§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
I beg to move, in page 2, line 36, at the end to insert:(d) if on the date of the issue of the notice referred to in subsection (1) of this section he—Bearing in mind the limited time available for discussion, I have endeavoured to select a suitable Amendment. As hon. Members will appreciate, there is time to discuss only one Amendment, although obviously one would have liked to discuss a good many more, since the discussion during the Committee stage, because of the timetable, was not so thorough as we might have wished. Just at the point when one began to ferret out something, the guillotine always fell.
- (i) is married; or
- (ii) having been married has residing with him children of his marriage; or
- (iii) is residing with his widowed mother.
This Amendment relates to people liable to be affected by the provisions in Clause 2, people who, having served their country and returned to civilian 691 life and established themselves, are then recalled to the Service. I consider that they suffer the greatest hardship and they are by far the most numerous. I am not certain of the precise figure, and for the purposes of my argument it does not matter. It will depend in some measure on how many are taken out of the ambit of Clause 2 by having been called up under the provisions of Clause 1. But the sort of figure we should have in mind is 100,000. That is, roughly, the number who will fall under the provisions of Clause 2 and be liable to recall from civilian life.
According to the right hon. Gentleman, only a small number, if any, are likely actually to be required. Taking it that the object of this Bill is to keep the Army at a figure which has always been in mind, that of 182,000, I calculate the position roughly to be this. In April, when the Bill begins to operate, there will be rather under 160,000 Regulars and about 25,000 National Service men. Those will be the National Service men liable for retention under Clause 1, although not all of them will be retained. Of those 25,000 probably about 17,000 will be retained.
In 1963, if the Bill is not operated, all the National Service men will come out, but for the first half of 1963 it will again be a question of the retained men, in the main. By that time, by January, the Regulars should have risen, according to the trends of recruiting, to 165,000 and the numbers necessary for retention between then and June will be about the same—16,000 to 17,000—although in the later months—perhaps from March onwards—some call will have to be made on the Clauses 2 and 3 men, the "Ever-readies".
By June, 1963, unless something goes wrong with the recruiting figures, the Regular content ought to be up to about 172,000. So at that point—and this is the peak from the point of view of Clause 2—about 10,000 men will be required. That should tail off during the succeeding year from 172,000 to nil in June, 1965, when, again, assuming that the recruiting figures continue, the Regular figure will be up to 182,000. This is on the assumption that there are no "Ever-readies" but, plainly, there will be some.
692 Thus we are really dealing with a maximum figure of 10,000 and a possible figure of nil. We are, of course, dealing with that figure out of about 100,000 men who will be affected. Whatever the Government may say about the difficulties of having categories under Clause 1—where they are requiring so few, so doubtfully, out of so many—surely it is not unreasonable to have a category which covers the family man?
Do the Government really want the husbands and fathers of children when they are living with their children and supporting them? Do they want the sons of widowed mothers who are living and supporting those widowed mothers? Those are the categories which, I am suggesting, should be omitted. They may not be required at all, but, while the provision remains, it will hang over them and will cause them great anxiety. More than that, it will probably cause the most anxiety to their dependants.
This is not a category which can effectively be dealt with by hardship tribunals. In Committee a number of Amendments were tabled dealing with students, doctors and people who have entered into commitments, and we had some—but not very satisfactory—assurance that hardship tribunals would be able to look at such cases. I am referring to categories which are quite out of it. One cannot say that being a married man is a hardship—though some cynics may say so, but I doubt whether wives would altogether take it as a compliment if that were suggested. This appears to be something which can not be dealt with save by category.
Therefore, remembering the small number wanted out of so many and the great anxiety of so many people which can be removed by excluding this category, surely this is not an unreasonable thing to ask the right hon. Gentleman to do. The right hon. Gentleman may say "Yes, it is true that we shall not want many of these people, but we do want particular ones." Will he mean the hospital orderlies about whom we have heard? Will he mean doctors, radio technicians and people to whom this will be the greatest hardship?
In all conscience, since the Bill arises from the Government's own fecklessness, must their convenience be considered exclusively? In the rare case when they 693 have difficulty in finding some particular hospital orderly who is not married, should they not be put to the trouble of doing so?
I understood that primarily the "Ever-readies" were to be the technicians, held on one side to cover these difficulties. We are dealing not with "Ever-readies" but with the people who have done their service and who are being recalled. In all conscience, cannot we have a single concession from the Government to mitigate the injustice of the Bill? There has not been a single concession in Committee and surely, at this late stage, we might have just something? Since we have had no concessions to meet this injustice, and since everyone agrees that this is a Bill which imposes great injustices, cannot we have this one concession?
§ Mr. Profumo
Although I have not been able to give any statutory concessions, if the hon. and learned Gentleman will read my speeches—although I realise that he has been here for most of them—he will find that I have given a certain amount of satisfaction by explaining what is to be done to mitigate hardship.
§ Mr. Paget
We have been told about a hardship committee and au advisory board which will be under a general connected with S.S.A.F.A. and we have also been informed that the definition of the grounds of hardship for these men will be widened to this extent, that where people have bona fide entered into commitments in reasonable expectation of relief, that is something which can be considered. But I imagine that that—at least, we have been given no assurance that it will, and I should welcome it—will not extend to commitments entered into before the Bill. It is a very small concession. Here, however, is a concession not of something which might be done administratively but something which might be put in the Bill to exclude just these people from the other large number.
The Amendment would not exclude these people altogether. These part-time National Service men have an obligation under Proclamation. They are still available in the major emergency. What we ask is that they should not be used simply for the purpose of keeping the 694 numbers up. In so far as, without Proclamation, it is proposed to recall these people not in circumstances of crisis but merely because one wants a very small number, one should be put under a duty to find unmarried men. It is a reasonable concession to make and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept the Amendment.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Kershaw (Stroud)
I am sorry that the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) has been delivered at a time when very important engagements have taken hon. Members out of the Chamber. He has raised matters of substance. I say at once that I do not accept, and would not urge upon my right hon. Friend, the first two categories set out in the Amendment. It is, of course, very disagreeable for fairly young married couples to be separated even for six months. On the other hand, those of us who have been through these disagreeable events, as have all of us, perhaps, during the last war or at other times, realise that six months does not mean the end of the world and that the reunion after six months is all the sweeter for having been delayed.
The third category quite rightly excites more sympathy. I believe that a widowed mother depends not necessarily so much on the earnings of her son living with her, but far more on the companionship he gives in the maintenance of their family life. I am sure that widowed mothers regard with the gravest anxiety the prospect of their boys leaving home, an anxiety which people of a different age and in different circumstances cannot really share. It is a matter of great human interest.
Although I realise that each case deserves to be taken on its merits and that a concession which is granted in some cases would be quite unnecessary in many others, this is, I feel, a type of case which my right hon. Friend would wish to acknowledge if he can. Whether the administrative arrangements for it and the degree of fairness or unfairness involved really justify a broad exception of this sort we shall hear, but I confess that I feel some sympathy for what the hon. and learned Gentleman has suggested.
§ Mr. Profumo
In previous discussions I have already explained the general reasons against being able to accept statutory classes of exemption on grounds of hardship. I will not weary the House by repeating the arguments now. I must tell the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) that, although I have much sympathy within the reasons prompting him to move the Amendment, I cannot, even at this stage, make the exception here.
We had a string of Amendments in Committee which were designed statutorily to exclude certain people from the operation of the Bill. The Notice Paper for the Committee stage contains a mass of them: some were called and some were not. In my view, if I were to accept any one of these statutory exemptions I should have to accept them all, and I dare say that the ingenuity of hon. Members would have enabled them to extend still further the list until the whole purpose of these Clauses was altogether frustrated.
Basically, it is a matter of principle. Some hon. Members believe that the only way adequately to protect the interests of those who may be affected by the Bill is to do it by statutory exemptions. I do not. I think that the only way which is not only efficient but really fair is to judge each case on its merits. That is what I propose to do.
The hon. and learned Gentleman has suggested that the hardship categories which he proposes demand, in their special reference to the conditions under which Clause 2 might be applied, particular and special consideration. I do not doubt the force of the arguments, though the difference between these and all the other categories of hardship which I have been pressed to consider is, I think, one of degree rather than kind. I do not think that any hon. Member would feel content with the situation if I accepted this Amendment because of its special character and, at the same time, rejected all other similar Amendments proposed so far not only on this Clause, but on Clause 1.
The House would rightly feel that that was the height of illogicality. Either we accept the principle of statutory exemption for certain cases—and this may well be one—or we deal with individual cases by administrative action. I know that 696 hon. Members, although they have pressed their Amendments, will appreciate the very real difficulties that a policy of statutory exemption would impose.
I agree with what the hon. and learned Member said when emphasising that the men we need, if we have to exercise the powers under the Clause, will not be just additions to the ration strength but will be needed to fill shortages which may then obtain and which, of course, I cannot possibly foresee at this stage. In the given circumstances in which we might have to use these powers, we should probably need to call people up at very short notice. If, for instance, we want 125 signallers it would not be good enough to have 125 drivers or general duty men just because they were not married and were available in our total figures.
So far as circumstances at the time would allow, we should, obviously, be discriminating. Apart from anything else, it would hardly be efficient or economical to call up the first men we could lay our hands on and then, possibly, have to incur the expense and administrative bother of releasing a number of them on grounds of hardship. Therefore, quite apart from any other reason, I give that undertaking. To be a little more specific, if it is possible to make a selection and there are two men available for one post, one married and the other unmarried, we should, naturally, take the unmarried man.
I should like to leave the House with this thought, which must not be construed as an undertaking or a pledge, that in the exercise of these powers, if we are called upon to exercise them, we shall, naturally, for simple administrative reasons, quite apart from the humanity which we should wish to exercise, tend to select those men for whom there will be the least hardship incurred. This, added to the various undertakings I tried to give in Committee, will, I hope, make the hon. and learned Gentleman and my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw) less concerned about the point raised in the Amendment. I cannot accept the Amendment as such, but I hope that I have gone some way in meeting their views.
§ Mr. Paget
By leave of the House, may I say a word about that? The 697 right hon. Gentleman has made quite clear that he is not giving any concession other than a statement that the War Office will work this, obviously, in a manner most suited to its convenience and that that convenience will, in general, other things being equal, involve a preference for unmarried rather than married men. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman would expect me to be satisfied with that.
The Secretary of State also said that, if he made this concession, a whole series of other concessions would have to be made. That, if I may say so without being rude, is untrue. All the others were discussed. From them the most meritorious was selected, the one which caused the least inconvenience to the Government and which removed the maximum amount of anxiety from the greatest possible number of people. That is why we selected this Amendment. Its acceptance would cause very little administrative inconvenience to the Secretary of State. This is something which he ought to concede, and if he cannot go any further than he has gone I shall have to ask the Committee to divide on the Amendment.
§ Mr. John Cronin (Loughborough)
Unfortunately, I have not heard the whole of the debate on this Amendment, but it concerns something about which I feel rather strongly. During the last few weeks, I have been approached by many constituents who have felt considerable anxiety about the future. I have been approached by young women whose husbands are serving in the Army. Some of them have been worried almost to the extent of being in a psychiatrically pathological condition. This is merely one hon. Member's very limited experience of what is likely to happen in future.
The Secretary of State suggested that he could make some concession, but I cannot see why he cannot accept the Amendment and have it in black and white. Certainly, it will not cause any real difficulties in spite of what he says. Obviously, a very small proportion of the young soldiers affected will be married. If the Secretary of State has any figures on that matter, we should be glad to have them. Bearing in mind the 698 ages which are involved, it seems unlikely that more than a very small proportion of the soldiers concerned will be affected by the Clause. We are, therefore, asking him to make a very small concession.
The Secretary of State said that he would give consideration to the plight of married soldiers affected by the Clause, but he did not give any undertaking with regard to soldiers who have children living with them or soldiers who normally live with their widowed mothers. These are points which require consideration equal to that given to the question of married soldiers.
Basically, the Secretary of State is a kind-hearted man, although he puts on a rather stern face when declining to accept our Amendments. However, I hope that he will seriously consider the position of widowed mothers and the children. I think that we can ask him to give even further consideration to other cases, such as the soldier who is a widower himself and has young children. He is not covered by the Amendment, but his hardship is possibly greater than that of those we are discussing.
In many ways the Government tend to be rather hostile to the institution of marriage. Soldiers and officers in the Armed Forces tend to be rather ill-treated when it comes to arranging postings and compassionate postings and service in distant stations. We all know how obdurate the Chancellor of the Exchequer is on things like family allowances. I do not intend to dilate on that matter, because if I did I should be encroaching on the bounds of order, but I feel that the Government adopt in many ways a rather austere attitude towards the institution of marriage. I am surprised that the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary of State smile at this. It suggests that a rather light-hearted attitude is adopted towards a most important social and family bond.
In due course, the Bill will be considered in another place. Perhaps some qualification can be made in the Bill to meet our objections there. In the meantime, we can only express regret that the Secretary of State, who, as I have said, is normally a kind-hearted man, should adopt such an obdurate attitude to this very helpful Amendment.
§ Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—700
§ The House divided: Ayes 137, Noes 205.701
|Division No. 79.]||AYES||[7.17 p.m.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Holman, Percy||Redhead, E, C.|
|Beaney, Alan||Holt, Arthur||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hoy, James H.||Rhodes, H.|
|Bence, Cyril||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Benson, Sir George||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hunter, A. E.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Blyton, William||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Rogers, C. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Bowden, Sir H. W. (Leics, S.W.)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Ross, William|
|Bowles, Frank||Janner, Sir Barnett||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Boyden, James||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Short, Edward|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Slater Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Small, William|
|Callaghan, James||Kelley, Richard||Snow, Julian|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Chapman, Donald||King, Dr. Horace||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Cliffe, Michael||Lawson, George||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Lipton, Marcus||Steele, Thomas|
|Darling, George||MacColl, James||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Deer, George||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stonehouse, John|
|Diamond, John||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Stones, William|
|Dodds, Norman||Manuel, A. C.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Driberg, Tom||Mayhew, Christopher||Symonds, J. B.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Mellish, R. J.||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mendelson, J. J.||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Millan, Bruce||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Evans, Albert||Milne, Edward J.||Tomney, Frank|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mitchison, G. R.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Fitch, Alan||Monslow, Walter||Warbey, William|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Morris, John||Weitzman, David|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moyle, Arthur||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Wigg, George|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Oliver, G. H.||Willey, Frederick|
|Gourlay, Harry||Oram, A. E.||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Grey, Charles||Paget, R. T.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Pargiter, G. A.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Parker, John||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Pavitt, Laurence||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Peart, Frederick||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Pentland, Norman||Woof, Robert|
|Hannan, William||Prentice, R. E.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Probert, Arthur|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (RwlyRegis)||Proctor, W. T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Randall, Harry||Mr. Charles A. Howell and|
|Hilton, A. V.||Rankin, John||Mr. Cronin.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Aitken, W. T.||Cleaver, Leonard||Gilmour, Sir John|
|Allason, James||Cole, Norman||Glover, Sir Douglas|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Collard, Richard||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Corfield, F. V.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Barber, Anthony||Coulson, Michael||Goodhew, Victor|
|Barter, John||Craddock, Sir Beresford||Grant, Rt. Hon. William|
|Batsford, Brian||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Curran, Charles||Green, Alan|
|Bell, Ronald||Dance, James||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Berkeley, Humphry||d' Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Gurden, Harold|
|Biffen, John||Deedes, W. F.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Doughty, Charles||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||du Cann, Edward||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Bossom, Clive||Eden, John||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Hastings, Stephen|
|Box, Donald||Elliott, R.W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Hay, John|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Emery, Peter||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir Walter||Emmer, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Hendry, Forbes|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Errington, Sir Eric||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hiley, Joseph|
|Bryan, Paul||Farr, John||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)|
|Buck, Antony||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)|
|Channon, H. P.G.||Finlay, Graeme||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Fisher, Nigel||Hobson, John|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Gammans, Lady||Holland, Philip|
|Hollingworth, John||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Jackson, John||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Teeling, Sir William|
|James, David||Partridge, E.||Temple, John M.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Percival, Ian||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Kaberry, Sir Donaldd||Pitman, Sir James||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Pitt, Miss Edith||Turner, Colin|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Pott, Percivall||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Prior, J. M. L.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Kirk, Peter||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Vane, W. M. F,|
|Leavey, J. A.||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Leburn, Gilmour||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Wakefield, Edward(Derbyshire, W.)|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Ramsden, James||Walker, Peter|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Rawlinson, Peter||Wall, Patrick|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Longden, Gilbert||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Webster, David|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Renton, David||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Ridsdale, Julian||Whitelaw, William|
|McLaren, Martin||Rippon, Geoffrey||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|McMaster, Stanley R.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Roots, William||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Russell, Ronald||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Maddan, Martin||Scott-Hopkins, James||Wise, A. R,|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Seymour, Leslie||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Shaw, M.||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Skeet, T. H. H.||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Woollam, John|
|Mawby, Ray||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Woreley, Marcus|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Speir, Rupert|
|Mills, Stratton||Stevens, Geoffrey||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Morgan, William||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Mr. Peel and|
|Neave, Airey||Stodart, J. A.||Mr. Gordon Campbell.|
|Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Storey, Sir Samuel|
§ 7.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsden
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
I intend to be as brief as possible, so that the restrictions on time may operate as little as possible to the disadvantage of hon. Members. As a matter of fact, I do not believe that anybody could complain truthfully that we had done too badly so far, or that anything in the Bill, or, at any rate, any major issue in the Bill, has gone by default for want of opportunity for adequate discussion.
When my right hon. Friend moved the Second Reading of the Bill, he was perfectly honest with the House, and made no attempt to conceal the fact that, in regard to Clauses 1 and 2, it would be unpopular, or that it bore hardly upon the men concerned. We were certainly not taken aback by the reception that the Bill has been given by the House. The House of Commons is very jealous of individual rights, and what we are seeking to do in the Bill obviously approaches the limit of the length to which the House as a whole is prepared to go in the infringement of such rights and in subjecting individuals to military compulsion. No Government could ask 702 the House for such powers as these without overriding reasons, but in the present circumstances there are such reasons, and there is no other course open to the Government which meets the situation than to ask for these powers. That, and that alone, is the basis for the first two Clauses of the Bill.
During the recent stages of the Bill we have been engaged in the discussion of details, and perhaps it will be appropriate if I now attempt to remind the House of the reasons the Government decided that these powers are necessary. It was always recognised that there would come a time while conscripted National Service men were running out, and before Regular strength had been built up sufficiently, when Army manpower would be stretched in relation to our commitments. The present situation in Europe, to put it at the very lowest, underlines the importance of our obligations to N.A.T.O., and, for this purpose, there is no alternative to the retention of National Service men. We need trained men; we need men in 'the next few months, and the National Service men whom we plan to retain are the only ones who could be available.
703 Different ways of meeting this problem and alternative suggestions have been made in various parts of the House. The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and others wanted us to try to effect the necessary stiffening of B.A.O.R. by a withdrawal from other theatres. Even had such a solution been feasible on general military grounds, we could not have brought it into effect in the time available. Nor would the men who would have been made available by the kind of re-deployment envisaged by the right hon. Member for Belper and some of his hon. Friends have measured up to the needs of the British Army of the Rhine.
Some of my hon. Friends and the hon. Members for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) and for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) wanted another solution. They would have liked us to go on with some form of National Service. When I spoke on Second Reading, I tried to give full weight to their arguments, not because I was convinced by them, but because I felt that it would be altogether wrong if the Army or the country were to suppose that we were shirking the introduction of such a system for fear of the political consequences. Sometimes it has been implied by hon. Members who hold that view of what the right solution should be that we were shirking it.
I do not think that the introduction of some form of National Service on the lines advocated by its supporters would be so difficult politically. It might in many ways have been easier than this Bill, but that is not important. What is important is that it would have been, in our view at least, an inadequate solution militarily and that neither in the short term, because it would not have produced the trained men, nor in the long term, because it might well have saddled us with numbers which I do not believe we shall need, would it have measured up to the military requirement.
The Bill, although unpalatable, meets both requirements. It will give us the men we need in the right place at the right time, and if my right hon. Friend's plans for the T.A.E.R.—the "Ever-readies"—under Clause 3 develop, as there is every reason to suppose that they will, it will give us the long-term 704 reserve as well, and a reserve which will have been raised in a way that is wholly consistent with the voluntary principle.
I should like to mention one or two points of detail which have cropped up on certain Clauses. In our earlier discussions on Clause 2, there was talk—I think it originated with the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget)—about how accurately informed we are of the whereabouts of the men whom we might want to call up under Clause 2. As this is a point which touches the ability of the Bill to work, perhaps I should say a word to clear it up.
As hon. Members will know, all part-time National Service men are posted to serve either with a Territorial Army unit or with the Army Emergency Reserve. The bulk of those posted to serve with the A.E.R. are pre-posted, against the advent of an emergency, to a certain unit and are sent an instruction book telling them where to report. In the normal course, these men are written to from time to time to keep their instructions up to date, with the result that we will have been in touch with the vast majority of them within a comparatively recent time and so be sure that we know their current addresses. Even in the case of a few men who may have changed their homes and not told us their new addresses—which, incidentally, they are statutorily bound to do—I believe that such a short time is likely to have elapsed that any letter sent to an old address will in all probability be forwarded. So much for the men attached to the A.E.R., who comprise the bulk.
In the case of the men posted to the Territorial Army, it is the duty of the commanding officer of the unit to which they are posted to ensure that he has at all times an up-to-date list of addresses. A few weeks ago, my Department wrote to all Territorial Army commanding officers telling them to check their lists if they had not recently done so and to continue doing so at intervals of six months. This is now being done and it will ensure that the addresses of the vast majority of those part-time National Service men who are posted to the Territorial Army will be known to us.
In addition to those two ways of keeping addresses and to supplement them, 705 there is a third method which, in the case of all part-time National Service men, we use from time to time. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance is in a position to know the current address of any man who pays National Insurance and his Department co-operates with mine to check the address of any man whose latest address we cannot find through the other two systems. I hope that this will assure hon. Members that if the need arises, we shall be able to get in touch quickly with the men whom we want.
I hope the House will not feel from this latest part of my remarks that anything that my right hon. Friend said about his hopes of not having to employ these powers has been lessened, but as the effectiveness of the power was called in question by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton I felt that I should explain our system for keeping in touch with the men whom, if the worse came to the worst, we might need.
There is one other point which is, perhaps, worth mentioning again in connection with Clause 2, and also touching the point made by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton, about the part-time National Service men who may prefer to exchange, and to have instead, the obligation of some form of voluntary service in certain circumstances for the chance of being made to go compulsorily under Clause 2. Under subsection (3, d) of the Clause such a man, if he has the necessary qualifications, can always volunteer to join the A.E.R.1. That has been rather overlooked during our debate in Committee. If a man does that and is accepted, he will have a less drastic obligation than a member of the T.A.E.R. and a correspondingly lower bounty, but he will have eliminated the uncertainty from his position as being liable in certain circumstances under Clause 2.
The main burden of the debate on Clause 1 was concerned with the possibility of exempting one or other class of persons on compassionate grounds or grounds of hardship. My right hon. Friend has explained in great detail how we should propose to deal with all these cases, and, I think, to the general satisfaction of the House. He has explained how every man concerned will be made 706 aware of his right of appeal, how appeals will be forwarded and dealt with, the composition of the hardship committee, the advice that he will give to it and the circumstances in which he proposes to seek its advice.
In so far as the great majority of these cases will be dealt with in the first instance by the appropriate branch of the War Office, I do not believe that any Member of the House, particularly those hon. Members on the benches opposite who continuously are concerned with Army matters, on the basis of past experience of constituents' cases, will not be content with this position. I claim no credit for it, although in the course of correspondence with hon. Members I see a large number of these compassionate cases. There is a tradition of fair and sympathetic dealing in this branch of the War Office which goes on while Under-Secretaries of State come and go. I believe that the House as a whole accepts this, and from that knowledge will be the more confident in the administration of the Bill.
Since, therefore, the Bill, although we have not pretended that it is popular with anybody, is necessary for what it does and in the assurance that these powers, although it goes against the grain for the House to grant them or, indeed, for the Government to ask for them, will be sympathetically exercised, I hope that the House will give the Bill a Third Reading.
§ 7.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Reynolds
I cannot support the Under-Secretary's hope that the House will give the Bill a Third Reading. We have been discussing the Bill, both in Committee and today, under a Guillotine, which has not only limited the amount of time for discussion but, what has been far more important, has made the discussion of the important Clauses of the Bill rather more dead and lifeless than was the case before the Guillotine was introduced.
My hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) drew attention earlier today to the apparent lack of interest in the provisions of the Bill and the small number of hon. Members who were attending the Committee. That was exactly the position. Before the Guillotine was introduced, however, a 707 considerable number of hon. Members were showing an interest in the Bill and making excellent contributions to our debates in Committee.
Nevertheless, the Guillotine was brought in. It is a great pity that on a controversial Bill of this nature such action should have been taken and that it should be having its concluding effect tonight by leaving us only three hours for the Third Reading of this important Bill. Even the Financial Secretary to the War Office has just said that no Government could ask for such powers without over-riding reasons. I am sorry that I keep on using the hon. Gentleman's various titles but since he has two we might as well make use of them.
I do not think that the House has been given the principal reason which makes the Bill necessary. We know that there are reasons at present concerning the short-fall of men to provide conventional forces in B.A.O.R., but the principal reason for the Bill, in our opinion, is the way in which right hon. Gentlemen opposite have dealt with the problem over the last few years. We feel that they are to blame for the position which we are in today, not any international situation or any particular action taken by the Army. They decided to abolish National Service primarily for political rather than defence reasons. They have decided on many occasions since to limit the amount of money spent on our conventional defences. All these decisions in the past have led us eventually to a position which the Under-Secretary made out a few moments ago that everyone knew would come when National Service men gradually ran out of the Army before we had a full complement of Regulars. Everyone has known it, but only for about twelve months; years ago my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley said so.
§ Mr. Reynolds
I agree that some hon. Members opposite have been in cahoots with my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley on this, but no indication was given to us from the Front Bench opposite that this problem would arise. I heard my hon. Friend the Member for 708 Dudley say that this would probably happen and we have heard it again tonight from speakers on the Front Bench opposite, but it ill behoves the Under-Secretary to say now that this had been foreseen for a considerable time.
We heard on Second Reading that the Bill was designed to meet a definite short-term requirement as well as to provide a reserve of trained men in the long term. That is the Government's intention, but as far as I can see there is a certain amount of double-dealing going on in this matter. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have the honour of serving as a member of the Defence Committee of Western European Union and I know that that is not the reason for the Bill which is given by Her Majesty's Government to some of our Western allies.
We are told there of provisions made by all Western countries to counter the threat which has grown up in central Europe over the past few months. We are told of the 45,000 men sent over and the billion dollars of money spent by the United States to strengthen its forces in the European theatre. We are told of two divisions brought from Algeria to central France, though I do not know how long it will be before they receive their full Central European equipment. We are told of the steps taken by the Benelux countries to bring their forces up to something more like the required strength. And we are told that this Bill is part of the action taken by Her Majesty's Government to build up their conventional forces in Central Europe.
This is a reason completely different from that given to us in the House and completely different from what we know to be the reason or the Bill. All hon. Members present here know that the provisions in the Bill will in no way increase the number of men made available for B.A.O.R. or increase the strength or defensive power of our conventional forces in the B.A.O.R. area. What it will do is to stop them getting weaker than they are at present. That is the main reason for the Bill and that was the reason given here by the Secretary of State on Second Reading and in Committee.
I cannot understand why a completely different reason is given to our Western 709 allies. They are given the impression that this provision increasing the period of National Service by six months is primarily designed to compare with what the Americans are doing in bringing over 45,000 men and the French in bringing in from Algeria two divisions, however ill-equipped. The British contribution to the N.A.T.O. request to build up our forces in Central Europe is to extend National Service for six months. Everyone knows that this will not increase our forces. It will simply serve to stop them declining to even a worse manpower position than they are in at present.
Even though the Bill will receive a Third Reading and will presumably go fairly quickly to another place, the Secretary of State does not intend to start using the provisions of the Bill until April anyway. Therefore, I do not see how the Bill can affect directly what has happened in Europe in the last six months. It may be expected to affect what may possibly happen in Europe during the next six or twelve months, but I am sorry that different stories are being told here and in Europe about the reasons for the Bill.
Everyone knows that the Government have broken their pledge to our European allies about the number of men and the amount of equipment we are prepared to contribute to Western European defence. We know that we have only 51,000 men in B.A.O.R. at the moment. I have heard the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw), in conversations with European colleagues, employing fanciful arithmetic to make out that we have more men in Europe, bringing in the Air Force and the N.A.A.F.I. to get the number up to 64,000. Those are the lengths to which many of us have to go in talking about our position in the Central European area at the moment, but the Secretary of State said that we have 51,000 in Central Europe, and the Government can prevent the total from dropping below that figure only if the House passes this Bill.
That is the position, but we must be clear that the Bill will not reduce the dangerous over-reliance on nuclear weapons in Northern Europe and will not stop B.A.O.R. operational fronts being shortened in future by getting Ger- 710 man units to take over responsibility for certain fronts in Europe due to the complete inability of B.A.O.R. to carry out the duties which the Government have put upon them in the Central European area. Neither will it stop the next commander-in-chief in Northern Europe being a German rather than a British general, because we shall not have sufficient forces in that part of the world to justify our claim to hold a command post of that nature
In addition, the House is asked to pass the Bill in unfortunate and unusual circumstances. We have not yet been given any detailed information about the type of men who will be required under Clauses 1, 2 and 3. The only information which I cam recall the House or the Committee being given is that half will be in fighting units and half in the tail. The House is entitled to more information than that before being asked to give the Bill a Third Reading. Surely the Secretary of State is aware by now of the type of technician and the various groups of men who are most likely to be required under the provisions of Clauses 1 and 2. He knows how recruiting has been going on in the last few months and he must have a reasonable idea of the classes of men and the trade groups of whom he is most likely to be short during the last six months of this year.
The right hon. Gentleman must, therefore, be able to give the House some information about the type of men most likely to be affected. We are entitled to the information and, whilst it could not be regarded as binding in any way, the information might serve to lessen the fear of a large number of National Service men at the moment. If they realise that they do not happen to be in the trade group that is most likely to be required it may ease their minds to some extent although it will not mean that they may not be required eventually.
My hon. Friend the Member for Dudley has from time to time protested that we are being asked to discuss a Bill which deals with reserve forces without being given any information about those forces. He said that only he and the Secretary of State at the moment know of our position.
§ Mr. Reynolds
I am glad that my hon. Friend supports my support of what he has been saying during earlier stages. I hope that, before we finish the debate we shall be given more information about the general position of our reserve forces.
Even more strange is the position about the financial aspect. We have had a rather unusual arrangement—a Report from the Estimates Committee on the Financial and Explanatory Memorandum. We were in the ridiculous position, having given the Bull a Second Reading, that, when one or two of us endeavoured to ask questions about the Financial Resolution, three Ministers, plus the Leader of the House, were sitting on the Front Bench opposite unable to answer our questions. One got the impression that some of them had not even looked at the Resolution before we voted on Second Reading, and that they then suddenly realised that hon. Members were likely to ask questions.
We got very conflicting answers to our questions. Eventually the matter had to come to an end under Standing Orders. There was an even more fantastic position at the beginning of the Committee stage. The Secretary of State had to ask leave to move to report Progress in order to answer points put by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley. I am not even now completely clear as to exactly what those answers were, but we wasted three hours of Committee time in order to get the matter cleared up. That arose because of the inefficiency of the Ministers in charge.
Then the Estimates Committee issued a special Report criticising the information given to the House in the Memorandum. The Report said that the Secretary of State was able to inform the House that about 15,000 men would be retained under Clause 1, and that the Committee could not understand why this information and the estimate of expenditure based upon it were not given in the Memorandum.
Now we have the information about the number of men but, to the best of my knowledge, we have not yet had the 712 information which the Committee felt should have been included in the Bill about the estimated cost. The Committee also suggested that estimates could have been prepared, based on certain illustrations, about the cost of other parts of the Bill. I hope that the Secretary of State will take note of the Estimates Committee's strictures and let us have that information before the debate ends.
We are being asked to give a Third Reading to a Bill which will place 120,000 men in considerable suspense. These will be affected by Clauses 1 or 2 over the next four years or so. Until next April, we are told, no one will be retained, and then, for six months after that, only men in B.A.O.R. may be required to stay on. This does not apply, however, even to Berlin, and neither Cyprus nor Tripoli nor anywhere else will be affected. After that stage, however, men may be retained in all parts of the world and sent to do extra service in B.A.O.R. They may never have been there before, which will mean a certain amount of retraining. I believe that this will produce an unsettling effect on the units already there which will have to receive and retain these men.
We have reiterated throughout that this is not only unfair to the 120,000 men concerned, but particularly unfair to those retained for the six months' period or who are liable to be recalled for up to six months after they have left the Service. Not one of our Amendments to exempt specific and deserving cases has been accepted by the Government.
Clause 3 provides that these "Ever-ready" reserves, as the Secretary of State has christened them, must be linked with the Territorial Army. We discussed this in Committee and I am still not convinced that it is absolutely necessary for every member of this reserve to become first of all a member of the Territorial Army. It is possible that, in some circumstances, the Secretary of State may well be stopping from doing so men who might have been prepared to join such a reserve, and who have specialist qualifications, because they are not members of the Territorial Army at present.
It is easy to say that anyone, including National Service men, can join the Territorial Army and then go into the 713 "Ever-readies". But the first step, which is irrevocable for a certain period, is to join the Territorial Army and it is then to be twelve months before a man can apply to join the "Ever-readies".
Then there is the possibility that there may be no vacancies for a man's particular group. There is no certainty, either, that a man's commanding officer will recommend him for the "Ever-readies", or that whoever deals with such recommendations will accept him. It is not quite as easy as the Secretary of State has tried to make out. It is not enough merely to say to National Service men or anyone else, "You should join the Territorial Army to get into the "Ever-readies"; you will get £150 a year—buy a fur coat for your wife or take the family for a holiday."
I do not see the necessity for linking the "Ever-readies" closely with the Territorial Army. It may have an unfortunate effect on the Territorial Army. The hon. Member for Stroud mentioned the fact that one did not want to see members of the Territorial Army wearing side-flashes and saying "We are 'Ever-readies'—the rest do not matter." I hope that that does not happen, but there is a danger that such an attitude may develop.
I have a strong suspicion that many of the types of men the Regular Army is short of will, in all probability, be the same types of men or groups which the Territorial Army itself is short of. I cannot prove this because we have not been given any information by the Secretary of State as to the types of men or the particular groups required for the "Ever-readies".
I am surprised that, contrary to normal practice when announcements are made about the Territorial Army, when the Bill was published, and up to Christmas, none of the brigadiers engaged in working with the Territorial Army had been given any information about the way in which this scheme was to work. I know that individual Territorial Army soldiers made inquiries, but at brigadier level information was not available. On earlier occasions, however, when announcements have been made about the Territorial Army, these officers have had the information on their desks the morning after.
714 I realise that, on this occasion, legislation was involved, so perhaps the Secretary of State could not be definite before the Bill was passed. But something could have been sent out to be passed down to the ordinary soldier making inquiries. On the other hand, this strengthens my suspicion that some of the provisions of the Bill have been rushed in at the last moment and that all the details had not been worked out at the time the Bill was published.
I ask the House to refuse the Bill a Third Reading. It will not solve the long-term recruiting problem of the Regular Army. It does not make provision for the proper use of the available manpower already in the Army. No attempt is being made at this stage—although we hear rumours of what might come in the Defence White Paper—by the Government or the Secretary of State to make better use in Central Europe of troops we have in other parts of the world.
The Bill does not go any way towards dealing with that problem. It does not strengthen our conventional forces in any way, and it does not reduce our dreadful dependence on nuclear weapons in the Central European theatre. In addition, it is unfair to 120,000 men, and will be grossly unfair to that proportion of that 120,000 who are eventually called up for service. For those reasons, I hope that the House will not give the Bill a Third Reading this evening.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Brigadier Sir John Smyth (Norwood)
Like my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, I shall be brief in order to give hon. Members the maximum possible time to make their speeches, particularly hon. Members opposite who may feel that they are handicapped by the Guillotine.
I do not think that many people will agree with the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Reynolds) that time for discussion has been very limited on what is a very short although undoubtedly important Bill. There has been time to go into every detail about which hon. Members have wanted to know and for my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend to give very detailed replies. I gathered from his remark about National Service that the hon. 715 Member for Islington, North did not agree with our abolishing National Service and adopting our present system of a voluntary Regular Army. I was surprised when he said that in Europe it was not known what was the object of the Bill. I have not found that. I was broadcasting about the Bill to Europe on Friday morning and it seemed to me that everyone was quite clear about what the Government were trying to do, although not necessarily in agreement with it.
There is no doubt that the Bill is important from two points of view. First, it is necessary in the present military situation and, secondly, it is important because of its effect on the lives of thousands of young men who have done or who are finishing their National Service. This is a form of compulsion which we all dislike, but the Minister deserves the fullest credit for his great pains and patience in going into all the measures to see that those who ought to get relief or be excused are suitably dealt with. We cannot complain about his action in that respect.
My own experience is that, considering that the Bill is an unpopular Measure, being a form of compulsion, it has been well received by the country. It has been very much better received than would have been the case if we had had to reintroduce conscription in some form or other, as some hon. Members want.
§ Sir J. Smyth
I disagree with the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) on that point. If he were reintroducing conscription instead of the Bill, I think he would find that he was on a very uneasy wicket.
§ Sir J. Smyth
All I can say is that the Bill is much the same thing as the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) did when he wanted to get the 716 men at a certain time for a certain period.
§ Sir J. Smyth
I was saying that it was some form of compulsion. I would not say that it was some form of conscription. If we were reintroducing conscription, we would be calling up a whole lot of young men and that would do no good at all in this emergency for at least nine or ten months, so that we would be undertaking something to no purpose.
The intention of the Bill is quite clear. It gives powers to the Secretary of State to strengthen our Armed Forces in Germany. The hon. Member for Islington, North said that it would not increase our forces in Germany, but that was something of a quibble. Calling up a certain number of men and keeping others there must be to increase our strength in some form. Our reason for doing so is that this is a time of transition between the end of conscription and the beginning of a new scheme of a voluntary Regular defence force. This year will be the difficult year, the worst year.
§ Mr. Reynolds
The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that I maintained that the Bill would not increase our forces in Germany. I drew attention to the fact that on Second Reading the Under-Secretary said—and I base my case on this because I cannot think of better information—that our present strength in Europe was about 51,000 and that it could be prevented from dropping below this figure only if the House passed the Bill. I think that that is a fair enough statement.
§ Sir J. Smyth
The fact remains that it is producing more men. It may not be increasing our strength but only keeping it up, but we will not argue about that. That it is producing more men is
The Bill is designed to meet what we all feel to be a time of tension in Europe. The very fact that we have brought in common sense.
717 the Bill, even before it is operated, has had a good effect in Europe. Just as it used to be said that a tank force exercised its most powerful influence when it was out of sight over the horizon, the very fact that we are bringing in an unpopular Bill, which has met with great opposition from the party opposite, has had a good effect and shows that we intend to do something about the present situation.
The first part of the Bill may be a breach of contract, just as the right hon. Member for Easington might have been accused of a breach of contract. However, we supported him because he had to take some measures at the time of the Korean war and we are now having to take similar measures. I am certain that the Army fully supports the Bill, accepting it as the only measure which can produce anything to meet the present eventualities. Hon. Members will carefully watch the cases of hardship, of which there will be a number, to see that the Minister implements the various measures which he explained to us.
My own constituency of Norwood is generally regarded as something of a weather vane in matters of this sort, and I have had hardly a letter on the subject of the Bill. I presided at a meeting of Young Conservatives the other evening and asked for views about the Bill, and I was somewhat surprised that there was so little grousing about it. Those young people have accepted it as a necessary measure, and I think that the rest of the country has, too. That is unlike the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill about which people in my constituency and in other parts of south London are very worked up, about 90 per cent. of them in favour of the Bill. The strong opposition of the party opposite to that Bill is very unpopular. This Bill has been well received.
The Bill brings in a new form of volunteer reserve, the Ever-readies". The hon. Member for Islington, North was somewhat doubtful about attaching them to the Territorial Army, thinking that that might live a bad effect on the Territorial Army. I do not agree. I believe that this imaginative measure will have a good effect on the whole set-up of our new voluntary defence force and that the "Ever-readies" will 718 be enthusiastically supported and will provide a much-needed reserve.
Some hon. Members have been doubtful about the training which these men will get in the Territorial Army, and the right hon. Member for Easington seemed to be somewhat of that opinion. On this side of the House there are several hon. Members who know a great deal about the Territorial Army. There is my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, North (Sir Richard Glyn), my hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover), my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry) and my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. J. Morrison). They are all much more experienced than I am about the Territorial Army, particularly about its training and organisation.
The acid test for the Territorial Army is, however, how it gets on in war, in active service operations. As a Regular officer, I had the experience of commanding a Territorial brigade during the time of Dunkirk. It was with some considerable apprehension that I did so, knowing that we had to go out almost at once to oppose the best trained mechanised army in the world. I was amazed by that brigade's performance and I am sure that the same will be true of the "Ever-readies". I frankly say that Territorial soldiers are not of the same standard as Regulars. The chief reason is a matter of basic training, and I am sure that the hon. Member for Dudley will agree about that. They do not have the grounding which the Regular soldier has, and find it very difficult to attain the same standard of individual training and weapon training.
I beg my right hon. Friend, whatever else he does about the "Ever-readies", not to skip their basic training. If they do not get their basic training and their weapon training right, but go to the more amusing side of tactical training before they are really ready for it, they never recover. In the Territorial brigade I found that there was not the background which the Regular soldier has.
The other point which has been raised by a number of hon. Members is the advantage of trying to train them if possible in small Territorial units. That was the great strength of the Territorial divisions which went out to France in 719 1940. My brigade was known as the Manchester Brigade. Many of those in it had been to school in Manchester, played games together and soldiered together. They had tremendous comradeship and friendship, and that undoubtedly was a very great factor in their favour when it came to military operations.
§ Sir F. Maclean
Surely that will not apply to the "Ever-readies". They will be in strange units, having never met before.
§ Sir J. Smyth
My hon. Friend is quite right. I know that that will be so at the beginning, and the idea is, as the Minister has said, to produce round pegs for round holes with the "Ever-readies". I hope that when this scheme catches on and the numbers increase they will, even in a small way, be able to do some training with their own friends and in their own units.
Now that the Bill has got so far and will become an important part of our general scheme for a voluntary defence force, which we are determined to see through, I hope that the House will accept it tonight. Hon. Members opposite have made their case, particularly the hon. Member for Dudley, at great length and with great thoroughness in bringing out every possible point. Having done so, I hope that Members in the House as a whole will do their best to see that it works. As I have said before, Members of Parliament are really our best recruiting agents. There is no one like them for knowing the young people in their constituencies, and they can help enormously. If we are to do this, then for goodness sake let us do it properly, and I hope that the House will give the Bill a Third Reading.
§ 8.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Shinwell
The hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) is, as everyone knows, a distinguished soldier whose views on military matters are worthy of the highest respect. Nevertheless, I am sorry to have to disagree with him. The Bill will no doubt receive the support of the majority in the House, but it is, whether we and hon. Members opposite like it or not, 720 a confession of the failure of the Government's recruiting policy. It is as simple as that.
We recall the optimistic utterances of right hon. Members on the Treasury Bench, of the previous Secretary of State for War, the present Secretary of State for War, a residuary legatee, and the Minister of Defence. Speech after speech, declaration after declaration, has been made, full of optimism about the future and about reaching the target. One day it was to be 165,000, the next day 185,000, and all under the shadow of the Report of the Hull Committee. This Committee was presided over by the present Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir Richard Hull, and its report made it clear beyond a peradventure that nothing short of 200,000 men in the Regular Army would suffice.
§ Sir J. Smyth
I want to point out, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will agree, that Sir Richard Hull is now the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and that I am quite certain that he would not have taken on the job of Chief of Staff of our set-up unless he thought that it would work.
§ Mr. Shinwell
I am sorry to disagree with the hon. and gallant Member, even on that issue. I do not know any high-ranking soldier who would refuse to accept the dignified and exalted position of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. There have, of course, been very many frustrated generals who had ambitions in that direction. I say nothing disrespectful about General Hull. I remember him as a young officer at the War Office. Indeed, once when I was asked by one of his superiors what I thought of him I suggested that one day he would become an even more important officer in the Army; and so it has turned out.
§ Mr. Shinwell
I am always ready to accept reinforcements, even if they are National Service men.
721 The principle that I was enunciating has some validity, if nothing more, and that is my first point in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood.
I repeat, because it is extremely important that this should percolate through the minds of hon. Members and those people in the country who apparently accept this piece of legislation with unqualified enthusiasm, or, at any rate, with a dignified silence, as in the case of the Young Conservatives who were addressed by the hon. and gallant Gentleman, that one of the reasons why the Government introduced this legislation was because they were told to do so by their masters in the Pentagon.
We recall those protracted discussions between the present Minister of Defence and his opposite number in the Pentagon. What were they all about? We used to ask questions, the form of which usually was, "Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to say what was the nature of the conversations that he had with his opposite number"? We were always told that the discussions were confidential.
They are no longer confidential. The United States came to the conclusion that the N.A.T.O. forces should be stepped up. We recall the time when there seemed to be a switch from the nuclear theory to the theory of having adequate ground forces. All this happened not long ago, and must be within the recollection of every hon. Member present in the Chamber. Then, of course, the conversations took the inevitable and natural form of devising a method of building up the ground forces. This is still proceeding, and this Measure represents the Government's contribution.
We therefore have two relevant points. First, the Government's failure to recruit men. Secondly, the pressure exerted by the United States authorities, with the unqualified support of N.A.T.O., with General Norstad in command giving instructions that this should be done. He said so in several speeches, and made no bones about it. I make no complaint about this, because he had a task to perform and I would not expect him to do otherwise.
What is the nature of the contribution that is to be made by the other N.A.T.O. countries? Is this the only country which is to make an increased contribution? 722 I could understand it if the Belgians had increased the length of military service by six or twelve months. I could understand it if France, with all her commitments, but with vast forces, had made an adequate contribution in ground forces to the N.A.T.O. establishment. I could understand it if the Netherlands had made a contribution, and if Norway and Denmark, the only two Scandinavian countries in N.A.T.O., had increased their contribution.
But, of course, that has not happened. The only country which has increased her contribution, apart from that which we are now about to make, is Western Germany. Indeed, so adequate is that country's contribution that the West Germans have now become the strongest military force in Western Europe.
That is the position. The Treasury Bench ought to give us the statistics of increased forces contributed by the various N.A.T.O. countries. The whole picture would then unfold, and we could determine Whether our contribution was in proportion to that of other N.A.T.O. countries, or out of proportion, and if so, why.
I add this, because it is significant. There has been considerable controversy about support costs for our forces in the B.A.O.R. I cannot discuss this in any detail, because it is another question, but it has a bearing on what we are now considering. Obviously, if difficulties have been encountered because of our inability to meet the support costs of our troops there, and we are now engaged in negotiations with the West German authorities to ascertain whether they will make a financial contribution to the support costs, or whether they will purchase arms from this country, and thus help to maintain what is called full employment in the armament factories——
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Robert Grimston)
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but he will appreciate that this is not a Second Reading debate and that we are considerably more confined on Third Reading. I hope that he will relate his argument to the contents of the Bill.
§ Mr. Shinwell
I am obliged, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I am aware of the principle of the Standing Order, the 723 traditions of the House, and the rules under Which this debate is taking place.
The question of how we are to find the money to support increased ground forces of B.A.O.R. is very relevant. Unless we find that money we cannot increase those forces. Only today, in Committee and on the Report stage of the Bill, we have been discussing how we can provide adequate remuneration for the men who are to be retained and recalled. That involves a considerable sum of money, and that money has to be found. Where are we to get it? Will it be from the pockets of the taxpayers, or will Western Germany make a full contribution towards the support costs? That matter has a very definite bearing on the subject under review.
§ Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)
May I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether my right hon. Friend's arguments were not relevant points to put forward as reasons for rejecting the Bill—simply because it does not contain references to those important subjects?
§ Mr. Shinwell
I am obliged to my hon. Friend for supporting the case that I am endeavouring to put before the House.
The next question we have to ask is whether the Bill is necessary. I yield to nobody in my desire to see that our ground forces are adequate and capable of effective striking power, so that if they are engaged in a quarrel they can give a good account of themselves. No hon. Member on this side of the House, or on the other side—whatever his views or ideologies—would wish to have our forces engaged in war if they were inadequately served in the matter of equipment and training. If they have to enter into battle, let them at least have something to fight with—and, of course, something to fight for.
Therefore, we must consider whether the Bill is necessary. My submission, which I made in the Second Reading debate and repeat now, very briefly, is that merely to increase our forces in B.A.O.R. by 10,000 or 15,000 men will not make a substantial difference. As far as I can understand it, that is not the purpose of the Bill. As I understand, its purpose is to pick out men here and there to fill gaps, strictly on a military 724 basis, or so I hope. A great deal will depend on the commanding officers who decide the tasks that the men will have to perform.
Let us assume that the Bill is necessary, and that the men are required. The question then arises whether the Bill's proposals provide the fairest and most just method of raising the necessary numbers. I dislike conscription, and I have opposed it, although I had something to do with its introduction—it was inevitable in the circumstances, and, in any event, it was not my decision alone, but that of the Government—but it would have been fairer and more just to have imposed conscription, by extending the National Service Acts and bringing into the ambit of legislation all the men, apart from exemptions and deferments which are always necessary in the circumstances.
Then there would have been a measure of fairness. But to pick and choose—to tell men who have undertaken two years' service, "You will extend your service by another six months, irrespective of the circumstances"—is wrong. I know all about the hardship tribunals, and the rest, and I appreciate that it is always difficult to be fair in matters of this sort, but I think that it is wrong to bring back men who have left the Service and have entered into vocations, businesses, or trades in civilian life.
Is there anything in the Bill to which any credit can be attached? I believe there is. It is the "Ever-ready" proposal. I can understand that. It seems quite fair to ask men to volunteer and to undergo a period of training, providing them with a very remunerative incentive in the form of a bounty of £150 a year, plus other emoluments. If the Government had contented themselves with that provision I doubt whether anybody on this side of the House would have opposed the Bill. There is no reason why they should. Nobody takes exception to the voluntary principle. There is nothing exceptional or objectionable about volunteering, by way of the Territorial Army.
Here, I am speaking for myself, but I am not sure that I do not also speak for my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), who deserves the praise of the House for his industry in dealing 725 with these matters, and for his foresight and, incidentally, his hindsight. He has been correct about everything concerning the Army, except one particular—his demand that we should revert to conscription. I have told him on many occasions that, although that is technically admirable, it is politically very unpopular.
Of course, we know that that is so. I could understand that proposal, and the "Ever-readies" would be acceptable. But not the other, not the imposition of this hardship. There is no hardship about asking a man to volunteer for the Regular forces of the Territorial Army and to become a kind of Regular soldier, to be described as an Ever-ready".
The question I wish to ask is: will they really be effective? I am very worried about the training aspect. It is not, I think, entirely irrelevant. Speaking from my experience in the Service Departments, I was always worried about the inadequate training of National Service men and, indeed, of some of the Regular forces. On many occasions I discussed these matters with the different Chiefs of the Imperial General Staff with whom I was in cooperation. Going round the depots in Germany and elsewhere, it seemed to me that in many respects the training was casual and inadequate. If we are to have these men, they must be trained effectively and efficiently. They must be trained under proper guidance. Will these men be trained effectively?
I come to the points raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood regarding the Territorial Army. I have been critical of the Territorial Forces Auxiliary Association. I have never been critical of the officers in the Territorial Army. The other day there was a misunderstanding, when hon. Members opposite thought that I criticised the junior officers, and even the higher ranking officers. I never did anything of the kind. I referred to the Territorial Auxiliary Forces Association. I knew all these gentlemen. Nearly all of them were members of the House of Lords, or at least they were in my time—dukes and earls and all the rest of it, the whole aristocratic "bag of tricks." One could not be a "top sergeant" of the Territorial Auxiliary Forces Association——
§ Mr. Shinwell
I do not know whether the hon. Member, who is a great educational expert, knows much about these matters.
§ Sir K. Pickthorn
I know enough about them to have served in the Territorial Army—which is more than the right hon. Gentleman has done.
§ Mr. Shinwell
If I were you—not you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker—I would not advise the hon. Member—the gallant Member now——
§ Mr. Shinwell
—to go into that subject. I have probably done more fighting on the dockside than he has done in his life—real fighting; and I have been shot at, too. So do not let us talk about that——
§ Mr. Shinwell
Without being irrelevant, I will take on the hon. Gentleman at any time, in spite of my venerable age.
I was dealing with the question of the Territorial Auxiliary Forces Association. I am not prepared—I say this deliberately and with respect—to leave these "Ever-readies" and their destiny at the mercy of the gentlemen at the head of the Territorial Auxiliary Forces Association. Why should they be responsible for that administration? Let the task be imposed on the Army Council. That I would accept.
That is the reason why I oppose the Bill. I have never disguised my dislike of the Bill; of its unfairness and the imposition of hardship; its inadequacy; its cost and its ineffectiveness. At the same time, I am bound to say to the Minister, disliking the Bill as I do, that I only hope that it will turn out well.
Like many of my hon. Friends who are concerned about the nuclear deterrent, tests and the rest, who, some time ago, agreed that it was far better to build up our ground forces and make that a useful deterrent—if not an effective deterrent, a useful, so far as it can be useful, deterrent—I accept the need for this scheme as conditions are, 727 the uncertainty and disquietude in Euorpe and elsewhere. We need a measure of security, or, at any rate, the appearance of security. Therefore, I can only hope that this scheme will turn out well.
I say to the right hon. Gentleman, let him be warned in time. If we discover—I cannot speak for other hon. Members—if I discover the slightest evidence of unnecessary hardship being imposed on any ex-Service man who is retained in the Service, or recalled to the Service, or any of the wives and families concerned, I shall have no hesitation in making things as difficult as I possibly can. I shall do so with the utmost good will to the right hon. Gentleman and respect for his integrity and ability. He can rely on me; I shall do everything I can to make things difficult for him and will try to induce my hon. Friends to do the same.
That is what I feel about the Bill. I am sorry that it came before us. It will be carried tonight, of course; the other side have their majority. There is some disquiet even over there about the Bill and its consequences, but we have to accept it. We are in the minority, but, if it should turn out as I suspect it may, it will not go too well with the Minister.
§ 8.42 p.m.
§ Sir Fitzroy Maclean (Bute and North Ayrshire)
I find myself in agreement with a certain amount of what has been said on the other side of the House this evening, but I feel that what has been said with such eloquence by the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Reynolds) would have carried much more weight if it had been said sooner—if it had been said five years ago.
I see the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) looking very virtuous. It is perfectly true that he and some of his more enlightened hon. Friends have been taking a much more sensible line. That does not relieve the Opposition Front Bench as a whole from the responsibility of having tagged along blindly behind the Government in the last five years. Even now that they are more enlightened they still do not carry 728 their enlightenment to its logical conclusion. They are still not prepared to accept the need for National Service—for conscription.
I had hopes of the right hon. Member for Easington. I thought at one moment that he was going to say that he was in favour or conscription. I am not sure that in the past he has not said that he was. He has come very near to it once or twice. If they want a proper Army, the only hon. Member opposite who can with a clear conscience vote against this Bill tonight is the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), who consistently in the past five years has made clear exactly where he stands on this matter.
There is one good thing about the Bill. It marks irrevocably the collapse of the Government's defence policy of 1957. It marks the end of the five-year defence plan we were told so much about, but which we do not hear so much about now and it also marks its collapse. For five years the Government have been telling us that everything was going splendidly, that they had got the right target, were going to attain it and so on. Now suddenly, partly under pressure of circumstances and partly, as the right hon. Member for Easington suggested, pressure from our allies, I suspect that they have had to indulge in a delayed and, I hope, agonising reappraisal of their policy. They have had to rush through this panic, stop-gap Measure.
The trouble was that the target which they adopted in the first place was wrong. The right hon. Member for Easington spoke of the Government's failure with recruitment. I do not agree with him. I do not think that the Government have failed with recruitment. I think that they will get the number of men they set out to get, namely, 165,000 or thereabouts. I always thought that they would, because I have great faith in the Government actuaries, who established that figure in the first place. The trouble about that target is that it is not the number of men they needed; it is the number of men that everyone thought that, with any luck, they could get by voluntary recruiting. They were quite right about that, if about nothing else.
My right hon. Friends have put some of their most loyal supporters in a very 729 difficult spot, because many of my hon. Friends have taken the line, as have all hon. Members opposite, with one or two exceptions, that nothing could be more disastrous than selective service, that it would wreck the Army, that it was unnecessary and that they would in no circumstances support it. Now they are having to vote for selective service, because that is exactly what the Bill represents—and a very unfair form of selective service, too. They find themselves in almost as illogical a position as I, for, having pressed my right hon. Friends to introduce selective service, now that he has introduced it, I vote against it and they have to vote for it.
I was interested in what my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State said when he opened the Third Reading debate. He said that this Measure would no doubt be politically more unpopular than outright National Service, and he is probably right. There is a certain poetic justice about this, because no doubt the chief reason for abolishing conscription in the first place was to win political popularity. It is ironic that they should be reduced to an expedient which is politically unpopular—and I think rightly so—and which incidentally is bad for morale and bad for recruiting, too.
It might be argued that those of us who want to see a good Army, an Army which is up to strength, a properly balanced Army, should help the Government out of their jam, in spite of all that has happened, by voting for this miserable Bill. We have been told—although I do not think that it carries much weight—that the Bill is designed to meet a special and specific crisis. We were told that by the Prime Minister. That crisis has been over for some months and, if one surveys the international situation, superficially one may say that we are in for a period during which tension will be somewhat relaxed. But that does not mean that this same crisis—or another crisis like it, or worse—will not occur again soon. We are facing a series of crises—a permanent crisis—which in all likelihood will last for the rest of our lives. That perhaps justifies all the arguments that the Bill was designed to meet one special emergency. Of course it is urgent that there should be enough troops in the Army and that they should be properly trained.
730 The Under-Secretary said that conscription would be inadequate militarily and he gave two reasons for that. The first was that it would not provide the Government with enough trained men quickly enough. That may be so, but the Government should have thought of that sooner, five years ago, when they made their original mistake of abolishing conscription without being certain that they could get the number of men they needed by voluntary recruiting.
The second reason my hon. Friend gave was that the Government would get more men than they needed if they were to introduce selective service. If they were to introduce a carefully worked out form of selective service, such as that existing in America, the story might be different. If they were properly to fulfil their obligations towards N.A.T.O., it would take a great many more men than they would get under the Bill—and I have no doubt that the American Government and our other allied Governments remind them of that from time to time.
That brings me on to my own attitude towards this Measure. No one is more anxious than I to see a properly manned and properly balanced Army and, for that reason, I might have been inclined to vote for the Bill on Third Reading. But I am against its stop-gap character, and that is what is particularly dangerous about it.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) said that the Bill showed that we really mean to do something about the matter. I feel bound to disagree with him, for it merely shows that we are in a jam and that we have had to yield to the pressure of events and the pressure from our allies. I do not think that it shows that we mean business.
The Bill will provide men to fill the gaps for a short time but, by its nature, the length of time during which it can do that is bound to be limited. Further, in order to keep men on for a further six months or to recall them, a disproportionate amount of disturbance will be caused to the private lives of the men as well as disturbance to the units concerned and the economic and social life of the country. I hope, as does 731 everyone, that the "Ever-readies" will be successful, although I cannot say that I feel very confident about that. They may be successful as long as there are a number of former National Service men to join them.
When the supply of trained men runs out, I wonder whether we really have the answer? I hope that the Measure will prove to be the answer and that, in the long term, there will be sufficient men. But I do not believe that in the sort of running emergency which we must face today either the reservists who are called up or the Territorials can be the ultimate answer. We need more men on the ground, and I think that they can be provided only by an adequate number of soldiers and, in turn, that adequate number of soldiers can be got only by conscription.
§ Sir J. Smyth
My hon. Friend talks of the good old days when we had a proper Army. The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) is always very frank about the fact that, when he had an Army of double the numbers we have today, we could not find even one brigade to go to Korea. At the time of Suez, as my hon. Friend knows very well, we had not anyone who could go quickly. Therefore, I do not think that we ought to believe that pure numbers of men necessarily make what my hon. Friend calls a proper Army.
§ Sir F. Maclean
As regards Suez, whatever view may be taken of it politically—we are getting rather away from the Bill—I think that no one will deny that, when the decision was taken to send a force to Suez, that force got there and acquitted itself extremely well in the task it was called upon to do and, indeed, could have acquitted itself better still if it had not been withdrawn.
What worries me about the Bill is that it will serve to mask the symptoms in the patient. It will serve to tide things over for two years until too late, until the situation is irreparable. It has been said before and will, no doubt, be said again—it certaintly will be said by me—that one cannot fill an empty Army as one can fill an empty bath simply by turning on the tap. This is what my right hon. Friend is finding now.
732 It is no good panicking. If one has done away with conscription, one cannot bring it back suddenly. As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State said earlier, men are suddenly needed. We need trained men. The Government have decided to freeze the men who are already in the Forces. In two years, when the usefulness of the Bill is exhausted, they will not even be able to do that. Then the situation really will be desperate. It is on that account, because of the ultimately disastrous effect which this masking of the symptoms, this sedative administered to the patient, will be likely to produce that I, for one, propose to vote against the Bill.
§ 8.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Wigg
Like the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean), I am a victim of the illogicalities of the Bill. It creates for me, as for him, a personal dilemma. Ever since the lamentable White Paper of April, 1957, we have shared similar views in our assessment of the defence situation. We have foreseen a situation which has now arrived. Each of us in his own way has to face the personal obligations involved.
I abstained on Second Reading. At that point, I was asked to approve the principles on which the Bill was based. I carried my logic a stage further and voted against Clause 1, the Clause which, willy-nilly, without regard to personal circumstances, without regard to the honour involved in the Government's policy and its effect upon thousands of young men, keeps them for a further six months. I regarded that as an outrage and I voted against it. I still regard it as an outrage.
Coming to Clause 2, in which the Government seek power, in order to meet an emergency, to recall National Service men who have undergone an obligation imposed on them by, I think, the almost unanimous will of Parliament, I could not find it in my heart to vote against it. I abstained on Clause 2.
I argued then as I argued with myself before I became a Member of this House in 1939. I opposed the foreign policy of Neville Chamberlain. I thought that it was disastrous and that it would lead us to war and to the brink of defeat. But I thought that, having opposed the 733 foreign policy, I had to accept the need, not for a weakening of our defences, but for a strengthening of them. I was, therefore, in favour of conscription in 1939, and I am in favour of the principle of it now, although I deplore the shilly-shallying and muddling which has led to it in Clause 2 and the obligations which it imposes.
What should I do tonight? I think that on balance I should vote against the Third Reading, because I have to declare by my action that this is a bad Bill and that the Government who have imposed it ought to vacate their office and that a new administration should tackle 'le problems afresh. It is for those reasons that I shall take the action which I propose to take.
I could not understand the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth). I have a great respect for him. I read his writings. I am always glad to talk to him and I accept him as an honourable and gallant gentleman in the truest sense of the words, who says what he thinks. However, I think that he strains loyalty to his party too much when he seeks to deny that the Bill extends a form of conscription by the most unfair, most muddle-headed and least efficient means from a military angle that it is possible for the human mind to devise. That is not because the Government are a Government of stupid men or of wicked men but because they are a Government of men who have lost touch with things and have been driven step by step by force of circumstances into the difficult position in which they find themselves. The reason for that as much an anything was the subborn, supine blindness of the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.
At least the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is logical. He never changes his mind. He is so masochistic that he has a sheer delight in banging his head against a brick wall. I hold in my hand a copy of a speech which he made in June, 1958, when he offered to lay ten-to-one that the Government would get sufficient recruits by the end of 1962 to get rid of National Service. I always take ten-to-one about an even money chance. I fell over myself to get a pound on as quick as the post could take it. It was 734 a case of ten pounds to one for me. The right hon. Gentleman was kind enough to say that he would not be my banker but he would take the bet. I have had a great deal of correspondence with him, but I have not had the ten quid. I won the money all right and I offered to give it to the British Legion in my constituency. I hope that one day, perhaps in his will, the right hon. Gentleman will discharge his debt of honour.
What the right hon. Gentleman said in the same speech, in this forecast, this certainty which had to be a certainty for the narrowest of party political reasons, was this:There will continue to be some difficulty in finding all the storekeepers, clerks, lorry drivers, hospital orderlies and others needed for administrative duties".Now settlement day has arrived.
Is this something novel? Is this something invited by the Almighty for the special persecution of the British people? Is this something which has descended on us because, as apparently my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) thinks, we are shouldering the great burden of defence, facing our obligations and doing much more than all our other partners in N.A.T.O.? If so, this is pure chauvinistic bunk. Of course it is not true.
I have here a copy of the Annual Report of the Director of Selective Service in the United States. I have done the best I can to understand what they have done in that country. It is stated:Contemporary selective service has been in existence almost continuously since 16th September, 1940. There was a lapse of about 15 months from 1st April, 1947 to 24th June, 1948".The astonishing thing is that at no Presidential election has this matter been in issue. It is accepted as part of the modern way of life. I will not go into all the circumstances, but will quote one sentence:The selective service system is essential to the maintenance of military strength.That is what it says. Again:Selective service is also indispensable in helping the Armed Forces to meet their needs for medical and dental officers.Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with that? What is to happen to the Royal Army Medical Corps and the 735 Royal Army Dental Corps when the last National Service man has gone? As for the powers in the Bill, either in Clause 1 or Clause 2, a levy en masse for calling up Tom, Dick and Harry, whether we want them or not, is out of date. In the modern world, whether it is in America, Britain, Germany, France or on either side of the Iron Curtain, if we want balanced military forces, we have to have some form of selective service.
The hon. and gallant Member for Norwood, in his anxiety to defend the Government, tried to make a case out of what happened to the Labour Government in 1950 about the brigade group going to Korea. But we produced the brigade group. The Korean war broke out on 25th June, and, starting from scratch, with tremendous commitments, and while our demobilisation was still not complete, we got together a brigade group which went into action and met its military obligations.
§ Sir J. Smyth
I think that the hon. Gentleman will acknowledge that if we had had to depend on that brigade group to get to Korea in time to save the situation it would have been weeks and almost months too late. It was only the action of the Americans that saved the situation in Korea. I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) is always much more frank about this than is the hon. Member for Dudley. The right hon. Gentleman was Minister of Defence at the time, and he does know what happened.
§ Mr. Wigg
Whether my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington was Minister of Defence or not, the facts are that in Korea the Americans were on their way out and had to come back. They had a much greater area when they came back, after those disastrous months at the end of the year, as their strength was built up.
So far as we were concerned, it was at the other end of the world. It was an obligation that was never on our list, and was never one of our commitments. We got together a brigade group. It went in, and discharged its military obligations. We did all that, of course, because we were not in the same position as we now are. Let the hon. and gallant Gentleman remember what the Prime 736 Minister said, and what the real indictment of the Government is. This is the Prime Minister, in the debate on the Queen's Speech on 31st October, 1961. He was dealing with this Bill, and he said:In the first place, whatever the size of the Army next year, it will not, and I admit it, be properly balanced."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 31st October, 1961; Vol. 648, c. 35.]That is the fact. We have no medium artillery in Germany. The balance as between the various arms of the Services is out of balance, and the Bill will not bring it back. It will not even begin to do it. Clause 1 is an unfair expedient to which the Government are driven because they have no possible alternative but to break faith with these young men.
The Secretary of State told us that in this particular category he does not intend to play around with much more than 25,000 men. On that strength, it will give him between 170,000 and 180,000, which is suspiciously near the figure which most of us have always thought he would want to get a balanced force. Of course, there is another factor, and, here again, I have the greatest sympathy with the Secretary of State for War. When the present Secretary of State goes and another one comes, whether from this side of the House or wherever he comes from, he will be faced with the same dilemma.
The Army maimed itself—it had to—in July, 1957, when it reorganised. It carried through a major reorganisation. Nobody in the House knows better than the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood the effect upon the Army of the cutting down that followed that reorganisation. Other hon. Members may suggest that it is possible to cut a few battalions of infantry and to get rid of a few regiments of artillery and of the Royal Armoured Corps, but the hon. and gallant Member knows what this means to the Army. It means asking the Army to discharge its obligation with 60 battalions of the line whereas before the war it was 128 battalions plus the Indian Army.
If we are to depend on the Actuary's figure of hoping to be able to recruit about 165,000 men, we cannot sustain 60 battalions and at the same time service them. It cannot be done. Therefore—and this is the appalling dilemma 737 —what ought to be done is to carry through another reorganisation, which the Army would find it difficult to do.
I could sit down and write a paper, at least for my own edification, about the steps which should be taken. There should be a corps of infantry, of course, Again. I know the difficulties of carrying through such a step, particularly overnight and in the wake of a reorganisation which the Army thought would be the last only four years ago.
Again, the Government are hampered because at every stage, from the Prime Minister downwards—I think that the Secretary of State for War is an honourable exception—the country is not told the truth. There was a letter just a week ago from Colonel Henriques in The Times which aroused by sympathy because it was what I have been trying to say, that having spent vast sums of money we could not put a brigade group into Korea, and we could not do so now.
Today is 8th February. Hon. Members on all sides, can contrast the behaviour of the House of Commons. This afternoon, the Prime Minister came down to a packed House about the bomb. This is the defence subject. This is the item on the defence agenda that interests every hon. Member, on which almost every hon. Member is a great authority, the issue of being either for or against. This afternoon, the House was crowded.
Tonight we are discussing the other aspect of defence, perhaps the real aspect, the aspect of flesh and blood, the aspect which may be put to the test. We have a comparatively full House of 30 or 40 Members.
§ Mr. Wigg
Yes, and yet this afternoon, if one had put to the Prime Minister, as I tried to do, the question that really matters—I should have thought that behind this afternoon's announcement one really gets down to it—nobody would have been interested.
My conception of what happened this afternoon is neither for nor against the bomb. I should like to know what really is behind it. I venture my guess. I believe that the Russians have taken the lead in the anti-missile field and that it will require the maximum effort on 738 the part of the West to overtake them. I believe that the last few vehicles which have been put into space within a few minutes of orbit have gone silent——
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but he is getting rather wide of the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. Wigg
I quite agree, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I am trying to deal with the subject in a whole way. We had one aspect of it this afternoon, we have another aspect of it now. I certainly do not want to abuse your kindness, but I do not think it right that when we get sensational headlines, about which passions are aroused—whether one is for or against Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham Hotspur or Chelsea—people rap each other's throats either across the Floor of the House or in a room upstairs, whereas when we come down to realities, when we can count on the fingers of our hands the things that really matter and the things that may be put to the test, the House of Commons is empty.
This has happened time and time again and this is the basic cause of our defence troubles. As Colonel Henriques said in his sober way in the columns of The Times, with our defence at present this means that at every stage we are becoming weaker and weaker. The House of Commons for political reasons does not want to admit it. The people in the country do not want to admit it because it is a disturbing thought. But, as Colonel Henriques has pointed out, and I have tried to point out, these facts are known to the Soviet Union and the Pentagon and in the quarters where power is assessed, and this means that the influence of this country which ought to be at the maximum at present does not count.
Does my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington really think that the United States Government will go on month after month inducting 10,000 and 13,000 and in April next 6,000 young Americans in perpetuity into the armed forces to defend us in Europe while Britain is the only country in N.A.T.O. that has no conscription? If he does, he is living in a dream world. Does he imagine that Germany will accept 739 eighteen months' service and provide twelve divisions while we have three skinny divisions which could not knock the skin off a rice pudding, and that they will not demand the position of influence which we now hold? This is the price of shilly-shallying and mucking about and arguing about atomic weapons when what we should have been looking at are the terms of service, infantry weapons and basic training. Those things are not here in this four-page essay and exercise in semantics which dodges every live issue and ends the way with a pious hope.
The country, having failed to get the men through the recruiting offices, is now committed to put its money on its reserve forces. But when the Army General Reserve has expired in 1964 and the part-time National Service men have gone in May, 1966, what happens them? For the steps now taken in the Bill cannot be repeated in two or three years' time. All the National Service men's obligations will have run out by 1966 and the only hope then is that the "Ever-readies" policy will have paid off, and then we shall have something like 60,000 men available as a reserve. It is not for me, and it would be an unkind and unfair thing to do, to denigrate in advance what the "Ever-readies" may do. As far as my voice is available, it is at the service of the Secretary of State to make the "Ever-readies" a success, and from the bottom of my heart I wish him well.
But what are the qualifications? These young men must have one years' service. They must have done one camp. They have accepted an annual bounty of £150 taxable and a £50 tax-free bounty if called up. Then they are to be taken overnight and put in the ranks with a Regular unit. I have had some of that, and I know what it is like to go from one unit to another, and so have hon. Members in all parts of the House. If people believe that it is possible to take men with this limited training and fit, say, 200 of them into an under-established regiment on the eve of active operations without affecting the regiment's efficiency, they are living in a dream world.
Then there is the other aspect that half of them will not be square pegs in 740 round holes. The Secretary of State said exactly the opposite. They will be the round pegs in the round holes which the Secretary of State wants, for half will be in administrative jobs. Thus we will have poor chaps, never having done their share of "square-bashing", knowing only one camp, suddenly picked up and put into key jobs on which the efficiency of an army on the edge of active operations will depend. I do not know what the War Office assessment is behind the scenes, but I can guess the assessments in the Pentagon and the Kremlin.
This is a short-term policy. The Government are borrowing from tomorrow as an act of expediency to help them out of their difficulties today. They have no follow-up policy—except. of course, that the Secretary of State hopes that he will be taking a holiday on the Riviera when the day of reckoning comes and that some poor mug from these benches will then be carrying the can, when we shall have Motions of censure three times a day because the Labour Government are failing to solve overnight the problems left by ten years of Tory rule.
That is the only hope behind this Measure. I have said before that the Prime Minister is the smartest operator I know. One thing certain in his policy at the present time is his absolute certainty that when the cheques are presented he will not be there. That is the cynical aspect of the Bill. It does not even pretend to deal with the basic problem which faces the country and the Army. At its best, this is a very thin sheet of political ice spread over troubled waters to get the Government out of an extremely difficult situation. What makes me so sad is that I believe that the margin between success and failure can be counted on the willingness of the Government and of the Opposition to tell the people the truth.
I have sufficient faith in democracy and in my fellow countrymen to believe that that applies not only to defence but to our economic life and to colonial and foreign affairs. Tell the people the truth and there is a chance that the Government will get an honest response on which they can act. But if the people are led from one piece of political expediency to another, what chance have 741 they of coming to the right conclusions? None at all.
I shall go into the Lobby against this Bill, although I realise that Clause 2 would have to be put through by some administration. But I have no faith in Clause 3 and the "Ever-readies" as a permanent solution. This is a short-term measure. I wish it well, for I am as disinterested now in these matters as I was when I first came to the House. I repeat that anything any of us can do to make this pay off will be worth doing, because it will save not only the Government but, what is more important, the country and the Army from having to face a very difficult problem in the future.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Kershaw
I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) that if the people are told the truth they will react in the necessary way, but I do not think that the Bill hides any reality of the military situation which it ought not to do. The first charge against it is that it is unfair. Some hon. Members have agreed that it is unfair, and I agree with that verdict myself. But that is not sufficient reason for the House to reject the Bill, because every form of conscription is unfair. Even the most universal National Service which it is reasonable to impose is bound to be unfair to some extent.
As has been said during the debate, the sort of National Service which we have had up to now has been no more than selective service, because so many exceptions were quite rightly made. Even National Service as it has existed until very recently has been an unfair system. It is certainly no fairer to exclude the exceptions than to make it complete and universal in the way that France does, not even allowing conscientious objectors to be exempted. None of us would think that fair.
Reference has been made to the unfairness of the pay for those who are recalled or retained compared with what is to be paid to Regulars. We ought to reflect that if we have conscription and a very large Army, the pay of those called up is bound to be lower, because to some extent the larger the Army, the poorer the pay, as nowadays countries cannot afford to pay armies very much. What would be very unfair would be 742 to take soldiers who were not needed for military purposes merely in order to seem fair to those who were needed. I agree that it is fairest to take the fewest number and fairest to take the best-trained, because in that way they are kept for a shorter period, as they are not required for long training.
I have already mentioned the question of pay and hon. Members have asked whether it is fair to pay retained and recalled National Service men at the three-year Regular rate. This is a difficult decision. I shall not be too dogmatic about it, but I was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Reynolds) say that the three-year men would not mind too much if National Service men received more than they did. I would have thought that as a trade union leader he would have had the theory of comparability of pay very much in his mind. I think that they would mind and that this is a consideration to which my right hon. Friend and the House ought to pay attention. While the matter is obviously not beyond doubt, the blow to the morale of the three-year men is certainly a factor to which not enough attention has been given during our debates.
Several hon. Members have said, and the hon. Member for Dudley has repeated it, that the measures which the Government are taking are in some way almost a breach of contract with those who were led to believe that they were to serve for two years and who are now to be condemned to serve for two years and six months. However, one could say with equal logic that any conscription is a breach of contract with the nation. But that is not the contract. The contract between the Government and the people is that the Government should take the necessary steps, and take them in time, to defend the country properly.
It does not matter whether their actions are popular or not. There can be differences of opinion about whether conscription would be more or less popular than the Bill. As a matter of fact, I think that the House might be surprised at the result if we ever had to make the choice. But that does not make any difference. It is the Government's duty, which they cannot shuffle on to anyone else, and it is that duty which they are now trying to discharge.
743 It has also been asked why we alone find it necessary to take these measures. But it is not only ourselves who are altering the terms of military service and arrangements. Germany has added six months to its terms of service, incidentally with the agreement of the Socialists in the Bundestag, and in France and the United States much more use is made of reservists who are recalled to the colours when required. It might be thought that that is extremely unfair because some are recalled and some are not according to qualifications. In passing, I may say that the eulogies which are bestowed on the United States system of selective service are not quite so justified as might be thought, because 83 per cent. of the United States Army is volunteer, as is all of the Marine Corps, the Navy and the Air Force. Therefore, the United States selective service impinges on very few people.
§ Mr. Kershaw
I agree that selective service is a factor in voluntary recruitment, but a volunteer is a volunteer, so that the number of people who go into the American Army very much against their will is nothing like as great as has been suggested.
It is not odd that each country should have a different system for its own reserves and terms of service. Each of us has different problems. Those of us who know it much admire the Swiss system of the national levy, but it would be utterly unsuitable to this country, which is a maritime and imperial country. It would not work at all here. It would not solve any of the problems which we have been discussing. I do not believe that large armies, suitable for continental Powers, are suitable or necessary for us.
The hon. Member for Islington, North made one or two comments about Western European Union about which I would like to say a few words. He said that I had said that we had 64,000 744 men in Germany, but I was not adding up the N.A.A.F.I. girls in that figure. I included the Tactical Air Force and the Berlin troops, who are the best equipped of all. To say that we are handing over our front in Germany because we do not have the troops to defend it, is by no means the whole truth.
The British Army in Germany is sitting on the obvious corridor of advance from the other side. It is Flanked on the left by much more defensible country and in the south by the hilly country in the middle of Germany, where far more troops are congregated. It has been a matter of international jealousy that America and Germany have not hitherto been willing to take over part of this dangerous front in Germany.
To complete his question, the hon. Member for Islington, North ought to have said that only we have undertaken the obligation to keep a stated number of troops in Germany. Some play was made of the fact that France has brought back two divisions from Algeria, but they are weak in numbers and badly equipped and, anyway, are not located on the central front. Our obligation, which is beyond the obligations which our allies have taken up, ought not to be forgotten, but I take this opportunity of repeating that to keep large numbers of United Kingdom troops in Germany for reasons other than military is wrong. It might lead to military mistakes which would cost us very dear in influence in other parts of the world where the military danger is much more great than it is in Europe today.
Turning to the permanent part of the Bill, dealing with "Ever-readies", I, like every other speaker on Third Reading, welcome it. I agree that there is the problem of training, but, from my knowledge of the Territorial Army, I think that it can be overcome. The problem, to which I have already alluded, is the danger of two categories of troops serving in the Territorial Army, but I am sure that my right hon. Friend will do what he can to avoid that. I believe that his figure of about one-third of "Ever-ready" troops in any Territorial unit is too high and makes it more difficult to run it, but I am sure that it will do good for the morale of the 745 Territorial Army to have "Ever-readies" amongst it.
The Territorial Army will be delighted to train for war rather than Civil Defence and as disaster squads, but it must be prepared to do that as part of its training as well. The Regular Army, during the last few years, has spent much of its time running schools, soup kitchens, acting as wardens and doing other very unmilitary duties. Unless the Territorial Army can have the incentive to train for what interests it, it will not be available to undertake these other duties as well, and very useful duties they are.
Since the Secretary of State came to the War Office we have seen a steady rise in the number of Regular troops. We have seen a rise in the morale and certainly in the efficiency and equipment of the British Army.
I am sure that my right hon. Friend would be the first to pay tribute to his predecessors, for this was not accomplished overnight. Nevertheless, my right hon. Friend has been responsible for some of this work, and he is entitled to take credit for what has been done. The Bill will not shame my right hon. Friend in any way. I think that when it has been worked out and we see it in practical operation, we will find that it has been good for the British Army.
§ 9.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Paget
This Bill has not had a very happy passage. When it was introduced, it received the most savage criticism that I have ever heard of a Government Measure by Privy Councillors on the Government side. We had the speeches of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), and the right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch), and the criticisms, which have been repeated today, of the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean), who was formerly Under-Secretary of State for War. Certainly the reputation of the Bill has not improved as it has gone through its various stages.
The more the House has seen of the Bill, the less it has liked it. Indeed, the only consistent support which the right hon. Gentleman has received is that of the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw) who has risen on every conceivable occasion, however impossible 746 the position of the Government, to give loyal support from that signal quarter. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will get his reward, but on this I am not too optimistic, because in politics there is more rejoicing and more reward for the lost sheep that returns than for the ninety and nine which remain straight and go into the Division Lobby throughout.
§ Mr. Kershaw
If I had known that the hon. and learned Gentleman was going to indulge in polemics I should not have allowed him 35 minutes in which to speak. What does he propose to say in the time at his disposal? He has done a lot of talking during our discussions on the Bill.
§ Mr. Paget
The hon. Gentleman will find out if he waits a moment.
The Bill is a result of an idea of the Prime Minister. It is the result of an idea born at the time of Suez. After Suez the right hon. Gentleman did not think much of armies. He did not think that the Army was much good in modern circumstances, so he decided that it should be cut down; that it should be the old professional Army which he remembered from his Edwardian days; and, above all—because, remember that this began as an economy move—that it should be a cheap Army.
The right hon. Gentleman did not act on advice, because all the advice that he received was against it. He had the resignation of Viscount Head. All the advice from the War Office was against it. He did not act on a review of the commitments of the Army. This is the extraordinary thing for, once the decision was blindly taken to halve the Army, nobody considered that there might be a consequent necessity to reduce the Army's tasks. The commitment was not considered, nor was there reallocation amongst the Services. Above all, there were no consultations with our allies or the Commonwealth. Indeed, it is difficult to realise the utter frivolity with which decisions are taken by the Prime Minister, and have been taken by the Government. But that is the manner in which this decision was taken.
The present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations was given the task. He was the almost ideal instrument. He combined both the will and 747 ignorance that was necessary. His august father-in-law once described him as having a mind like a rat-trap. It was an extremely good description, because it is a powerful but unresilient mind. It fastened on to the proposition that conscription was to go and that there was to be a professional Army. The tasks were not considered; the needs were not considered, and the commitments were not considered. Not even our treaty obligations were considered. Instead, the actuaries were consulted.
And remember this: the decision to abolish conscription was taken before the actuaries were consulted. It was taken even before the sum was done, and before anybody knew what the answer would be. That is the way the Government took their decision, and we are now reaping the consequences. The actuaries arrived at a figure of 160,000, and so 160,000, plus the big bangs—the atomic weapons which were to be a substitute for troops—was decided upon. The Army has always ignored that figure.
Since then, a whole series of figures has been given. There was the figure of 165,000. I do not know where that came from. It was merely 5,000 added to the actuaries' figure, and was fought for by the then Secretary of State for War. In 1959, because recruitment had taken an upward turn, out came the figure of 180,000. The Hull Committee then considered the matter and, for the first time—long after the decision was originally taken—did so in terms of the commitments and tasks that the Army would be required to undertake. The Hull Committee came out with a figure of 200,000, on the basis that only 45,000 would be required for B.A.O.R.—which we know is not correct—and of 220,000 in other conditions. I know of no reason to depart from that idea of 220,000, given our present commitments.
Despite all this, as late as June, 1960, the present Minister for Commonwealth Relations was saying that the Government had never said that they needed 180,000; that the target set in the 1958 White Paper was 165,000, and that our target for our future Regular Army remained unchanged, at 165,000. But the target never was 165,000. That was a figure which had never existed anywhere except in the rigid mind of the right hon. 748 Gentleman, The reorganisation of the Army was not based upon a figure of 165,000; it was based upon a figure of 182,000. The figure of 165,000 has never been anything else than a fictitious one.
Next April, when the Bill is to be brought into operation, the figure will be about 184,000. Is that pure coincidence? The Berlin crisis has nothing to do with the Bill. In fact, since the war we have been so far from a crisis. This is the first time since the war that we have not one man on active service. In Berlin we are performing little more than half of our treaty obligations which existed before conscription was abolished and which exist now. We are performing little more than half, and nobody anticipated that the situation would get better. Every indication was that it surely must get worse.
This Bill is designed to hold the figure of 182,000. That is how it works. My hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) pointed that out during the Second Reading debate. Let us look at the figures. When this legislation comes into operation—when the men who otherwise would be going out are impressed; that is, when the Army reaches roughly 184,000—we shall have about 159,000 Regulars and about 25,000 National Service men. Of these, enough will be kept to keep the figure at roughly 182,000. If recruiting goes on as is forecast, in January, 1963, the Regulars will come up to the 165,000 figure. Then this Bill will be required to keep the figure up to 182,000. And so it will go on, until the Regular recruitment, as anticipated, somewhere about the begining of 1965, reaches 182,000, which is the object of this exercise.
This is being done in the unfairest possible way. The hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) said that he would not call this conscription. Nor would I. The expression conscription "gives the impression of an element of universality; some sort of sense of fairness to deal with a national crisis. This is not conscription—this is press-ganging. This is just the arbitrary seizing of a small body of men who are helpless, and utterly ignoring their rights because they are few. Why is it being done in this way? Because the political figure was 165,000, but the Army figure was 182,000. It is 749 because of the political refusal to face what had been the military decision——
§ Sir F. Maclean
The hon. Gentleman calls 182,000 the military figure, but surely is the political figure, too. The Army used it for purposes of reorganisation. It was never a really serious military target.
§ Mr. Paget
I do not dissent from what the hon. Gentleman has said. I am saying that for this purpose—and I will come to its adequacy—the Army was reorganised at 182,000. But this Bill is designed to keep the figure at 182,000. If the political figure had been 182,000, we should have postponed the abolition of conscription and tapered it off to the point where conscription stopped with the Regular Army at 182,000, with something to spare. That is what would have been done, if the political figure had been the same as the figure of the military reorganisation. Because it was not; because lip-service was still being paid to the political figure of 165,000, upon which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations had based his defence policy and to which the Government were committed; because those two figures were never brought into relation, this unjust method has been adopted. That is the sole reason for it. There is no other reason.
Under this system the burden is cast on those who have already done most and those who have sacrificed most. At this end-period of conscription we have in the Army a higher proportion than ever before of people who have postponed their National Service and made sacrifices of earning capacity in order to acquire qualifications for greater earning capacity in future. It is that greater earning capacity which the Government are receiving on the cheap. These very men who have prepared themselves for careers are being heaved out of those careers in order to make good the mistake—the deliberate political posture—of the Minister of Defence in the adoption of this policy.
In spite of the fact that this injustice is so utterly the fault of this Government, so unnecessary, such a wrong way to do it, such as unjust way to do it, there has been a consistent refusal thoughout these proceedings to do anything what- 750 ever to mitigate the injustice, or even to remove the anxiety from groups subject to recall who, in all human probability, will not be recalled without Proclamation. There is refusal even to pay these men who are being recalled the same amount as the man in the next bed, the Regular doing the same job, will be receiving. We have a bogus figure based on a non-existent engagement adopted in order to pay them less than the man in the next bed doing the same job during this period. There is this utter disregard of justice or any attempt to mitigate injustice.
After all this, will it work? First, we shall have in the two years referred to the pressed-man period. Almost the sole reason why I have supported going over to a professional Army is precisely that I do not believe a professional and a pressed man mix. I believe the whole morale of a force is injured by the man who has over his bed a calendar on which each day is marked off and counted to the time when he will get out. Over and above that—because in a sense conscription was regarded as fair—these men are being retained and arbitrarily heaved back. These men whose hopes and expectations have been unjustly interfered with and who are to be retained in the forces will have a bitter grievance against the Army. That will not do the Army any good. I do not believe it will work even in the short run.
How will the "Ever-ready" period work, the period when we run out of pressed men? A number of people have cast doubt on that. Of course we all hope that it will work. But the more I see of it, the more I think about it, the more I discuss it, the less likely do I think it is to work. Let us look first at the effect on the Territorials. The hon. and gallant Member for Norwood said that it would be a shot in the arm for the Territorials. It is more likely to be a shot in the head. Let us see what the position will be.
The Territorial Army is a very strange and a very unusual thing. It is fashionable—I do not know why—to jeer at amateurism, but if I had to take one single quality from the English genius which I think is the most peculiar to the British people and probably the most important, it would be the talent for 751 amateurism. The greatest part of our justice is conducted by amateurs. Out local government is conducted by amateurs. Here, in the House, we are not far from being amateurs. The real expression of this genius for amateurism finds its expression in the Territorial Army. The number of people who make the Territorial Army their hobby and the main interest in their lives, and the degree to which they devote themselves to it, and the sense of proprietorship which they feel for a unit, is remarkable.
We are to insert into this unit a number of people who have no real interest in the unit because they will never serve in it. Long before the Territorial battalion can be embodied, these men will have been heaved out. That is why they are there; that is the reason for the "Ever-readies". In the twilight period, long before embodiment, they will have gone.
The Territorials know that when the day comes for which all these preparations have been made, these men will lot be there, and the men themselves know that they will not be there; and neither has an interest in the other. If these men are not supplementary to the establishment of a Territorial unit, then by their extraction at the vital period they will leave the Territorials inefficient in the very job for which they were trained. The Territorials will not like or wish for people who will leave them—and who will leave gaps which cannot be filled at the critical time. I cannot believe that this is good for the Territorial Army or that it will work or that either of these two groups will like the other or be of much use to the other.
Let us look at the effect on the Regulars. When we have National Service men who have done two years or maybe even two and a half years on whom to draw, I concede that these men may be of value; they will be of value precisely because they were trained, if not in the unit, at least in a similar unit to that into which they will be drawn back. But when this period is over and when we are no longer drawing on National Service men, when instead we are drawing on men who perhaps have done a fortnight's camp and a few 752 drills, what use will they be if they are suddenly pushed into key jobs in Regular units? If these men are to be any good at all, they should be withdrawn and separated from the Territorial Army. These are men who ought to be training with, and be attached to, at least the type of unit in which they will serve, doing the job, or at least the type of job, for which they will be required. Unless they are properly trained they will be of little value. Anyway, will they even be there?
The system to be adopted is precisely to make this attractive in inverse proportion to the requirement. A retainer of £150 a year is very nice—as long as one is not called upon. It is nice for the first year and it may be all right for the second, but will it remain all right when the prospect of being called up comes along; of actually having to do the six months? What will happen in 1966 when all the reliance may be on the "Ever-readies?" Is it attractive for the right man? For the man earning £10 or £12 a week another £3 as a retainer is attractive, but we have been told that specialists are required. Do the Government think that another £3 will be attractive to doctors, with the prospect of being heaved out of their activities for six months of the year? Will it be attractive to radar technicians and men earning £20 or £30 a week?
Here is a form of incentive which is attractive at the time—when it is not wanted and for the men who are not wanted. It will not be very attractive when it is wanted for the men who are wanted. In any case, I do not think that it will work. I hope that I am wrong. It seems that the wrong sort of training is contemplated and that the inducement is all wrong.
Even if it works and gives us the 182,000 men for which it is designed, will it be sufficient to meet our existing commitments? At the beginning of this year we had 208,000 men, all trained, because every one of them had been in for over twelve months. Despite that, we found that there was under-establishment everywhere. We found "Spear-point" and its tanks with just a driver, one man representing sections and sections representing platoons. It was a humiliating experience. May I cite the case of my father's old regiment, the 753 2nd Battalion Scots Guards? Is that up to establishment? Are there 800 men there? Is it even up to the low establishment introduced to fit the figure of 635, which was rejected after the Cyprus experience as being quite inadequate? Is it up to 500? Is it 400, 300, or even 200? How many battalions are under 200 today? I hope that we can be given the answers to these questions.
Will this solve the problem of sections masquerading as platoons, as platoons standing in for companies and undersized companies mustering as battalions? That is the position with 208,000 men. By what magic, with 30,000 less, do we deal with these problems, which are so patent? Will our commitments stay as conveniently low as they are at the moment? Will N.A.T.O. continue to be satisfied with 51,000 men from us, scarcely more than half our treaty obligation?
Since July, the Americans have put in 40,000 more men and eight more squadrons, 250 planes and six more divisions at the ready. The French are coming back from Algeria, realising the need, and two more divisions are coming. The Germans have stepped up their period of conscription and their divisions are coming forward. It is realised that S.A.C. cannot hold Europe but it must be held on the ground. When all our allies are exceeding their treaty obligations, how long will they tolerate our falling so short of ours? How far, and for how long, do we have to stay behind, let us say, the Italians? The right hon. Gentleman's Government talks about going into Europe. At what sort of bargain-basement price does he think they will get there if they are falling short of these obligations?
Will the Bill solve these problems? I do not for one moment believe that conscription is the answer. What we must decide is whether we are a European or a world Power. We have 40,000 men at the moment spread out in bases throughout the world acting as auxiliary policemen. There are five battalions in Hong Kong because we have not prepared a gendarmerie.
There is nothing new in this. For five years, I have been urging, my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) has been urging, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, 754 West (Mr. Strachey) has been urging that our commitments must be adjusted to our strength. The 130,000 men in the Royal Air Force cannot be occupied principally in preparing to deliver an independent nuclear deterrent the use of which is almost inconceivable. The 88,000 men in the Navy are not properly occupied trying to convoy ships into ports which will not exist. Four hundred and ten thousand professionals rationally used in a unified Service can provide for our real needs and fulfil our treaty obligations to N.A.T.O. I believe that that can be done, but it can be done only by a real organisation.
We shall do what is necessary and proper to discharge our responsibilities. That we shall do. But this Governmenthave never had any kind of system, right or wrong, but only invented occasionally some miserable tale for the day, in order meanly to sneak out of difficulties into which they had proudly strutted.Those were the words used by Burke of Lord North's Government. They are words equally appropriate to this.
This is a shoddy, dishonest and unjust Bill. Above all, it is a feckless Measure which solves nothing. We shall have no hesitation in voting against it.
§ 10.4 p.m.
§ Mr. Profumo
The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), in the middle of his gusty speech—[An HON. MEMBER: "A good one, anyway."]—I did not say that it was a bad one: I said "gusty" speech—said that it was now a fashion to sneer at the amateurs, Nobody would sneer at the hon. and learned Gentleman. He was very professional all the way through his speech, getting more so towards the end of his peroration. I had an idea that he would have been just as effective and just as good if he had been briefed to defend the Bill.
The hon. and learned Gentleman made a very great point about trying to persuade the House that this Measure had been brought before us so that we could retain about 182,000 in the Army. He produced all sorts of figures, the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) produced a different set of figures, and we have had two or three other sets of figures, to try to show that what is being done in the Bill is not being done for the 755 purpose of which I told the House, but to try to play the numbers.
Let me take the hon. and learned Gentleman's configuration. He referred to a figure of 165,000 plus 15,000. I have given the figure of 15,000 to be retained as the nearest estimate that I can give of the number that we may have to keep back, but I have made it perfectly clear that it may be less than that or it may be more than that. The fact is that if it is 15,000, it is 15,000 over the whole period of six months. Therefore, it is no good trying to add 15,000 to 165,000 and getting 182,000.
This is the way in which the Opposition think that they can persuade the House and the country that it is for reasons other than those which I have given that the Bill has been introduced. The Bill has been introduced for one reason only, namely, so that we may carry out our obligations and may safeguard our position in case recruiting for the Regular Army does not go as well as I hope it will go, or in case the situation in Europe or in the world deteriorates. I believe that they are perfectly honourable reasons for bringing this Measure before the House.
The hon. and learned Member for Northampton, again being carried away with his argument, said at the beginning and forgot it later—the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Reynolds) made the same point in an interesting speech—how could we try to defend the Bill if there was a crisis, or how could we say that we were producing it because of the difficulties in Berlin? The fact remains that there is a crisis in Europe. The hon. and learned Member produced the answer himself, because he gave a whole list of the things which the Americans, the French and everyone else were doing. What were they doing them for if it was not because of the situation in Europe?
§ Mr. Paget rose——
§ Mr. Profumo
The hon. and learned Gentleman has left me with only twenty minutes in which to make my speech. Let me finish my argument.
The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) said that he would like to know the facts about numbers in 756 Europe. He went on to say that we were probably doing much more than we have been given credit for and wished to know exactly what the French were doing. We have put further troops into Europe. He asked why it was that, if this was such an important Measure, we do not propose to do anything about it until April. It is because the troop movements which we have carried out from here to B.A.O.R. will manage to hold the situation at 51,000 until the beginning of April. Only then will the numbers begin to run down.
We are doing our share in Europe. We have obligations not only in Europe. They go wider than Europe. They are world-wide, and we must continue to carry them out. That is one of the reasons why we have produced this Measure. It is because of the sudden impact of a crisis in Europe at a time when our recruiting figures are mounting and the run-out is going at full speed that we must take steps to safeguard the situation.
Now that our discussions are drawing to a close, I should like to say this. I am glad to see that more hon. Members are now coming into the Chamber, but throughout the Committee and Report stages there has been only a handful of hon. Members on both sides present. Those who have been here have shown a real and genuine interest in the Bill and I pay tribute to them for that.
Our discussions may have been prolonged, but, at all events, they have shown that all hon. Members wish to safeguard in every possible way the men who will be kept back in the Army or those who might be called back. They wish to protect the rights of those who may be affected by the Bill. I have listened to the arguments of hon. Members with close attention, and I assure them that if I have not been able to accept Amendments it has been for one reason and one reason only.
Despite what some hon. Members opposite have suggested, we did think the Bill out carefully before we brought it to the House. We thought about the difficulties, troubles, privations and hardships which would be caused, and we put into the Bill every provision we could to protect those affected by it commensurate with the objects of the Bill.
757 In the time at my disposal I should now like to comment on some of the Clauses. I wish to repeat a pledge which I have given before. It is that no one will be retained under Clause 1 who is not strictly needed for military purposes. The provisions of this Clause relate to our present commitments to N.A.T.O. and have nothing whatever to do with our recruiting campaign, which, I am happy to tell the House, has gathered momentum. I was pleased to hear my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire say that we would reach our target. There was a time when Members on both sides of the House said that we would never reach our target. Now, the cry is that when we do reach the target it will not be enough. Let us first reach the target and discuss the second part of the criticism afterwards.
§ Sir F. Maclean
I think that my right hon. Friend will agree that I have always said that I thought we should reach the target, and have always said that I thought it was insufficient.
§ Mr. Profumo
I know that my hon. Friend has said so, unlike other hon. Members, who have been sniping at us, saying that we should not reach the target. I hope and believe that we shall be there or thereabouts.
The provisions of Clause 1 relate to our commitments to N.A.T.O. The hon. Member for Islington, North tried to suggest that the announcement which appeared in the newspapers about the possibility that a German commander would succeed General Cassels had something to do with the fact that our numbers were not right and that we were unable to carry out our commitments.
The House must know that the Northern Army Group is responsible to N.A.T.O. for the defence of the northern sector of the East-West German border. It is composed of army units from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Federal Republic, Canada and Belgium, and the Commander has always been British. Any plans to change the dispositions in the Allied Command, Europe, would primarily be a matter for the Supreme Allied Commander, if he were to consider that he could improve N.A.T.O.'s capacity to carry out the task assigned to the forces concerned.
758 I know of no firm plan to this end at present, although deployment plans are, of course, always being reviewed by N.A.T.O., and the gradual increase in the Federal German Army to meet N.A.T.O. requirements must clearly, eventually, lead to some re-examination of the deployment of forces in Germany. I repeat that no decision has been taken either on redeployment or about a successor to General Cassels, German or anyone else, and Her Majesty's Government would, of course, be consulted in the first place before anything happened.
If our present commitments to N.A.T.O. were to change or if the position in Europe were materially to alter, the provisions of Clause 1 which are permissive, would certainly be reexamined by Her Majesty's Government, but, as things are, I shall have to operate this power, although I cannot at present foresee to what extent, nor I am afraid can I tell the House with any honesty what the categories would be which we felt we had to hold back. These would depend on shortages at the time, month by month, when we have to hold them back.
I can and will give an indication, if the House wishes, of the costs of the various sections of this Bill, for which I have been asked all the way through the various debates. To take Clause 1, for every thousand retained men whom we have to keep for six months, it will cost £330,000. Under Clause 2, where we are talking about recalled men, it will cost £350,000 for every thousand of those recalled for six months, and this additional cost arises because recalled men are to be given a £20 gratuity. In so far as the "Ever-readies" are concerned, every thousand of them will cost about £250,000 in a full year. That is our rough estimate, but the House has been anxious to ascertain to what extent we shall be involved in costs.
I am anxious to reduce hardship as much as possible. I have said so again and again on all the proceedings of the Bill. That is why I have taken special measures—and they are measures which hon. Members opposite did not see fit to take when similar cases occurred and they had to extend National Service in 1950. I am not making a party point; I hope that the hon. Member for Dudley knows me better than that. I am trying 759 to persuade the House that we have gone as far as we can to consider the special hardships which will fall on people under both Clauses 1 and 2.
§ Mr. Profumo
The existing administrative practice and arrangements for conscientious objectors will continue to hold good for all those who are involved in the Bill.
The Advisory Committee will bring sympathy, insight and judgment to these problems. The Committee, whose composition I announced to the House the other day, is now, I aim glad to say, ready to operate. I shall see all the members of the Committee next week and we will talk about how they will operate. The moment that cases begin to come, the Advisory Committee on Hardship will be ready to start its work. I hope that the House will allow me to take this opportunity of expressing at least the thanks of the Government, shared, I believe, by hon. Members on both sides of the House, for the public spirited action of its members in agreeing to come forward and serve on a committee which will necessitate a considerable amount of time and detail.
Some hon. Members, inadvertently, have criticised the Chairman of the Committee, General Denning. They have said that he is a general and is connected with S.S.A.F.A. He retired from the Army sometime ago after a distinguished career. As he is Chairman of the whole S.S.A.F.A. organisation, it seemed to my colleagues and me that there was no one better suited to head the new Advisory Committee to consider the hardship of men who were to be retained or recalled to the forces. I should like to pay tribute to General Denning and his colleagues for the work that they will do.
I was glad that hon. Members opposite have at least given a good reception within the limits at their disposal for our plans to try to deal with the compassionate cases. I was extremely grate- 760 ful to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) for his kindly commendation during the course of his interesting speech.
Clause 2 covers a somewhat more remote contingency. As I said on Second Reading, I doubt whether we shall need to use these powers, if we need to use them at all, before next year. As I recognise that individual disruption would be even greater under Clause 2 than under Clause 1, since it will affect men who have already established themselves in civil life and who have commitments to themselves, to their families and to the community, I intend to see that these powers are used as sparingly as possible, if they are ever used at all. I recognise that, even more than Clause 1, Clause 2 is bound to leave uncertainty hanging over the part-time National Service men. This point has been made by many hon. Members in our debates.
If, however, we did not make these provisions, we would be much more likely to have to resort one day, if tension rose, to declaring a national emergency. This is one of the things we wish to avoid. Hitherto, we have been impeded in the use of our reserve forces by not being able to use them unless we declare a state of imminent national danger, with all that goes with it. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has spoken about this and considered it during the summer. Hon. Members know quite well the implications of declaring a national emergency. We are looking to periods in the time ahead when there may be increased tension and when, by calling up men to strengthen the deterrent of our manpower, we may be able to avoid a situation of national emergency, which often leads to an international emergency.
If we did not take this action, we would be much more likely to have to declare national emergencies from time to time. This would affect all part-time National Service men, since they are all liable to be recalled at whim without any sort of gratuity if a national emergency is declared and the reserves have to be called up.
I wish that I could predict the chances of our exercising these powers, but I cannot do so. I can give the House no prediction of what we might have to do, 761 or in what circumstances we might have to call these men up. It could be no more than crystal-gazing and it would be wrong for me to indulge in that.
I have been encouraged by the way that the House has looked favourably at the creation of the "Ever-readies". I was pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) at least gave them his limited blessing. He was doubtful, as some hon. Members are, whether we shall be able to make a go of this.
I should like to say a word about our plans for recruiting "Ever-readies". I shall start recruiting as soon as the Bill becomes law. I shall have two lots of pamphlets. One will be circulated widely to employers, telling them what the "Ever-readies" are intended to do, the conditions under which they might have to be recalled and, generally speaking, appealing to employers to allow their employees to join and become "Ever-readies".
Another set of pamphlets will go round and will be widely distributed among the Territorial Army and among the reserve people, the part-time National Service reserves. This pamphlet will have a section for the wives and will explain to them what their rights are under this scheme. I think that the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) would like that and would not wish me to leave them out. This is to try and tell the wives what their rights are if their husbands are called up, and it will show the "Ever-readies" what their terms of service are. I am absolutely convinced that this is something which will catch on and serve our nation well.
As to training, I have already said in Committee that it is my belief that we shall have enough equipment to train these "Ever-readies" perfectly well. The Territorial Army does very
§ much more training than some hon. Members give it credit for and I believe that where we have not the equipment we need it will be perfectly all right to train the "Ever-readies" with sections of the Regular Army. As to the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton that the Territorial Army is the wrong peg on which to hang this, if he fears that the Territorial Army will not like it he need not bother any more about that. From the very inception of this scheme I have taken the Territorial Army Council into consultation and throughout it has given me its blessing and has helped me and my colleagues to arrange it.
§ If I may adapt a famous phrase, when a man knows he is about to be guillotined it concentrates the mind wonderfully. I realise that the Bill may not be very popular, but I am convinced that it is necessary. I am encouraged by the polite things which hon. Members have said about the way in which the War Office treats these hardship cases. It is no tribute to me and my Ministerial colleagues. It is a tribute to the permanent officials of the Department, and the Army, who have done this for a long time and will continue to do it. The Bill will not be popular but if it serves its purpose it will turn out to be a good Measure and in that spirit I ask the House to speed it on its way.
§ Mr. Profumo
If the hon. and learned Member does not know and wishes to know the strength of his father's old unit, I will tell him after the debate.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 196, Noes 129.765
|Division No. 80.]||AYES||[10.28 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Bishop, F. P.||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Black, Sir Cyril||Carr, Robert (Mitcham)|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Bossom, Clive||Chataway, Christopher|
|Allason, James||Bourne-Arton, A.||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Box, Donald||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)|
|Barber, Anthony||Boyle, Sir Edward||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)|
|Barter, John||Brewis, John||Cleaver, Leonard|
|Batsford, Brian||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col, Sir Walter||Cole, Norman|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Collard, Richard|
|Biffen, John||Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Cooper, A. E.|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Buck, Antony||Costain, A. P.|
|Bingham, R. M.||Campbell, sir David (Belfast, s.)||Coulson, Michael|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Roots, William|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Russell, Ronald|
|Curran, Charles||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Seymour, Leslie|
|Dance, James||Kershaw, Anthony||Shaw, M.|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kirk, Peter||Shepherd, William|
|Deedes, W. F.||Leavey, J. A.||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Doughty, Charles||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Drayson, G. B.||Litchfield, Capt. John||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lloyd, Rt.Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Elliott, R.W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Longden, Gilbert||Stodart, J. A.|
|Emery, Peter||Loveys, Walter H.||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||McLaren, Martin||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||McMaster, Stanley R.||Tapsell, Peter|
|Farr, John||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Teeling, Sir William|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maddan, Martin||Temple, John M.|
|Eraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Gammans, Lady||Marshall, Douglas||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Gardner, Edward||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Mawby, Ray||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Gilmour, Sir John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Mills, Stratum||Turner, Colin|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Goodhow, Victor||Neave, Alrey||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Green, Alan||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Gresham Cooke, R,||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Wakefield, Sir Waved (St. M'lebone)|
|Gurden, Harold||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Walker, Peter|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Partridge, E.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Wall, Patrick|
|Harvey, John (Waithamstow, E.)||Peel, John||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Hastings, Stephen||Percival, Ian||Webster, David|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Hendry, Forbes||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Whitelaw, William|
|Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Pitman, Sir James||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Hiley, Joseph||Pitt, Miss Edith||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Pott, Percivall||Wise, A. R.|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Prior, J. M. L.||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Hobson, John||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Holland, Philip||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John||Woollam, John|
|Hollingworth, John||Quennell, Mice J. M.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Hornby, R. P.||Ramsden, James||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|Jackson, John||Ridsdale, Julian||Mr. Michael Hamilton.|
|James, David||Rippon, Geoffrey|
|Albu, Austen||Fitch, Alan||Jeger, George|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield)|
|Baird, John||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Beaney, Alan||Galpern, Sir Myer||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Benson, Sir George||Ginsburg, David||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Blackburn, F.||Gourlay, Harry||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Blyton, William||Grey, Charles||Kelley, Richard|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics. S.W.)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||King, Dr. Horace|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Bowles, Frank||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, w.)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Boyden, James||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||MacColl, James|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hannan, William||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Harrison, Brian (Malden)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hayman, F. H.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Callaghan, James||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Cliffe, Michael||Hilton, A. V.||Millan, Bruce|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Holman, Percy||Milne, Edward|
|Darling, George||Holt, Arthur||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Deer, George||Hoy, James H.||Moody, A. S.|
|Diamond, John||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Morris, John|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Driberg, Tom||Hunter, A. E.||Oram, A. E.|
|Edelman, Maurice||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Owen, Will|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Padley, W. E.|
|Evans, Albert||Janner, Sir Barnett||Paget, R. T,|
|Fernyhough, E.||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Parker, John||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Warbey, William|
|Parkin, B. T.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Weitzman, David|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Skeffington, Arthur||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Peart, Frederick||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Pentland, Norman||Small, William||Wigg, George|
|Probert, Arthur||Sorensen, R, W.||Willey, Frederick|
|Redhead, E. C.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Reid, William||Spriggs, Leslie||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Reynolds, G. W.||Stones, William||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Rhodes, H.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John||Willis, E, G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Symonds, J. B.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, w.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)||Woof, Robert|
|Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)||Thomson, C. M. (Dundee, E.)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Ross, William||Thornton, Ernest|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Tomney, Frank||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Short, Edward||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Mr. Charles A. Howell and|
|Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.|