HC Deb 19 January 1944 vol 396 cc158-9
28. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the Secretary of State for Air what action has been taken to inform all ranks of the R.A.F. that they are permitted to communicate with hon. Members and that they are not liable to disciplinary action for so doing.

Sir A. Sinclair

King's Regulations require officers and airmen who wish to make representations on Service matters to do so through the recognised Service channels. The practice and principles of the Services in this respect are well understood, as also the reasons underlying them, and I see no need for the issue to the Royal Air Force of a special order of the kind the hon. and gallant Member suggests.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

Is it not a fact that no one has the power to prevent any constituent from communicating with his own Member of Parliament on any subject?

Sir A. Sinclair

My hon. and gallant Friend is right.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

May I ask, if that is so, why all ranks cannot be so informed?

Sir A. Sinclair

Because it is very much better, in their interests and in the interests of the Service generally, that they should make their representations first through the ordinary Service channels. It is the quickest way to deal with their grievances. May I say how grateful I am to my hon. Friends in this House who realise that and who do co-operate in impressing on their constituents that the best way of getting their grievances settled is to go to their commanding officer?

Sir A. Southby

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that it is incumbent upon Members of Parliament to explain to their constituents that proper Service means exist whereby they can take up Service grievances?

Sir A. Sinclair

That is the point I was making and for his help I am obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend.

Mr. Thorne

If the man in question cannot get satisfaction from the officer what is the next stage?

Sir A. Sinclair

I have already said, in answer to the first supplementary question, that, of course, members of the Royal Air Force and of the other Forces have the citizen's ordinary right to write to their Member of Parliament.