HC Deb 29 March 1935 vol 299 cc2239-42

"In section forty-four of the Army Act (which relates to scales of punishment by court martial), all words after 'officers,' in line four, to the end of '(9) stoppages,' in line fifteen, to be deleted, and the word 'and' inserted in place thereof."—[Mr. Buchanan.]

sentation on public bodies. Would the right hon. Gentleman, be prepared to agree to make a concession with regard to the Sergeant-Major, and having done that and having had more time to think over the problem he might agree later to the private soldier receiving the same opportunity to serve on public bodies?

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 17; Noes, 101.

Division No. 128.] AYES. [1.47 p.m.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Thorns, William James
Batey, Joseph Groves, Thomas E. Tinker, John Joseph
Cove, William G. Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Daggar, George John, William
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Lansbury. Rt. Hon. George TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Dobbie, William McEntee, Valentine L. Mr. Maxton and Mr. Buchanan.
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Rea, Walter Russell
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Goff, Sir Park Held, William Allan (Derby)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Goldie, Noel B. Ropner, Colonel L.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Grimston, R. V. Salmon, Sir Isidore
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes) Sandys, Edwin Duncan
Aske, Sir Robert William Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Selley, Harry R.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Bllndell, James Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)
Bossom, A. C. Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Bower, Commander Robert Tatton Hume, Sir George Hopwood Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Broadbent, Colonel John Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Spens, William Patrick
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Stourton, Hon. John J.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Kerr, Hamilton W. Strauss, Edward A.
Browne, Captain A. C. Leckle, J. A. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Burgin. Dr. Edward Leslie Leighton, Major B. E. P. Sueter, Rear-admiral Sir Murray F.
Campbell, Vice-admiral G. (Burnley) Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Llewellin, Major John J. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Clarke, Frank Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Tree, Ronald
Clayton, Sir Christopher Mabane, William Tutnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey McLean, Major Sir Alan Ward, Lt.-Col, Sir A. L. (Hull)
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Macquisten, Frederick Alexander Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Cook, Thomas A. Maitland, Adam Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Craven-Ellis, William Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Crooke, J. Smedley Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Watt, Major George Steven H.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Wells, Sidney Richard
Donner, P. W. Milne, Charles Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Moore, Lt.-Col, Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Morrison, William Shephard Wise, Alfred R.
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Nunn, William
Fremantle, Sir Francis Raikes, Henry V. A. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Ganzoni, Sir John Ramsay. T. B. W. (Western Isles) Sir George Penny and Sir Walter
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Womersley.

1.54 p.m.


This new Clause raises more or less, but in a different aspect, the same point that was raised on the last Amendment. The object of our Amendments is to bring about equality between the officer and the serving soldier and to ensure that there shall be no discrimination in the future. In our last Amendment we sought to enable the private soldier to serve on a council with equal status with the officer. We propose that there shall be no discrimination in punishments as between a private soldier and an officer. That is the object of the new Clause. As it is drafted it may not make good reading, but that is our proposal. We want to get this matter decided on the broad principle rather than on technicalities, and the broad principle raised here is that as far as officers and men are concerned there should be no differentiation as regards punishments.

In the case of officers the punishments include death, penal servitude for not less than three years, imprisonment with or without hard labour for a period not exceeding two years, cashiering and dismissal from His Majesty's Service, severe reprimand, and so on. In the case of soldiers the penalties include death, penal servitude for not less than three years, imprisonment with or without hard labour for a period not exceeding two years, detention for a period not exceeding two years, discharge with ignominy from the Service, and so on. The punishment which seems most repulsive is that a private soldier is liable to be discharged with ignominy from His Majesty's service. There is no such punishment in the case of an officer. He can be cashiered; but that is not the same thing as being discharged with ignominy. If it is said that being cashiered is the same as being discharged with ignominy why is an offensive phrase applied to a private soldier and the word cashiered applied in the case of an officer? The two things may be the same in actual practice. There is no justification for this discrimination. We say that there should be one set of punishments for officers and men. We want equality in all matters as between officers and those in the ranks, and the new Clause proposes that in regard to punishments all classes in the Army shall be treated in exactly the same way.


I suggest to the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) that he should move his new Clause in a slightly different form: In section 44 of the Army Act (which relates to scales of punishment by courts-martial) all words after 'officers' in line 4, to the end of' (gg) stoppages,' in line 1.8, shall be deleted and the word 'and' inserted in place thereof.


Thank you, I will move it in that form.