HC Deb 23 July 1958 vol 592 cc393-4
5. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War how many of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, recently sent to Cyprus, were National Service men.

6. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for War how many National Service men have been, or are being, sent by the Army to the Middle East.

Mr. Amery

About half of the Army is composed of National Service men and this ratio applies generally in all theatres, including the Middle East. It would not be in the public interest to give precise figures.

Mr. Hughes

Can the Minister tell us what maximum field training these National Service men have before they are sent to Cyprus?

Mr. Amery

They are never sent unless they have had their basic training and usually a good deal more.

Mr. Shinwell

If half the number of men in Cyprus and the Middle East are National Service men, on the assumption that these commitments continue, how will the War Office be able to do without them?

Mr. Amery

It is not for me to try to read the future.

Mr. Allaun

Will the Minister say whether today's Press report that further reinforcements, including National Service men, are being sent out there is correct? Is he aware of the widespread concern that men who are being conscripted to defend their own country should be sent out on an operation which endangers world peace?

Mr. Amery

With regard to the first part of the supplementary question, perhaps the hon. Member would put down a Question. With regard to the second part, I think that the overwhelming majority of National Service men would bitterly resent any discrimination between them and the Regular Army.