HC Deb 09 November 1954 vol 532 cc1014-5
9. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War the nature of the statement made by a spokesman of the War Office on 25th October on the question of Communists in the Army, both as Regular soldiers and National Service men; and if he will make this statement available to hon. Members.

Mr. Head

The spokesman was asked how many Regular soldiers had been dismissed from the Army for being Communists, and replied: There have been some cases. We are not prepared to give the number.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Secretary of State suggest that the "Daily Express" report was a fabrication, due to super-imagination, or what? Can he tell us whether a Regular Service man can be thrown out of the Army for being a Communist when at the same time the Army, by conscripting Communists, brings them in? How much method is there in this madness?

Mr. Head

I have since read the report, and if the hon. Gentleman will closely consider it he will see that the only part in quotation marks is the part that I have quoted. The rest of the report is not in quotation marks. I think that this reporter was making deductions from a series of Parliamentary answers, and that he did so with some ingenuity. With regard to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, this is not madness but method, 'because, while we do not wish to retain in the Army Regulars who are Communists, if we gave exemption to National Service men who are Communists that might have the effect of bolstering up the membership of the Communist Party.