HC Deb 06 February 1940 vol 357 cc10-1

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper in the name of Mr. GALLACHER:

21. To ask the Secretary of State for War whether he will inquire and inform the House who is responsible for offering inducement's to conscripts at Maryhill barracks to leave the Army for service with the forces of Baron Mannerheim; and whether an office for directing such activities has been opened in London?

Mr. Mander

Before this Question is put, may I ask on a point of Order, whether it is in order to describe the Finnish forces who are resisting aggression as being the private force of one individual?

Mr. Gallacher

Further to that point of Order. Is it not in the knowledge of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, East (Mr. Mander) that there has been private army under Baron Mannerheim in Finland since 1918, and is it not in the knowledge of the War Office that such a private army has existed since 1918?

Mr. Speaker

I did not know until I was told just now by the two hon. Members that this Question referred to a private army, I thought that the Question referred to the Finnish Army.

Sir V. Warrender

I am not aware that any inducements have been offered for the purpose suggested. The Finnish Legation are, I understand, supervising an organisation for the purpose of enabling volunteers to proceed to Finland.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister not aware that all those who are eligible for such purpose are under the Conscription Act, and therefore, cannot be withdrawn from this country without the leave of the War Office? Is he further aware that the Press and Censorship Bureau has issued a letter to the Press under the name of Sir Walter Monckton advising the Press not to publish any information about the organisation of volunteers?

Mr. Hannah

Is not the House aware that the Finns are fighting our battle?

Commander Locker-Lampson

Should we not support Finland's fight for freedom?

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I propose to raise this matter on the Adjournment.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Will this spouter of stale sedition go and join the Moscow Forces?