HC Deb 23 January 1945 vol 407 cc624-5
22. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that members of a unit repatriated after four and a-half years' service overseas have been informed that they are to be posted to the Western Front on the completion of a current course, that is, after seven weeks in all in the United Kingdom; and whether the period of three months for which troops have hitherto been kept in this country after long service abroad has now been further reduced.

Sir J. Grigg

The answer to the last part of the Question is No, Sir. The men referred to were brought back to this country for military reasons and not because they qualified for repatriation under the Python scheme. Those of them who have qualified are being retained in this country for at least three months. Moreover, those who are retained for less than three months will remain eligible for Python under normal rules on completing the necessary qualifying period.

37. Mr. Quintin Hogg

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he now has any further statement to make about the Signals personnel who were retained in S.E.A.C. and India, despite the completion of the normal period of overseas service in the Army.

Sir J. Grigg

I would refer to the full answer I gave my hon. Friend on 5th December. I have heard nothing since which would lead me to suppose that the assurance referred to in that answer will not be carried out.

74. Mr. Hugh Lawson

asked the Secretary of State for War what would be the reduction in the length of service of British troops in India if the shipping space and reinforcements now being used to provide a leave scheme were used to reduce the length of service in India.

Captain Duncan

On a point of Order. Question 74 appears to be purely hypothetical. Is the Secretary of State for War responsible for hypotheses?

Mr. Speaker

It has passed the Table, and is, therefore, in Order.

Sir J. Grigg

The answer is "Nil."

Mr. H. Lawson

Surely the right hon. Gentleman must be aware that to institute any leave scheme and to maintain the strength of the unit unimpaired, both men and shipping space must be provided, and that these men and shipping space could equally be provided for reducing the length of service?

Sir J. Grigg

The hon. Member's assertion is based on a complete fallacy. In the case of repatriation, replacements have to be sent out. In the case of short leave, officers and men are retained on the strength of their units. They are not replaced; so no replacement problem arises at all. That is the reason for my answer, "Nil."

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