HC Deb 20 March 1956 vol 550 cc982-3
19. Sir I. Horobin

asked the Secretary of State for War what proposals he has for the transfer of the headquarters of the 41st (Oldham) Royal Tank Regiment away from the town.

Mr. F. Maclean

Proposals for units of the Reserve Army are being considered, and this regiment is among those concerned. They have not yet been approved, and at this stage it would be premature for me to discuss the future of individual units.

Sir I. Horobin

Is my hon. Friend aware that the town is intensely proud of its connection with this regiment, and that any suggestion that the headquarters might be moved from the town would awaken a good deal of local feeling? Would he undertake to receive, if necessary, a deputation before any final decision is taken?

Mr. Maclean

Yes, Sir. I will certainly receive a deputation, and we are bearing in mind the considerations which my hon. Friend has advanced.

Mr. Bellenger

Might I ask the hon. Gentleman the reason for the delay in settling the future of the Reserve Army? We are constantly hearing answers from the Ministerial bench similar to that just given, but surely by now the War Office should have made up its mind about the future planning of the Reserve Army?

Mr. Maclean

The reason for the delay is the following. There are two possible ways of handling this problem. One would be simply to impose what might be called a diktat on the Reserve Army. The other is to put forward proposals and counter-proposals and to talk things over with the units and with the Territorial Army associations concerned. This is the method we adopted in dealing with the disbandment of Anti-Aircraft Command and which we are adopting in the present instance. It gave very good results last time, and I think it will give very good results this time.

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