§ Lord Renton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What steps are being taken to keep essential personnel in the Royal Navy who would otherwise be entitled to leave the service during the Falkland Islands operation.
§ The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Viscount Trenchard)
Steps are being taken to extend the service of those Royal Navy and Royal Marine officers who are nearing the end of their commissions but who are needed for the current operation. In addition we are invoking the powers under Section 4 of the Armed Forces Act 1966, and under Schedule 7, paragraph 4A of the Army Act 1955 to retain in service ratings of the Royal Navy and Royal Marine other ranks for a period not exceeding 12 months from the date they would otherwise be entitled to be discharged or fall to be transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve. The reasons for these actions, beyond ensuring the continuance in service of all essential personnel, is to protect their status as members of Her Majesty's armed forces. We intend to use these powers only in the case of those who are needed for this operation, and to release them as soon as they can be spared. So far 25 naval ratings and 3 Royal Marines who would otherwise have left full time service during April and May 1982 are being retained. The appropriate report to Parliament has been made and copies are available in the Printed Paper Office and in the Library. Further such reports will be made as necessary.
House adjourned at five minutes before eight o'clock.