HC Deb 17 February 1955 vol 537 cc742-3

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Wigg

I beg your pardon, Sir Charles. I will start all over again.

The hon. Gentleman will have heard the discussion which took place on the Army Bill, and I should be much obliged if he would be kind enough to assure the Committee that he associates himself with the assurance given by the Secretary of State for War, namely, that conversations will be opened with the senior members of the Opposition and with the Leader of the House with a view to seeing whether a compromise can be reached which would be agreeable to both parties, which would accept the provisions of Clause 224 and go a little further and accept the unanimous recommendation of the Select Committee.

If I may trespass a little further on your kindness, Sir Charles, earlier I made a plea to the Under-Secretary of State for War that, when the Manual of Military Law came to be written, he would see whether he could arrange for some professional historian or learned gentleman to be asked to write some of the earlier chapters so that young officers who have to study the Manual could do so with some degree of pleasure while still discharging their duty. Would the hon. Gentleman be kind enough to make similar inquiries?

Mr. Ward

I willingly give the hon. and gallant Gentleman my assurance that I will associate myself with the assurance given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War about the discussions. Quite clearly anything that is decided about the Army Bill must also be applied to the Air Force Bill.

On the second point, I will also ask my right hon. Friend, who I know has this matter under consideration for the Army Manual, what progress he has been able to make. I will take full advantage of his experience in that matter.

Mr. Wigg

I am much obliged.

Mr. Bing

Those of us who are lawyers think that these Manuals are the best textbooks that exist, and both the Army and the Air Force are to be congratulated, in my humble view. I hope that the tradition will be maintained. They give the clearest and best expositions of the law, and it would be a pity if the Select Committee did not pay tribute to some of its predecessors who wrote these excellent Manuals.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 to 6 agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next and to be printed. [Bill 47.]