HC Deb 29 June 1926 vol 197 cc968-9
15. Mr. AMMON

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that on 20th June, while inspecting a battalion of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, an honorary colonel of another battalion of that regiment made an attack on trade union leaders; whether such political propaganda is permitted by Army Regulations; and whether disciplinary action will be taken?


asked the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been drawn to the statement of an honorary colonel of a battalion of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, when inspecting the second battalion at Dover on the 19th instant, that soldiers were more free than the working man, who was bullied and intimidated by the tyrants of trade unionism; and whether he will take steps to discourage attacks on trade unionism by officers of the British Army in the execution of their duties?


My attention has been called to a Press report of the incident in question. There appears to be some misapprehension as to the status of the officer concerned, who is not in the Regular Army, but is the Honorary Colonel of a Militia battalion. This officer was not present on this occasion in the execution of his military duties, but in his private capacity as an old friend of the regiment in which he has always taken a keen interest; and no question of disciplinary action arises.


Does that answer mean that this officer, Lord Ampthill, is entitled by permission to attend and make speeches to the troops?


I regret I have not seen a verbatim report. I have only seen a very short report, which may or may not be correct, and it is difficult therefore to express any opinion upon it, but from the report I saw I should have preferred, naturally, that the speech should not have been made in the form in which it was made.