HC Deb 09 July 1946 vol 425 cc218-9
33. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is now in a position to announce that all restrictions on the right of British soldiers to marry any women of their choice, irrespective of nationality, have been removed.

Mr. Bellenger

No, Sir, This matter is still being considered by His Majesty's Government, and while I cannot, at the moment, say when an announcement on the subject will he possible, it is hoped that it may not be much longer delayed

Mr. Freeman

Is it not a fact that it is a year since the war ended, and that it is one of the very elementary human rights of the soldier to marry whom he likes? Cannot more prompt action be taken?

Mr. Quintin Hogg

Since the matter was last raised at Question time, has the hon. Gentleman made up his mind on what principle the Army is already acting— military security, regard for men's future welfare, reluctance to admit new citizens, or a concession to the Spinsters' Association?

Mr. Bellenger

I am not aware that the last consideration has been taken into account by the Army authorities, but actually this is a matter of much wider implication than the War Office. I hope, as I said in my original answer, that a decision will not be much longer delayed.

Mr. Benn Levy

As it is now over nine months since the House was first informed that this matter was under active consideration, can the Minister explain what precisely are the reasons which prolong these cogitations so interminably and prevent the Minister giving an answer?

Mr. Bellenger

I should imagine, in view of the period which the hon. Gentleman has mentioned, that a decision is just about due.