HC Deb 27 March 1945 vol 409 cc1307-8
47. Mr. Driberģ

asked the Prime Minister what steps he is taKinģ to meet the need of men and women in all the Services, many of whom have never voted, for elementary factual political information which will enable them to judģe intelligently between the election addresses submitted to them at the General Election.

The Prime Minister

In spite of the unavoidable limitations imposed on members of H.M. Forces from time to time by distance and dispersal, and the late arrival of newspapers, they are, in general, probably at least as well informed on these matters as most other classes of the community, and I do not consider any special action by Government Departments is necessary.

Mr. Driberģ

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the fact that Members of Parliament get a great many letters from the Services asking; for elementary facts about politics, and would he suggest to the Secretary of State for War that it might be a good idea to devote an A.B.C.A. bulletin to this matter?

The Prime Minister

I think that shows that the process is going forward of inquiries being made and answers given. I do not think that it leads to the necessity of any special organisation, except, perhaps, trying to fly out newspapers in as great a degree as circumstances render possible. I do not think the hon. Gentleman should suppose that soldiers of the British Army do not keep themselves very well informed, and do not have a strong opinion on the course of events.

Sir H. Williams

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of sending out to the troops reprints of his own speeches and copies of my pamphlets? Thus they would be completely well informed.

The Prime Minister

I am not proposing to enter into so limited a partnership with the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Will the troops and others be informed of the names of the seven Ministers and 12 Under-Secretaries who voted for a Vote of Censure against Mr. Baldwin for rearming, in 1936?

The Prime Minister

I have not the slightest idea who these gentlemen are, but I think it would be very invidious to put out little, spiteful, picked-out pieces of information of this kind, of a one-sided character. Indeed, I should certainly not lend my support to it.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the right hon. Gentleman awere that hon. Members get many letters from soldiers expressing elementary political facts, particularly directed against hon. Members on the other side?