HC Deb 03 November 1948 vol 457 cc833-5
10. Mr. Hollis

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether a decision has yet been taken to grant commissions in the Royal Naval Reserve to suitably qualified Merchant Navy officers.

12. Sir Ronald Ross

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether any decision has yet been taken with regard to the reconstitution of the Royal Naval Reserve.

Mr. Dugdale

Until it has been possible to resolve the difficulties to which my hon. Friend, the Civil Lord, referred on 22nd September, in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Horncastle (Commander Maitland), the future of the Royal Naval Reserve cannot be decided and no further officers can be granted commissions in the Reserve.

Mr. Hollis

Cannot the hon. Member give some indication when it is possible to resolve these difficulties? My hon. and gallant Friend's Question is by no means the first Question on this subject—we have been asking questions on this for at least six or eight months.

Mr. Dugdale

I quite agree, and we are as concerned as most hon. Members are to see that the R.N.R. is established on as firm a basis as possible, but negotiations have to take place with a number of Departments because there are a number of important considerations affecting those Departments.

Sir R. Ross

Is not the Financial Secretary aware of the vital importance of this element in the Navy, particularly at this time, and why are not serious efforts being made to get a decision on the matter which, although complicated, can easily be concluded quite satisfactorily in a comparatively short time instead of going on for years?

Mr. Dugdale

I cannot possibly agree that serious efforts are not made; serious efforts are made, but it is a complicated question and it will take a little time to resolve.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

In view of the fact that the future size and composition of the R.N.R. will have a direct bearing upon the numbers required for the R.N.V.R., does not the Financial Secretary agree that the need for a speedy decision is vital?

Mr. Dugdale

I repeat, we will try to do it as quickly as we can.

Commander Maitland

In view of the grave doubts and difficulties which seem to exist in both principal reserves of the Royal Navy, will the hon. Gentleman see that he keeps in touch with those men who fought in the Navy, who are at the moment the main reserve, and who do not know whether they will be called up or not because they may be in reserved occupations? Will he do something about that, so that we have some reserve for the Navy in the event of war?

Mr. Dugdale

We are keeping in touch with both officers and ratings of the R.N.V.R.

Mr. Hollis

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.