HC Deb 08 June 1944 vol 400 cc1493-4
26. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for India what instructions have been issued to troops in India and adjacent Commands concerning the method of registering as voters and the appointment of proxies.

Mr. Amery

Copies of the relevant Army Council Instruction were sent to the India Command who will take the necessary steps to give effect to it. As regards adjacent Commands the matter is one for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War.

Mr. Ballenger

As the right hon. Gentleman is not very informative, may I ask him whether he has seen the Army Council Instruction in which it is stated that steps will be taken by overseas Commands themselves to provide these facilities? I am asking the right hon. Gentleman what facilities are being provided by these oversea Commands, and not for the Army Council Instruction, which I know.

Mr. Amery

I have not had an opportunity of discovering precisely what detailed facilities the overseas Commands, have given. I have no doubt that they have done their best to carry out the instructions of the War Office.

Mr. Bellenger

Is not the right hon. Gentleman himself, at the India Office, personally responsible for the Indian Command carrying out those instructions? Has he taken steps to see that they have done so?

Mr. Amery

Yes, Sir, there is no doubt that the responsibility of the Indian Command does rest with the Secretary of State, but these instructions were sent out by the military authorities here to the military authorities in India, and, presumably, the military authorities have done their best to carry out those instructions.

Mr. J. J. Lawson

Are serving soldiers being encouraged to fill in the necessary forms, and have all proper steps been taken?

Mr. Amery

I presume that the military authorities, in corresponding with each other, have dealt with that matter.