HC Deb 29 May 1956 vol 553 cc9-10
11. Mr. Collins

asked the Secretary of State for War if he has now investigated conditions at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Crookham, referred to in a leter from the hon. Member for Shoreditch and Finsbury; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Head

I understand that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary sent the hon. Member a reply on 8th May.

Mr. Collins

But why does the right hon. Gentleman have to wait for a Parliamentary Question before dealing with the unnecessary and irritating practices to which the letter referred, and which arouse such cynicism and contempt in the minds of young soldiers? Will the right hon. Gentleman say what action has been taken about the military genius who was responsible for ordering his men to polish stirrup pump hoses every day, to blacken the soles of P.T. shoes, and to scrub broom handles every day?

Mr. Head

I think that the detailed reply gives the answers to the specific points raised, some of which were so, and some of which were not so. I have said before, and I say again, that soldiers have to be clean both in kit and in barrack rooms, but that driving that beyond a certain extent to ridiculous lengths is discouraged in the Army and is not to be done. However, that does not mean that soldiers do not have to be spotlessly clean in their turn-out.