HC Deb 29 November 1949 vol 470 cc927-8
18. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for War how many men were in the colonel's party ordered to travel on the 10.5 a.m. train from London Road, Manchester, to Euston, London, on 11th November, 1949; how many were officers; what were their ranks; and on what duties had they been engaged or were they undertaking.

Mr. M. Stewart

This party consisted of 21 officers of the rank of major and above. They were students at a course of instruction at the College of Technology, Manchester, and with War Office authority were visiting the Business Efficiency Exhibition in London, a visit which the college authorities considered an essential feature of the course.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Can my hon. Friend say how long that visit took and what was the cost of it?

Mr. Stewart

I cannot tell my hon. Friend the cost of it, but the party was authorised to stay one night in London in order to spend sufficient time at the exhibition.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Will my hon. Friend inform his right hon. Friend and other Ministers in charge of Service Departments that this country is being carried on at present by those engaged in industry, and that it is necessary that exhibitions should be reduced to the minimum?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, Sir, but I cannot see anything in this visit that suggests any profligacy. There seemed to be quite a good reason for it.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is it the practice to send officers on courses of business efficiency, and, if so, how does the hon. Gentleman account for the present state of the Army?

Mr. Stewart

Because this was not done sufficiently early.

Earl Winterton

Is it not a fact that the present state of the Army as displayed in Malaya is a very high one, and why should an hon. Member of this House sneer at it?