HC Deb 03 December 1946 vol 431 cc193-4
26. Major Tufton Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for War how many days leave a Regular soldier stationed in C.M.F. can expect during his tour abroad of three years and three months and how many days leave a Regular soldier stationed in M.E.L.F. can expect during a similar period of foreign service; if he is aware that the latter person forfeits his leave if it is not taken between the 12th and 20th months of his tour; and why those in M.E.L.F. are not treated on an equality with those in C.M.F.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Bellenger)

A Regular soldier in C.M.F., where the overseas tour is at present three years nine months, is eligible for 38 days' privilege leave a year in the United Kingdom. A soldier in M.E.L.F. can get one period of 30 days' L.I.A.P. during his overseas tour of three years three months. He becomes eligible for this after 12 months' overseas service provided he will have at least four months useful service to do on return before becoming due for Python or release. Thus he can take his leave between the 12th month and approximately the 35th month. I agree that leave conditions in C.M.F. are more favourable than in M.E.L.F., but owing to the distances involved it would be quite impracticable, from the shipping and manpower aspects, to equate the leave granted from these two theatres. Some compensation is, however, made to those in M.E.L.F. in the shape of a higher scale of embarkation and disembarkation leave in this country, as well as in the shorter qualifying period for repatriation under the Python Scheme.

Major Beamish

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when transport facilities will be adequate to provide leave for these men in M.E.L.F. in line with those in C.M.F.?

Mr. Bellenger

I do not think we can improve the leave facilities at the present moment. Of course, I am constantly bearing this in mind to see whether I can make any improvement.