HC Deb 23 January 1940 vol 356 cc363-5
39. Mr. Parker

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that many commanding officers have threatened to place hotels and public-houses out of bounds to their troops if the proprietors do not restrict entry to the whole or part of their premises to officers; and, as this is contrary to the spirit of the democratisation of the Army, what action he proposes to take to see that commanding officers carry out the Government's policy on this matter?

13. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the objections that have been made to private soldiers dining in the same hotel or restaurant as an officer; whether the objection is supported by the War Office in any form, or by any military authority, national or local; and will he make an explicit statement on this matter?

22. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for War what action he is taking in cases reported to him of military authorities issuing instructions forbidding the serving of meals to privates in the same restaurants or hotel rooms used by officers?

Mr. Stanley

I am not aware of any cases of the kind referred to. Instructions have been issued making it clear that officers and soldiers are not prohibited from taking meals or refreshments together in clubs, hotels or restaurants, and that there is no objection to soldiers in uniform attending such places. If any case is brought to notice of the issue of orders inconsistent with these instructions, the matter will be investigated and appropriate action taken.

Mr. Dalton

Does the answer also cover public houses?

Mr. Stanley

I think that the term used, "hotels and restaurants" is a generic term.

Mr. Thurtle

Will the right hon. Gentleman not only wait until specific cases are brought to his notice but issue a notice to officers commanding that they should not approach local restaurants or hotels in order to have exclusive facilities for officers?

Mr. Stanley

The instruction has been issued and I referred to it in my answer, and if specific cases of neglect or difficulties arise I will investigate them.

Mr. Ede

Will the right hon. Gentleman say, therefore, that any licensee who is approached by a commanding or other officer may ignore such approach and feel quite sure that no action will be taken against him?

Mr. Stanley

I would like to know the circumstances. It may be a question of misconduct and, if so, the commanding officer would be entitled to put the place out of bounds, but if any case were brought to my notice on the lines I have mentioned, as I say, I will investigate it.

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