HC Deb 01 February 1945 vol 407 cc1626-7
46. Mr. A. Bevan

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a full statement of the principles governing home leave in the different theatres of war, in order to relieve the anxiety of relatives, make the position clear to the Services and so reduce the volume of inquiries made to Members of Parliament on the subject.

Mr. Attlee

The principles governing the scheme for leave from distant theatres were set out in the statements made by the Prime Minister on 17th November and by the Secretary of State for War in reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) on 5th December. It was then made clear that the application of these principles in the various commands is a matter for the commanders-in-chief concerned. This will differ to some extent according to the varying local conditions which may change from time to time as a result of operational and other circumstances. If individuals are in doubt about the arrangements in force in their commands, they should make inquiries through their commanding officers in the normal way.

Mr. Bevan

Does that reply do anything to remove the very great confusion which now exists? We receive inquiries from abroad and from the relatives of Service men, and we refer them to the answers which we have received in this House, but so many modifications are made by the commanders on the spot that our answers are made to look complete nonsense to the soldiers themselves. Would the right hon. Gentleman try to persuade commanders to act more in conformity with the principles established here, and not depart from them so much as they have done?

Mr. Attlee

I will see the Secretary of State for War and find out whether in the various commands the conditions can be brought clearly before the men, but it is best that they should make their inquiries there.

Sir Irving Albery

Is the Minister not aware that considerable dissatisfaction arises because of the fact that the troops are given to understand that there will be leave after certain periods, such as every six months, but that the allocations made to the units do not at all bear that out, and that leads to dissatisfaction?

Mr. Attlee

I do not know about that. Perhaps my hon. Friend will put that question to the Secretary of State for War.

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