HC Deb 12 June 1968 vol 766 cc229-30
34. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will now announce the result of his study of the need for Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve, Category III.

Mr. Reynolds

I have nothing of substance to add at present to what my hon. Friend told the House on 15th May, 1968, but the hon. Gentleman will know from the Press that I saw the Duke of Norfolk yesterday and that discussions are continuing with the Council of Territorial and Auxiliary Volunteer Reserves Associations.—[Vol. 764, c. 1242–5.]

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Looking about the world, does the right hon. Gentleman still maintain that it cannot happen here? If it does, does he think that the proposed reserves are sufficient to support the civil authority?

Mr. Reynolds

Generally speaking, the Territorial Army has never been used for strike breaking or in matters of that nature. In consultation with members of the Council of the T.A. and Reserves Associations, I am examining the requirement for a Volunteer Reserve to back up the Regular Army and for which there will be a long and continuing need for many thousands of men.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that former members of the Civil Defence Corps and the A.F.S. are being approached to join the T.A.V.R.III? Should not such recruitment be stopped until a decision about the future of the T.A.V.R.III has been made?

Mr. Reynolds

That may be happening in certain areas, and we are looking at the rôle of T. and A.V.R.III, but as has been announced, the home; defence rôle of that force has come to an end and the force is being disbanded.

Mr. Ramsden

Why could not the statements we read in the Press yesterday have been made to us during the recent debate when we asked precisely for such a statement?

Mr. Reynolds

The only statement I can think of was that when the discussions with the Council were going on, and it was the appropriate time at the end of such discussions to make such a statement.

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