HC Deb 06 May 1948 vol 450 cc1422-4
15. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will reconsider the decision not to grant the standard petrol ration as an addition to the total petrol permitted to a motorist in cases where the whole of the present grant is for the purpose of performing duties with the Territorial Army.

Mr. Gaitskell

I regret that within the limit of the petrol available I am unable to grant any exceptions whatever.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that his decision means that those patriotic citizens who give up their time to learn how to defend their country will, by his decision, have to give up the use of their cars; and has he consulted his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War on the effect this will have on Territorial recruiting?

Mr. Gaitskell

This is one of a number of what we might term hardship cases that certainly arise under the new arrangements. I cannot make an exception in this case without letting in a flood of applications for other groups or persons, and have not the petrol to meet additional calls.

Earl Winterton

Regular officers attached to the Territorial Army who have to use Army vehicles are allowed to use any amount of petrol for their duties, yet we have this ridiculous anomaly that an officer who is not a Regular, but who gives his time for nothing, is not allowed to use petrol. How can that anomaly be allowed to continue?

Mr. Gaitskell

It arises out of the normal difference between the Regular Army and the Territorial Army.

General Sir George Jeffreys

Is the House to understand that the Minister places duty to the country, in the shape of service in the Territorial Army, on a par with the ordinary business of other people?

Mr. Gaitskell

No, Sir.

Mr. John Paton

Will the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the suggestion that the patriotism and recruitment of the potential Territorial depend on an issue of petrol?

Brigadier Head

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if the Territorial recruiting scheme fails the whole of the conscription issue will be a waste of time; and will he answer the question whether he intends to consult the Secretary of State for War?

Mr. Gaitskell

I cannot believe that recruitment for the Territorial Army would depend on whether or not additional petrol is made available to those concerned.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, and the refusal of the right hon. Gentleman to answer certain questions at all, I beg to give notice that I shall take the earliest opportunity to raise this matter on the Adjournment.