HC Deb 31 January 1956 vol 548 cc747-8
34. Mr. C. Howell

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that a National Service man has been told that he is likely to encounter trouble if he communicates with his Member of Parliament without the permission of his commanding officer; and if he will explain what trouble this man is likely to encounter in such a case, and why.

Mr. Head

No, Sir. None, Sir.

Mr. Howell

Would the Minister agree that both in this House and outside there is considerable apprehension as to troops being used as nursemaids, housemaids, flunkeys and the like, and that it is only by members of Her Majesty's Forces writing to their Members of Parliament that these things come to light? Will he inform commanding officers and adjutants that these men have a right to approach their Members, just as has any other citizen?

Mr. Head

That has already been done on a special occasion, and I have always stated in this House that I would never in any way put anything between a soldier and his right to write to an hon. Member. Judging from my correspondence, they make full use of that privilege.