§ 24 and 25. Mr. George Griffiths
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) who is responsible for the appointment of the area commandant and company commanders of the Local Defence Volunteers in the Barnsley and Staincross area; and whether he is aware that all these officers appointed are of one political party;
(2) who is responsible for the appointment of the area commandant and company commanders of the Local Defence Volunteers in the Doncaster area; whether he is aware that the commandant for the area and three out of four of the company commanders for the West Riding section of the area are all colliery officials and the 16 last three all officials of one colliery company; will he take steps to alter this kind of selection, as being likely to impair public confidence; and what military experience these three company commanders have had?
§ Mr. Eden
The military area commander, in consultation with the Lord Lieutenant, appoints are area, zone and group commanders of the Local Defence Volunteer Force, who in turn appoint the company commanders. The intention is to appoint the most suitable persons without regard to political party or other considerations of that kind. Previous military experience is not essential, and I am informed that the three company commanders referred to in the Doncaster area have not had such experience.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Is the Minister aware that although he has answered in a very nice spirit, this is not taken in the same spirit so far as appointments are concerned? It is not ability in this case; they have been pitchforked into the job.
§ Mr. Eden
I cannot answer for individual cases. I thought that the only way to launch this scheme was to decentralise it. We could not possibly make all the appointments from the War Office, but power has been given to make changes. I believe that, generally speaking, local authorities have done their utmost.
§ Mr. Paling
If suitability is the essence of the choice, will the Minister make an inquiry into this particular case?
§ Mr. John Morgan
Can the right hon. Gentleman indicate just how we might make representations in this matter?
§ Sir H. Morris-Jones
On a point of Order. The hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Paling), who is a Member of His Majesty's Government, asked a question of a Minister of the Crown. May I ask whether that is correct?