§ 3.48 p.m.
§ Mr. James Ramsden (Harrogate)
I beg to move,That this House deplores Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the voluntary reserves, the fact that the strength of Territorial and Army Voluntary Reserve Category II is declining and that officers and men of Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve Category III can do training only at their own expense; believes that the citizen reserve which this nation needs cannot be maintained unless opportunities for recruitment, training and service are available in all parts of the country; and calls upon Her Majesty's Government for an early statement in this sense.Before I come to the Motion, perhaps I might be allowed to say how much we shall all miss the late right hon. Member for Bassetlaw, Mr. Bellenger, who was such a regular contributor to our debates on the Armed Services.
I do not know whether hon. Gentlemen opposite are surprised that we should be debating the Territorial Army so soon after our recent season of Service debates. If they are, they need look no further back than the debate of 6th March last to discover the reason. We then raised, among other matters, the question of the future of T. & A.V.R. III, which, by a Government statement of 16th January, was or is under sentence of disbandment. The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army agreed in March that it was desirable that an early statement should be made to put an end, as he said, to a situation in which a number of people were in suspense—or, as he put it, in a state of suspended animation. He also confirmed that talks were in progress between the Territorial Army Council and his Ministry.
That was in March. Two months have now elapsed, no statement has been made and there is no indication even that one is likely to be forthcoming soon. 1232 Indeed, from the attitude struck by the hon. Gentleman the Minister of Defence for Administration last week at Question Time, rather the reverse. Meanwhile, T. & A.V.R. III, disbanded or no, is continuing training and men are going to camp at their own expense, a situation which must be without parallel in the annals of the Territorial Army.
I said in March, and I repeat, that there is no wish on this side of the House that anything should be said to prejudice the outcome of any talks which may be in progress, but from the absence so far of any outcome it is legitimate to infer certain things. I infer that the Territorial Army Council is sticking to the point, which it has maintained from the outset of discussions on the reorganisation of the reserves, that the future of T. & A.V.R. is not something which can be disposed of in isolation, but is part and parcel of the future success of the whole volunteer reserve system if we are to have a system which is to work. Hence I infer that the problem of burying T. & A.V.R. III and putting it tidily away is turning out to be a good deal more difficult than was, perhaps, originally expected.
That is the background to the debate and I come to the first part of the Motion, which refers to T. & A.V.R. II, the volunteers. On 6th March, the Under-Secretary of State referred to the strength of this reserve and gave some figures.Their strength"—he said—is about 38,000 against an establishment of 51,000. We expected to reach a strength of 80 per cent. of establishment or 41,000 and the shortfall is not much more than that"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th March, 1968; Vol. 760, c. 483.]When the hon. Gentleman told the House that, I thought that perhaps he was being unduly complacent about the strength of this reserve. Now that I have looked up the trends and have had an opportunity of studying the latest figures, I am sure that he was being complacent.
The figures of the strength of T. & A.V.R. II show a marked downward trend, a fall of 1,200 between August last and February this year, and in March, the month for which the latest figures are available, a fall of 320. March was the worst month yet for recruiting to T. & A.V.R. II.
1233 The first point, therefore, that causes us concern is the falling strength of the T. & A.V.R.II, and, even more, the steady downward direction of the trend in its strength, particularly when one recalls that the order of battle of T. & A.V.R.II has been accurately and deliberately tailored by the Government to meet the specific need of the reinforcement of Rhine Army. To the extent, therefore, that this reserve falls short of establishment, by so much is the efficiency of Rhine Army, in the event of mobilisation being required, impaired.
When one remembers that of the 74 per cent. or so which the Government now have, quite a high proportion—I have heard estimates as high as 25 per cent.—would, for one reason or another, prove to be ineffective in the event of a call-up, and when one further recalls that of this strength a number are already committed to the "Ever-readies" and might have been pre-empted, the deficiencies in the establishment of that reserve and its present strength by no means give the Government ground for satisfaction, still less for complacency.
Among the reasons for this trend is, undoubtedly, the general uncertainty which hangs not only over the reserves, but over the Regular Forces, as a result of the vicissitudes of the defence policy of hon. Members opposite. Certainly, from all the information which I can get, that uncertainty is causing unsettlement among the permanent staffs associated with T. & A.V.R.II and is causing numbers of them to leave.
I might mention, in passing, that the point was made to several of my hon. Friends who recently visited B.A.O.R. and saw T. & A.V.R. units in training there that there was complaint that they were not able to recruit N.C.O.s, of whom they are short, from volunteers from the Regular Reserve. To that extent, there is a deficiency which might be made good. There may be a reason for this. Perhaps the Government spokesman will care to refer to the point when he replies to the debate. Certainly, that was a cause of complaint.
To return to the reasons for the disappointing recruiting results, it is certainly becoming clear that with an organisation which provides unit drill halls and the locations of units as widely 1234 spread and as thinly spread as they are throughout the country, many volunteers are beginning to find that they have a long distance to go to do their training and that the effort to do this weekend by weekend is too much, and they are giving up.
Thirdly, there is the question of the type of unit which is available to a volunteer who contemplates service with T.A.V.R.II. The point has been made already that because of the large proportion of logistic units which make up this reserve, it may not provide the kind of opportunities which a young voluntary soldier expects when contemplating giving up his time to do spare-time soldiering.
My conclusion is that if the major part of our volunteer reserves is to be organised as T.A.V.R. II now is—and, perhaps, it must be—with the proper proportion of logistic units in their already widely-spaced locations, and if it is to be so organised without any other units such as T.A.V.R. III provides to supplement it and to provide something attractive for volunteers to join, there is bound to be doubt whether, in practice, it will ever be sufficiently well manned. If it is not sufficiently well manned, the linchpin of the whole reserve system devised by hon. Members opposite is knocked out. Hon. Members opposite know this. It is bound to be a question of concern.
§ The Minister of Defence for Administration (Mr. G. W. Reynolds)
Can the right hon. Gentleman expand on one point? I am interested to know how he thinks that the provision of T. & A.V.R. III home defence units would attract recruits to logistic units, whether they be R.E.M.E. or Ordnance units, because those are the units we want. The right hon. Gentleman says that men are not joining those units but might join T. & A.V.R. III units. How would that give us the manpower that we want in logistic units?
§ Mr. Ramsden
I am coming to T. & A.V.R. II and I do not want to to be led astray, as I was in the last debate, into making too long a speech. I think that I shall cover the point which the hon. Gentleman has raised.
I turn now to the question of T. & A.V.R. III. The House will recall 1235 that originally this reserve formed no part of the Government's proposed reorganisation of the Territorial Army. It was eventually set up, as a result of pressure from a number of quarters, with a specific civil defence rôle related to a possible nuclear emergency. It got going pretty well and on 16th January, in the statement by the Prime Minister, it received notice of disbandment.
Looking back, I believe that the real reason why the T. & A.V.R. III came to be set up was very little to do with the role that the Government eventually found for it. I think that the real reason, and the one that the Government eventually accepted, was what had been urged on them from the very beginning by the Territorial Army Council, and, indeed, by everyone who knew anything about how the volunteer system worked and who told them, until they were blue in the face, that unless they widened the basis of voluntary recruitment by including a force like T. & A.V.R. III along with the rest, with the right sort of units and drill halls in the right places, they were likely never to get enough volunteers to join.
It was in response to that pressure that eventually they conceded the setting up of T. & A.V.R.III. This explains why, although T. & A.V.R.III has now been officially disbanded, the Ministry of Defence is allowing it to carry on, because at the moment the simple fact is that they dare not dispense with it, and they know it. I would be the last person to say that they are not right.
The Minister of Defence for Administration spelt out the reasons on 6th March in our last debate, and I will quote what he said of the T. & A.V.R.III:…the Army in the United Kingdom got certain benefits from its existence. The Army got benefits by having an Army presence in parts of the country which would not otherwise have an Army presence. Definite advantages were obtained.A little later he said:…there was evidence that the T. & A.V.R.III was providing volunteers and acting as a recruiting agent for T. & A.V.R.I & II and the Regular Army. It helps recruiting throughout the country by providing facilities which the recruiting machine is able to use.A little later he said:We have to find methods to retain these benefits for the Army…".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th March, 1968; Vol. 760, c. 559–60.]1236 I believe that the hon. Gentleman was and is quite right. As I have said, that is one reason why the T. & A.V.R.III is carrying on.
The House should note that it is carrying on in the most extraordinary circumstances. It is right, and in itself justification for our having the debate today, that the country should hear about these circumstances, because, in spite of the recognition by the Government that the situation was worthy of some statement, no public announcement has hitherto been made.
Quite soon after our last debate the T. & A.V.R. III were told through the commands of the interim arrangements which would operate them for them during the summer. They were to get no pay or training expenses or allowances but centres were to remain open for the purposes of training. I gather that originally there was agreement between the T.A. authorities and the Ministry of Defence that they would get a travel allowance, but this was subsequently vetoed by the Treasury on the ground that the force had been disbanded and no longer existed. This was much resented at the time, and with good reason.
They were also told that they would have no annual camp, but it was said that proposals for camps at no cost to public funds would be considered. In practice, we know that considerable numbers of men have been regularly attending camp, giving up their time to go to training nights, and a number of units have been actually going to camp. If hon. Members are interested in the details, they can find them in a quite interesting account in The Times of 26th April, headed "Unpaid Army goes to camp".
The cost of all this has been borne by regimental funds, and in many cases by employers who have made up the pay of men who have left work so as to do training, and in all cases substantial expense has fallen upon the volunteers themselves, who have given up opportunities for paid overtime work which, as we all know, are available more at this time of the year than at any other. All this they have forgone.
I have two comments on this situation. First, it seems the most extraordinary way to run the affairs of a body of men who, after all, are still part of the Armed 1237 Forces of the Crown, although disbanded. Secondly, if the Ministry of Defence is, as I believe, coming to realise that without this force the whole voluntary system is in danger of breakdown, and is coming to realise that it must have this force, then all good luck to the Ministry, but there is a limit to the amount that it can expect to get from these men on the cheap. The Ministry must recognise it, and bring this absurd situation to an end.
This is a short debate, and I will, therefore, sum up the arguments that I have tried to make.
§ Mr. Ramsden
I am not disposed to give way. The hon. Gentleman will no doubt have an opportunity of catching your eye, Mr. Speaker.
I do not believe, from all the evidence that we have before us at the moment, that the Government can be confident that they will succeed in making the voluntary reserve system work without the T. & A.V.R. III, or something very much like it. It will become increasingly clear to them that the permanent organisation which they have devised will need to be modified to include, alongside T. & A.V.R. II, something on the lines of the present T. & A.V.R. III, which will provide the kind of units that part-time soldiers want to join, in locations which they can easily reach.
The Minister of Defence for Administration intervened earlier to ask me what is the point of providing units in which the staff have no role. I have two answers to that. In the first place, we on this side of the House do not accept, and have never accepted, that there is no genuine home defence role, that there is no role from the point of view of providing a force available for the expansion of our Armed Forces. Secondly, this debate about the role of the force seems to me to be quite misplaced if the Government cannot undertake to make adequate arrangements to attract sufficient numbers of volunteers. That is the first and essential point.
I believe that the Government must provide a better spread of drill halls where potential recruits can get to them, and must provide, also, the opportunities 1238 for the kind of soldiering which those who volunteer want to do. These units must be live and going concerns, not just cadres. This has been said all along by those who best understand the Territorial Army and the problems of recruiting, and experience is proving them right. Without something like this we shall not get the men, and we shall run a grave risk of the whole system breaking down.
These details will certainly take time to work out, and in the meantime two things are immediately necessary. First, the Government should make a statement re-affirming that the Regular Army of the future will need strong and well-equipped reserves, and that it is their intention to do what is necessary to provide them.
Secondly, they should at once declare full Government support, in practice, of the present reserves of all the existing categories, to ensure their active and efficient survival during the interim period, otherwise they will find that they have nothing left, or inadequate numbers left, to reorganise. The consequences of that would be indeed lamentable. It would mean that we had squandered the whole of the rich potential of voluntary service on which we have relied for a long time now for the provision of reserves for our Armed Forces. We should have destroyed that, and the Government would wake up to find that they had destroyed what could never again be replaced.
§ 4.10 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army (Mr. James Boyden)
I beg to move, to leave out from 'House' to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:expresses appreciation to all officers and men who have given such unstinting service to the Territorial Army and Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserves in peace and war during the last 60 years; believes that the establishment of Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserves I and II has provided the best equipped and trained volunteer reserve that has ever been available for the regular army and supports Her Majesty's Government's decision to disband Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve III as an active force but to continue discussions with the Council of Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations aimed at preserving as much as possible of the regimental titles, skills and permanent assets of Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve IIIAs the right hon. Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) said, we are going 1239 over ground that was well trodden two months ago. For that reason, and because I know that many hon. Members are anxious to speak on a subject about which they feel strongly, I shall be as brief as I can.
I feel that the Motion is a clear indication that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have still not really grasped the underlying strategic reasons for the changes in the structure of the reserves which the Government made in 1966. The large-scale citizen Army recruited from every corner of the country no longer makes military or economic sense; we have moved on a quarter of a century since 1939.
The main feature of our reorganisation of the reserves was to separate from each other the two distinct rôles of reinforcing the Regular Army overseas and of providing aid to the civil power in the United Kingdom. For the first rôle we designed the Volunteers—T. and A.V.R. I and II. For the second the Territorials—T. and A.V.R. III. Having clearly defined the rôles of these separate categories of the reserve, we started to train and equip them so that they could meet their commitments.
I can personally vouch for the fact that, although it has been in being only a short while, T. and A.V.R. II is in good shape. I recently visited the Royal Yeomanry Regiment in camp at Bellerby, in Yorkshire. It is a T. and A.V.R. II armoured car unit with a reconnaissance rôle. It has Ferrets and Saladins. And I am glad to say that its members no longer rely on the 19 set for their communications: instead they have been equipped with modern V.H.F. sets. When I saw them they had just finished an exercise. I talked to many of the men and they all said—without any prompting from me—that their new equipment had given them much greater confidence, and they felt that they were competent, professional soldiers. They were full of enthusiasm, and I confess that I could see no difference in their attitude from that of Regular soldiers whom I have seen in B.A.O.R. and on Salisbury Plain on exercises.
I asked one of the Regular officers with me for his reaction to them. He said precisely the same, that they were 1240 full of good spirits, showed excellent competence and very much the same kind of attitude that Regular soldiers would after an exercise. I pressed him a little, and he commented that one of the senior N.C.O.s had light brown shoes with no toe-caps, that some of the officers had sticks which were not quite of regulation length, and that one or two soldiers had luxuriant hair—a matter which I privately rather envied. But this T. & A.V.R.II unit was in excellent form, and my hon. Friend the Minister of Defence for Administration, who has made similar visits, has found exactly the same situation.
In our efforts to make the volunteers a really effective force, commanding officers of T. & A.V.R.II units have set high standards of training. That is one of the reasons why some of the volunteers have left. Although the general quality has been high, some of the recruits have not quite made it. This has been one of the factors in the slight decrease in the strength of T. & A.V.R.II which has occurred over the last 12 months.
The right hon. Gentleman cannot really make a case for any significant change in either the intake or the outflow of the T. & A.V.R.II reserve. I gave the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish) a set of figures about this the other day. The figures are not statistically significant. Indeed, in March, which is the last month for which there are figures, there was a slight increase in intake. From February, 1968, the intake has gone up from 957 to 1,027, and the outflow has increased a little from 1,239 to 1,300.
§ Mr. Ramsden
This is rather important. Will the hon. Gentleman make clear from where he gets his figures? Those which I have from T.A. sources, which, presumably, are those on which the Government work in giving figures, show a drop of 320 in March.
§ Mr. Boyden
That is the total figure, which I am about to give. The column of figures which I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes did not include March. The last figure was February, and I have just given the March figures of intake and outflow. The total figures are as follows. At the end of April last year, there were 36,200 men in 1241 T. & A.V.R.II. The strength then rose to about 37,750 in June and July. In March of this year, it stood at just over 36,000. That explains the drop of 200 to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred.
I do not think that I was guilty of complacency in dealing with this situation on 6th March. The force is relatively new. As I say, the numbers do not show anything in particular from the statistical point of view. We can do with more recruits, and we hope that we shall get them.
In a new organisation like this, another reason for some outflow is that some of the men taking on these commitments did not fully visualise what they were and dropped out later for that reason. On the whole, recruitment has gone fairly satisfactorily as compared with the target that my hon. Friend the Minister of Defence for Administration set when the force was instituted. About 13,000 recruits have joined the T. & A.V.R. II during the course of the year.
The hopes of the Ministry of Defence were set on about 80 per cent. of the establishment. In fact, 74 per cent. has been reached. Recruitment has been especially satisfactory in the "teeth" arms, where it is well above average. In some others, notably medical units, it has been below it, and this is a matter for concern. By and large, however, recruitment has met the expectations of my hon. Friend, and the level of 80 per cent. is not far from being achieved.
However, T. & A.V.R.II will never be a citizen Army on the scale which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to have in mind; nor will our reserve forces as a whole be as big as those of some of the N.A.T.O. countries. Many of our European allies have bigger reserves than ours because they have retained conscription and, therefore, can put into a reserve compulsorily the conscripts who have passed through a spell of full-time service. Our philosophy is different, and it is a philosophy which I thought was accepted on both sides of the House as being the reason for the difference in attitude to the size of our reserves. We decided on this course of doing without conscription, and it was a matter of general agreement.
1242 If there were a departure from that, and it was thought that large reserves were desirable, the cost would be out of all proportion to the expectation of the kind of war which may take place in Europe, which is not a protracted conventional war. In the terrible event of a war in Europe, we envisage that we would have time to call out the existing force of trained volunteer reservists and move them to Germany to reinforce B.A.O.R., but that we would have neither the time nor the logistic capacity to call up and transport to Europe a large citizen Army organised to fight in its own military formations.
§ Mr. James Dance (Bromsgrove)
Can the hon. Gentleman tell us a little about the "Ever-readies"? Are they still in existence? Are they operating?
§ Mr. Boyden
They come into operation in an emergency. They are not as well recruited as we would wish, but, certainly, they are in operation and reasonably satisfactory.
The vital importance of the quality of the reserves makes nonsense of a return to a concept like that of the old Territorial Army. It is generally recognised that our existing reserves have achieved a high standard of training as well as receiving the most up-to-date equipment. These standards could not be maintained with a much larger reserve. In fact, actual quantity of reserves would defeat their quality.
I turn now to T. & A.V.R. III. We all know this force as the "Territorials" but we-must be quite clear that it is not the same as the old Territorial Army.
§ Mr. Boyden
No, I will not give way to the hon. Lady now. We have not got much time and no doubt she will be able to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, later.
The old Territorial Army had three rôles. First, it was to reinforce the Regular Army overseas, particularly B.A.O.R. Second, it was to aid the civil power and reinforce the Regular Army in the United Kingdom. Lastly, it was to provide a framework upon which, in a period of rising tension, general preparations for war could be built up.
1243 When the Territorial Army and the Army Emergency Reserve merged and became the T. and A.V.R., Categories I and II were given the task of providing reinforcements for the Regular Army, and Category III was given the primary rôle in the event of a general war of assisting the police in the maintenance of law and order and acting generally in support of the civil authorities. Of course, as a secondary rôle T. & A.V.R.III would be used to engage enemy forces if there were a sudden invasion of the United Kingdom, but this task would fall mainly upon the substantial numbers of regular operational and training units and other reservists who would be in the country at the time.
Thus, the rôle of T. & A.V.R.III was essentially one of home defence and it was never the Government's intention that it should provide a framework on which there could be built up, in a period of tension, a general citizen Army. This third rôle of the Territorial Army was abandoned because it was no longer relevant.
Because its primary aim was to aid the civil power, it made sense that the cost of T. & A.V.R.III should be borne largely on the home defence Vote, but although it was on the home defence Vote 10 per cent. of the cost was borne by the Ministry of Defence because the Army benefited from it in certain ways. As the House knows, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 16th January that as part of the cuts in public expenditure home defence was to be reduced to a care and maintenance basis. This decision affected not only the Civil Defence Corps and the Auxiliary Fire Service, but also T. & A.V.R.III.
The reason for the Government's decision to reduce the level of home defence has been explained several times. Briefly, it is because it is the view of the Government that the chances of a nuclear attack on this country have decreased over the years—they have not disappeared, but they have decreased—and that the risk is now sufficiently small for the Government to be able to make substantial reductions in expenditure on home defence as a contribution to the broad, comprehensive measures we are taking to restore the economic strength of the country.
1244 I should like to emphasise that the Government's decision to put the T. & A.V.R.III on a care and maintenance basis in no way reflects on the quality of the people comprising the force. Their service, which goes back many years—this is the 60th year of their evidence—has been magnificent and their keenness and enthusiasm are a byword. They embody the volunteer spirit at its best and I hope that where it is possible men in T. & A.V.R.III will transfer to T. & A.V.R.II
Since the Government's decision on home defence was announced we have been discussing with the Council of Territorial Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations the concept of T. & A.V.R.III on a care and maintenance basis. Our talks have two particular purposes. First, we are trying to see how much in the way of special skills and physical assets can be preserved at minimum cost so that, if circumstances change in some way, the force can be expanded in line with the expansion of other home defence services.
§ Mr. Boyden
Drill halls, rifle ranges, and things of that description.
Secondly, we are trying to find ways of retaining the benefits which the Regular Army and the other categories of T. & A.V.R. get from the T. & A.V.R.III. One obvious aspect we have in mind here is recruiting, but I am afraid that the figures here are not particularly encouraging. Over the past year about 285 members of T. & A.V.R.III transferred to T. & A.V.R.I and II and about 100 joined the Regular Army in that same period. These are not large numbers and they do not in themselves give very much support to the view that T. & A.V.R.III helps significantly in recruiting, but we are looking at these figures and trying to assess something that is difficult and rather intangible, the point the right hon. Gentleman made, although I think he exaggerated, that the presence of the T. & throughout the country would have a good deal of military significance. We are looking at this and trying to assess its significance.
1245 The discussions we have had so far with the Council have been very helpful and we intend to go on consulting them. Indeed, at lunchtime today we received proposals from the Council about the future of T. & A.V.R.III. We have not had time to study these yet, but we shall consider them carefully, and will also consider carefully any constructive suggestions that are made by hon. Gentlemen this afternoon. The long-term future of T. & A.V.R.III will be decided in the light of the forthcoming studies on the reserves as a whole, and we are not going to be hurried; we intend to consider this carefully.
In the meantime—and the right hon. Gentleman referred to this—we have taken steps to reduce the rate of expenditure on T. & A.V.R.III in the current year to about one-third of what it has been—from nearly £3 million a year to £1 million. We are making immediate savings by allowing training on an unpaid basis only. Travelling expenses for attendance at such training are no longer paid, and unpaid training this summer will include attendance at camps where this can be carried out at no extra cost to public funds. Instructions have been sent out for this rundown to all commands.
§ Mr. Reginald Maudling (Barnet)
Would the right hon. Gentleman give the House the latest Government estimate of the economy to be achieved by disbanding T. & A.V.R.III?
§ Mr. Boyden
If it is totally disbanded, it will be £2.8 million, according to the figure in the estimate last year, and the saving at the moment will be about £2 million. About £800,000 to £1 million is involved in the present rate of expenditure. I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that this saving is a specific economy. I can recollect the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition complaining not so very long ago about some of the defence cuts as not being cuts which were having effect at once. This is an economy which has effect immediately.
I must say to right hon. Gentlemen that the idea which they still hanker after of a citizen reserve based on "opportunities for recruitment, training and service…available in all parts of the country" would cost a very considerable 1246 amount. I ask them where the money would come from. Would it come at the expense of the Regular Army, or would it come from the Navy or the Air Force? Would they cut the social services? Would they repeat the mistake they made with the old T.A., of trying to do too much with too few resources?
The Government have defined clearly the rôles of the various parts of the reserves. We have these rôles continuously under review so that, if necessary, they can be modified to meet changing circumstances. It is the Government's policy to ensure that the reserves are properly organised, trained and equipped so that they can carry out their commitments. It is a policy which is based on the realities of the present situation, a policy which faces facts. There is an interesting quotation from George Herbert which applies to the party opposite:Who gives to all, denies all.In the field of defence the Opposition offer carriers to the Navy, more aircraft to the R.A.F. and a citizen force to the Army, much to the embarrassment of the Army and the citizens, and their commitments are Kiplingesque in range, content and cost. Yet they would cut public expenditure and reduce taxation. If I may paraphrase what was said about the charge of the Light Brigade, it is magnificent, but it is not sense.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)
I am glad, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you read out the Amendment which the Prime Minister has seen fit to move. I am sure that most Members who have listened to it would agree that it is one of the most foolish and long-winded Amendments that any responsible body of men ever tabled in this House. The first part might have been written by Mr. Ernest Hemingway as a sort of "Farewell to Arms" and the second part by Mr. Evelyn Waugh, "Put out More Flags".
I hope that when the Minister of Defence for Administration comes to explain what he means about preserving the skills, assets and whatnot of the Territorial Army, he will make it clearer than did his Under-Secretary. The thinking of the Ministry of Defence reminds me more and more of Colonel Popski's 1247 description of a great American headquarters—a mighty mill grinding air.
Under its present incumbents, this is what the Ministry seems to be becoming. We have just listened to one of the most pathetic speeches in defence of the Government's military thinking that has ever emerged, even from that Front Bench. What is interesting is that this thinking is being denied by a large number of people throughout the country who are prepared to go on believing in the need for a citizen's Army at home and doing it in their own spare time, without any help whatever from the Government. This is rather a phenomenon and I hope that some of those employed by the Ministry—goodness' knows what they are all doing—might observe this, because it is rather remarkable.
I would like to refer to some of the units doing this training. Some of my hon. Friends and myself put down a Motion, signed by a total of 150 of my hon. Friends, called "Patriotism Unrewarded". This defines very well what is happening to those people who, without pay, spend their time on military training, in spite of no travel allowance, very little help for camp, no promise of insurance in camp, although I am told it is now being modified, and in spite of the sneers of hon. Members opposite. They get no Press support, no headlines, no hysteria. When one has highly intellectual students burning a Union Jack in front of a member of the Royal Family, this is news, but these men going to camp is not.
It is remarkable that there are these people today, in an age which seems to devote most of its time to protest, prepared to devote some of their time to patriotism and duty. I would like to give the House a few figures to show what is happening in the North of Scotland in a small unit with which I am connected called the Lovat Scouts. People are turning out once a month, travelling great distances at their own expense, to carry out drill.
Further south, in Staffordshire, which I have the honour to represent, two excellent units, the Staffordshire Yeomanry and the 5th/6th Staffs have something like 50 per cent. turning up for one drill a week. This is costing money for these men, some of them have to get from Uttoxter to Rugeley at a cost of about 1248 7s. a night, plus food, and a row with their wives when they get home.
They are not old men, "old sweats" going to the "pub"; they are young men in the great majority of cases. Further south, in the London area, out of an establishment of about 2,600, about 1,200 are attending weekly drill at some expense. It is not perhaps the same expense as people who have to travel longer distances in Staffordshire and the North of Scotland. These people are attending voluntary camps and in all probability the law is being broken, because these regiments are raiding regimental funds, which have to be used for charitable purposes and they are spending money which ought to be Government expenditure.
The hon. Gentleman said that the Government was still looking at these things. Surely to goodness, while they are doing so, they should give some assistance to these few men. The sum of money is not large, and it is a shameful situation which should be removed. I have the figures here for all the units, if the hon. Gentleman has not already seen them.
The extraordinary thing about this—perhaps it will come as something of a shock to the 30,000 people slaving away in the War Office and Departments of Defence, is that these people are probably, right, and the 30,000 people led by the Minister and the Ministry are wrong. Oddly enough, military thinking is turning much more in this direction today. This is the point. The hon. Gentleman got up and said that this was military thinking in 1966, but his thinking might have been in 1066 for all that the countries of the world care. He said that we have no need of reserve forces. What about the American National Guard? What about Europe, Russia, Eastern Europe? Have they no need of reserve forces? Everyone is wrong except for us—everyone is out of step except for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Defence, who is not here this evening.
§ Mr. Reynolds
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can explain why when he was Under-Secretary of State for Air and Secretary of State, he got rid of the R.A.F. volunteer reserve forces?
§ Mr. Fraser
I am talking about land forces, which do not need the same sort 1249 of training as pilots. A pilot is a fully skilled man needing three years' full-time training. [Laughter.] The hon. Gentleman laughs, but he is behaving like a buffoon. One can train infantry men, tank drivers and armoured car drivers fairly rapidly, but neither hon. Gentleman nor his right hon. Friend can teach a person to fly modern aeroplanes successfully in under three years.
Perhaps after that delightful interlude we can return to the facts of the military situation. These have been highlighted by the departing remarks of Mr. McNamara, when he said that in his view it was ridiculous to regard the threat of an incredible action as an effective deterrent. This is the key of our argument. To believe that the inevitability of nuclear warfare is a truth is wholly and palpably absurd. It is even more absurd when it comes from the hon. Gentleman, who has just declared that the nuclear threat to this country is less. If that is so, it follows that the nuclear threat to armies in Europe is less, too. This is precisely the reason why there is need for more of a military reserve.
It is clear from the general acceptance of the ideas of General Beaufre, of the French Army, that this is no longer the inevitability which at one time people believed it to be. Many Governments accept this; my right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), believed this. It was a very useful thing and saved a great deal of money. This is what the Government are doing now. There is always a tendency for Governments to do this. It is either total destruction or nothing. Therefore, we can spend all this money on nuclear arms and disregard the need for soldiers on the ground. This is the doctrine put forward by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. This doctrine is clearly becoming out of date. From recent N.A.T.O. discussions this is no longer the belief of the N.A.T.O. commanders. Therefore, strange though it may be, the people who are right in this matter are not the obsequious generals and the bumbling and baffled boffins in the right hon. Gentleman's Department, but the young men going to camp this year.
This is an important matter. I have seen these generals. One at least, General d'Avigdor Goldsmid, had the honour to resign when Director-General of the Ter- 1250 ritorial Army. But there are a lot of generals, so keen to reduce the Territorial Army, who are now becoming worried about the reserves available to them. I will not mention names, but hon. Gentlemen opposite will know about whom I am talking. One general, in particular, who was so keen on reducing the Territorial Army, is now worried where the reserves will come from.
§ Mrs. Anne Kerr (Rochester and Chatham)rose—
§ Mrs. Anne Kerr rose—
§ Mr. Fraser
I am sorry. The hon. Lady will no doubt catch Mr. Deputy Speaker's eye later.
The fact is that, given our European commitments, there is grave danger, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) said, that our reserves as a whole are beginning to fall and are beginning to be a real threat to the preservation not only of the defence of this country, but of the preservation of our European commitments. With recruiting for the Regular forces falling and the old conscript created reserves fading away, I believe that our present Army could be hard-pressed if we became involved in a semi-conventional war.
I will take one instance. The Under-Secretary of State has told us with great excitement of his visit to a T. & A.V.R. II reconnaissance squadron. The fact is that if there were a prolonged tank battle today, there are no tank reservists in this country. I hope that the hon. Gentleman, who is so pleased with the military theories and so full of the brilliant conceptions of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence, will explain to the House how it is, when serious military planners are talking of three or four weeks and more running battles in Europe, there is no one being trained as a tank reservist in this country. I believe that the general case I have made is a strong one.
I now turn to the immediate case, to use the parlance of the hon. Gentleman, of the T. & A.V.R.II. What is happening there has been described by my right hon. Friend the Member for 1251 Harrogate. Without an active T. & A.V.R.III or a broader-based Territorial Army—I hate these Ills, Its and Is—it is inevitable that this force will wither away. Looking at the figures which have been given, they are as confused as those given by the Treasury. If Mr. Cecil King were here today he would find them as deluding as others given by other and more senior members of the Government Front Bench.
The T. & A.V.R.II figures are falling. I am informed that in the City of London more people are joining the T. & A.V.R.III than the T. & A.V.R.II. This is significant. If these start falling away we will have a situation where the commitments to which the Minister is committed will simply not be met. Allowing for the 25 per cent. inevitable wastage which we get in a call up of these people, far from 50,000 being available in two years time, which is hoped for, there will be at most half that number, 25,000. No wonder the people in B.A.O.R. are getting nervous. No wonder we are right in putting down our Amendments.
I believe that this time the Territorial Army Council is being consulted. Negotiations are going on. At least this is an improvement on the first time. The Territorial Army was destroyed and decimated by Generals Hackett and Carver. The T.A. Council was not consulted then. I give this advice to the T.A. Council: be robust with these Ministers, because their military thinking has been proved wrong; they have not got much longer in office, so make a stand for what is necessary for the defence of this country.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)
I could hardly be out of order if I pursued for a moment the question of the baffled or was it bruised boffins in the War Office to whom the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) referred. He referred to 30,000 slaving away in the War Office. This was his quotation not mine. An issue arises on this matter, because I am fascinated by the way in which Conservative Service ex-Ministers come along here and make snide attacks on the Civil Service and on my right hon. Friend's Department.
1252 I believe—especially as I do a great deal of work on the Select Committee on Science and Technology looking at the Defence research establishments—that perhaps there is a good case for a proper O & M study to be done in my right hon. Friend's Department. I suggest a constructive and practical idea: namely, that my right hon. Friend should put in a formal request to the Defence Operations Announcements Centre at Byfleet to do some kind of study in depth of the Ministry of Defence and those who work there. I do not care for snide attacks in general terms on the Civil Service, which works very hard and does its best. However, a proper O & M study should really be done.
I would mention one other thing about the speech of the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone. I can believe that the Lovat Scouts are extremely keen, and good luck to them. But should what is often their pleasure and enjoyment be paid for by the State? This is a separate issue. The right hon. Gentleman said that many of the people who serve with the Lovat Scouts might go home at the end of the evening to face a row with their wives. I would put it differently: that this might be a good opportunity for a night out. I do not sneer. I do not say that the T.A. is a place where they go for a good night out and where a certain amount of alcohol is consumed. That has never been my attitude. On the other hand, there is a real issue. Clearly the men who do this work enjoy it. The issue, in our present economic circumstances and in the absence of what I believe to be lack of operational requirement, is whether we should continue it.
This brings me to the speech of the right hon. Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden). He said that he refused to accept that there is no home defence rôle. What is the home defence rôle of the T. & A.V.R.III? I think that this should be identified and made clear to the House, because I do not believe that it has a home defence rôle. Does the right hon. Gentleman wish to interrupt me on this matter?
§ Mr. Ramsden
Not particularly. I was deliberately trying not to widen the debate to a discussion on rôles. We went over all this during the last debate, and the hon. Gentleman was present.
§ Mr. Dalyell
I was present during the whole of the last debate.
I am baffled. How can one argue for this kind of force being continued in the absence of an operational requirement? Unless a definite operational requirement is established, with the best will in the world I cannot bring myself to understand how the Opposition can argue as they do. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Harrogate went on to say that the rôle of the force was irrelevant unless one could attract recruits to it. I do not think the rôle of the force is irrelevant. How does one substantiate the case for any particular force unless one is fairly clear about its réle. Is it not a chicken and egg argument? I do not understand this.
§ Mr. Ramsden
To put it broadly, when one is relying on a voluntary reserve and that is all one has, the first and the most important thing is to get a sufficient number of volunteers. That is the priority for any system.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Surely the answer was given by the Under-Secretary of State who talked about the logistics required by any European war or confrontation. If one believes my hon. Friend, what is in fact the method by which such a force would be used if it is not for home defence? If it cannot be used because of logistic considerations on the European Continent, how is it to be used? It seems we are discussing a superfluous force. It has an honourable record; we do not sneer at it, but we have to expect change and my hon. Friend is right.
I would like to ask my hon. Friend about the criteria on which he disposes of drill halls. He knows there is a certain amount of discussion as to how these often good buildings should be used, and I would like to hear of the philosophy and criterion on which he is disposing of them. I think priority ought to be given in any cases where local authorities have in mind any sports facility requirement for these drill halls.
I am extremely concerned about the recruiting figures, and I would ask what his feeling is about the ideas that have been put: forward within the services and outside that the structure must change and that it must become a matter of normal practice that a man retires much earlier. If a man retires earlier than 1254 normal, what is the relationship of the T. & A.V.R.II? There is a great difficulty, and this was referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Harrogate when he said that we were not giving the opportunities that a soldier had a right to expect. In a post-imperial situation it is extremely difficult to produce the kind of excitement that perhaps went along with an imperial commitment.
I would like to ask my right hon. Friend the Minister of State what are his views on the question of how a service career could be made worth while and what he feels about the various discussions and negotiations that have been going on with the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Scottish Command, Sir Derek Lang, and the ideas he is putting forward for some kind of civilian use of the forces and knitting together civil requirements and military requirements to make a Service career worth while. I would like some up-to-date information on that.
As my hon. Friend knows, I sat through six days of defence debates earlier this year during which I made a request, as yet unfulfilled, which has been touched on by my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden). If we are to discuss defence seriously—and I am genuinely concerned about the Services—we have a certain right to understand precisely what the Opposition are saying from that Front Bench—I am not including extravagances from the back benches—concerning the requirements in the Far East and in the Middle East, regarding careers in relation to variable geometry aircraft and to strike aircraft, and insinuations by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition that he wanted some kind of force in the South Atlantic. From the defence debates earlier this year, all these things in my view mark an expenditure of the order of £4,200 million. I have done this calculation in good faith. It is easy for a back bench Member of Parliament to be wrong, but I want a proper calculation done by the Ministry of Defence of precisely what the Opposition are asking for.
It seems to me that the policy of the major Opposition comes to cloud cuckoo land and the British people have a right to know what is being suggested. One 1255 cannot make commitments, even if they are fairly small, without costing them, so I ask my right hon. Friends that within the next two months they cost what the Opposition have asked for and let us know about it before July.
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ Colonel Sir Tufton Beamish (Lewes)
I have no intention of repeating all the arguments used on this side of the House on numerous occasions as to why we think the Territorials are a very important force which should be maintained. I want to refer briefly to the Government's persistent efforts to destroy the Territorials, and to something that has already been said about the misleading figures that the Under-Secretary gave the House on a previous occasion about T. & A.V.R. II and T. & A.V.R. III. I cannot understand the motives behind the Government's persistent vendetta against the Territorials. We can only guess what they are. The root of the Government's thinking can hardly be an attempt to economise, as has been suggested by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), and as was suggested by the Front Bench opposite at the beginning of the debate. At under £3 million a year, even a Government keeping a stringent watch on Government expenditure would regard the Territorials as good value for money.
How a Government which is employing 59,000 more civil servants than any previous Government, at a cost of say £250 million a year, can argue that they cannot afford £2½, to £3 million a year for the Territorials beats me to pulp. That sum would pay for the Territorials for 100 years. This is nothing to do with economy at all. Nor can the Government's reason be one based on military considerations. It is an open secret that the weight of opinion in the Army Board strongly favours the retention of T. & A.V.R. III. This was not the case of a couple of years ago, but it is now the case and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to deny it.
Like my hon. Friends, I am utterly bemused by the argument that because the Government take the view that the nuclear threat is a great deal less than it was they can safely reduce our regular conventional forces, both those in the field and the Regular Reserves and the 1256 Volunteer Reserves. This seems like a completely back-to-front argument. The nuclear threat is reduced, therefore we can do with reduced conventional forces! It may be that I am stupid, but I do not think that I am about this. I just do not understand, and I should like the right hon. Gentleman to clear that up because it is important.
In recent weeks senior officers of the Metropolitan Police and the country constabularies have gone on record as saying that it would be "disastrous" to disband the Territorials especially at a time when in their opinion unrest and violence are on the increase. That is a tenable point of view and one with which I agree. Do the Government agree with it?
I can only assume that the Government's attitude towards the Territorials is compounded of prejudice and confused thinking. The decision to disband the Territorials must be regarded as yet another sweetener for the Left-wing of the Labour Party, which is totally absent from today's debate. The Left-wing has always had the strangest views about the maintenance of law and order.
Whatever the motives, the methods used to disband the Territorials, because that is still the plan, are pretty devious. I do not think that they are particularly reputable. The Government appear to regard their reversal of policy in 1965 and 1966, in the face of strong and clearly expressed public demand, as a concession, a generous gesture to the Territorials. I do not think that it was anything of the kind. I think that it was for practical reasons, not for sentimental ones, that the cry went up "Woodman spare that three"?
It was only too clear to many of us that the Government decided that instead of chopping the tree down it would be expedient to hack at its roots and so sap its strength that it would wither away and die of its own accord. That seems to be what the Government have set about doing. That is what we thought they might be doing three years ago to T. & A.V.R.III when we said that it was provided with such inadequate equipment, and so little training time, that that might result in its withering away. Some of us suspected that that is what the Government wanted. It looks as though we were right. The 1257 Territorials were starved of proper equipment. They were robbed of a satisfying, worthwhile, and sensible réle. They were deprived of any bounty, and they were allowed only very limited training.
The Government waited for what they may have thought was inevitable, in their opinion, to happen. The tree would surely die. But the inevitable did not happen, and is not happening. The tree is flourishing and putting out new leaves and branches. In spite of all the clumsy efforts of the axeman the sap has continued to rise. The woodman did not cut through the tap root. The Government have been left with no possible grounds to justify their decision announced in January to abolish the force.
We were told at one moment that the Government decided to abolish the force, and the next moment we were told that they had decided to put it on a care and maintenance basis. Those two things are different, but the word "abolished" was, I think, used in January. I am glad that it has not been used today.
§ Sir T. Beamish
Disbanded and abolished seem to me to be the same thing, and they are different from a care and maintenance basis. That is only playing with words.
It is odd that there was no consultation before the announcement to disband the Territorials. The Duke of Norfolk was called in at a few hours' notice and told that they were to be disbanded. Now for four months there has been consultation about how not to disband them. That is excellent, and we hope that the consultation which has begun will be successful in preserving a really worthwhile structure.
Grounds for disbanding the force had to be found, and I cannot help wondering whether that was the reason why the Under-Secretary of State misled the House with the recruiting trends in the volunteers and the Territorials. He must have had the correct figures which he was good enough to give me in reply to a Question on 25th April. If so, why did he say on that occasion:The Volunteers have made good progress since they came into existence last year.The Minister said today that they were in "good shape". I believe that they 1258 are, but the impression that he gave was that recruiting was going well. He may not have meant to do so, but that was the impression he gave.
Yet according to figures that he gave us, on 25th April, 1968, at column 74, in reply to a written Question Volunteers have steadily declined in numbers since soon after the force was created. They went up at first from 36,000 to 38,000, but since then the numbers have dwindled for 9 or 10 months until now they are back where they started. Those are the facts, and I do not think that it was fair to tell the House that T. & A.V.R.II was making "good progress". I call that disappointing progress. It was a pity that the hon. Gentleman misled the House in that way.
§ Mr. Boyden
The figure for March, which the hon. and gallant Gentleman will not have had, has gone up, but the figures are much the same as they were. There was no attempt to mislead the House. I deduced the result as satisfactory. The hon. and gallant Gentleman deduced it as disappointing. The figures have been set out, and the recruiting season is to come. We can disagree on the interpretation, but I do not think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman should charge me with misleading the House.
§ Sir T. Beamish
I acquit the hon. Gentleman of deliberately misleading the House, but I assure him that he did mislead, and he annoyed many people in the Territorials and T. & A.V.R.II. A number of people were very cross about it because the hon. Gentleman went on to say:A recruiting limit of 23,000 was set, though in the event numbers have reached only 15,000."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th March, 1968; Vol. 760, c. 483.]What conclusions did we draw from that? We drew the conclusion that "good progress" had been made by the T. & A.V.R. II, and that the numbers were going up. We concluded too, that the opposite was true of T. & A.V.R. III, that it was not making good progress. The numbers had reached "only 15,000", and one assumed that the numbers were going down.
What are the facts? T. & A.V.R. III was created last April, with a strength of under 14,000. Some of its members 1259 have left to join T. & A.V.R. II. T. & A.V.R. III grew throughout the year. Only in two months in 1967 was there any net loss. By December it had reached nearly 15,000. Those figures are not spectacular, but the trend was upwards. The rather disparaging remark about numbers reaching "only 15,000" was misleading. It misled a good many people in the Territorials. It was a pity that the hon. Gentleman used that phraseology, but I shall not labour the point any more. Perhaps it is a fruitless argument. Nevertheless, misleading figures were used as an argument for putting T. & A.V.R. III on a care and maintenance basis. I acquit the hon. Gentleman of deliberately misleading the House. If I said that he did, I went too far, but the figures were misleading, and the hon. Gentleman should have been more careful with his choice of words.
It may be that too many men, for reasons of work or domestic difficulties, cannot accept the high liabilities. Whatever the reasons, the Volunteers have not made good progress as we were told. The progress has been disappointing, though on the other hand T. & A.V.R. III, in the face of every conceivable frustration and discouragement, has sustained its enthusiasm and increased its strength.
The Under-Secretary mentioned some figures which he regarded as disappointing. I apologise if I did not write them down correctly. I scribbled down that 285 men from T. & A.V.R. III had joined T. & A.V.R. I and II and that about 100 had joined the Regular Army.
§ Sir T. Beamish
I do not call those figures bad. I call them quite encouraging. It must be remembered that this is at a time when regular recruiting is in the doldrums; it is in very poor condition indeed. Some men join T. & A.V.R. III and find their way into the Regular Army, which is always the case, and about 300 went from T. & A.V.R. III to T. & A.V.R. I and II. I call that quite good at a time when the net figures for T. & A.V.R.II have been falling. This is, perhaps, the opposite of what the Under-Secretary was seeking to prove. He and I may have an entirely different approach. It is very wrong to use figures like this 1260 in such a way that people draw the wrong conclusion. I am trying to put those figures as well into their proper perspective. Both the public and the House are entitled to have an accurate picture of recruiting trends in the volunteer reserves so that they can fairly judge the Government's policy and plans.
In the present state of uncertainty in the world and while our regular forces are reduced to what I regard as dangerously low levels in comparison with our vital interests overseas, which have to be protected, and in comparison with the kind of contingencies which could so easily arise, it is my absolute and unalterable conviction that the Territorials cannot be spared. Not only do they offer the country excellent value for minimal cost. Not only is this trained, disciplined and versatile body of men needed to help meet any disasters that might arise, civilian or military. They are also an essential part of our military structure and an essential part of our insurance policy for the maintenance of an honourable peace.
§ 5.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Richard Crawshaw (Liverpool, Toxteth)
I regret that it is necessary to have this debate, first, because I, too, am very concerned that the T. & A.V.R.III should be disbanded, or even thought to be disbanded, and secondly, because, although in January we were told that it was to be disbanded and eight weeks ago we were told that negotiations were proceeding with the T.A. Council, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary has not been able to say today what progress, if any, has been made along those lines to retain the force.
I believe that the damage to the Territorial Army was done two and a half years ago when it was decided—quite wrongly, in my view—to base our defence upon the atomic deterrent. I said so at the time. I say so again now. As hon. Members opposite have said, this view is being more and more canvassed in Europe today. I said that, if we once did away with the ability to raise a reserve army, we would for ever be dependent upon an atomic reply. I did not believe that that was possible. I believe that today the military thinking is that the possibilities are that there could be a prolonged conventional 1261 struggle in Europe. We have not got the ability to do anything about it, because the only reserves we have are to plug up the gaps in the Regular Army. This is what I pointed out two and a half years ago.
In opposition my party maintained that we must depend upon conventional forces. As soon as it became the Government its thinking changed. As has been pointed out today, atomic deterrents are a very nice, easy thing on which to base one's defence. There is no need to do any thinking. One merely has to have the atomic response and everything else is solved. There is no need to think about whether reserve forces or civil defence are necessary. It is all so easy.
I accept that my right hon. and hon. Friends believe that their strategy is right. I think that they are misguided. I said two and a half years ago that the first and most important concern of a Government was the country's defence. All other things are subsidiary to that. Yet today we are incapable of raising any reserve force of any strength. If the thinking in 1966 was correct, that it was to be a matter of days during which there were atomic exchanges, why do we hear now about another 20,000 ground troops being earmarked for N.A.T.O.? Is it because the strategy was wrong? I do not know. I believe that it was. If what we were told in 1966 is to be the pattern of any future conflict in Europe, there would rot be an opportunity to get 20,000 troops over to Europe, so what is the point of earmarking them?
Another point I made at the time was this: if this is the concept of any future struggle, why do we continue to spend up to £40 million a year on conventional submarines which would not serve any purpose in such a struggle? This does not mean that I am advocating getting rid of the submarines. I do not accept the Government's thinking in this matter.
It is very easy to pay lip service to people who have served their country. That does not cost anything. I wonder why in January we were asked to scrap this force. I have my own reasons for thinking why this proposal was accepted. I do not know whether my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary really wants the force to be destroyed. Was this part and parcel of something which, as has been 1262 suggested, was to placate certain elements of my party? It is always very popular to be able to say when something unpleasant is being put forward, "But we are going to cut down the defence forces. We are going to take away these Territorial Army people who might well be used to keep down the workers ". These are the type of things that are said, as I pointed out in the debate in November 1966. I deplore this line of thinking, whether it comes from hon. Members opposite or from my own side; because this concerns people whose only concern is the country's defence. Too often in the past we have paid lip service to the service these people have given to Britain. At the same time we have axed them.
I do not believe that for £2.8 million what we are doing makes sense. I do not believe that we know what we are doing on defence on these lines. I would feel much happier about supporting my Government if only I could believe that they had a consistent policy that they were not fluctuating from one side to the other.
I have talked about the strategy in Europe and how 20,000 troops are earmarked to be used as reinforcements in an atomic war—when 20,000 troops will not be needed. In 1966 we were told that there was no purpose in anything other than a force to reinforce the Regular Army. Immediately afterwards we got the T. & A.V.R.III. Either it was necessary or it was not necessary. I, for one, do not admire a Government that give in to pressure and accept something that is not necessary. I was the one who brought the most pressure to bear from this side of the House. I would have respected the Government more if they had not accepted something afterwards, because at least I would have been able to say to myself, "At least they believe in what they are saying". On many occasions I have really thought that they have not believed in what they have said.
In January of this year the Prime Minister announced that it would be disbanded. That hurt me, but I was prepared to support my right hon. Friend's decision because while I believed, as I still believe, that there was a Civil Defence need for the T. & A.V.R.III, the damage was done two-and-a-half years ago from the point of 1263 view of the reserve forces. Thus, we are really speaking about the side issues of the whole.
In March we were told that it was to be on a care and maintenance basis. In six weeks the Government have changed their mind from disbandment to care and maintenance. Now we are told that if the circumstances change we want to be able to enlarge the home defence forces. These circumstances, whatever they may be, did not exist, according to the Government, last January. How, therefore, can they change? I do not understand Government thinking on this matter.
I would have more respect for the Government if they would say clearly that pressure is being put on them by the Territorial Army Council and that they are having to do something about it. If, as a result, the Government are going to throw out sops, as they have done in the past, and make a pretence to keep on some of these organisations, I would rather they were honest and said, "The force is being disbanded; there is no purpose for it". If they said that we would at least know what they think, which is what I have been trying to discover. I still want to know what the Government think about the reserve forces.
I urge the Government not to give in to pressures if they have genuinely decided that certain policies are necessary. It does not make sense to change their mind from one month to another—to say, first, that there is no need for this type of force, then to say that it is being put on a care and maintenance basis and to follow that by saying that they want it so that they can expand it should the need arise.
As in other matters, I have criticised the Government for their inconsistency and lack of purpose. People do not mind how wrong one is as long as one sticks to what one has said. It is when one does the wrong thing and then changes one's mind and says, "That is what I intended to do in the first place" that people become critical. I urge the Government in all sincerity to reconsider this whole matter.
We have done away with the A.F.S. do not know if anything was actively 1264 done to consider adding parts of the A.F.S. to the existing regular services at no extra expense. Nobody seems concerned about this sort of thing. It is a question of a Minister saying, "This is to be axed"—and then somebody else must sort out the issues. I accept the need for change in the various aspects of the reserve forces. We spend too much money on elaborate things; it must always be the best equipment and instead of having ordinary jeeps we must have enclosed vehicles and each must have wireless equipment.
Although I have been critical, I pay tribute to the reserve forces, and any one who has had anything to do with them knows that we have had the best reserves possible. Nobody can dispute that. I therefore urge the Government to reconsider this matter, particularly when they see the recruiting figures for the Regular Army going down. Is there not some connection between these lower recruiting figures and the fact that people are not joining the reserve forces because of the uncertainties? One is a good recruiting field for the other and there is no finer recruiting agent for the Regular Army than the man who is happy in the Territorial Army and whose son is considering making a career in the forces.
For these reasons, we are being foolish in considering an economy of £2.8 million through the disbandment of this force. Certainly there is need for change, but I urge the Ministers responsible to reconsider the matter and use what influence they have to persuade their colleagues to adopt a different line.
I believe that, in their hearts, the Ministers involved in today's debate consider that this force is needed. I appreciate the opposition that might be coming from other quarters. I ask them to fight it for the sake of something which I am sure they believe in and which has the support of hon. Members who have taken the trouble to be in the House for this debate.
§ 5.26 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw) on the sincerity of his speech. It is deplorable that so few Ministers have been here to note his criticism of what I regard as a most lamentable story. Never in history has an economy been 1265 perpetrated that has done such great damage to the spirit of the nation for so little financial excuse.
Like the hon. Member for Toxteth, I wish to dwell briefly on the history of this affair. In 1964 I was associated with a Territorial battalion with which I served both before and during, the war. Comparing 1964 with 1938, there was, the same woeful lack of equipment, but we were far better trained. There was closer integration between the Reserve forces and the Regular forces in 1964 than there had ever been in my early days as a Territorial. When the men of our Regular battalion were at home the Territorial battalion camped and trained with them. When they were abroad we sent details cut to the Regular battalion to train with them, and at home in uniform we were acting as recruiting agents for the Regular battalion.
Then the Labour Party came to power and decided to smash the Territorial Army. They succeeded in a feat which the Germans were never able to achieve during the operations in North Africa, Sicily and Europe. What of the state of the battalion today? One-sixth of it was allowed to join T. & A.V.R.II. The volunteer company of that battalion is far better equipped than we were in peace and during most of the last war. My experience of that volunteer company is that recruiting has gone well and is going well at present.
But for the remainder, five-sixths were cast out and then, at the last moment, T. & A.V.R.III was thrown at them rather in the way that a skinflint would throw a farthing in the face of a beggar. They were told that they could soldier on without a bounty, with out-of-date rifles and with insufficient transport. It was in those circumstances that these Territorials performed a miracle in that they made a success of it. Men from the steel industry of the North-East, the farms and the Post Office managed to become a disciplined body by sacrificing their own time and money.
Then, on 16th January, the Prime Minister made his great economy gimmick. As a political axeman he heaved his axe and it fell on the poor neglected T. & A.V.R.III. He announced that they would be put on a care and maintenance basis. But as they have not received any care from the Government nor had any 1266 maintenance issued to them from the Ministry of Defence, the T.A. Council and the Ministry have been puzzling for all these four months about what was meant by the term.
Let me make clear that I regard this Motion as an understatement of the present position. I think it should be a great deal stronger. The Motion says that officers and men of the T. & A.V.R. III "can do training only at their own expense." I wish that they could. They are not even allowed to do that.
I give three examples of the attitude of the present Government to the T. & A.V.R. III, which the Government are trying so successfully to eliminate. The Territorial battalion in my county received an invitation from our sister regiment in Canada, the Queen's York Rangers, to go to Canada at its own expense to train there. The Ministry of Defence refused to allow the Territorial battalion to accept that invitation.
Secondly, the battalion wanted to train itself in competitive exercises and to go on the Nijmegen March to show what British volunteers can do under those conditions. The battalion was told that it could go, but not in uniform. What a ridiculous thing. When the Territorials wanted to show the spirit of their country in the Queen's uniform the Ministry of Defence refused to allow them to do so.
Thirdly, our Regular battalion is going into camp this year and has invited these Territorials to take part in the camp to train with them and to send volunteers at their own expense. Not a penny of the Ministry Vote would be involved. Every difficulty is put in the way of accepting that invitation. The amount of petrol to be allowed for all the vehicles—I agree that there are not very many—amounts to about three gallons a week. How does the Minister expect care and maintenance and training to go on at the men's own expense when so many obstacles are put in their way by the Ministry?
This is a very grave issue. In this country today there is more need for the encouragement of the voluntary spirit than ever before. I want young men to feel able to give something to their country in a disciplined way. I give a short illustration of a Territorial battalion which was smashed two years ago. The Pioneer platoon of one company found that there was a derelict church, the smallest church 1267 in the North of England. It took the church over and, at its own expense—with no Army funds—renovated the whole church which was rededicated at a military service, to show what the Territorial Army could do to help the nation.
I am afraid that we shall always get such disasters as Aberfan and other natural disasters and we shall want a disciplined body of men to deal with them. I am too old and have had too much experience to believe that never again will there be the threat of war or attack. As an insurance we should have a disciplined body of volunteers ready to serve their country in an emergency. This is a very sad day. This Government have destroyed that body.
These men are still wanting to serve, chiefly in the hope that this Government will not last long. Then, they believe, they can be brought back into service. The Government should take a lesson from the local elections. One of the reasons why the electors have lost interest in this Government is that they have neglected the volunteer spirit. They have tried to destroy the Territorial links. I therefore hope that the Government will rue that lesson in the Division Lobby tonight.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Mr. James Davidson (Aberdeenshire, West)
I have no wish to repeat the many arguments which have been made in this debate, but I support the Motion. I spoke on a similar subject in a debate in March, I have no fresh arguments to put forward, but I wish to repeat one or two points made in that debate.
No one disputes that the function of a Territorial or Reserve Army has changed. There is no need to return to the type of Territorial Army we had in the 1930s. The whole concept of strategy, weapons and everything else has changed since those days. Nevertheless, there is still great need for a reserve body of a sort. I said in the debate on 6th March:I would be happy to see the Regular Army reduced to about 150,000, provided that was had behind it much larger reserve forces, whether in the form of the Territorial Army, or in the form of some other reserve."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th March, 1968, Vol. 760, c. 538.]I think it is still obvious that the Territorial Army is a source of recruitment. 1268 For that reason alone a very strong case can be made for maintaining it.
There is a real need for an outlet for voluntary service of an active kind requiring skill of mind and body and test of nerve and courage. Many men and women want this sort of voluntary outlet for service. Young people can find it, perhaps, by going overseas and taking part in one of the many voluntary aid activities which they can follow, but men and women in early married life, in their early thirties and forties, are not able to abandon their families and go to Botswana or other under-developed parts of the world. Such service as they can give can be only in this country. It is a tremendous waste if they are not given the opportunity to put that service into practice.
The Minister might consider the formation of a new kind of reserve such as that suggested by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw). He made a very good speech. I am entirely with him in the points he made, particularly about a reserve or emergency force of a new kind. It could deal with types of civil crisis which arise. There is no reason why it should not be incorporated with an auxiliary fire service, the Royal Observer Corps and, indeed, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. There is no reason why these voluntary forces should not be combined with a highly trained professional corps in some voluntary service which would give this necessary outlet for people.
I stress that it would have to have a professional highly trained corps to provide training and continuity, but the rank and file could be provided by part-time volunteers. So even if the Minister has made up his mind that there is no future function for the type of Territorial Army or reserve which we have had for the past three or four decades, please would he give his mind to the possibility of establishing a new kind of reserve force, an emergency force which could be used to meet all the kinds of civil crisis which could arise and would give an outlet to those who want to give voluntary service?
§ 5.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)
I join the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson) in congratulating the hon. Member for Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw) on his courageous speech, one of many which he 1269 has made in defence debates. He pointed out the changes of mind and attitude of this Government on the Reserves in the last two and a half to three years, yet this afternoon the Under-Secretary again talked with breathtaking certainty about what would or would not be needed in the event of hostilities.
This Government do not even know how many votes they will get from their own supporters on the Prices and Incomes Bill, or whether they will survive in Parliament over the next few weeks. Yet the Under-Secretary can say with absolute certainty how many logistic units will be needed in Germany in the event of hostilities. We know that there has been a number of conflicts in the world recently. We took part in one, in Aden. There has been Vietnam, Nigeria and the conflict on the borders of Israel, the course of each conflict taking a turn which the military experts did not expect. Yet the experts here can say with absolute certainty how many logistic units will be needed in Germany.
We can be certain of some things—that our allies on the Continent and in the United States are putting much more energy and resources than before into the formation of reserves, and that Mr. McNamara, in his farewell address as Defence Secretary, said that the enlargement of the mobilisation base in Europe was the highest priority for N.A.T.O. Yet this Government are cutting away at our own mobilisation base.
We also know that the Reserve forces are astonishingly good value for money. Although not many months old, T. & A.V.R.III has already given service, after the "Torrey Canyon" and Aberfan disasters and the foot-and-mouth epidemic, and has assisted after the hurricane in Glasgow. Yet the entire cost of the Reserves to the Government is less than the cost of one of the cancelled F111Ks.
The volunteer spirit of the men in the Territorial forces remains. We have heard many examples of those who are anxious to continue to serve and those who are serving despite considerable financial sacrifice. There is a case in my own constituency where, as in every other constituency, the Government have disbanded the civil defence organisation. Yet many of the volunteers have 1270 decided to keep the organisation in existence and to defray the cost themselves, so that they can continue to serve the community.
We know that that spirit of service goes on through the Territorial Army, and it is a tragedy that the Under-Secretary had to say yet again that, far from encouraging it, the Government are persisting in their policy of doing all they can to destroy it.
§ 5.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Tom Boardman (Leicester, South-West)
With one possible exception, every speaker has spoken with the same voice, in condemning the Government. My right hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) said that there was no precedent for an unpaid, unequipped force of volunteers carrying on. He is perhaps wrong, because history records that there were many regiments of yeomanry—mine for one—which were formed well before the beginning of the century at their own expense, providing their own horses and equipment to come to the aid of the country in times of emergency.
There was a common feature. All those cases arose because the Government of the day had so neglected the country's defence that the volunteers were necessary to fill the gap—
§ Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool, Wavertree)
I would remind my hon. Friend that it also happened in 1930–31, entirely due to the inept financial policy of the Socialist Government who were then in charge of this nation's well-being.
§ Mr. Boardman
I am obliged to my hon. Friend. That shows the pattern. Here again is a case in which the defence of the country against possible danger rests on the patriotism and spirit of the territorial volunteers. The common factor is the incompetence of the Government of the day in making the necessary provisions.
It has been asked whether we need a civilian army. So many arguments have been put forward from this side and in the excellent speech of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw)—I echo the praise for the courageous way in which he has spoken out many times on this subject—that I will not rehearse them. Suffice it to say that the changes 1271 in Government strategy and thinking between March, 1965, and March, 1968, emphasise the need for these reserves. They cannot have it both ways. Either they depend on the nuclear deterrent, which they have now said is not so, when of course we need this force for home defence and aid to the civil power, or they depend upon the conventional forces, as they now say, in which case we must have the reserves to reinforce them.
The Under-Secretary of State said that we were taking some small risk. It was said in March that it was a risk small enough for the Government to cut out the home defence. Presumably it is some calculated risk, but I wonder how many of us have much confidence in this Government's calculations.
One perhaps surprising feature of the debate is that it is two months since we last discussed this subject. Two months is about the cycle for the complete reversal of the present Government's policy. I rather expected that another somersault would be performed today. Instead, there has been a change in tone, in emphasis.
What we have not been told is what the Defence chiefs think of this, or what the chief constables think. In March I asked whether the Minister had consulted chief constables throughout the country to find out their attitude towards the matter. The Minister did not reply. My hon. Friend the Member for Clitheroe (Sir Frank Pearson) asked him a little later whether he had then consulted the chief constables, and he was told "no". Why have not they been consulted? If they have been consulted, will the Minister tell us what their attitude is and what is the attitude of those Associations which have the responsibility for the formation of the T. & A.V.R.I and T. & A.V.R.II units? Would they welcome the abolition of T. & A.V.R.III? I am sure the answer he will receive is that they wish the T. & A.V.R.III to be retained in order to support and provide a firm basis for T. & A.V.R.I & II, just as the chiefs of staff in the Regular Army will also say that they need and want it as a base for recruiting and for supplementing the reserves of the Regular Army.
The Minister said in opening that we were relying on the excellent reserves 1272 that the Army has with the new T. & A.V.R.I and T. & A.V.R.II. I do not doubt that they are a credit to the people manning those regiments and units, but where are the uncommitted reserves? Each of those units is committed to a specific task. Any general will tell the Minister that the one essential thing one must have is uncommitted reserves before one enters a particular campaign or is faced with a crisis.
We do not say, and it has never been suggested here, that T. & A.V.R.III would form a force to go into the field immediately, but it is a disciplined force trained in basic military tactics to provide at a time of crisis a reserve which can reasonably rapidly be made available to supplement the Regular forces and the T. & A.V.R.II.
On the question of cost, we have already had some discussion of figures. If the Minister is really suggesting that T. & A.V.R.III is to be destroyed solely on the ground of cost, he should spell out the figures with a little more accuracy. The cost of retaining T. & A.V.R.III as it was is £2.2 million, according to an Answer given in March, not £2.8 million or £3 million, as was said today. But I challenge whether there is a saving of even that comparatively small sum. I do not suggest that £2.2 million is a small figure to be ignored. It is a big sum of money, but it must be viewed against the whole background of Government expenditure. An extra £1,000 million is being spent by the Government this year, and in that context we must consider whether we are right to allow this reserve force to go for what is comparative chickenfeed when viewed against the Socialist extravagance we witness day after day.
I ask the hon. Gentleman, in doing his sums on this matter, to take account of what will be the cost of putting these units on a care and maintenance basis. What will be the cost of the additional recruiting advertising and so on, which I believe will be necessary if we are to replace, if it is possible to replace, the recruiting arising from T. & A.V.R.III. What will be the cost of keeping open the drill halls which will be used only for the other units but would in many cases be available for T. & A.V.R.III at no additional cost? I hope that the Minister will do his sums right through 1273 and finish up by saying what economy would be achieved by destroying this invaluable reserve force.
I ask him also to consider the damage done during the five months of uncertainty. Has it been necessary to take five months to make a decision? As the hon. Member for Toxteth said, the reason for this cut was not the one which was given but—and the hon. Gentleman perhaps did not spell out clearly the inference of that—it was a political sop to hon. Members opposite below the Gangway, so that they would accept charges and cuts which were otherwise unpalatable to them. I think that it was a horse deal, and it is contemptible that that should have been done.
The reason for the delay now in making a firm announcement for the future is the Minister's hope that the T. & A.V.R.III, without equipment and without pay, will be eroded and die, without the Government having to make a decision. This is a typical, contemptible act. It shows lack of courage on the part of the Socialists to make a decision and face up to it. I hope that when the Minister replies we shall hear that a decision will be made and announced which will preserve for this country a reserve force which I consider essential to our national security.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)
The House is discussing what I consider to be a most serious and important issue, the question of opportunity for serving our country. At this moment, seven other debates are taking place in the House upstairs. But even though they range over such vitally important matters to our country and countrymen as finance, the Transport Bill, the Divorce Reform Bill and other matters, it is in this Chamber that we are touching on something of tremendous importance to the spirit which has motivated our countrymen throughout our history. I hope that the Minister will take note of the seriousness which has been expressed on both sides of the House.
I was greatly impressed by the serious and urgent plea of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw) that in striving for economy the Government should not lose such a valuable thing as the Territorial Army. Similar pleas have been made from this side of the House.
1274 This is not really a party occasion. It is an occasion to ask the Government to consider seriously what is really at stake when they make cuts affecting our country so deeply. It has been said more than once in the debate that the inevitability of nuclear warfare is no longer the premise for all military prognostication, and that we must today face the problems of protracted conventional warfare in our consideration of our future strategic defence problems.
I do not think that 1938 was so different from 1968. In 1938 I learned to be a soldier in the Territorial Army. I learned for a year before the war began, and never saw or handled a rifle; I learned to handle a sword. It may sound ridiculous, but I was serving in a yeomanry regiment. We did not have rifles, so short were we of equipment.
I joined the Territorial Army in London, in 1938. I went to war in civilian clothes because there were no Army uniforms for that rush of volunteers who went to the service of their country when they felt it was in need. I went to war not even with a sword but with a spade and for two weeks dug trenches on the Essex coast.
But I learned three things that year in the Territorial Army. First, I leant about simple military organisation, secondly, about discipline, and, thirdly, about service. The dissimilarity between 1938 and 1968 is that, in 1938, there was somewhere for people to go when they felt that their country needed their services, whereas in 1968 and from now there will be nowhere a man can go to serve his country and to give something of himself to the discipline and the simple military organisation necessary.
I am glad to see the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) back in his place. I always respect his contributions to our debates but I felt that he sneered at the voluntary services.
§ Mr. Crouch
The hon. Gentleman gave the impression of sneering at the contribution which the Territorial Army can make.
§ Mr. Dalyell
I must make it clear that I did not sneer. I asked simple questions about operational requirements.
§ Mr. Crouch
The hon. Gentleman spoke of volunteers serving for pleasure 1275 and enjoyment. I see nothing wrong in finding pleasure in serving one's country. I enjoyed serving my country. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the Territorial Army as an unnecessary force and of the great problem of the disposal of drill halls. What has developed in the debate since he spoke is not the problem of disposal of drill halls nor, indeed, that the T.A. is an unnecessary service. It is rather that underneath the T.A. is a breeding ground for the spirit of service and for giving something to one's country. This sounds frightfully jingoistic but I mean it most sincerely.
Do the Government genuinely consider that we cannot afford to maintain some reserves, even if they sneer at the military capability of such reserves and even if they consider that such reserves as the Territorial Army could produce could not be mobilised and developed and perfected quickly enough in an emergency? Do they really believe that we cannot afford £2.8 million a year on this?
But is not the reserve we are really talking about a reserve of the spirit? Are we not clearly arguing about the maintenance of the spirit of service, to give us something to fall back on? I believe that we may well require the use of conventional forces. It is not difficult to see that a conflagration could happen in Europe. The possibility is not confined to South-East Asia, Malaysia and so on. Such a conflagration could last for a long period and could be sustained with conventional forces without escalating into the tragic use of nuclear weapons.
If there were such a conflagration, and it were sustained with conventional forces, we should not be able to fall back and draw on our reserves—reserves of the spirit and of trained volunteers. It will be disastrous if the Government proceed with their policy towards the Territorial Army. To disband it is to destroy it. But the Government will not succeed, however much money they may save, in disbanding the volunteer spirit which exists and will continue to exist.
I believe that there is a prejudice on the benches opposite against the organised volunteer Army. It is not unusual to hear hon. Members opposite discounting the volunteer soldier and the keen amateur. We cannot afford not to 1276 reassess the whole strategic concept of the defence tasks we may have to face. We cannot afford not to revalue the part which the voluntary spirit can play in our military plans in future. We cannot afford not to stockpile some reserves of service and discipline in our continuous need to prepare for the defence of our country and freedom.
§ 6.06 p.m.
§ Mr. James Scott-Hopkins (Derbyshire, West)
I bitterly resent the fact that we have to hold such a debate, for if the Government had acted in the national interest, it would not have been necessary. As has been pointed out by my hon. and right hon. Friends and by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw), the Government have weakened the position of Britain.
§ Mr. Scott-Hopkins
One of the things which have emerged from the debate is that the entire House is antagonistic to the Government's policy towards the Territorial Reserves. I believe that the policy is the result of a deal made by the Secretary of State with the Left-wing. If that is not so, there is very little reason for the policy. I cannot believe that the Secretary of State is not getting advice from his military advisers that the state of our reserves is extremely poor and must be rectified. He is obviously resisting that advice.
There seems to be a general change in thinking and strategy at the moment. The nuclear deterrent is not as credible as it has been in the past. This has been made clear by Mr. Robert MacNamara and by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) in a newspaper article some weeks ago when he was spokesman on defence for the Opposition. This change of thinking and of policy is not only here but in N.A.T.O. and the United States as well. There is a movement away from the concept that we have the nuclear deterrent and need not worry.
If we are moving into the realm of the possibility of conventional wars, however small, it is essential that our conventional forces be strengthened and that there should be properly trained and organised reserve forces. Admittedly, 1277 only a crude and elementary training could be given in the initial stages to volunteer reserve soldiers but even this is to disappear with the disbandment of the whole framework for possible expansion of our forces. It is an appalling and catastrophic situation.
If this is the new thinking in the West then it shows that either the Secretary of State and his right hon. Friends are completely incapable of understanding what the strategic concepts of 1968 and the seventies should and could be, or that they are completely derelict in their duty to the country. I must be charitable and assume that the former is the reason.
It is a pity that the enthusiasm which undoubtedly exists is being frittered away. I saw an example of this enthusiasm in my own part of the world last week when the volunteers, without pay, lined the station yard for Her Majesty the Queen when she visited the area last Friday. Those same volunteers will go to camp, unpaid, this summer to do training, because they wish to do so. Yet the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are willingly and wantonly throwing away this enthusiasm and I condemn them for it. Everything that has been said in this debate shows that the way the Government are behaving towards these men is shameful. There is a tremendous fund of enthusiasm, and the spirit and the wish to give service to this country are not dead. Many people want to find a method of showing their patriotism, and this is one of the finest ways of doing so, by strengthening our military conventional forces and helping the country to fulfil its role.
The hon. Member for Toxteth put forward the detailed arguments clearly and constructively, and I agree with almost every word he said. In the face of the criticism we have heard, in this debate, I cannot understand how the hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State can allow this position to continue. I warn the right hon. Gentleman, let him not under-rate the anger which exists among young men, and those of us who are a little older who have served our country and who wish to continue to do so. We are angered at the way in which this Government are behaving. The right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. and hon. Friends will rue it before very long.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ Sir Frank Pearson (Clitheroe)
I should first like to join with many of my hon. Friends in paying tribute to the speech of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw). He said that Government policies on defence went very wrong two and a half years ago. I recollect well the debate when those decisions were taken, and I recollect the speech of the hon. Member for Toxteth at that time, since I had the pleasure of following him. He made as bold and forthright a speech as he made today, and he carried his convictions with him into the Lobby afterwards. I hope that will happen again tonight.
Many of the strictures which he made against the Government are absolutely correct, and they add up to the fact that the defence policies of the Government have been totally dishonest from the word go. This is not a debate in which we should touch on the wider aspects of defence policy, but it is worth noting that the Government's defence policies have never gone right since the day when they fixed a financial limit to the amount that they were prepared to spend on defence. Ever since that day their defence policies have been an effort to squeeze their necessary expenditure below this totally false and totally artificial limit.
The justification for the abolition of the Class III Territorial Reserves, in addition to the general policy of squeeze, is merely short-term economic necessity. It is scandalous that a long-term defence policy such as the maintenance of the voluntary Territorial Reserves is surrendered almost entirely in toto for purely short-term economic considerations.
Quite apart from economic aspects, there has been a gross miscalculation of the basis on which defence should rest. The Government came to power nearly three years ago believing fervently that there would be no clash in Europe that would have to be faced in their lifetime. They had the concept of withdrawal from east of Suez into the confines of this country, which would place us in much the same position as Sweden. Gradually they found, as the realities of the situation unfolded in front of them, that there was a demand for a far greater commitment. Even since they produced 1279 their last White Paper, in which they made the decision to cut down the Reserves, the situation in Europe has altered. It could not have been a happy sight for them to see Russian tanks rolling through Poland towards the borders of Czechoslovakia. It cannot be a happy thought that the Russian Navy now controls the eastern end of the Mediterranean. These factors have seriously altered the situation.
I would challenge whether the Government have made up their minds to follow a nuclear strategy, or whether they are following a conventional strategy. When the Under-Secretary came to the Dispatch Box today, he seemed to consider, for the first time in years, that a clash in Europe might be a possibility for which we had to make arrangements.
May I ask a question which I hope that the Minister, when he comes to reply, will answer? What are our total Reserves in this country today, and to what theatre of war are they committed? Are they all committed to B.A.O.R.? I believe that is the situation, and I should be glad if the Minister would confirm it. If that is so, were there to be a clash in Europe we should have no Reserves available in this country.
This brings me to the main point of the debate, the category III Reservists. Does the Minister think, if there were a clash in Europe, that this country would survive on a stable basis if we had not some body of troops in uniform to support the civil power? We have seen many disturbances in our towns in recent times, in peacetime. We have seen what can happen in America in peacetime. We know what happened to the civil population in Liverpool during the last war. The Government know that the civil population would not have been held at that time had it not been for the uniformed Reserves.
It is therefore totally irresponsible for the Government, while they are contemplating operations in Europe, to say that they can completely abolish the civilian reserve at home. Of course they cannot.
I hope that I interpreted the hon. Gentleman's speech aright when he said that they were having second thoughts and were thinking about a care and 1280 maintenance basis. I hope that term may be interpreted in a flexible way. When the Government come to work out what care and maintenance means they will find that for the extra £.1½ million or so they can, more or less, leave the Reserves as they are at the moment.
I think that the Under-Secretary also said that there was no hurry, that he would consider the matter, but that there was no urgency. Does that mean that he intends merely to let the reserves wither away? Will he let them go to their camps, pay their own expenses and watch them do it, paying tribute to them for their loyalty and magnanimity? Is he hoping in the long term that they will become "browned off" and disband themselves, so that he will be left with no problem to solve? If that is not his intention, he must come to a decision very early on, and he should.
It was amazing that the Under-Secretary of State spoke to us for about 20 minutes without once mentioning the reason why the Government had decided to put the Territorial Reserves on to a care and maintenance basis. No justification was given for what was a basic change, which is what the whole debate is about. We did not hear a word about it. I hope that the Minister of Defence for Administration will be a little more forthcoming and tell us why we are now putting the Class III Reserves on to a care and maintenance basis. What are the considerations? Has the pressure eased from his hon. Friends below the Gangway? Has the strategic situation altered? Has the pressure of the Territorial Associations been too great? Let us know why it has happened. We have not been told yet, and we want to know before the end of the debate, because it is right that we should be told. I hope that he will tell us.
Quite apart from any strategic arguments, my right hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) made the point that the Territorial Reserves cannot be separated into watertight compartments. The Class III and Class II reserves are interdependent. One will not thrive without the other.
The whole idea of voluntary service appears to be called in question. I hope that hon. Members opposite are not against it as such. Sometimes I think that they are. I think that they like to 1281 see nicely graded civil servants paid by and under the control of the Government, and resent the idea of a body of civilians giving voluntary service free, gratis and for nothing. I hope that that is not so, but sometimes I think that it is.
The arguments in favour of voluntary reserves have been put with force and clarity from this side of the House. To date, we have not been told what the real situation is. I believe that the House can rightly demand to be told with a certain degree of honesty what is in the Minister's mind, and I hope that he will tell us.
§ 6.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
The hon. Member for Clitheroe (Sir Frank Pearson) talked about a clash in Europe, and he referred to Russian tanks going into Czechoslovakia. It is true that Europe is a disturbing place, but no one can forecast what might happen there.
At the back of the hon. Gentleman's mind is the fact that we must prepare for a war with the Soviet Union. That is a gigantic enterprise in which the question of whether the Territorial organisations shall exist is almost irrelevant. I cannot imagine a war in Europe in which Russia and the N.A.T.O. forces are engaged being anything other than a nuclear war of massive destruction. If that is not the case, why do we spend so much on nuclear weapons?
I understand that the argument is that we must prepare for a sequel to the last war, in which infantry plays a leading part, and ignore the fact that we are living in an age of nuclear weapons in which this country could be destroyed in the first few hours if hostilities materialised. However well-meaning and public-spirited hon. Gentlemen are who have been associated with the Territorial Army in the past, their arguments become totally irrelevant in the event of such a war.
§ Mr. Crouch
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that the Americans have not been unwise in maintaining conventional forces in the last 20 years?
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
All I know is that America now boasts of the enormous destructive power that she could inflict on the Soviet Union in a matter of 1282 minutes. If we are to think about a modern war, with all its terrible consequences, we must think of something quite different from the last war, and that is what hon. Members opposite do not appreciate, however well meaning they may be.
The Americans say that they have now a very great destructive power over the Soviet Union. Casually reading the reports of modern military commentators, it is clear that no one except those who are living in the past really thinks that there is a possibility of a so-called "clash" in Europe. None of the military commentators thinks in those terms.
Then again, if we face the possibility of this old concept of an infantry and aerial war, why does this country spend so much on destructive weapons? We have the Polaris submarine programme. We are told that the justification for it is that it is a deterrent and that two or three salvoes from a nuclear submarine would be more destructive than all the bombardments of the last war.
That is the kind of war which people contemplate, if they contemplate it at all. These movements and rehearsals for something that is not likely to come off and, if it does, will not he like the rehearsals, should be looked at against the background of a country striving to exist economically. I have stressed this argument repeatedly during the Service debates. In the debate on the Army Estimates, I proposed to reduce the Army by the token figure of 1,000 men. That was greeted with disapproval from the Government. They thought that I was acting irresponsibly.
A fortnight later, I went to the other place and heard that distinguished military authority, Lord Montgomery. Instead of reducing the Army by 1,000, he wanted to reduce it by 83,000 men. I listened carefully to his arguments, and it is clear that we are living in a time of complete unreality if we encourage well-meaning and elderly gentlemen who still think in terms of the advances on Germany in the last war. The reason for this is economic. During the past few months we have heard a lot about the need for reducing public expenditure, but when any serious attempt is made to look over the expenditure of the defence services hon. Gentlemen say that we must 1283 increase it again. So they resist every attempt by the Government to prune their defence expenditure.
I agree with neither the Motion nor the Amendment. I believe that the Government have not gone far enough. The Amendment is couched in terms of appeasement of the elderly gentlemen who are thinking in terms of the next war. I believe that a good deal of the manpower that is now locked up in the defence forces could be better utilised in fighting the real enemies of this country. Who are the real enemies of the people I represent? Who are the real enemies of the people in Scotland? It is not the Russians, it is not the Germans: it is the gangsters. I am not speaking ideologically on the question of capitalism and Socialism. Everybody knows that in Glasgow the real enemies of the people are those who stab and kill and murder in the streets, and it is impossible to get police because so much manpower is locked up in the forces in Germany.
I want to take the people out of the Army where they are engaged in preparing to fight an imaginary enemy and put them in a position to fight the enemy on their own doorsteps and on their home ground. Anybody who knows Glasgow knows that at present people are in danger because of the lack of police. If any of the gentlemen in the Territorial Army, if they are young enough, physically fit and ready to serve their country, would like to put their services at the disposal of the community to defend their people against these enemies they would be welcomed at the headquarters of the Glasgow police force.
Anybody who knows the situation in Scotland knows that it is true that there is violence and that this can be dealt with only by increasing the power of the civil police. If hon. Gentlemen want to encourage people who are thinking in terms of military organisation, they should encourage them to go from the Territorial Army to work with the civil authority and fight the real enemy.
§ Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)
Would my hon. Friend not agree that it might be a start if we encouraged members of the Forces who might wish to give their services to the community to join the special constables and supplement the existing army of 1284 police in their struggle against the gangsters and others who commit acts of violence in Scotland?
§ Mr. Hughes
That is precisely my argument. I know that there are soldiers in B.A.O.R. in Germany at the present time who read their papers and know that their own people at home—their wives and children and sweethearts—are likely to be shot, stabbed or murdered by the enemy at home. So I say that this is a debate in which there is a great deal of unreality, and I find myself unable to support the Motion or the Government.
§ 6.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Reginald Maudling (Barnet)
If ever the weight of argument were decisive in this House, there is no doubt at all which way the vote would go this evening. We have had a series of powerful speeches from this side of the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Clitheroe (Sir Frank Pearson), my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish), my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) and my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch)—speech after speech attacking and exposing the Government's policy in this matter. From the other side we had three speeches, of which the first two really cancelled each other out and the third cancelled itself out. That is the only contribution we have had this afternoon.
Before I start on a summary of the arguments, I should like to express this view. I think that we should have been told why the Secretary of State himself is not here for this debate. It is the second time that this has happened. We had a debate last week touching the matter of Service pensions, and he was not here then either. I know that the Secretary of State has many immensely important things to do but I think it is a matter of courtesy to the House that he should tell us why he is not here. However important the things he has to do, there can be nothing more important than the question of the Reserve Army or the pensions of the Armed Services of the Crown.
§ Mr. Reynolds
May I just make it perfectly clear to the right hon. Gentleman that last week my right hon. Friend 1285 was at a Ministerial meeting at The Hague, I think it was, and he is now in the Mediterranean on a long-arranged visit to British troops there. I think that the right hon. Gentleman will accept that my right hon. Friend could not have been expected to cancel a visit of that character as late as last Thursday when we heard of this debate.
§ Mr. Maudling
I accept that, but I think that the right hon. Gentleman should have told us about this or arranged for us to be told. This is a matter to which we attach a considerable amount of importance.
The basic argument between the two sides today is the question of the Reserve Army, the adequacy of our Reserves and the position of the volunteer Reserves. This is the main point upon which we shall be dividing the House this evening, but there are many others: the chopping and changing and uncertainty of Government policy, the shabby treatment of the men involved and the affront—because I think it is that—to the whole spirit of voluntary service. These issues have been brought up time and again in the speeches made from both sides of the House.
The hon. Member for Liverpool, Toxteth (Mr. Crawshaw) put very clearly indeed the effect upon the morale of our Services of the constant changes in Government policy and the apparent fact that Government action in these matters is determined more by shifting considerations of policy than by continuous and sustained conviction. Then there is the treatment of the volunteers themselves, going to drills and to camps without any help whatsoever, not even insured, I believe, against accidents which may occur when they are training. This point was expressed extremely clearly by my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone, backed up by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton. I hope very much that the Minister will answer the points he made about Nijmegen, about Canada and about the volunteers going to camp with the Regulars. These were three very important points raised by my right hon. Friend and there has been plenty of time to discover the answers, so I hope we shall be hearing further in the winding-up speech.
Thirdly, there was the whole question of the voluntary spirit, its preservation in 1286 this country and its contribution to the life and health of our society, which was referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury and by others. All these are questions which have been raised in this debate and which must be answered if any adequate answer is to be given to the House this evening.
But the main issue is the position of the reserve Forces, therefore I will take the Government's Amendment, upon which we shall be voting in a short time. It starts, of course, with a tribute to the Territorial Army. I think this is a rather audacious effort from the Government at the present moment, but nevertheless it is a tribute which both sides of the House would willingly accept. Then it passes on to the volunteer Reserves categories I and II and stresses their high level of equipment and training. Once again, of course, we agree, but the point is that their size is not adequate and their numbers are melting away. In opening, the Under-Secretary made some rather curious remarks about the numbers of category II Reservists. So far as I can see from the figures he gave, although he says that they have no statistical significance, the fact is that they have been dropping month by month. I was brought up to believe that although one month's figures may be meaningless, a steady trend, month after month, is the most significant thing statistically that one can hope to find.
I do not know what his figures for March are, but the hon. Gentleman seemed to imply that in March things got a lot better. The figures show that the category II Reserve fell by 320 in March and overall, taking all categories of Reserve, it was about the worst month that the Territorials had ever had.
§ Mr. Boyden
Surely the right hon. Gentleman cannot say that. Even if he takes the maximum difference in the figures he cannot say that the forces are melting away.
§ Mr. Maudling
The figures month by month are there and after the initial increase in May and June, 1967, the monthly fall was 40, 13, 120, 282, 308, 387 and 282. If that is not a trend, then I have never seen one. The reason for the falls is quite clear, and it is linked with the position of T. & A.V.R. III. The 1287 tasks assigned to category II are sometimes unglamorous and possibly unattractive. Secondly, and very important, the number of places where they can carry out their duties are more and more limited. There is a definite limit on the distance that people can be expected to go to attend parades or training. We link the two categories, II and III, as the Under-Secretary said on 6th March. He repeated that category III acted as a recruiting agent for category II, and that the two were very much bound together.
Then we come to category III. In the Government's Amendment there is the most extraordinary waffle that I have seen for a long time. They are to disband this as an active force, whatever that means, but to continue discussions,…aimed at preserving as much as possible of the regimental titles, skills and permanent assets…of category III. What in the world can this possibly mean? What is the purpose of it? What will be the use of empty regimental titles, with nothing solid behind them? What is meant by "as much as possible"?
The possibility here is simply a matter of money, nothing else. If the Government provide the money, everything could be preserved. If they do not, then nothing can be preserved. It has nothing to do with possibilities; it is a question of what the Government are prepared to spend. It seems to be a very small sum indeed. The Minister replied to an intervention of mine, saying that the original estimate of the saving was £2.8 million. That has been shaved quite a bit since then, and will have to be shaved a good deal more if there is any reality at all in the Government's Amendment. This sum of money, although important, is tiny in relation to the whole defence budget.
The Minister took the usual line of, "What would the Opposition do to save money? Cut the social services?", and all that sort of stuff. It is probably lucky for him that the national papers were not published this morning, because if they had been, one of the main stories would have been that last year the increase in the railway deficit was £19 million. This is a Government who 1288 have nationalised industries publishing figures of this kind, yet who cannot afford a sum of £1 million to £2 million for a vital area of national defence.
We must have more from the Government about what is meant by preserving skills and permanent assets. How does one preserve people's skills unless such skills can be used and practised? How can they be, unless there is some organisation in which to do this? Has this any meaning whatever, and if so will the Minister please tell us? What about permanent assets? What permanent assets? The drill halls? If this is so, that is fine, but if the drill halls are to be preserved what happens to the Government's economies? However one looks at this Amendment, it does not stand examination and that is why we intend to vote against it this evening.
Once units are disbanded, officers and N.C.O.s gone, they cannot easily be recalled. This is a fundamental point. There is nothing in this Amendment, in the "continuing as much as possible…permanent assets" and so on, that adds any strength at all to the Reserve Forces. This is the main reason why we criticise the Government. Without category III and its facilities, category II people will continue to drain away. Without category III our Reserves are really inadequate.
I know that it is said that these domestic tasks for which category II was set up have disappeared. I do not quite know why, because it is only a short time ago that the Government thought they needed this force in support of the civil power.
That is only part of the argument. We believe that a basis for expansion in war is essential and it will not be available without category III. I ask the Government not to be so dogmatic about the sort of dangers that the country will have to face. It is all very well for the Under-Secretary to declare that certain wars will not happen. It is all very well for him to say that there is only one certain threat in future, and the Government have decided what that threat will be, therefore any other forces are not needed.
The threat is not decided by us, but by others, and the Government cannot claim any great precision in their predictions in the past about the sort of trends 1289 and dangers that would face the country. Our Reserves will be very small indeed in comparison with other major European countries. Regular Reserves are about 65,000, and if categories I and II are added we have about another 35,000. France has 450,000 plus reservists, West Germany 750,000 trained reservists, Italy 600,000, and even Portugal and Turkey 500,000 apiece.
Our Reserves are totally out of line. It may be argued by the Minister, if he wants to be clever, "Oh you are asking for conscription". I am asking for nothing of the sort and he knows it. It is true that the structure of our military establishment has varied for a long while from that of other countries, but the stark contrast between the reserves of other countries and those which we apparently have available, when we all of us are facing the same threat, is remarkable. Quite apart from Europe, what about the need to maintain some of our obligations outside Europe, east of Suez for example? For three years to come even this Government intend to carry out our obligations to our friends and allies. They constantly maintain that, even after that period, they will have some sort of presence or force available to help our friends and allies east of Suez.
Our obligations, even on their own showing, are not purely continental and therefore, looking at the totality of our forces, both active and reserve, we must compare Britain's obligations with the obligations of the European countries. I fear that the comparison will lead us to doubt very much whether, without the volunteer reserve, category III, our Reserves will be up to what the nation requires. Our main condemnation of the Government is that, for a piffling economy in theory and a political advantage in practice, they are doing away with a vital part of Britain's defence mechanism.
The spirit of voluntary service in this country is something of which we are all proud. We are going through difficult times, and the ordinary person is baffled and bewildered by his inability to influence the decisions which affect his whole life, his inability to know how he can contribute directly to the fortunes of his country. The "Backing Britain" campaign was an attempt to do some- 1290 thing to help Britain which ran into the sand, to everyone's regret. Let us not do away with any possible outlet for the voluntary spirit of the men and women of Britain, in the interests, not only of defence, but in the higher interests of the quality of the society in which we live.
§ 6.48 p.m.
§ The Minister of Defence for Administration (Mr. G. W. Reynolds)
As did the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling), I should like to begin by referring to the first two lines of the Government Amendment. I accept from him that both sides of the House realise that it is almost exactly the sixtieth anniversary of the formation of the Territorial Army which sprung from a major reorganisation of reserves at that time, causing a row which has made the rows of the last two years seem like very small beer in this House and elsewhere.
The T.A. and the T. & A.V.R. now depend, depended and will depend on people prepared to volunteer, on people with a spirit of service, ready to help the community in a way that they choose in the community's time of need. Voluntary service is something that changes as the years go by. There was a terrific amount of voluntary service of all kinds taking place 60 years ago, when the Territorial Army was formed. Some of this has now completely disappeared.
Other forms of voluntary social service have changed. The spirit of voluntary service, nevertheless, I feel is the same. But the avenues into which that spirit has to be guided and directed have changed considerably over the last 60 years and will, I think, change considerably over the next 10 or 20 years. No one on this side of the House wishes to decry the voluntary spirit. We depend upon it in our social services, in our defence, and in pretty well every aspect of our public life. But the tasks to be done by volunteers are changing. We have to face the fact that there will be change just as much in defence as in the social services, local government, and in other spheres.
In going round Territorial Army units, both before October, 1964, and since, I quickly became aware that the vast majority of people in officers' and sergeants' messes and other ranks realise that what they were doing in October, 1291 1964, was to a large extent completely out of date and that the time had come for a major change.
One thing which surprises me is that we should be having this debate. It is just over two months since we went over all the ground which has been gone over today. Nothing new has been said in to-day's debate. The only thing which has been noticeable is that the Government Whips have had to scurry round to persuade enough people to come in to keep it going until 7 o'clock when people will turn up for a Division—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—I meant the Opposition Whips. It was hardly a slip of the tongue, because a Government Whip came to me and said, "Do you think that we should help them by keeping it going until 7 o'clock? It does not look as if they can do it." When one has a censure Motion one expects people to queue up to speak on it. Opposition Whips should not have to drag them in, and Government Whips should not have to get people in to keep it going until 7 o'clock.
This debate is being held at a time when it is known by hon. Gentlemen opposite that we are having discussions with representatives of the T.A. Council. Even today I have received the latest proposals from the T.A. Council in a lengthy document which so far I have had a chance to read through only once. There are a number of arguments in it which I accept and a number of points that I want to discuss over the next few weeks with representatives of the Council. The fact that this was going on was known to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. The only thing which will happen as a result of the debate and the Amendment which is down is that it is bound to harden attitudes on both sides and in our negotiations which have been going on during the last few weeks—[Interruption.]—if the hon. Gentleman who has just come in had been here during the rest of the debate I might have given way.
§ Mr. Percy Grieve (Solihull) rose—
§ Mr. Reynolds
The same applies to the back row.
One thing which surprised me was that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnet should accuse us of being 1292 dogmatic concerning defence—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—"Hear hear", say hon. Gentlemen who walked into the Lobby in 1957 to support the most dogmatic statement on defence ever produced by any Government in 25 years. The right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Government and he supported it. I am not sure whether he was in the Treasury at that time. If so, he was undoubtedly looking at the amount of money to be saved. I am surprised to find an ex-Chancellor turning his nose up slightingly at a saving of £2.8 million. I have no doubt that his colleagues who were with him in the past never heard him refer to £2.8 million as a small sum at that time. We see a lot of changes in three years when people go from the Treasury Bench to the other side of the House. Incidentally, I ought to congratulate the right hon. Member for Barnet on his first appearance at the Dispatch Box as the Shadow Minister of Defence.
The right hon. Gentleman said that the position concerning reserves was unsatisfactory. He quoted the larger numbers of reserves available to some of our N.A.T.O. allies. He is well aware that the reason why we have smaller reserves is because the Government, of which he was a leading Member, abolished conscription some years ago. It is a fine thing to get up now to try to blame the present Government for the fact that our reserves are smaller than other N.A.T.O. countries when the sole reason for that is a decision to which the right hon. Gentleman was a party many years ago.
§ Mr. Reynolds
That is a good slip round, but it does not carry any weight here or in the country.
The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that he did not think that categories I and II of the T. & A.V.R. were adequate. He referred to the fact that they were declining, as did the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish) and the right hon. Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) who opened the debate. It depends where the figures are taken from. If one takes figures from the end of April last year, the figures 1293 are indeed lower than at the end of April. If one takes figures from 1st April last year one can argue that the figures are now higher than at 1st April. If one looks at less than one year after recruiting, there has always been, and will continue to be, in the T. & A.V.R. a decline in numbers. The recuiting season, as the figures show, is March, April, May and June. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are aware of that. The numbers went up in those months last year and I am confident that in the months now leading up to the annual camp the recruits will begin to come in again, as has been traditional with the Territorial Army for many years. It makes a big difference whether they have an attractive or an unattractive camp. Many of them this year—a much bigger proportion than before—will be going to attractive camps. I hope that this will have an effect on the numbers of recruits who will come in in the recruiting season which we are now approaching.
The right hon. Member for Barnet asked whether we had, over the next three years, sufficient reserves to cope with any responsibilities east of Suez that we might have during that period. He will be aware that, in the discussions on the Territorial Army reorganisation, which we had a couple of years ago, it was pointed out that the T. & A.V.R.II in both its major categories was designed for two main purposes. One was to back up the Regular Army in the event of a limited war. This was previously the responsibility of the Army Emergency Reserves I and II. The other main function was to back up the Regular Army in the event of a general war in Europe. A sufficient number of mainly logistic units are there to back up the Regular Forces in anything which might happen east of Suez or anywhere else.
I could not understand some of the points made by the right hon. Member for Harrogate. He did not answer my intervention. He was trying to argue that, if we maintain three infantry units, these will be of great assistance in manning some of the logistic units which we require in the order of battle.
At this stage I should give some information about some of these logistic units to which reference has been made slightly scornfully by some hon. Gentlemen 1294 opposite during the course of the debate. Some hon. Gentlemen seem to have got it into their heads that people are only interested in joining glamorous things such as the Yeomanry, infantry and perhaps the gunners. But there a number who have willingly joined many of the unpopular logistic units. R.E.M.E. units in category II A are recruited to 84 per cent. of their establishment at the present time. Other figures are: infantry 79 per cent., Royal Armoured Corps 87 per cent.; artillery 85 per cent.; Royal Engineers 71 per cent. But when one comes down the list a bit further one will find between 65 and 70 per cent. applies to most.
As my hon. Friend has said, the reason why we costed the whole thing on the basis of 80 per cent. recruitment is because we were fully aware that the medical units were unlikely to recruit to the required percentage. This is unfortunate. We are desperately short of people in medical units. I hope that we can improve the situation in the not-too-distant future
One hon. Gentleman asked for details about Ever Readies, which are technically referred to as the Special Army Volunteer Reservists. There are 131 officers and 1,770 soldiers in that group, plus another 524 Regular Reservists, There is plenty of room in that force for hundreds more if they are prepared to take up that liability.
I should now like to come to what was said by the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr Hugh Fraser). He made one of the most amazing speeches I have ever heard in the collection of amazing speeches that he has made. He concentrated most of the time on lashing out at obsequious generals and bumbling boffins and civil servants in the Ministry of Defence. They are not the persons to attack if he disagrees with what is being done by Her Majesty's Government. When he reads tomorrow what he said today, I am sure that he will be ashamed of the attack that he made on people who are not in a position to answer back as are other Ministers and myself.
He criticised the Government for making reductions in the Territorial Army. He was the Under-Secretary of State for War in about 1958. He knew at that time that the Territorial Army needed a 1295 radical reorganisation if it was to be an effective force. He refused however to do anything about it and the reason was that he was not prepared to face the attacks he would get from his own people if he took the matter into his own hands and did something he knew was unsound in their eyes.
Then he went into the Air Force Department which is so different. There are not so many vested interests in the Air Force, say the Tory benches. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned their pilots and made sneering reference to the fact that three years is needed to train a pilot. A lot must have changed in the Army since he was connected with it if he thinks that it is possible to train an infantryman in a matter of days. What can be done if things are kept on a reasonable basis is to train someone into the T. & A.V.R.III in a comparatively short period of time. This is the position the Government are going to try to create so far as the T. & A.V.R.III is concerned. He abolished at the same time all the R.A.F. regiments in the Reserve.
It is useless to talk about extending a large citizen army, by which one means the old Territorial Army, if one is not prepared to face the fact that in order for ground forces to be effective one has to retain extensive forces in the air as well. We never hear anything about that from hon. Gentlemen opposite. If they mention that people will know that means tens of millions of pounds.
The hon. and gallant Member for Lewes remarked that 59,000 extra civil servants will cost £250 million a year. I suggest he does his figures again. [Interruption.] The Opposition have
§ now returned to vote. They have not been here to listen to the debate, but they now interrupt at this time.
§ The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnet said that he does not know what is meant by the reference in the Government Amendment "…to continue discussions" with the Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations. I would suggest he reads my speech of 6th March where I pointed out that, so far as home defence and civil defence is concerned, the Home Secretary has said it was necessary to preserve a core of knowledge and experience; and to make sure that local authorities will continue planning at the local level to enable more active work to be resumed. It is our intention to operate on similar lines.
§ I have received proposals only today which I will consider with my right hon. Friend and we shall make our announcement in due course about the position. I cannot say when that will be. The last time we were criticised about making a statement on Reserves before making a statement on the Regular Forces. It could take some considerable time before we are in a position to make a detailed decision on what is going to happen to the T. & A.V.R.III. This is being done as quickly as possible. Discussions which I am having with the T.A. Association will enable us to work something out. I do not believe this debate has helped towards finding a proper and correct solution to this problem.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 239.1299
|Division No. 140.]||AYES||[7.7 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Bidwell, Sydney||Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)|
|Albu, Austen||Binns, John||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bishop, E. S.||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Blenkinsop, Arthur||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James|
|Allen, Scholefield||Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Cant, R. B.|
|Anderson, Donald||Booth, Albert||Carmichael, Neil|
|Archer, Peter||Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Boyden, James||Chapman, Donald|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Coe, Denis|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Bradley, Tom||Coleman, Donald|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Conlan, Bernard|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Brooks, Edwin||Corbet, Mrs. Freda|
|Barnes, Michael||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)|
|Barnett, Joel||Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Cronin, John|
|Baxter, William||Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Proven)||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Beaney, Alan||Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Bence, Cyril||Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Cullen, Mrs. Alice|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Buchan, Norman||Dalyell, Tam|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Park, Trevor|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull W.)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Pentland, Norman|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Dell, Edmund||Judd, Frank||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Dempsey, James||Kelley, Richard||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|Dewar, Donald||Kenyon, Clifford||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Dickens, James||Kerr, Dr. David (W' worth, Central)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Dobson, Ray||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Probert, Arthur|
|Doig, Peter||Lawson, George||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Driberg, Tom||Leadbitter, Ted||Randall, Harry|
|Dunn, James A.||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Rankin, John|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Lee, John (Reading)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Eadie, Alex||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Richard, Ivor|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Ellis, John||Lipton, Marcus||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Ennals, David||Lomas, Kenneth||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Ensor, David||Loughlin, Charles||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Luard, Evan||Roebuck, Roy|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Rose, Paul|
|Fernyhough, E.||McBride, Neil||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||McCann, John||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||MacColl, James||Ryan, John|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||MacDermot, Niall||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Foley, Maurice||Macdonald, A. H.||Sheldon, Robert|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Ford, Ben||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Forrester, John||Mackie, John||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Fowler, Gerry||Mackintosh, John P.||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Maclennan, Robert||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Freeson, Reginald||McMillan Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||McNamara, J. Kevin||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Gardner, Tony||MacPherson, Malcolm||Slater, Joseph|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Small, William|
|Ginsburg, David||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Snow, Julian|
|Gourley, Harry||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Manuel, Archie||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Gregory, Arnold||Mapp, Charles||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Grey, Charles (Durham)||Marks, Kenneth||Swain, Thomas|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Marquand, David||Swingler, Stephen|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Taverne, Dick|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Maxwell, Robert||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George|
|Hamling, William||Mayhew, Christopher||Thornton, Ernest|
|Hannan, William||Mellish. Rt. Hn. Robert||Tinn, James|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mendelson, J. J.||Tomney, Frank|
|Haseldine, Norman||Mikardo, Ian||Urwin, T. W.|
|Hattersley, Roy||Millan, Bruce||Varley, Eric G.|
|Hazell, Bert||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Henig, Stanley||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Moonman, Eric||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Hilton, W. S.||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Weitzman, David|
|Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Horner, John||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Moyle, Roland||Whitaker, Ben|
|Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Murray, Albert||Whitlock, William|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Neal, Harold||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Howie, W.||Newens, Stan||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Hoy, James||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Oakes, Gordon||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Ogden, Eric||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||O'Malley, Brian||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Orbach, Maurice||Winnick, David|
|Hunter, Adam||Orme, Stanley||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Hynd, John||Oswald, Thomas||Woof, Robert|
|Irvine, Sir Arthur||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Owen, Will (Morpeth)||Yates, Victor|
|Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Janner, Sir Barnett||Paget, R. T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Palmer, Arthur||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Mr. J. D. Concannon.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Gower, Raymond||Neave, Airey|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Grant, Anthony||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Astor, John||Grant-Ferris, R.||Onslow, Cranley|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Awdry, Daniel||Grieve, Percy||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Balniel, Lord||Gurden, Harold||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Pardoe, John|
|Batsford, Brian||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Percival, Ian|
|Bell, Ronald||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Peyton, John|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Bessell, Peter||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Biffen, John||Hastings, Stephen||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hawkins, Paul||Pym, Francis|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Hay, John||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Blaker, Peter||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Boardman, Tom||Heseltine, Michael||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Body, Richard||Higgins, Terence L.||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hiley, Joseph||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Hill, J. E. B.||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Hirst, Geoffrey||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Braine, Bernard||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Brewis, John||Holland, Philip||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hooson, Emlyn||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hordern, Peter||Royle, Anthony|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hornby, Richard||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Howell, David (Guildford)||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Bryan, Paul||Hunt, John||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Scott, Nicholas|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Iremonger, T. L.||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Sharples, Richard|
|Burden, F. A.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Campbell, Gordon||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Silvester, Frederick|
|Carlisle, Mark||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Smith, John (London & W 'minster)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Jopling, Michael||Speed, Keith|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Stainton, Keith|
|Clark, Henry||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Stodart, Anthony|
|Clegg, Walter||Kershaw, Anthony||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Cooke, Robert||Kimball, Marcus||Tapsell, Peter|
|Cordle, John||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kitson, Timothy||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Costain, A. P.||Lambton, Viscount||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Teeling, Sir William|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Lane, David||Temple, John M.|
|Crouch, David||Langford-Holt Sir John||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Crowder, F. P.||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Tilney, John|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Dance, James||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Longden, Gilbert||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lubbock, Eric||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||MacArthur, Ian||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Wall, Patrick|
|Doughty, Charles||McMaster, Stanley||Walters, Dennis|
|Drayson, G. B.||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Maddan, Martin||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Eden, Sir John||Maginnis, John E.||Webster, David|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Emery, Peter||Marten, Neil||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Eyre, Reginald||Maude, Angus||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Farr, John||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Fortescue, Tim||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Foster, Sir John||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Miscampbell, Norman||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G.||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Monro, Hector||Wylie, N. R.|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Glyn, Sir Richard||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Murton, Oscar||Mr. Jasper More.|
|Goodhart, Philip||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
§ Main Question, as amended, put:—1302
§ The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 238.1305
|Division No. 141.]||AYES||[7.20 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Ellis, John||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Albu, Austen||Ennals, David||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Ensor, David||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Anderson, Donald||Faulds, Andrew||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)|
|Archer, Peter||Fernyhough, E.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Loughlin, Charles|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Foley, Maurice||Luard, Evan|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Barnes, Michael||Ford, Ben||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Barnett, Joel||Forrester, John||McCann, John|
|Baxter, William||Fowler, Gerry||MacColl, James|
|Beaney, Alan||Fraser, John (Norwood)||MacDermot, Niall|
|Bence, Cyril||Freeson, Reginald||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Galpern, Sir Myer||McKay, Mrs. Margaret|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Gardner, Tony||Mackenzie, Gregor (Ruthergien)|
|Binns, John||Garrett, W. E.||Mackie, John|
|Bishop, E. S.||Ginsburg, David||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Gourley, Harry||Maclennan, Robert|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Booth, Albert||Gregory, Arnold||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Grey, Charles (Durham)||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Boyden, James||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Bradley, Tom||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Manuel, Archie|
|Brooks, Edwin||Hamling, William||Mapp, Charles|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hannan, William||Marks, Kenneth|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Harper, Joseph||Marquand, David|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Haseldine, Norman||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hattersley, Roy||Maxwell, Robert|
|Buchan, Norman||Hazell, Bert||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Heffer, Eric S.||Mellish. Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Henig, Stanley||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mikardo, Ian|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hilton, W. S.||Millan, Bruce|
|Cant, R. B.||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Horner, John||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Chapman, Donald||Howarth Harry (Wellingborough)||Moonman, Eric|
|Coe, Denis||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Coleman, Donald||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Howie, W.||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hoy, James||Moyle, Roland|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Huckfield, Leslie||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Cronin, John||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Murray, Albert|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Neal, Harold|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Newens, Stan|
|Cullen, Mrs, Alice||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hunter, Adam||Noel-Baker,Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hynd, John||Oakes, Gordon|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Irvine, Sir Arthur||Ogden, Erie|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||O'Malley, Brian|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Orme, Stanley|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Oswald, Thomas|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.)||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Dell, Edmund||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Paget, R. T.|
|Dempsey, James||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Dewar, Donald||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Park, Trevor|
|Dickens, James||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Dobson, Ray||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Doig, Peter||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Driberg, Tom||Judd, Frank||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Dunn, James A.||Kelley, Richard||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Dunnett, Jack||Kenyon, Clifford||Pentland, Norman|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th &C'b'e)||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Eadie, Alex||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lawson, George||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Leadbitter, Ted||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Probert, Arthur||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Weitzman, David|
|Randall, Harry||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Rankin, John||Skeffington, Arthur||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Rees, Merlyn||Slater, Joseph||Whitaker, Ben|
|Reynolds, G. W.||Small, William||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Rhodes. Geoffrey||Snow, Julian||Whitlock, William|
|Richard, Ivor||Spriggs, Leslie||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Swain, Thomas||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)||Swingler, Stephen||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Taverne, Dick||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Roebuck, Roy||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George||Winnick, David|
|Rose, Paul||Thornton, Ernest||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Tinn, James||Woof, Robert|
|Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)||Tomney, Frank||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Ryan, John||Urwin, T. W.||Yates, Victor|
|Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Sheldon, Robert||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.||Walden, Brian (All Saints)||Mr. Neil McBride and|
|Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Mr. J. D. Concannon.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Astor, John||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Doughty, Charles||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Drayson, G. B.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Balniel, Lord||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Eden, Sir John||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Batsford, Brian||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Jopling, Michael|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Emery, Peter||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Bell, Ronald||Eyre, Reginald||Kerby, Capt. Henry|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Farr, John||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Fisher, Nigel||Kimball, Marcus|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Bessell, Peter||Fortescue, Tim||Kitson, Timothy|
|Biffen, John||Foster, Sir John||Lambton, Viscount|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Galbraith, Hn. T. G||Lane, David|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Gibson-Watt, David||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Blaker, Peter||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Boardman, Tom||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Body, Richard||Glyn, Sir Richard||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Goodhart, Philip||Longden, Gilbert|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Goodhew, Victor||Lubbock, Eric|
|Braine, Bernard||Gower, Raymond||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Brewis, John||Grant, Anthony||MacArthur, Ian|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Grant-Ferris, R.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Gresham Cooke, R.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Grieve, Percy||McMaster, Stanley|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Bryan, Paul||Gurden, Harold||Madden, Martin|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maginnis, John E.|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Marten, Neil|
|Burden, F. A.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Maude, Angus|
|Campbell, Gordon||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Carlisle, Mark||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hastings, Stephen||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hawkins, Paul||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Clark, Henry||Hay, John||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Clegg, Walter||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Monro, Hector|
|Cooke, Robert||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Cordle, John||Heseltine, Michael||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Corfield, F. V.||Higgins, Terence L.||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Costain, A. P.||Hiley, Joseph||Murton, Oscar|
|Craddock, Sir Beresferd (Spelthorne)||Hill, J. E. B.||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Hirst, Geoffrey||Neave, Airey|
|Crouch, David||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Nicholls, Sir Harmer|
|Crowder, F. P.||Holland, Philip||Onslow, Cranley|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Hooson, Emlyn||Orr. Capt. L. P. S.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Hordern, Peter||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Dance, James||Hornby, Richard||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Howell, David (Guildford)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hunt, John||Pardoe, John|
|Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Scott, Nicholas||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Percival, Ian||Scott-Hopkins, James||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Peyton. John||Sharples, Richard||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Pink, R. Bonner||Silvester, Frederick||Wall, Patrick|
|Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Sinclair, Sir George||Walters, Dennis|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Prior, J. M. L.||Smith, John (London & W'minster)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Pym, Francis||Speed, Keith||Webster, David|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Stainton, Keith||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Ramsden. Rt. Hn. James||Stodart, Anthony||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Rees-Davies, W, R.||Tapsell, Peter||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Ridsdale, Julian||Teeling, Sir William||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Temple, John M.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Wylie, N. R.|
|Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Royle, Anthony||Tilney, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|St. John Stevas, Norman||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Mr. Jasper Mare.|
|Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
That this House expresses appreciation to all officers and men who have given such unstinting service to the Territorial Army and Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserves in peace and war during the last 60 years; believes that the establishment of Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserves I and II has provided the best equipped and trained volunteer reserve
that has ever been available for the regular army and supports Her Majesty's Government's decision to disband Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve III as an active force but to continue discussions with the Council of Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations aimed at preserving as much as possible of the regimental titles, skills and permanent assets of Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve III.