§ Again considered in Committee.
§ Mr. Hale
I rose twenty minutes ago, just before the Parliamentary Last Post was sounded, to put a question which seemed to me at that time to be of vital importance and an answer to which was essential to the proper continuation of the debate. In the intervening period, however, I have forgotten what it was. As that was the primary and sole purpose of my rising I am in a difficulty. I must say that the interruption is disturbing. I observed that my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) complained on Second Reading that we are astonishingly top-heavy with top brass. After making rather the reverse complaint last night, it appears that this matter has been adjusted, for I notice that we are back in Committee and I can now try to apply my mind to the problem on hand.
I understood the Secretary of State for War to say, "I cannot be bound by a statutory definition of my power or a statutory limitation". I confess humbly that I have been out of the Chamber for something to eat and thus I have not heard every word that has been uttered in the debate. But earlier in the day the Secretary of State was asking for statutory powers. He was presenting a Bill which was saying, on his behalf, "Enable me to do something".
1674 The right hon. Gentleman's attitude as one of Her Majesty's personal servants and the adviser on matters relating to war does not entitle him to come to the House and ask for statutory powers and at the same time say, "Of course, I will not have you laying down limitations. All I ask for is a blanket power to do something about the troops". At an earlier stage—as defined by one of his right hon. Friend's—that meant doing some dirty work in Hong Kong one week, having a look at the situation in a Colonial Territory the next, taking steps about Germany or N.A.T.O.—or the Common Market—another time, rectifying some deficiency in the Signal Corps, reorientating same arrangements for mechanical transport and calling-up blokes to fill the decisions—the whole lot being pegged to an assurance by him as long as he remains Secretary of State for War.
I shall not be very surprised if the right hon. Gentleman does not remain as Secretary of State for that long. He might be promoted. But while he stays in his present post he can only tell us, "My intentions are wholly honourable, but I cannot put them into writing". He also says, "My desires are these, but I would not like them to be defined" All that was all right because that is in the strict Tory tradition and none of us, after sixteen years of agony, would complain about minor bruises.
1675 Then the right hon. Gentleman made the fatal mistake that was made by the young magistrate who went to the West Indies who was advised never to give any reasons; and having had ten successful years in an off-moment gave his reasons. The Secretary of State for War said that he could not have words like "similar" in a statute. It is all frightfully difficult, for if there is any word that has been legally defined more than that I do not know what it is.
I can remember once in Parliamentary history when the House decided to put in words which it was thought were simple to understand—"out of and in the course of employment"—and 45 county judges have been fully employed on trying to define just what those words mean. There is no possible doubt about the word "similar". It is known to lawyers as the ejusdem generis rule. We say that if one starts by something that is reasonably clear, and goes wandering off onto something that is not, it cannot mean much more than the first words. I hope that, by putting it with my customary clarity, I have made the matter absolutely clear to the Committee.
There is, after all, a point at which British subjects have some dislike of the word "conscription". Charles James Fox, of course, was remembered as one who put an end to conscription in Africa. Ever since then, this forced labour, in any form, has aroused emotional reactions among libertarian Members of Parliament. The Secretary of State is dealing with people who have been forced away from their homes, from their wives and families, from their normal avocations, and who have been asked to surrender their future in, my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) says, the course of duty. Duty is a variable concept. Chauvin took a rather different view of duty from the one I should take. But there it is; it is conscription. We cannot have it both ways. If the call of duty strikes in the heart of the Briton, we do not need conscription. Conscription has to be imposed only when the call of duty is not striking very forcibly in the hearts of Britons and it is decided that something must be done in the common interest.
1676 The Secretary of State says, "We have called them up once, but I cannot have this defined. I cannot have it said that, in the exercise of the powers which I desire to exercise benevolently, I must be limited by definition. I shall exercise the powers benevolently, with due regard to the rights of the individual which I shall have constantly in mind in considering the mass sorrow and inconvenience and the individual hardship which these measures will cause. I and my large staff realise the great difficulty of the situation in considering 15,000 individual cases spread all over Britain, and we shall be willing to apply the benevolent and moving heart of the War Office in the way that the War Office normally gives attention to moving individual cases".
He tells us that he really cannot submit to any definition. He cannot submit to any restrictions. He cannot submit to any obligation to come to the House and be asked why he has done this or not done that. He says that these powers may not be exercised. He says that he does not think that they will be exercised for six months anyhow, unless the situaion gets worse. Whether the situation is bad or not, of course, is a matter of very varied opinion, with the Prime Minister at the 17th hole and the Foreign Secretary having just missed a right and a left. However, so far as we can apply local views to the situation and so far as we can arrive at some measure of unanimity, perhaps we can say that, if the situation, even under a Tory Government, has not got any worse before April than the Prime Minister has been describing it during the last week or two, the powers will not be exercised but, says the Secretary of State, he would like to have them just in case.
The right hon. Gentleman tells us, "If I do exercise these powers, I shall do it with all the regard I can possibly pay to the liberty of the subject, but not with any limitation, not with chaps like the hon. Member for Dudley asserting that I must say what I intend to do now, not with Members of the House of Commons saying that they will go through the Lobby to put some restrictions on the exercise of these collective powers".
1677 This seems to be a new constitutional doctrine. That is why I have humbly risen to put this simple question as briefly as I can. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to explain to me, before I am called to vote, just what he means by it.
§ Mr. Wigg
I do not want to join issue with my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) at this late hour, but since he has mentioned me and my conception of duty, I think I might tell the Committee a story which, although I think I have told it to the House on two previous occasions, seems apposite in this connection. I wish that the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing (Sir O. Prior-Palmer) were here at this moment, because he shared the experience.
The hon. and gallant Member and I went to Russia with the Parliamentary delegation. Both of us asked whether, among the things we should like to see, we could see something of the Russian Army. This request was not favourably received when we made it in London, but we made it again when we got to Moscow and eventually the day came. The hon. and gallant Gentleman and I were met by a Russian staff officer who took us to a unit outside Moscow. He was a highly intelligent man who spoke impeccable English. We described to him our system of call-up. He, in his way, described the Russian system of call-up. We, wanting perhaps to make a point in favour of our system, talked about the rights of the conscientious objector. We told him that in our country a man who had conscientious objection went before a tribunal of his fellow citizens and was exempted.
§ Mr. Wigg
Some were refused, but a man had the right to be exempted from military service if his fellow citizens accepted that he was genuine in his belief.
This had the Russian completely beaten. We went mile after mile doing our best to explain it to him. He said, "Do you mean to say that there are men in your country who do not want to do military service and are allowed to escape from military service?" We said, "Yes" "But," he said, "it is their 1678 duty". The hon. and gallant Member for Worthing will remember that occasion.
It seems to me that that story illustrates the challenge that we in the West have to meet. Here is a society which is based on an intensely puritanical conception of the word "duty". I noticed that my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West used a French word, liberty. I prefer the word "freedom". Inside freedom, we must, as it were, have a balance between privilege and obligations. The obligations of defending the things in which one believes is one of those privileges. That is the way that I regard the matter.
I utterly reject the point of view that service in the Army is misery. My hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West, when he was aroused in 1940, immediately dashed to the Colours and served with great distinction in anti-aircraft batteries. As a result, the blitz was postponed for at least a year.
§ Mr. Wigg
He probably did what my hon. Friend did—voted for peace with his feet. In the last war he was engaged in a "pause", I understand.
The point that I wish to make is serious. Whether we accept this concept or not, we fail in our duty if we do not at least see it. We are here considering organising our Armed Forces in order to meet the obligations which politics, whether consciously or otherwise, have imposed on us. The decision whether we should be a conscript power or not does not lie with this Committee. That decision was taken, perhaps, at the beginning of this century, when we went into the Entente cordiale and accepted the obligation of putting, at that time, six British divisions on the French left. That could not have been carried out without conscription. The idea that it could be done by voluntary service—and there are still some survivors of this idea today—made the carnage of Mons and the Marne certain. Although some hon. Members may not agree with it, many men of the Regular Army paid with their lives for the failure of this country 1679 to face up in political terms to military obligations. That is what I have been trying to point out in the last ten years. I am gradually getting one or two converts to take that point of view.
Once this country went into N.A.T.O. and accepted the obligation of putting foul divisions in Germany in the British Army of the Rhine, conscription followed as sure as night follows day. If we begin step by step to welsh on that concept—from four divisions to 77,000 men, from 77,000 men to 64,000 men, from 64,000 men to 55,000 men, and from 55,000 men to 45,000 men—we put ourselves in the dilemma of having to depend on non-existent atomic weapons because there is nothing else with which to redress the balance. Now the realities of the situation have brought a halt, and the Government are caught in the vice of their own policy. That is the truth.
I rose partly provoked by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West—
§ Mr. Wigg
I prefer the word "provoked"—and partly by the Secretary of State for War.
It seemed to me that the right hon. Gentleman, in his anxiety to meet the arguments on this Clause which were put to him, has thrown away his policy on Clause 3. What is he seeking to do? At the moment, there is a General Reserve numbering about 800,000 men. It is not worth very much, because nobody knows where they are. In any case, the obligation for recall to the General Reserve expires on 30th June, 1964. There are some 200,000 National Service men with a liability to recall at short notice. This is not worth much, because the main difference between now and the time of Korea is that we have no system of national registration. By this time, nobody knows where those 200,000 men are. Some tests have been done, and I suggest that the Secretary of State carries out a few more in the Record Office. He would find that movement of these men is phenomenal. If he wanted to call up that 200,000, I would he surprised if he could put his finger on 50,000 of them. Therefore, he is now faced with this stop-gap Measure, which 1680 can only last, at the outside, until May, 1966. By next November, the last National Service man will be out of the Army except for those held under Clause 1 of the Bill. After three and a half years, by May, 1966, they will have gone.
The only thing that the Secretary of State can do is to endeavour to build up his "Ever-readies". If he now turns round, as he has done, and gives the House an assurance—which, he says, he would like to put in the Bill, but cannot—that he will call up men under Clause 3 before he starts calling up anybody under Clause 2, what does he think will happen?
Already, on 19th July, the Secretary of State made an announcement that he would give a bounty of £200 to National Service men to undertake Regular engagements. The answer which he has received is the coconut. As the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk) mentioned, the Secretary of State has reached double figures. That is just about what he has got and that is what he expects. Although he offers a bounty of £150 plus a £50 tax-free bonus when they are called up, people do not mind taking an even money chance, or, perhaps, two-to-one against, but if they know of a certainty that at the moment they take their money somebody puts his hand on their shoulder and says, "Hey, Joe, you are in Germany"—if the Secretary of State does not know the answer, I will tell him with far greater accuracy than his advisers have done. He will not get anything like the number of men he wants. If the Secretary of State is seeking genuinely to build up a reserve out of the "Ever-readies", it is a doubtful starter in any circumstances.
These young men will soldier, not in a Territorial unit and not in a unit that is of the second class. They will be asked to serve alongside fully-trained Regular soldiers. They will be called up in a situation in which they have to undertake active operations. The only training that many of these fellows will have done is one camp. The Secretary of State is saying to the National Service man, "Ah. Come along, you have got to join the Territorial Army and accept the obligations of training before you can become an 'Ever-ready'." 1681 The Secretary of State told us in a previous speech, whether he still means it or not, that although the chaps may join the Territorial Army in the first instance, the commanding officer of the Territorials and the selecting officer will look at these men with extreme care. There is no guarantee that if they join, they will get £150. How many National Service men are likely to take the hook with no bait on it? I would have thought, remarkably few. If they have escaped from the Army, will they let themselves in for a situation in which they are required to do drills and attend camp and have no prospect of getting the "lolly"? Even if they are then selected it is not even a question of doubt. It is an absolute certainty they will say "Ta-ta" and find themselves soldiering in Berlin or the Rhine Army. We may get a few enthusiasts but I doubt that we can build up the reserves to the required size, particularly not by the early part of 1966. One has only to advance the proposition to see the fallacy of it.
The truth is that Clause 3 is a sort of sales talk for Clauses 2 and 4. I do not believe the right hon. Gentleman believes—he is far too intelligent to believe—it, and he says this with assurance and advances it because it helps him out of a difficulty; but it has no serious value whatever.
I congratulate my hon. Friends on their Amendment because by it that assurance disappears by a side wind as it were, for this debate once again has revealed, as the previous debate revealed, that this is not a serious Bill at all—or rather, the reasons which are advanced for it are not advanced seriously. It is a stop-gap Measure, forced on the Government at the last moment as the result of external pressure to deal—according to the Prime Minister, who is the only one who told us the truth—first of all with the basic fact that the Army is out of balance. Whether the Berlin situation had been there or not, the Army was out of balance. That imbalance was born of the 1957 policies, which helped to create the present situation. The two things combined present the problem which the Government have got to deal with. In other words, they face a military record that the 182,000 men who are the basic 1682 minimum which the Army requires are not there. It is a stop-gap Measure to dress the window to try to help them out of the difficulty. Once again, the Government have accidentally themselves revealed the truth.
§ Mr. Kershaw
I refer to the point which the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) made, that our continental commitments have condemned us to a large measure of conscription, of selective service. I wonder if that is really so, under modern conditions. It is well known that our obligation in N.A.T.O. of keeping troops in Germany arose out of our obligations under the Brussels Treaty, and was not to terrify the Russians but in order to coax the French into accepting the Treaty; in order, rather, to watch the Germans and not the Russians. That political reason has clearly disappeared, and the situation is not anything like that today.
§ Mr. Crossman
Is the hon. Member saying it is all right to welsh on commitments if they are made to allies? He actually said that our undertaking to hold troops in Germany is a promise which is Out of date—[HON. MEMBERS: "Did not matter."]—and did not matter. That is not something which the French appreciate.
§ Mr. Kershaw
Of course, I said absolutely nothing of the sort. If the hon. Member had been listening he would have known that. I am discussing the strategic implications of what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dudley said in his speech. I am saying that the strategic implications today are different from what they were originally. The numbers of troops were fixed at that time partially for military reasons in order to make some sort of contribution to compare with what the Russians had. We were the main providers of manpower in those days, and that situation has also altered. We have never had—
§ Sir F. Maclean rose—
§ Mr. Kershaw
I will in a minute. We have a rather different defensive position from that which obtained at that time. Of course we have obligations. I am not for one moment suggesting, I would make clear, that we should in any way welsh on our commitments.
§ Mr. Kershaw
We have not. I am not suggecting we should go back on what we have done. General Norstad demands 30 divisions in fulfilment of his obligations there, and we should contribute exactly what we promised. But, from the military point of view, the situation today is very different from what it used to be. The defences can enjoy a superiority—if that is the correct word—of at least three, and probably seven, to one—
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. H. Hynd)
Order. I am finding it difficult to relate these remarks to the Amendment under discussion.
§ Mr. Kershaw
I am trying to deal with the argument which the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) put forward about the size of the Army that we should maintain in Germany. This Amendment is designed to deal with the size of the Army, and I am suggesting that the present conditions which render it necessary to keep the Army there are very different from those which existed in the days to which the hon. Member referred. From the military, economic
§ and political points of view, they have changed.
§ Sir F. Maclean
When my hon. Friend says that the situation has changed, does he mean that we have been released from our obligations?
§ Mr. Kershaw
No, we have not been released from our obligations. As to fulfilling our obligations, as my hon. Friend will know, we have had the consent of our allies to the reductions that we have made since those days. Furthermore, we have undertaken to keep 55,000 troops in Germany, and our troops at present number 64,000, including the Air Force. Therefore, I do not think that we have in any way welshed on our commitments. Our Army there is better equipped and better able to give an account of itself than any of the troops which our allies keep there. I do not think it can be said that we are welshing or that our proposals make it more difficult for us to fulfil our treaty obligations.
§ Question put, That those words be there inserted:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 92, Noes 151.1685
|Division No. 28.]||AYES||[10.38 p.m.|
|Ainsley, William||Holt, Arthur||Pentland, Norman|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Houghton, Douglas||Prentice, R. E.|
|Bence, Cyril||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Probert, Arthur|
|Boardman, H.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Randall, Harry|
|Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.)||Hunter, A. E.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Boyden, James||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Brookway, A. Fenner||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Rose, William|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Cronin, John||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Small, William|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Kenyon, Clifford||Snow, Julian|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||King, Dr. Horace||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dempsey, James||Lawson, George||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Diamond, John||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Stones, William|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Loughlin, Charles||Swingler, Stephen|
|Evans, Albert||Mclnnes, James||Symonds, J. B.|
|Fletcher, Eric||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Forman, J. C.||MacMillan, Malcolm(Western Isles)||Thornton, Ernest|
|George,Lady MeganLloyd (Crmrthn)||Marsh, Richard||Weitzman, David|
|Ginsburg, David||Mayhew, Christopher||Wigg, George|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mendelson, J. J.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Gourlay, Harry||Millan, Bruce||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Milne, Edward J.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Grey, Charles||Mitchison, G. R.||Woof, Robert|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Morris, John||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hannan, William||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Oram, A. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Owen, Will||Mr. Short and Mr. McCann.|
|Holman, Percy||Paget, R. T.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Gurden, Harold||Percival, Ian|
|Aitken, W. T.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Allason, James||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Pitman, Sir James|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Barlow, Sir John||Hastings, Stephen||Pott, Percivall|
|Barter, John||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Batsford, Brian||Hendry, Forbes||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Pym, Francis|
|Biffen, John||Hilt, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Quennell, Mis J. M.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Ramsden, James|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Holland, Philip||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Bossom, Clive||Hopkins, Alan||Redmayne, Rt. Hon, Martin|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Hornby, R. P.||Rees, Hugh|
|Box, Donald||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Renton, David|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Brewis, John||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Roots, William|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir Walter||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Russell Ronald|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||St. Clair, M.|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Bryan, Paul||Kershaw, Anthony||Shaw, M.|
|Carr, compton (Barons Court)||Kirk, Peter||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Kitson, Timothy||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Chataway, Christopher||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Lindsay, Martin||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Litchfield, Capt. John||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Talbot, John E.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Longbottom, Charles||Tapsell, Peter|
|Costain, A. P.||Longden, Gilbert||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Loveys, Walter H.||Taylor, F. (M'ch'ter & Moss Side)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||MacArthur, Ian||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Cunningham, Knox||McLaren, Martin||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Curran, Charles||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Turner, Colin|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley)||van straubenzee, W. R.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Maddan, Martin||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Doughty, Charles||Maitland, Sir John||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|du Cann, Edward||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Walker, Peter|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Mawby, Ray||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Elliott, R.W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Whitelaw, William|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Mills, Stratton||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Wise, A. R.|
|Gammans, Lady||Nabarro, Gerald||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Gilmour, Sir John||Noble, Michael||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||OaKshott, Sir Hendrie||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Partridge, E.||Mr. Gordon Campbell and|
|Green, Alan||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Mr. Michael Hamilton.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert||Peel, John|
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
Perhaps at this moment I may beg to ask leave to move,That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.I move this Motion in order that we might ascertain the Government's intentions. We have had a good day's debating and have made good progress. The attention that should be given to a Bill of this nature—one which interferes with people's liberties—has been given to it, and there has been nothing even remotely in the way of obstruction. I feel that the Government must be happy with the progress, and I am sure that at this time of night it would not be in the interests of the Committee, of the country and of these young men and their parents, who are writing to us all about the Bill, that we should go on debating it beyond a point where what we are saying can be understood or even heard by them.
With the Government's majority hovering around the danger mark at not more than two-thirds of its proper number, despite all that the Patronage Secretary can do, there must be, on the Government side, as on our side, a clear interest in bringing these proceedings to a close and resuming at some other time. I suggest that this is a very appropriate time—for we have dealt with the last two very substantial Amendments—to finish for the day and start fresh again at another sitting. I therefore ask the Secretary of State for War to indicate whether he and the Government feel as we do.
§ Mr. Profumo
I cannot agree with the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) that we feel the same way on this or any other matter. I agree that we have got on well with each other today, but I hoped that we might have gone on with the Bill a little better than we have. We took four hours on the first Amendment and I spoke for only a short time—I agree that it was very important—and this is what tempts me to feel that we should go a little further, because every time we discuss another Amendment I feel that the case we are putting becomes clearer in the minds of right hon. and hon. Members opposite, and I would not like to break off and 1688 have to go through all this again next week, having to give educational instruction before we get on to the Clauses proper. On the other hand, there is no question of the Government's majority flagging. We have not yet called out the "Ever-readies".
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
The right hon. Gentleman says that he has not yet called out the "Ever-readies". Does that mean that he is relying for the moment on retaining the conscripts?
§ Mr. Profumo
We on this side of the Committee do not have to do that. We are all volunteers. I notice that shadows are appearing on the faces of some hon. Gentlemen opposite. Whether this is due to weariness or the feeling that they may not be able to catch their trains, I do not know. On the other hand, we would like to be generous, and I hope that if I make a suggestion it might appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite.
We do not want to sit here all night. In the interests of making progress, might I suggest that we try two more stages? Suppose we try to take the next two groups of Amendments? If hon. Gentleman can withhold their volubility while maintaining their interest, we might leave—
§ Mr. Profumo
We shall still be on Clause 1. I thought that we might perhaps take the next two groups of Amendments, which would be Nos. 3 and 4, page 1, line 10, and page 1, line 13. The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) may have other attractions with four legs tomorrow, so I hope that the frost is not too hard. I do not know whether this would accommodate hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I would be prepared to make that sacrifice.
§ Mr. G. Brown
There is no question of a sacrifice by the Government. All the Clauses must be thoroughly and properly examined. I merely asked what the Government were hoping to get tonight. If the right hon. Gentleman sees any shadows on our faces, I assure him that it is just the reflection of the faces opposite. We intend completely to do our duty to our constituents.
1689 If the right hon. Gentleman says that he will be content to call it a day when we have got the next two groups of Amendments, which would take us to Clause 4—[HON. MEMBERS: "No".] That is a perfect example of why we should not go on beyond a reasonable time. It becomes difficult to keep oneself in line. If we took the next two Amendments, that would take us to Amendment No. 4, and therefore get rid of the next two groups. I think that this is a reasonable arrangement of business, and I would be disposed to advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to fall in with that suggestion.
I hope, therefore, that I might be permitted to withdraw the Motion, on the understanding that when we have completed the next two groups we will call it a day. I hope that the Committee will give these two groups of Amendments all the attention that they deserve. Therefore, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. H. Hynd)
Perhaps it might be convenient to discuss also the following Amendments: No. 6, page 1, line 18, and No. 26, Clause 2, page 2, line 2, both of which propose the insertion of the words:and subject to the provision of subsection (7) of section three of this Act".and No. 43, Clause 3, page 3, line 33, at end add:(7) Any person retained in or recalled to army service under the provisions of sections one and two of this Act may elect instead to enter into an agreement rendering him liable to be called out under the provisions of this section.
§ Mr. Wigg
Yes, Mr. Hynd.
Perhaps it might assist hon. Members in following the Amendment if I say that the Amendment I have moved deals with Clause 1; that Amendment No. 6 also deals with Clause 1; that Amendment No. 26 deals with Clause 2; and that if hon. Members turn to Amendment No. 43 they will be able to read what I am driving at. It is an endeavour on my part to encourage the Government to make provision for a man on whom a 1690 notice has been served retaining him for six months, or a man whom they propose to call back under Clause 2, to be given the opportunity, even though the Government have served him with a notice to volunteer under Clause 3.
On the face of it rather looks as if I am allowing a man to wait until he is faced with the obligation of being called up and then allowing him to opt out in order to get the bounty that will be available. That, in fact, is my intention. I hold that the most important part of the Bill is Clause 3. If we are ever to get out of the mess that I believe we are in, Clause 3 has either to succeed or it must go and be replaced by something else. Therefore, it seems to me to be worth while making an effort to get men to accept the principle of volunteering, even if, in the short run, they escape a certain obligation.
I should have thought that the arguments I am putting forward were assisted by the right hon. Gentleman's previous decision to call out his "Ever-readies" before calling out men affected by Clause 2. What I am advancing here is not something I have thought out, but in my interest in methods of raising men I have looked as closely as I can at what the Americans have done—and they have scored a great political success by lifting the selection of men for military service out of the political arena. It was not an issue at the last election and it has not been since.
They have adopted ways which would not be wholly acceptable in this country, but they have used every means in their power to get men to volunteer. Last summer, with other hon. Members on both sides of the House, I had the opportunity of going aboard the American atomic submarine, "Sea Wolf", when we all had the opportunity of meeting the crew. It consisted of men of obviously high intelligence, and almost every one was a man who had either waited for his draft or had seen it coming and had volunteered. They were doing a period of regular service, in the hope of getting an educational grant. The result was that the Americans got men of high quality to do an important technical job.
It seems to me that the number of men the Minister can call up may be of importance, but the quality of those 1691 men is also of importance, and as time goes on and the complexity of our technical equipment tends all the time to increase, this question of quality becomes of paramount importance.
Although at first sight it would appear that all I am doing is adding to the Bill without getting any more men, my purpose is to get men into the habit of accepting the bounty. For example, if a man were to be designated to be retained for six months and he said, "Oh, no. If the opportunity exists I would volunteer to become an 'Ever-ready'", under the right hon. Gentleman's conception it is almost certain that he would get called up anyway. The point is that he has accepted the principle of volunteering, and he gets the £150, which helps him to buy a house, or a car, or a present for his wife—using the example given by the right hon. Gentleman.
That man will also do it the next year, and the year after. He will become an "Ever-ready", and will help the right hon. Gentleman to get the roots down. The great difficulty of the Minister is that in the early stages the "Ever-readies" may be little more than a coterie. He must turn it into a body of men who are ready to accept the need for the job they are doing and regard the financial inducements offered to them as reasonable. They must be encouraged to form the habit not only of volunteering themselves but of talking about the scheme to others, so that there is a snowball effect.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will acquit me of any obstructive intention. The Amendment was put down with the serious purpose of trying to help him to get the "Ever-readies" established on the right lines.
I felt it incumbent on me to do this because I am not optimistic about the outcome. I have a great number of reservations about it. Those of us who wish to see a worth-while Regular Army should do all we can to make this work so that every idea is put into the pool and tried out or rejected. Then, in due time, either the right hon. Gentleman will be proved right and his "Ever-ready" force will grow, and the men will become competent and balanced and will 1692 give him the men he wants in Germany and in the Strategic Reserve by 1966 or long before; or he will be able to say that he has tried all the inducements and they do not work and that something else must be tried. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give us a serious and considered reply because it is a serious Amendment put forward in an attempt to make this idea work.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
I, too, had an opportunity to meet the crew of the U.S.S. "Sea Wolf" and I can endorse what the hon. Gentleman said about the high calibre of the men who serve in nuclear submarines. I think that the hon. Member has got this question completely confused in his mind. If he will look at the report of the Second Reading debate he will see that my right hon. Friend made the distinction which he has failed to make between the "Ever-readies" and the National Service men who will have to stay in for an extra six months, or be recalled for part-time service.
My right hon. Friend made clear that the primary object of Clause 3 is to produce highly-skilled men, but first they will have to do a year's service with the Territorial Army and they should have attended an annual camp. When they have done that they will not be liable to recall under Clause 2, and to that extent the Amendment is unnecessary. But when we come to distinguish between the "Ever-ready" under Clause 3 and the National Service man already in the Army who is to be retained for an extra six months, I think that the hon. Member is completely confused. Surely here we have to make a distinction between a man serving with a unit, especially those in B.A.O.R., who will simply carry on at the standard of training reached at the end of the two years, and the "Ever-ready" who will have to have served for a year in the Territorial Army.
§ Mr. Wigg
The hon. Member has not read far enough. The Minister said:It will also be possible for any part-time National Service man wishes to volunteer for this course. He will have to join a Territorial Army unit. If the commanding officer judges him to be sufficiently well-trained, and if there is a vacancy in his category, he can become a member of the new force without having to qualify with a year's service."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 27th Nov. 1961; vol. 650, c. 52.]
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
The hon. Member has anticipated me. I was about to make the same quotation. I appreciate that, but I am saying that there is a world of difference between asking a man to continue when he is in the B.A.O.R. or anywhere else where National Service men are already employed, and these men who would have to be screened as it were—although that is not the right word—very carefully, and in respect of whom there would have to be a very careful examination before it can be established that they are the right men. There is a time factor in all this which the Amendment would make quite impossible to operate.
§ Mr. Wigg
The Secretary of State would exercise the same right of selection or would ensure the same right of selection for the Regular—the man with the Colours, the volunteer—as he would for the man who is already in the Territorial Army. Perhaps he would impose a higher standard. If a man volunteers and he is the right type, both in character and in training, I say take him and let him do it, if he is the man the Government want. If they do not want him, they should not take him.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
That is what the hon. Member said when moving the Amendment. I can see his object, but the net effect of what he is trying to do will make it more impossible than ever for the Secretary of State to calculate what is likely to be the product of all this. It is complicated enough now, in all conscience. We all sympathise with the Secretary of State in the calculations and anticipations he has to make. He will not know whether they are right or wrong until the moment arrives. The Amendment can only make it even more difficult for him to be accurate in his forecasts. For that reason, the Committee would be wise to reject it.
Mr. B. Harrison
We should be grateful to the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) for tabling the Amendment to enable us to have a discussion about this principle. I agree in part with my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) that this might complicate the Bill and make it more difficult for my right hon. Friend 1694 to make his calculations. It tends to highlight the fact that the Bill is not a good Bill. In fact, it is a bad Bill. It is almost impossible satisfactorily to amend it.
The Bill does not succeed in patching up our defence policy. Lord Harding said on television recently that our defence policy has definitely failed, that the evidence is there to support his view, and that we have to take these panic measures. I hope that my right hon. Friend will look at the principle suggested in the Amendment. In short, it includes the principle on which the American selective service has been successfully based. With this method and this liability for call-up, the Army has to take a number of persons that are directly called up, but the other Armed Forces are filled with volunteers who decide to volunteer for the other Services in order to avoid being called up. If my right hon. Friend were to study the principle involved in the Amendment, he might well find the secret of filling the gaps in the ranks which now exist in his forces. Whilst there was the threat of a selective form of service hanging over the heads of people who might be in the Armed Forces, many people would rather remove the threat—this has been the American experience—and join the Services as volunteers. Even though it might not be possible for my right hon. Friend to accept the Amendment, I hope that he will study it. I could not vote against it.
I am delighted that selective service has been recognised in the Bill. It is the one good thing in the Bill. It is not as if it is a new idea, because it was Gideon's army which was first selected by those that lapped and those that went down on their knees to drink. I am not sure that that would be a satisfactory method for my right hon. Friend to use.
I emphasise that the principle in the Amendment, even if the wording is not correct at the moment, is one which my right hon. Friend would do well to study. I hope that he will then be able to bring before us a reasonable series of Amendments, possibly on Report, so that the Bill can be made flexible and useful and become a real contribution towards building up our defence forces.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I think that the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) will have voiced the feelings of a number of hon. Members on both sides of the Committee in his appeal to the Secretary of State to consider very carefully the principles behind the Amendments in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg).
The response of the Secretary of State to the previous Amendment, I thought, showed a lack of enthusiasm for using the voluntary system as much as he possibly could within the limits of this Bill. This Amendment gives him another opportunity to try to limit the amount of compulsion in the Bill and to increase reliance on the voluntary system. I do not intend to detain the Committee for long, but there is a question of detail about which I want to ask. I may not have understood the Bill, but suppose a man is called up under Clause 2 and volunteers for the "Ever-readies". The Secretary of State said on Second Reading:If the commanding officer judges him to be sufficiently well-trained, and if there is a vacancy in his category, he can become a member of the new force without having to qualify with a year's service. He would then not be liable for recall under Clause 2".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th November, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 52.]If the commanding officer turns him down, is he still liable to be called up under Clause 2? I should like to be reassured about this. It would be quite wrong to refuse to accept a man as a volunteer and then to conscript him afterwards. That plainly would be wrong. It may be that I have not understood the Bill. Possibly the Secretary of State can clear that point up.
§ Mr. Profumo
I shall try to clear that point up at once. I think the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) has stated it correctly. Anyone who was a part-time National Service man and therefore liable under Clause 2 to be called up in certain pre-Proclamation circumstances, would have, none the less, the right to volunteer to become a member of the Territorial Army Emergency Reserve, but, as I have told the House, I want to see that this is a crack force and, therefore, we should choose the best people to join it.
I may be wrong, but I hope that there will be more volunteers in the categories 1696 we want than we want in the "Ever-readies". Therefore, there will be some selection. If a man volunteers, and is not accepted, either because there is no space for him in the category he represents, or because he does not come up to scratch or because there are better people already in the Territorial Army who have volunteered, he cannot get out of his commitment under Clause 2. He would be called up, if necessary, in times of tension. The only thing that would keep him out of that obligation would be to become a member of the T.A.E.R., or, if he could not get into that, the A.E.R.1. If he was accepted, so long as he was serving voluntarily in one of those forces he would not be liable to call-up under Clause 2.
If he were not accepted, he would still be in the same category as any other part-time National Service man and liable to recall under Clause 2. It is perfectly plain and clear, and I hope that on reflection the hon. Member will see that it is. I am glad that he has given me the opportunity of saying once again that the fact that a man fails to get into T.A.E.R. does not mean that he cannot get into A.E.R.1.
I absolutely accept the genuineness of the spirit of the hon. Member for Dudley in putting forward this Amendment, but the trouble with it is as follows. If the Amendment were incorporated in the Bill the effect would be that any man detailed for retention under Clause 1 or warned that he might be recalled under Clause 2 could elect to become a member of the Territorial Army Emergency Reserve and would have the right to be accepted as such. That would cut across the basic requirement of the Bill. The whole concept of the "Ever-readies" or T.A.E.R. is that it should be a long-term arrangement and that it should be based on the voluntary principle.
We must have time in which to build up this new reserve and get it properly constituted along lines on which it will be able to work. But, first of all, the volunteers should spring from the Territorial Army itself, and I am hoping that a large number of volunteers in the T.A.E.R. will be people already serving in the Territorial Army.
1697 As I say, those National Service men given notice of retention would be certain to volunteer to become members of the Territorial Army Emergency Reserve. Any National Service man who has had a note saying, "You are for it for another six months", would immediately say that he had the right to become a member of the Territorial Army Emergency Reserve if the Amendment was carried. The result would be that I should lose the people we need to retain under Clause 1—the people we must retain—who are already serving in B.A.O.R., and these people would not be true volunteers. They would be press ganged; they would volunteer because the only other choice would be to serve on in the other way. That is not a proper voluntary force and it is not how it can be properly constituted.
Any National Service man will have the chance to volunteer to become a member of the T.A.E.R. Any man on finishing his full-time and part-time National Service will be free to join the "Ever-readies". If successful, he will be exempt under Clause 2, as I have explained. The operative words are "If he is successful." If this force is to work properly it must be a crack force and the Territorial Army must have the right to select its members.
§ Mr. Paget
As I understood it, the whole point both of Clauses 1 and 2 is to give the right hon. Gentleman the right to call up special men with special qualifications. Is the right hon. Gentleman now saying that a man may have the special qualifications that make him desirable to be retained but those same qualifications are not such as to make him desirable as a volunteer under Clause 3?
§ Mr. Profumo
I did not go as far as that. I was saying that those people who may have desirable qualifications can, once they have finished their whole-time service, volunteer. If there are eighteen people with desirable qualifications, but only six are required for the Territorial Army Reserve, then we shall select the best soldiers—those with the longest service—and we shall give priority to those who are already members of the Territorial Army.
I am sure that this is the right way to deal with this matter and I have discussed this with the Duke of Norfolk 1698 and the Territorial Army Council and this is the way they think it will work best.
§ Mr. Profumo
The trouble is that hon. Gentlemen opposite are trying to take different Clauses of the Bill separately and are attempting to make them stand on their own. The Bill rests on three parts and they are all complementary. The first part of the Bill is necessary, as I have explained, because we need certain men who are serving now in certain categories. We cannot do without them. But, in addition, in case, after we have reached our minimum target of 165,000, tension rises, we must have a call on another form of reserve which until now has been post-Proclamation but which we now bring into the pre-Proclamation category. In order that we should have less reason to call on those unfortunate people, who have settled down in civilian life and so on, we are starting a new form of voluntary reserve. That is perfectly fair. People will do their training and will be paid for the liability. That is why we should call up the "Ever-readies", before we should call up any people liable under Clause 2.
If hon. Members look at the thing as a whole, they will see that it fits in perfectly well. If they look further ahead to the time when there are no part-time National Service men any more, they will see the other reason for the new Territorial Army Emergency Reserve. This is why I must insist on the thing being properly constituted from the very beginning, within the Territorial Army and as a voluntary force. That is why we cannot agree at this stage to anything which would force people on to the new Territorial Army Emergency Reserve and make it something which is not a true voluntary force.
§ Mr. Wigg
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not dismiss what I suggest merely because he does not like the wording. Furthermore, if he wants to, he can turn the Reserve into something different so that a man he nominates under Clause 1 or Clause 2 serves for two years or three years instead of 1699 one year. My point is that, if one seriously examines the proposal he has put forward in Clause 2 as a long-term programme, it is at once plain that he must quickly put the roots out and build up his force so that it snowballs. Otherwise, merely because of the small numbers, it will earn disrepute. What I have done here is to do no more than put forward to the right hon. Gentleman an idea. I quite accept that the wording is not right. I am prepared later to ask leave to withdraw it, but I beg the Secretary of State to examine the idea on its merits, apart from the wording.
§ Mr. Crossman
I have a point to add, following what the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) said. I think there is greater difficulty here than my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) realises. So long as there is what I call—
§ Mr. Profumo
I thought at first that the hon. Gentleman wanted just to make a short intervention. I have not finished my own speech.
§ Mr. Profumo
I was about to say that the Amendment also assumes that any part-time National Service man, as it is put here, could have the right, if he were recalled in time of tension, to opt at that time to join the Territorial Army Emergency Reserve. That is the effect of it. Clearly, this would not be practicable because, again, once we called people up, they would, not strictly as volunteers but seeing the easy way out, say they wanted to join the T.A.E.R. We could not accept that. That is the second part of the Amendment. I will not go on because I think the Committee has taken my point.
I take the point made by the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg). I think we have already taken it to the greatest extent possible. Of course, I will look at it again, but with absolutely no undertaking. We are going a long way on it. But, if we are to keep the force as a proper voluntary force, we must allow the commanding officer in the Territorial Army to select.
§ Mr. Profumo
That is the first point. Secondly, so long as we give to people who are part-time National Service men an opportunity to join, we are going a long way towards what the hon. Member wants. I cannot possibly accept that people we retain under Clause 1, for the reasons I have already given, could have the opportunity, instead of undertaking that obligation, of contracting out and becoming members of the T.A.E.R. They can do it the moment they have finished their whole-time training, but not before. I will certainly look at it, but I hope that the hon. Gentleman will, on considering it again in the light of what I have said, appreciate that we have gone a long way to meet his point.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
My right hon. Friend has mentioned the A.E.R.1 as an alternative for those part-time National Service men who, having tried to become "Ever-readies," have been found not suitable. Will he confirm that the choice then, from the point of view of monetary return, lies between these alternatives: if a man does not get the £150 on becoming an "Ever-ready," it is still open to him to get the £60 if he joins the A.E.R.1, plus a further gratuity if he is called out? Is that right?
§ Mr. Profumo
My hon. Friend is quite right. I should not like it to be thought that one is of lesser importance than the other. It is not a matter of, "If you cannot get the £150, go for the £60." There are many men who, for obligations of their jobs, family ties, and so on, could not accept the obligation of being called out by the Secretary of State in times of tension and would wish to be called out only in the circumstances of A.E.R.1. They are equally good but two completely different forces. There is, however, a choice for any part-time National Service man, or any other man, who wishes to do so, to join one of these important reserves.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Wigg
I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, at the end, to insert:and no national serviceman who undertakes a regular engagement after the passing of this Act shall be entitled to claim his discharge under the provisions of section fourteen of the Army Act. 1955".1701 This is an Amendment which I am quite prepared to hear from the Under-Secretary is unnecessary, but perhaps I may weary the Committee for five minutes to explain what, I think, might happen. As I am not over-familiar with Civil Service Sanskrit, I cannot find in the Bill anything that would prevent what I am about to describe.
Let us imagine that there was serving as a National Service man someone not unversed in the law, who studied the Bill and came to the conclusion that if, in about the twenty-second month of his service, he joined on a Regular Army engagement, it would mean that when the twenty-fourth month arrived he would be in a position to exercise his right under Section 14 of the Army Act, 1955. He would then walk along to the commanding officer, pay £20 as a right and be discharged forthwith.
As the Secretary of State has, quite properly, made an announcement that he was suspending discharges by purchasing during the period in which National Service men were to be either retained or recalled, it seemed to me that a National Service man certainly should not be allowed to undertake a Regular engagement and then, subsequently, to claim his discharge as a right under Section 14 and thus get away with it.
I am quite prepared to learn from the Under-Secretary that my fears are groundless. I have, however, looked with care and cannot see the particular form of words which takes the middle stump out of this proposal. Therefore, I put the Amendment on the Order Paper, because if there is a loophole, it should be closed.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. James Ramsden)
I hope that I can assist the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) and the Committee fairly briefly. We all agree that the intention behind the hon. Member's Amendment is desirable. We should not want to leave in existence the kind of loophole that he has indicated. There are two possible types of case in which buying-out might conceivably be used by somebody who was ingenious to escape his liability under Clause 1.
The first type of case is when a man takes on a Regular engagement and buys himself out within the period of his two 1702 years' compulsory National Service: that is to say, when the third month after his signing on as a Regular falls within the period of his two years' whole-time service. In a case where that happened, he would be caught, as the few cases who have tried this on in the past have been caught, under the National Service Act. That is to say, they could be recalled under that Act for National Service. They go back to square one and have to start again. Such a man can be recalled for National Service.
§ Mr. Ramsden
In the second type of case, a man signs on in his twenty-second month or thereabouts, as the hon. Member postulated, and the month in which he is eligible to exercise his right as a recruit and buy his discharge—that is, the third month—falls during his extended service under the Bill. If this were to happen and he bought himself out, he would be recalled by my right hon Friend under Clause 2.
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Dudley for having raised the case, because it has given me an opportunity to make clear that escape by way of this loophole would not be countenanced. This would be the way in which they would be dealt with if instances were to occur, which I very much doubt, particularly in view of what has been said tonight, especially by the hon. Member. Perhaps he would, therefore, be good enough to withdraw the Amendment.
§ 11.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Paget
One question, first, on the hon. Gentleman's answer, which worried me a little. Surely the calling up under Clause 2 is, in accordance with the right hon. Gentleman's undertaking, something which will occur only if there is not someone available under Clause 3? What happens if somebody does, as my hon. Friend suggested, put himself out of Clause 1 and into Clause 2 by the process, and there is somebody available 1703 for call up in that category under Clause 3? Does the right hon. Gentleman's undertaking hold good?
§ Mr. Ramsden
I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman is splitting hairs too finely. I do not think that it would prejudice the undertaking which my right hon. Friend has given, the general application of which is perfectly clear. I am sure he would say and that I can say on his behalf that it would be waived on an occasion of a deliberate attempt to evade the provisions of Clause 1.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Profumo
I beg to move,That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.There we are. We have done what we said we would. We have made most remarkable progress in the last hour, through the magical spectacle of going home. I am sorry we did not undertake to try to do a little more. I must confess to the Committee that I am very disappointed with the progress which we have made tonight. Of course, I stick by the undertaking which I gave to the right hon. Gentleman the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I can only say that I hope very much that when we take the remaining Clauses we shall try, now that we have got into the swing, to make a little more progress next week.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The right hon. Gentleman's remarks are a little ungracious to the Committee. Here we have in the last hour or so done our best to consider properly and seriously the Amendments put forward by my hon. Friend. To suggest, as the right hon. Gentleman undoubtedly did, that the Committee was skimping its work is quite wrong. I would say that the progress we have made today with the first four Amendments has been extremely steady. I rather take exception to the suggestion of the Secretary of State. Subject to 1704 these remarks, however, I think it may be that we should be wise to pass the Motion.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.