HC Deb 13 December 1965 vol 722 cc972-3

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That the Army Act 1955 (Continuation) Order 1965, a draft of which was laid before this House on 9th November, be approved.—[Mr. Mulley.]

6.40 p.m.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)

On a point of order. Orders of this sort have, I think, been before the House in three previous years. On two of these occasions they have been taken formally and the debate has followed on the Adjournment, which, indeed, is, as I understand, about to happen, though not directly and formally on a defence subject. On the third occasion, however, a debate took place upon the Orders and turned upon morale and the recruitment of the Forces.

The reason why I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker, is that it is the view of the Opposition that both the morale and the recruitment of the Forces are gravely affected by the decision which the Government have taken to refer Forces' pay to the Prices and Incomes Board. This is a matter which we should feel it our duty to raise on the renewal of these Orders if that were within the scope of the debate. I should be very grateful if you would indicate whether that would be in Order upon the Motion.

Mr. Speaker

I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), who is always courteous and respectful to the Chair and to the Standing Orders of the House. The position is quite simple. We are debating on this Order whether the Army Act should be renewed for one year. The only speeches which are in order are those which advocate that the Army Act should be renewed for one year or should not be renewed for one year giving reasons in the Act why it should or should not be renewed. This debate is very narrow. It may have been broadened on the occasion to which the right hon. Gentleman refers but the right hon. Gentleman is right in assuming that to raise other matters would not be in order.

6.42 p.m.

The Deputy Secretary of State for Defence and Minister of Defence for the Army (Mr. Frederick Mulley)

Perhaps I should explain why I did not seek to make an introductory speech in support of my request to the House for the continuation of this Order. The sole and simple reason was that the subject matter of the Order is precisely the same as that contained in the Second Reading debate which has just concluded. In fact, I would suggest that the subject matter of the Second Reading of the Armed Forces Bill, which proposed in future years for similar continuation Orders to be moved each year, was wider than the scope of the continuation Order. I intended no disrespect to the House but I thought that, having had a debate on Second Reading, the House would not wish to debate separately each of these Orders.

Question put, and agreed to.