HC Deb 11 November 1947 vol 444 cc194-5
44. Mr. A. R. W. Low

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he still plans that the Regular Army should consist of 220,000 volunteers.

Mr. Shinwell

The regular strength of the Army has not yet been finally decided.

Mr. Low

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what it is that prevents His Majesty's Government from reaching a decision on this important point?

Mr. Shinwell

This is not a matter that can be settled just like that.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In a speech in Glasgow on 30th October, Field-Marshal Montgomery has already made a public pronouncement on the strength of the Army. Does my right hon. Friend say that that public pronouncement has not the support of His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Shinwell

The statement made by the Chief of the Imperial General Staff will arise in a later Question.

Major Legge-Bourke

If it is a fact, as the Minister says, that the size of the Regular Army by voluntary enlistment has not yet been decided, how was it possible for His Majesty's Government to present to this House a Bill for national service, in view of the fact that His Majesty's Government cannot possibly have known how many men would be required from national service?

Mr. Shinwell

There is really nothing inconsistent in that.