HC Deb 05 March 1940 vol 358 cc192-3
44. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for War why leave from the British Expeditionary Force is no longer taken in alphabetical order; and whether he is aware of the grave discontent among the Forces because of alleged discrimination and selection instead of the earlier system?

Mr. Stanley

I am informed that the order in which men are given ordinary leave from the British Expeditionary Force is determined, not alphabetically, but by drawing names out of a hat. There has not been any change of system.

Mr. Williams

Are we to understand from the reply of the right hon. Gentleman that there is a new system now of selection as distinct from the previous days?

Mr. Stanley

I am given to understand that it is done entirely by drawing lots.

Mr. Robert Gibson

Is any account taken of the length of service of these men?

Mr. Stanley

Yes, Sir. A unit gets a leave allotment according to the length of service of its men.

Mr. T. Smith

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is the best method of selecting men, and is he aware that a good many men who have been out since October are complaining of the unfair way in which leave is granted?

Mr. Stanley

I think that, after the experience of the last war, this method is the best way of doing it. Whatever method is adopted, there always will be complaints.

Mr. Thorne

Is it possible for one man to obtain two leaves?

Mr. Stanley

indicated dissent.

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