HC Deb 01 December 1953 vol 521 cc929-30
8. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for War why troopers of the Household Brigade have been used as grooms for the Household Brigade Polo Club and other polo clubs associated with the Brigade of Guards; how many such troopers have been employed for this purpose since January, 1953; and why they were withdrawn from other duties and training for this purpose.

Mr. Head

Under authority given to recognised Army saddle clubs, four men were employed in this way between April and August, 1953.

Mr. Wyatt

Is it not scandalous that troopers should be employed at public expense for private entertainment for officers in off-duty hours, and is it not time that we stopped treating the Brigade of Guards as the only Government-subsidised social club in the country and brought an end to this sort of practice?

Mr. Head

This concession, which was made to the Army as a whole, was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell). I do not feel that it is for me to be less keen about saddle clubs than the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is the very first I have ever heard of it? I am completely uninformed, and since I am completely uninformed on this subject, will he hold an inquiry and have it conducted in public?

Mr. Head

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that an eye for detail is a great asset in the War Office.