HC Deb 07 November 1939 vol 353 cc21-2
35. Miss Wilkinson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that the present Army is a citizen Army by conscription embracing all male Parliamentary voters, he will amend the regulation prohibiting serving soldiers from writing to their Member of Parliament about grievances so as to preserve the right of any citizen to appeal to his Member of Parliament?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

No, Sir. It is not proposed to undermine the responsibility of commanding officers for dealing with complaints themselves or acting as the channels for their conveyance to higher authority, and it will be appreciated that any other system would make the position of those with responsibility impossible of discharge.

Miss Wilkinson

Has the Department drafted this regulation to prevent soldiers from communicating with their Members of Parliament when their wives are not getting allowances?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Judging from my experience, wives do not hesitate to exercise their ordinary rights as citizens.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Is it not a fact that many letters that Members of Parliament are receiving from their constituents are prefaced with the statement, "I am advised by my commanding officer to write to my Member of Parliament"? Will the right hon. Gentleman look into that?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I have never seen such a case in the whole of my experience.