HC Deb 08 March 1945 vol 408 cc2217-8
45. Sir H. Williams

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that persons in the Services who are delegates to the forthcoming Conservative Party conference have been forbidden to speak thereat, despite the fact that many such persons spoke at the recent Liberal and Labour Party conferences; and will he take steps to remove this discrimination.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

Members of the forces are allowed to attend political meetings, but are not allowed to speak at them, as such action would amount to taking an active part in the affairs of a political organisation or party, which is forbidden by the King's Regulations. This does not apply to serving Members of Parliament, who during the war may speak on any occasion. Prospective candidates may speak in their own constituencies only.

Sir H. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that certain people broke the law by speaking at a Labour Party conference?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I think it is all run very fairly, with full agreement between the heads of the various parties represented in the Government. We would not in any circumstances allow the stealing of marches and unfair tricks in a matter of this kind. We would be very glad to discuss the matter with all other parties.

Mr. Shinwell

My right hon. Friend can surety be relied upon not to encourage the Conservative Party to break the law?

The Prime Minister

The suggestion in the Question is that the other parties break it. I can only say that I trust that the Conservative Party will long remain a model in this respect.

Mr. Edgar Granville

Does my right hon. Friend's answer mean that delegates attending these conferences who are members of His Majesty's Forces are unable to take part, even if they are wearing civilian clothing?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. But, of course, if they were in civilian clothes it might not be noticed.