HC Deb 15 July 1930 vol 241 cc1074-5
3. Mr. DAY

asked the Secretary of State for War whether soldiers serving in the Guards are still granted the privilege of being employed at evening and matinee performances at London theatres; can he say whether for the purpose of these engagements soldiers are excused any part of their military duties; is permission also granted to Guardsmen to be absent from their military duties for rehearsals; have any inquiries been made into this subject; and can he give the House particulars?


As regards the first and last parts of the question, soldiers, whether belonging to the Guards or to other regiments, are at liberty to spend their leisure time as they like provided that there is no interference with their military duties. Instructions were issued last autumn to make the position clear in this respect and to make it clear also that any engagements which soldiers accept in their spare time are purely of a private nature and that touting for engagements in any shape or form is forbidden. As regards the second and third parts of the question, the answer is in the negative.


Can my right hon. Friend say whether the fact that these soldiers attend rehearsals in the morning, performances at matinees in the afternoon, and appear again at night, does not interfere with their military duty?


Will the right hon. Gentleman not say that this is what his predecessor did?


If my hon. Friend will give me details of cases where it is evident that soldiers have been taking private engagements at the expense of their military duties, I will take steps to deal with the matter.

Colonel ASHLEY

Is not what was stated impossible? If they took private engagements at the expense of their military duties they would be brought before their Commanding Officer, who would punish them.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the fact that if they take private engagements at the expense of ex-service men it is not helping the unemployed?