HC Deb 30 January 1957 vol 563 cc975-6
21. Mr. Lipton

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many National Service men are now serving with the Royal Navy; and how many of them reported for duty in the last call-up.

Mr. Soames

About 10,100 National Service men were serving in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines on 1st January, 1957. Few, if any, of the men from the last registration on 17th November were called up by then. During the last three months of 1956 approximately 1,000 men from earlier registrations were called up for full-time service in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

Mr. Lipton

Is the Minister aware that he has rather wrapped up the figures to make them incomprehensible? Has not the stage now been reached when the solemn powers of calling up people for the Navy under the National Service Act should be abandoned in view of the tiny handful of men who are now being asked to report for duty out of the present numbers that are called up?

Mr. Soames

I am sorry that the hon. Member did not understand what I thought were comparatively simple figures. The Royal Navy and the Royal Marines need 10,000 National Service men, which involves a call-up of 1,200 a quarter, and in the last quarter of last year about 1,000 men were called up.