were attached to various cavalry regiments in the 6th Cavalry Brigade, and actually wore the uniforms, not of their own regiments, but of the regiments to which they were attached. Those regiments did get the battle honours, and these particular yeomanry regiments, not then being in existence as regiments, although the individuals served in the battle area, were not entitled to get the battle honours.
§ Sir R. SANDERS
If they were got, in existence as regiments, how was it the 3rd Echelon was retained at Rouen?
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
That is another point, and one which is quite easy to answer. There are dozens of these points, and it will only show the Committee that this is not a question which can easily be pursued. The headquarters were at Rouen, not in the battle area at all, and was a regiment with its 2004 11.0 P.M.
headquarters, not in the battle area, to have a battle honour? As a matter of fact, most of the promotions to which my right hon. and gallant Friend referred were done from Rouen. I only wish that it were otherwise, and that the Essex Yeomanry could also have these battle honours, but unfortunately I have been convinced, against my will, that they do not fulfil the essentials of the Regulations. My hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Sir A. Holbrook) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ross and Cromarty raised the question of the ex-ranker officers. This question has been debated at considerable length already, and I have gone into it with the greatest possible care. It will be remembered that the Barnes Committee examined these claims and came to a unanimous conclusion, although they did advise that one additional advantage should be given to the ex-ranker officers. That additional advantage has been given, and everybody entitled under the Barnes Committee Report has had that to which he was entitled. I was impressed by the statement frequently made that men in the ranks were induced or even ordered to take commissions during the War, and because they took those commissions they had suffered pecuniarily. I have been endeavouring to see whether that statement could be sustained, because I agree, as I am sure every hon. Member would agree, that no man in the ranks who, because he was told he could do better service for the country in the War by taking a commission, ought to suffer pecuniarily. If there are any such cases, I am perfectly prepared to examine them and to see that a man does not lose on that account. I am told there are no such cases. I have had some claims brought to my personal attention, and those that have been examined have convinced me that such cases do not exist.
§ Sir A. HOLBROOK
There is one case, to my own knowledge, of a man in the Royal Engineers, who, if he had remained a warrant officer, would have retired with £141 a year, but he has retired with £71 a year.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
I am glad my hon. and gallant Friend has called attention to that particular case. I do not know the case, but I am glad to hear of it, and I will look into it. If it be the 2005 fact that any man serving in the ranks, because he took a commission during the War, has suffered pecuniarily, then I agree that he ought not so to suffer, and it ought to be made up to him, and if that case is a case of suffering of that sort, I shall be very glad to have particulars of it, so that I may deal with it.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Are we to understand that this is the final decision of the Government and that the House is not to he allowed to discuss the subject fully again?
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The House has the opportunity of discussing the subject on these Estimates, and the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as, if not better than, most hon. Members how these discussions take place. If he means, Is a special day going to be given to this subject, I understand the answer is No, but the House is not to be deprived of the ordinary occasions when it can discuss this matter, if it so desire.
§ Sir GERALD HOHLER
I clearly understood at the last General Election that this point was put to the Prime Minister, and I received a telegram which justified me in making the only pledge I think I made, and that was that we had been promised a clay for the discussion of this subject.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that a large number of us were coming down to-night to discuss this matter, and that we have only sat still and said nothing about it, because we understood from one of the supporters of the Government that another day was going to be given? I hope hon. and right hon. Members, who are continually talking about people keeping their word, are not going to do what was done last year, and run away from this proposition.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I am sure the Prime Minister will remember the occasion when he stood up in this House and asked his party to aid him in supporting the then Prime Minister to send the whole matter to a Committee, but that the moment that Committee reported he himself told his colleagues that on that report the House of Commons would have the opportunity of discussion. I know my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is eminently fair-minded, and I would beg 2006 of him not to say that that is the final decision of the Government in this matter. It is a matter on which almost every Member is pledged, and is not one which can be fobbed off by a few fugitive remarks of the Secretary of State.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
Of course, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, the time is not at my disposal. The discussion can take place on Report if it is wanted, or, in the ordinary way, a Supply day can be asked for, and the actual Vote can be put down and the discussion take place. That is probably the best way in which you can have a discussion, in which a specific Vote can be put down. My hon. Friend said there was a promise that there should he a specific day. I have had a look at the promise given during the Election, and I think, without quoting the actual words, I am right in saying that what was said was there would he an opportunity for discussion and there can be an opportunity for discussion either on Report or, if that be not convenient, upon a Supply day.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Is my right hon. Friend not aware that the intention was—I am speaking in the presence of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister—that not only should an opportunity for full and free discussion be given to this important subject, but that it should be left to the free vote of the House?
§ Sir G. HOHLER
I had to communicate with our head office, and the answer I got distinctly left me under the impression, not merely that an opportunity would be given, but that a day would be given for this discussion, and that it would he left to the free vote of the House. But whether I got it or not. I so understood and I pledged myself—it is the only pledge I made—in all honour to these men. I shall certainly stand to it, and I do hope the Prime Minister will do so.
§ Sir A. HOLBROOK
I obtained a promise. I wrote to the chairman of my party, and told him the position in which this ease stood. The Leader of the Labour party in the House had promised that there should he an opportunity for the free discussion of this question. During the Election I wrote to the chairman of my party, and asked him whether 2007 he could obtain from Mr. Baldwin an undertaking that, if he were returned to power we should have the same opportunity given to us. The reply I gat was that an opportunity would be given for discussing the question. I took it to mean that we should have a free discussion.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
I do not believe there is any difference in point of fact. What was said was that an opportunity would be given for discussion, and the sole question, therefore, is what is the best opportunity for discussion. [HON. MEMBERS: "A free vote!"] There is not the slightest desire to run away from the promise that was made. That promise was that there should be an opportunity for discussion. There are several forms of opportunity for discussion, and what is necessary now is to find the form that suits the House best for the discussion of this question. You can do that by Report to-morrow. If the right hon. Gentleman does not think that convenient, there are other ways in which the Vote can be put down on any Supply day and on which discussion can take place. Any of these ways seem to me to be convenient.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The right hon. Gentleman is missing the whole point. It is that there should be a free Vote. You are going to make it so that your supporters shall not be free to vote as they think they ought to vote, and as they ought to vote, because they do not want to defeat the Government. In a free Vote of the House you would find an overwhelming majority in favour of doing justice to these men. There is not a man to-night who has talked about our lack of patriotism—not a single man on this side who has not appealed to the Government to give us this free Vote. Freedom has been shown in the condemnation of the late Government, because they did not do this: but you are doing exactly the same thing. You ought to have the courage to allow the House of Commons for once to decide the question on its merits, and not as to whether or not it will hurt a particular Government.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
It is very kind of the hon. Gentleman to be so solicitous for our fate; I have indicated that there are several ways— 2008 [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—I have indicated ways in which the promise can be fulfilled. At any rate, we cannot very well, in the middle of a Debate like this, start another Debate. I think we have carried the matter as far as we can to-night. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The right hon. Gentleman's point is really no point at all. The Opposition have got certain powers with regard to Supply Days, and if hon. Gentlemen opposite put their heads together they are entitled to claim that whatever Votes they like can be put down on a Supply Day, and so get the challenge that they seem to want. That is the ordinary procedure of the House.
§ Sir JOHN MARRIOTT
May I put it to my right hon. Friend? I do not want to associate myself with the words that have fallen from the hon. Gentleman opposite. But I put it that right hon. and learned Gentlemen on this side of the House should have their opportunity of challenging the Vote proposed by the Govern meat. All we want is an opportunity to discuss the Vote, and the opportunity for a free vote.
§ Sir G. HOHLER
Supposing the Vote was put down, and supposing it ran into several millions of money, and the Government were defeated on it, what would be the position? It is quite impossible. I therefore do appeal to the Prime Minister to grant us this free vote. I understood the pledge and meant it! There are only, too, 200 odd men involved
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The actual words, as I understand it, of the. answer given, were:The Unionist Party, when returned to power, will certainly give an opportunity for discussion of the claims of the ex-ranker officers.That is the actual pledge.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
It is impossible to have a free discussion of this question unless it be dissociated and separated from the question on the Vote.
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
The hon. Gentleman has not read the exact words of the question that was put to him. The question was, in the terms in which it was 2009 telegraphed to the Conservative Headquarters:Sir Arthur Holbrook and Sir Gerald Holder have written to you and Chief Whip asking if Conservatives return to office you favour free debate and unfettered decision of the House.The reply received was—The Unionist party, when returned to power, will certainly give opportunity for discussion of claims of ex-ranker officers.Without the question, the answer is not clear.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The hon. and gallant Member has confirmed it exactly. That reply is exactly word for word the reply which the hon. and gallant Member himself read. It is perfectly true that the question asked another question—whether there would be a free vote, but there was no undertaking given that there should be a free vote.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
There was no undertaking given beyond the undertaking which was contained in those words.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
My right hon. Friend has challenged me directly. He tells me that I know as much about the procedure of the House as anybody else. That may or may not be so, but the fact is as follows: He has told me that those of us who are interested in this subject ran get certain occasions to discuss it. We know that, but we cannot get effective discussion; and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister to listen to his own supporters. He knows perfectly well that an Amendment or Motion, as the case may be, may be put down on a certain Vote. That Vote involves a great many millions of pounds, which none of us could refuse to give the Government. But his own supporters are precluded from fulfilling their own pledges, because they are not given an opportunity which, whether expressly or impliedly, was given in that telegram and that answer.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
I do not think there would be difficulty in framing any Motion which would cover this question better than the Motion that would ordinarily be taken on a Supply day. But if the right hon. Gen- 2010 tleman thinks, as certainly the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) thinks, that we are not fulfilling our pledges—
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
I think the hon. Member for Row and Bromley thinks so, and I am not a bit surprised at it.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
We will look quite carefully into every pledge. I thought that I had got in this Paper that has been given to me every pledge that had been given. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I thought I had, and I ask hon. Members to believe that I thought it; and I say that I thought I had. I am perfectly willing to look into any pledges that have been given, and on some subsequent occasion, more suitable occasion, an announcement can be made as to what will be done in the matter. I have still nearly a dozen other questions to which Members want me to deal. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Lewisham (Lieut.-Colonel Pownall) called attention to the. Royal Army Medical Corps and its composition. I quite agree that it has got to be looked into most carefully. We are not getting the number of medical officers that we require, and consequently a much greater burden is being thrown upon those who are in the corps than they ought to be asked to support. It is very largely a question of money, it is very largely a question of conditions of service, and in that I am not an absolute master. The conditions of service in the Navy and the Air Service have to be considered at the same time, and I am hoping that proposals will be brought forward shortly which will enable that position to be remedied. I was asked a question about Catterick, and the Government have been asked whether there was enough land there for a manœuvring ground. There is more land there than probably hon. Members have in mind, but I would never say, with the greater mobility of forces and the greater range of all forms of projectiles, whether small arms or larger calibres, that the land there is sufficient. That is a matter which has not been overlooked, and there will be no hesitation in 2011 coming forward if it is required for further accommodation,
I have been asked some questions about evictions. To the greatest possible extent evictions are being avoided; indeed, during the last two or three months I do not think a single eviction has taken place. But there are cases where it is absolutely impossible, in the interests of the serving soldier, to allow men who have left the Army, or left employment in the Civil Service Department of the Army, to continue to occupy quarters. This can only be done in such cases at greater hardship to those who have come into the Service, and, therefore, some evictions sometimes are inevitable. But all I can say is that the matter is being checked with the greatest possible care.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
Is the right hon. Gentleman sure that he has managed to convince the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in regard to that view?
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The right hon. Gentleman did not act on the principles upon which I am now acting, and I am taking every care that my hon. Friend opposite will have no cause for complaint. The hon. Member for Basingstoke wised the question of the 5½ per cent. reduction in the officers' pay. I do not want to go into detail because this point has been dealt with in the House very frequently. The hon. Member says that this deduction ought not to be taken off retired pay. I wish he would read the Circular issued by the War Office explaining that the 5½ per cent. is a commuted sum. It is really 27½ per cent. of the 20 per cent. of the additional pay that prevailed under the previous Regulations. Therefore, it is not true to say that the original retired pay has been reduced by even a half per cent. There have been no reductions, and all the reduction has been on the 20 per cent. of the increased pay. The hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Homan) referred to the Lawrence report and the Corps of Military Accountants. I dealt with that point in my opening speech, and I do not think that I can add anything to my previous statement. The hon. and gallant Member for Rye (Colonel Courthope) made some valuable suggestions with regard to the Territorial 2012 Army. In his very interesting, though, short speech, he dealt with three points, that I will undertake to examine carefully each one of those points, to see whether anything ought to be done to meet the proposals that he made. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) complained that the War Office staff was still in excess of the pre-War staff. That is quite true. The staff is roughly 40 per cent. in excess of the pre-War staff; but I am told, and I can well believe it, that the work of the War Office is 60 per cent. in excess of the pre-War work. The criticism on that head was extended to the Army Council. One hon. Member suggested that the M.G.O. should go. Another suggested that the military secretary should go—not that he is on the Army Council, but at any rate it was suggested that he should go. Another hon. Member said that the Army Council was now as large as it was before the War. That is not so. One of the secretaries—the Joint Secretary for Finance—is no longer on the Army Council; and the post of the Deputy-Chief of the Imperial Staff, who used to be a member of the Army Council, has been abolished; so that there is no question that there has been a reduction both in the Staff and in the Army Council itself. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea said that the only considerable reduction in the Army Estimates was, curiously enough, in the Territorial Army. On the face of it, that does seem odd, but the answer to that is that last year's Estimates for the Territorial Army were made on a generous scale, hoping that the numbers, which were then 40,000 or 45,000 short of establishment, would he made up; but this year we are less sanguine, we are better instructed, and we have made a closer Estimate, in fact, reducing the sum asked for, but actually not reducing the numbers that we hope to get. The right hon. Gentleman complained that I had not made a larger review of the circumstances of the Vote, and he was tempting me, with that Parliamentary ruse of which he is so well a master, to spread myself beyond the Departmental Vote which I am asking the Committee to approve. He suggested that I should say few words about disarmament, and the 2013 relations between the Army and the Air Force, and, indeed, he threw all those little apples into the arena which he thought might induce dissension amongst the Service Departments or between other Members of my party. I, also, have been in the House for some little while, and I know that the duty of a Minister on these occasions, especially in Committee, is to get the Vote through and to answer the criticisms which are directed on Departmental points, but not to, enlarge discussion beyond what is necessary.
Will the right hon. Gentleman, before he completes his work of explanation, give us some information as to the respects in which the work of the War Office has increased as compared with pre-War?
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
Has the right hon. Gentleman forgotten the appeal that was made specially in connection with Broughty Ferry Castle in. the course of the Debate?
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
No, Sir, I have not forgotten that appeal. I have looked into the matter with great care, as the hon. Member, by coming to see me in my room, knows well; but I thought that it was a matter which affected him and his constituents rather than the whole Committee, and that it would he wiser to deal with it with him direct, rather than discuss it this evening. With regard to the other question, the work of the War Office has considerably increased. We have the same responsibilities that we have ever had for policing the Empire and maintaining peace at home and abroad. We have many more responsibilities in Egypt, Iraq, Palestine and on the Rhine; we have infinitely more complicated classes of armament and equipment; and even the correspondence at the War Office has not died down. On the contrary it has increased, and. on the whole, the estimate. I gave of the additional work is a fair one.
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
I should have been very reluctant to stand between the Committee and a division—for it is one of my good practices to go to bed as early as I possibly can—but in view of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I feel certain the Committee will not wish to retire until they have a more specific 2014 declaration from the Government on this question of ranker officers. The right hon. Gentleman was amazed because the recruiting is falling off. He has attributed that falling off to many diverse and ingenious reasons. I am going to tell him one of the reasons why recruits are unwilling to join the Army to-day. It is not because of emigration, as he suggests. Week by week the numbers of unemployed increase. There is a greater demand for work. It is not, as he suggests, because men are afraid of what will happen to them at the end of their 21 years' service. Provided you give, them work enough and pensions enough, such fears will not assail them. It is not because they prefer the dole to serving the country. That is a very dangerous reason indeed to put forward. Indeed, it is quite inconsistent with what the right hon. Gentleman says in his memorandum, in which he advertises this Utopia:The conditions of Army life were never so good as they are to-day. The men are fed, clothed and housed with every regard to health and comfort. Practically all pay from the first day of enlistment is pocket money. Any necessary outlays reduce it by only a few pence a week. The chances of promotion are good, and the rates of pay have been substantially increased.Why is it, then, that when these inducements are offered to men, and particularly to unemployed men, they refuse them and refrain from enlisting in the army? I will tell the right hon. Gentleman why. It is because there arc 50,000 men who have been treated as he wishes to treat the ex-ranker officers, who served this country faithfully for 26 years, and who served it again during the War, and then had the pledges that were made to them broken. There are 50,000 men who are acting as anti-recruiters for the British Army to-day, and if the policy of the War Office is allowed to continue, as it has been expounded by the right hon. Gentleman, recruiting will continue to decline.
What is the position? The ex-ranker officers were promised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) that their claim would be granted. He broke his pledge. Hon. and right hon. Gentleman opposite had some criticisms to make about the breaking of that pledge, and I assure the Secretary of State that they will provide very interesting reading when the discussion comes on. There are a great num 2015 ber of hon. Members sitting behind him who had some bitter words to say about the morals and the integrity of the right hon. Gentleman the member for Aberavon. Is it his desire that the same things should be said about the right hon. Gentleman who is now Prime Minister, and who has such a great and well-deserved reputation for honesty? The right hon. Member for Aberavon broke his pledge, and a Motion was put down on getting Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on the Army Estimates last year, calling upon the Government to fulfill its pledges to these ex-ranker officers. That motion was lost by only eleven votes. It would have been carried had not the right hon. Gentleman who is now Prime Minister made a speech in which he induced the House to allow the Government of the day as it then was to set up a committee to inquire into the question of: the ex-ranker officers and to report. He said:If the report turns down all the demands of those interested, and if the Government support the Committee, then it will be open to anyone to put down a Motion to censure the Government, and in any case we shall get a Division upon it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th March, 1924; cols. 2666–7, Vol. 170.]In any case," said the present Prime Minister, "we shall get a Division upon it"—a division upon the question of whether or not the claims of ex-ranker officers are to be met. I need not remind the Committee of what are the claims of these men. These men served the country for 26 years, or whatever was the term of their engagement, and were induced to enlist again during the war. In many cases they were promoted to temporary commissions. They served as officers throughout the War, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant, Captain, Major, and in one case to the rank of Major-General. But when the War terminated they were put back upon the pensions of non-commissioned officers. The Navy did justice to those engaged under similar circumstances in the Navy, and gave them the means of maintaining the rank which they had earned and of educating their children in accordance with that rank.The claim of the ex-ranker officers is perfectly justified upon every ground of common-sense, reason and legality. Their claim was lost by only 11 Votes, and the House was to have an oppor- 2016 tunity of considering the report of the Committee. The House has had no such opportunity of considering the report, and of coming to a fair and free decision upon it. if was to have had that opportunity in the last Parliament, for the right hon. Gentleman who was then leader of the House (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) said,I would only add as to the precise form in which the matter is to be presented to the House that the Government 'have not had an opportunity of considering the matter, but my view is that it ought to be in a form which will enable the House to reach a definite decision."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th August, 1924; 2786, Vol. 176.]That was the position. That was the position when the Government resigned. A date for a discussion had been promised, indeed, captured from the Government, by the insistence of my hon. Friends opposite, and the right hon. Gentleman, who was leading the House for the Socialist party, said that the House would have an opportunity of coming to a decision upon it. Then the General Election came, and, naturally, my hon. Friends opposite were anxious as to whether the views which they had expressed in this House were going to be honoured by their own leaders. Accordingly, they sent a telegram to their Chief Whip, and asked whether if the Conservatives were returned to office, a free and an unfettered decision of the House would be allowed. Quick as lightning came back the following answer:Unionist party if returned to power will certainly give opportunity for discussion in the matter of ex-ranker officers.That telegram was sent in the middle of the General Election. It was sent in reply to a specific question and without qualification, and it can only mean that the answer was in the affirmative. How could it mean anything else?
Everybody knows that this House has a full and an adequate opportunity of discussing anything that it wishes to discuss. My hon. Friends opposite who put this question, knew very well that they could raise it. What they were anxious about was whether they were going to have the Whips put on against it or not. It was open to them on one of numerous occasions to put down this Motion, but if the Government should signify that its will was that the Motion should be rejected, then my hon. Friends who had spoken so eloquently against the last 2017 Government would be made to look very small. Accordingly they wished to ascertain whether or not the Whips would be put on, and they asked the specific question, "Would there he a free vote?" and the answer came back, "Certainly," and no hon. Member of this House could interpret the answer other wise.
If a Motion of censure be put down, or a Motion to reduce the estimates, it stands to reason that there can be no unlettered choice by hon. Members opposite. We shall be perfectly free. It is perfectly easy for every one of my right hon. Friends on these Benches to go into the Lobby against the Government. What we are anxious about is not scoring an advantage in the Lobby, but getting the money for these men. They are waiting for the money, and are waiting for the pledges to be fulfilled. I plead sincerely with the Secretary of State for War not to interpret these pledges in the literal fashion, in which he has done, because plain men, who have enlisted in the ranks and served their country for 31 years, do not understand these equivocations. They understand only what they were promised, and I plead with the Prime Minister, in whom I and the House have every confidence, again to consider what he has said, and to see if he cannot come to a more generous decision upon it.
§ Mr. BASIL PETO
The hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down has stated that, naturally, he and the members of his party can take a detached view of this question which arose in the recent Debate.
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
I did not say a "detached" view, because the whole of my party are pledged to this.
§ Mr. PETO
The hon. Member said an independent view. He said that any member of his party would be perfectly free in voting, and they would gladly go into the Lobby against the Government on a vote which might mean the defeat of the Government. But I would like to make a reference to one aspect of the matter. The Secretary of State for War, in dealing with this question, said that an opportunity could be made at any time to meet the convenience of the House. I would rather urge that it is not a 2018 question of the convenience of the House. It is a question of a specific answer to a question that. was put to the Prime Minister's own supporters during the General Election, and I appeal to him to give us that opportunity for a free vote and an honest discussion on this one issue, in order to carry out what many of us, on this side of the House, are pledged to—a free vote on this issue whenever it come up. I ask the Prime Minister not to put us in the position of appearing to be wanting in our support of the Government, or of not standing by our pledges to these ex-ranker officers who, we believe, deserve far better treatment than they have had.
The Secretary of State said that he wished to get this Vote as quickly as possible. I am sorry to have to stand between the Committee and a decision, even for a few moments, but I do not think it is saving time to shut out from a Debate of this kind a question of which due notice has been given to the Secretary of State by every means in my power through his Department. I propose to raise it now, even if it does take a minute or two of the Committee's time, and involve the Secretary of State in giving me an answer. The question I want to raise is the question of the Staff College. I notice that in the memorandum there is no mention of the Staff College at Camberley. When I turn to the Estimates, I see that there is a reduction of expenditure of £12,000, which is 10 per cent. of the expenditure at Camberley. I ask the Committee to consider two or three answers that I have received to questions. In 1905, 118 candidates competed for 33 places; in 1924, 269 competed for 67 places: and this year 400 competed for 67 places. When I say "57 places," it really does not give a fair view of the chances, because of that total six places are reserved for officers from the Dominions, eight for officers of the Indian Army, two for the Royal Navy and two for the Royal Air Force. A total of 18 has thus to be deducted, and only 39 places are left. Seventeen of these are open to competition and 22 to nomination. So that we have only 39 officers who can get places, out of a total this year of 400. Officers in the Army compete two or three times before they are finally plucked. Therefore I expect at least 600 candidates to come up next year for the 57 places.
2019 With a total of 16,313 officers, only one in 400 can hope to get through in any one year. In the Artillery branch, which is one of the most specialised branches in the Army, it is even worse. There are 2,000 officers in the Artillery, and there are only 10 places reserved for them. I ask, Is this adequate? I call attention to the fact that it is not necessary to ask for any increased expenditure at all. When I turn to the Estimate I see that the cost of a Staff College education is £709 per officer per year. I ask, Does that not constitute a world record for the cost of education of any sort or kind? When you look at the cost of the education that officers receive at Woolwich and at Sandhurst, you find that at Sandhurst, where there are 600 cadets, the cost is £391, and at Woolwich, where there are 225 cadets, the cost is £524 per annum. When I am asking for adequate numbers to be given facilities for Staff Colleges I am not necessarily asking for increased expenditure. I want to know from the Secretary of State for War whether the policy is that this small army which we now have should be a highly trained and specialised army. Young officers have never taken more keenly than they are now taking to their military careers and I want to know what is the policy of the War Office? Is it fair to take up the time of an increasing number of these young officers who wish to get themselves qualified to render very good service in this small specialised army and then shut them out wholesale so that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a young officer to get into the staff colleges. I do not think it is fair or a good policy. This most vital question of the training of staff officers is never mentioned in the memorandum put before the House, and in recent years there has been no addition made to the facilities for that training yet we see year by year a larger and larger number Coming forward for examination who have no possible chance of ever getting in. I understood what we wanted after the late War was what might he termed a pool of officers serving with their regiments who have all had Staff College training and who are all qualified to take up staff jobs in case of war. That was the great lack in the War. I believe there is no pool at the present moment in the 2020 junior ranks serving with their regiments who are qualified by staff training to take up a staff job. Therefore I ask the Secretary of State for War to give me some reply on this question and let me know whether there is any intention to carry out the policy that I have enunciated or whether it is not the policy of the War Office to have an efficient highly staff-trained army?
§ Sir G. HOHLER
I am sorry the Prime Minister has left his seat, because I desire to make a personal appeal to him that he will not leave even one of his supporters in a position as a man of honour in which he would not like to find himself. I could almost make the proud boast that the Prime Minister made in the last Parliament. I recollect him saying that he never made an election pledge. That is, I believe, almost true of myself. I was very careful to make no election pledge that I knew I. could not justify. I only desire to add this to that which has been said regarding the history of the last Parliament. I think substantially the whole of the Labour party were in favour of carrying out the pledge that has been given to the ex-ranker officers. I am sure they would all have voted with us in the Division had we had the chance of a free vote. I remember it was the present Prime Minister who in my view saved the late Prime Minister from defeat on this very question by giving him the assistance of a suggestion that there should be a reference to a. Committee. We know it went to a Committee. With great respect I never wished it, and voted against it. I understood something of the case, and between us we could present it as well to the House of Commons as going to a Committee. I think that Committee never understood the case, and I believe these ex-ranker officers have a splendid case, but however that may be, we know it was turned down. There is one thing of which I wish to remind those hon. Members who were in the last Parliament. My recollection is that on the Adjournment this very question was raised by Dr. Macnamara, and so strong was the feeling in every part of the House that we were promised a day for discussion and a free vote. Then came the Election. It so happens in my case that my chairman is an ex-ranker officer and that there are about 20 of these men in my constituency.
2021 and they pressed me in regard to this particular matter. I told them I could not make a pledge without authority. and I thereupon either wrote or telegraphed to the central office and asked if the question would be left to the free vote of the House. I got a telegram in reply, and while I cannot pledge my memory as to whether or not it was in the same terms as the telegram which has been read out, it conveyed to me most clearly that a day would be given and a free vote allowed.
As an old Member of the House, if I had received a telegram stating merely that the ordinary opportunities would be available on the Army Estimates for raising the question, I should have told my constituents that I was unable to give a pledge, and I should not have been in the unfortunate position in which I now find myself. They had no right to telegraph back from the central office to mislead me, and they knew they would mislead me in sending that telegram, and, in my view, I was justified in making an unqualified pledge that a day would be given if we were returned to office, and that our leader had promised it. I beg of the Prime Minister to think of these circumstances and not to leave us in this position. Is it to he said against us, and against all politicians "Here is the right hon. Gentlemen, the Member for Aberavon (Mr. R. MacDonald), who made a pledge and repudiated it, and then when it comes to your turn, you repudiate it also? "Do not let us begin the career or this Government, after the beautiful speech of the Prime Minister begging for peace in our time, by letting down even one Member of the party, however humble who in my judgment has been misled. If I cannot demand it as a right, then I beg f the right hon. Gentleman now to give us a day for a free discussion and vote on this question. It involves only 2,500 men, but still that is something, and they have suffered a grievous injustice. The issue is not raised now for the first time. It was a burning question at the last election, and I would undertake to say that there was not one speaker either on ear side or on the Liberal side who did not say: "Look at the pledge made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon; see his promise and see his performance." I am sure that was said on every platform. I shall 2022 vote in favour of those men, whether it be against the Government or not. It is not a fulfilment of any pledge nor the thousandth part of a fulfilment of the message in the telegram which was read out, to say that this matter can be brought up on a Vote involving millions and that we must vote upon that. On this side of the House, there are many new Members who know little or nothing of the discussions which have taken place, and they will be subservient, like practically the whole of this party to the Government Whip. Nobody wants another election at this time. I realise ate position, but I do ask that in justice and for the honour of the Conservative party, the Secretary of State will announce that a day will be given and this matter left to the free vote of the House, so that we can express our view as to what ought to be done.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
May I say one word in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Barnstaple (Mr. B. Peto)? I am very glad that he called attention to the question of the Staff College. A committee was recently sitting under the chairmanship of Lord Plumer, which raised some questions allied to the questions that my hon. Friend has raised, and those questions are being looked into now at the War Office. I will only tell my hon. Friend that I am advised to-day that the numbers of men passing through the Staff Colic se at Camberley are sufficient for the posts which they are called upon to hold. I quite agree that competition is very severe indeed. The question Is being looked into, and in a few months' time I shall be able to give him better information on this question.
With regard to the pledges given by us at the last election, I do not want to discuss the details of them. I read the actual reply that was made, but it is quite clear that a large number of members of the Committee would like to have a day for this discussion. When I was speaking before, I was not, as hon. Members know, authorised to give away the time of the Government, but I have had the opportunity of consulting the Prime Minister in the meantime, and he is perfectly willing that there shall be a day, or so much of a day as is required, for the purpose of this discussion. [An 2023 HON. MEMBER: "And a free vote?"] If the hon. Member wants to make a speech after me, he will doubtless have the opportunity. That day cannot be given before Easter. It will have to be given after Easter, later in the year. The actual form of the Motion can be discussed in the ordinary way, and I need say no more about that at this moment.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I am not concerned with the honour of the Labour party, the Tory party, or the Liberal party, but I am concerned with the honour of this House. Only this morning I received from those who act for the men concerned a note which conveyed to me the fact that they were under the impression still that, although we were not to raise the question to-night, there was to be on another occasion a free discussion and a free vote, and I am amazed when I hear the way this discussion has gone. With regard to the right hon. Gentleman who was Prime Minister last year, it is perfectly true that he gave reasons for changing his point of view in regard to this question, but it is equally true that every man who was here on that night knows that the present Prime Minister led all of us to think that the setting up of a Committee did not settle the question, but that this House would ultimately be able to settle it itself.
I cannot understand how any honourable man can, as it were, dodge about with words as we are doing with regard to the pledge about which the hon. and learned Member for Gillingham (Sir G Hohler) has just been speaking. After all, we can play with words when it does not matter to the livelihood of men and women, but none of us has any right to play with words when it is a question of the means of maintenance for 2,500 men. We may use language that has a double meaning when it will not hurt anybody, but when we know that the interests of 2,500 men are involved, I think it is perfectly disgusting that such language should be used. Had this question related to a million men, there would have been no discussion about it, but it happens to affect only 2,500 men, and you can, of course, treat them more or less with contempt. I am certain that lots of people outside will think of it in that way. The Secretary of State for War 2024 and his right hon. colleague the Chief Whip will both have to do with settling the day and the conditions under which this discussion shall take place, and I only want to press upon everybody that what takes place in this House is read with more attention outside than ever it was before, because we now deal with the lives of people; and if once more we betray this. small band of men, we shall be giving those who say that this House has no regard for honour or pledges, and that all of us will say anything as long as we can get elected, and then forget it when we are elected, the very best case possible against the British House of Commons.
I hope that when it is discussed the Members of the party opposite who have got influence on the other side, and who feel strongly on the matter, will take the only course open to them, and that is to go to their Whips and the Prime Minister and bring influence to bear on them by telling them, for once in their lives, that this Parliament must treat even a handful of men in a straightforward manner. You were glad to get them in the War. You heaped all kinds of honour upon them during the War, and now that the War is over the least you can do is to treat them as decently as you treated them during the War. I can say that rather better than most of you, because I had nothing to do with it. I hated the War, and would have stopped the War, and done anything to stop it. But from the first day the war started I did my best to look after those who stayed at home here, women and children and the men who came back wounded long before the British Legion started, because I had the feeling in regard to men who were being sacrificed, that the least decent people could do was to try to take care of those they left behind. These men have survived. I cannot tell what I should feel had I gone through what they have gone through, and then been treated in the contemptuous manner that many hon. Members have treated them. I beg right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the other side to compel the Government to do this mere act of justice to a handful of men.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
While congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on the concession that he has made, I should like it to be made quite clear what is that 2025 concession. There has been some difference f opinion, but I want there to be none on this: Are we or are we not to have a free vote
As far as I understand the right hon. Gentleman has accepted what we say was the meaning of the pledge given by his Government. I do not understand, however, that he says that he is going to fulfil it in that sense. We are quite familiar with the position of the Government. Before I read the exact words [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed"]—if they must be read, in view of what has occurred, I should just like to address a few sentences to the Committee. Before the Election, following which the Labour Government was in office, we were all asked: "Were we in favour of having these pensions granted to the ex-ranker officers?" Most Candidates replied: "Yes." In the last Parliament the Members of the Conservative party were most vociferous and most indignant in their denunciation of the Labour Government because they evaded the pledges given by their leaders by saying that they did not understand the questions put to them. I remember that the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs was very strong on the point. That was the way in which pledges were asked for during the last Election. There was no doubt in the mind of anybody as to who the questions were directed to. We must, at all events, be honest with one another. Here was the question asked:Do you favour a free vote and an unfettered decision?You cannot have a debate and a decision without a discussion. The question, therefore, was, and would be, so construed by arty reasonably-minded person:Do you favour a discussion with a view to reaching an unfettered decision?And the answer was:We certainly do favour a discussion"—and it is downright dishonest to say that they do not include the words of the question—We certainly favour a discussion with a view to what you ask—the arriving at an unfettered decision.That is the position. [Hon. MEMBERS: "Agreed."] Whatever form the right 2026 hon. Gentleman may select to bring this matter before the House, we on these benches, at all events, unmistakably wish to assert that unless it is so brought forward that, not only we, but those who sit, behind the right hon. Gentleman, are at liberty to give a free unfettered vote, then he has broken his pledge, and been returned to power upon promises that he has now retracted.
§ Captain ERNEST EVANS
I did not intend to intervene, but I feel it is only right to do so because of a direct question of a perfectly simple character that has been addressed—several times—to the Government. I am entitled to say that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War 'has not treated the Committee in this matter with the candour we usually expect from him. When the Prime Minister was present, the Government were asked whether they were going to do two things; first, would they give a day for the discussion of the Question, and, secondly, would they allow the Committee to have a free vote upon it? They hedged over those two questions for a long time, and it was not until they were pressed from both sides of the House that the Secretary of State for War ultimately did get up and say, "In view of the expressions of opinion which have been addressed to us, we are now prepared to give a day for the discussion of this question." But the matter does not end there. When the question was raised, it was perfectly obvious what the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite and his friends had in mind. It was not necessary for them to send either to the Prime Minister, or the Chief Whip, or the Central Office, to ask whether they could discuss this question in the House. Everybody—even a man who had never been a Member of Parliament—knew that that would be possible for him to raise the matter and have it discussed, and the whole point of that question which was addressed to Headquarters was: Will the ordinary Members of Parliament be given an opportunity of voting upon this question as they think right, without any influence being put upon them by the Whips? The hon. and learned Gentleman has said that the answer which came to 2027 him on that question satisfied him that, whatever the late Government had done, the Conservative party, if it came into power, would certainly give a day for the discussion and allow their supporters, as well as other Members, to vote as they liked. The Prime Minister has now returned. If I may say so, I think it is very creditable to him that he should he attending to his duties at this time. As far as I am concerned, I shall be very glad to relieve him of any further attendance if he will just answer this simple question, and it can be answered in one word. When this discussion takes place, will the result be left to the free decision of the House without the Government Whips being put on?
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)
I gather that during the discussion there has been a certain amount of interest shown in this subject, partly owing to the subject itself, and partly owing to some differences of opinion on this side of the House. It is very natural indeed that people should take great interest in it. But the question for the moment, I understand, is about an opportunity for free discussion. [HON. MEMBERS "Free vote."] Oh! you have got a free discussion; it is about what is called a free vote. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Quite so. I understand the pledge I am alleged to have given, as circulated in the Pensioned Ranker
Officers' Circular, is that I said in debate last March that—
if the Report turned down all demands a those interested, and if the Government support the Committee, then it will be open to anyone to put down a Motion to censure the Government, and in any case we shall get a Division upon it.
§ That seems to me a statement of fact. If I remember aright—I am sorry I have not had an opportunity of looking up the debate: I have had something else to do to-day—the Secretary of State for War in the late Government supported the report of the Barnes Committee. That is what we had a discussion on and a vote last time. I cannot say at this moment until I see what the terms of the Motion are going to be, or until I know how it is going to be arranged that debate should proceed, exactly what steps I shall take. But I will say to the House at once that the form in which I would like to put it down would be to put down a Government Motion that the Barnes Committee's report be adopted by this House. The Government believe that that report was a perfectly fair report, and they stand by that report. That being so if that report is going to be challenged. there can be no question of our leaving it to a free vote of the House, because we have the courage of our convictions.
§ Question put, "That a number, not exceeding 160,500, be maintained for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 69 Noes. 208.2029
|Division No. 42.]||AYES.||[12.22 a.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hayes, John Henry||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Eiland)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hilisbro.)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Barr, J.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Scurr, John|
|Batey, Joseph||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shlels, Dr. Drummond|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Connolly, M.||Lansbury, George||Sutton, J. E.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lawson, John James||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lindley, F. W.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Warne, G. H.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Forrest, W.||Murnin, H.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Palin, John Henry||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Paling, W.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Gillett, George M.||Parkinson. John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Potts, John S.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Windsor, Walter|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Riley, Ben|
|Harney, E. A.||Ritson, J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hastings, Sir Patrick||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Sir Godfrey Collins and Sir Robert|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut-Colonel||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Albery, Irving James||Grace, John||Oakley, T.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Grant, J. A.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Grotrian, H. Brent||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Polo. Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Hall, Capt. W. D. A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Promo)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Hammersley, S. S.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Harrison, G. J. C.||Raine, W|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Hartington, Marquess of||Ramsden, E.|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Hawke, John Anthony||Reid, Captain A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y. Chits'y)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Henn, Sir Sydney H||Ropner, Major L.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Ruggies-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemotith)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Herbert, S. (York, N.B., Scar. & Wh'by)||Rye F. G.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hilton, Cecil||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Samuel. A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylehone)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Shaw. Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew. W)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Holt. Capt. H. P.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Burman, J. B.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Smith, R. W. (Aberdin & Kinc'dine. C.)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Smithers, Waldron|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hudson, R. S. (Curnberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Huntingfieid, Lord||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Sir Edward M.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Stanley. Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Storry Deans. R.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jacob. A. E.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Stuart, Crichton, Lord C.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Knox, Sir Alfred||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Cooper, A. Duf||Lamb, J. Q.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Cope, Major William||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Couper, B.||Lister, Cunliffe. Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Thornton, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell (Croydon, S.)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Loder. J. de V.||Tichfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Crook, C. W.||Looker. Herbert William||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Lumley, L. R.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otiey)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||MacIntyre, Ian||Wells. S. R.|
|Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Roytnn)||McLean, Major A.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dalrymple|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Macmillan Captain H.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Macquisten. F. A.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Drewe, C.||Makins, Brigadler-General E.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Margesson, Captain D.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ellis, R. G.||Merriman, F. B.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Elveden, Viscount||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Wood, E.(Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde|
|Fermoy, Lord||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Flelden, E. B.||Moreing. Captain A. H.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Fleming, D. P.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Nelson, Sir Frank||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E.||Neville. R. J.||Colonel Gibbs and Captain|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Hacking.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Nuttall, Ellis|
Question put, and agreed to.