HC Deb 07 February 1956 vol 548 cc1481-2
12. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War what inquiries he has now made into the disclosure that National Service men in Scottish regiments have been informed that the alternative to being posted to Cyprus is to enlist as Regular soldiers for a period of three years; and what steps he is taking to prevent a recurrence of this practice.

Mr. Head

Detailed inquiries are being carried out in the two battalions mentioned by the hon. Member. I will let him know immediately they are concluded.

Mr. Hughes

If soldiers were coerced, browbeaten or blackmailed into three years' service, will they now be allowed to revert to two years after this investigation has been carried out? Is he also aware that Highland regiments are now being told by commanding officers that it is safer to be in Aberdeen than in Cyprus? Will Cyprus soldiers have an opportunity of volunteering for Aberdeen?

Mr. Head

The question of the hon. Member is a little involved, but it is a fact that in this case these units lie within a brigade in which there is cross-posting and that the likelihood of cross-postings is greater for National Service men than for Regulars because of the Regular system. That may have led to this particular situation and the circumstances of the case, but I would rather not anticipate the inquiry, which of necessity has to be made in some detail.