asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that Royal Air Force personnel are forbidden to walk arm-in-arm with their wives when off duty and on leave; and whether he will cancel this instruction which is resented by the personnel concerned and in no way assists the war effort?
The instruction that R.A.F. personnel should be discouraged from walking arm-in-arm with women in public has been withdrawn. There was never any formal regulation to this effect.
Is that known as "supporting arms"?
Does the right hon. Gentleman ever take any disciplinary action against commanding officers or persons responsible for issuing such foolish orders as this?
There is no question of disciplinary action in a case of this kind. There was an instruction which was not well worded. It was brought to my attention, and it was altered at once, and I am sure that the House will be satisfied.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say who actually authorised this order?
No, Sir, I cannot say who authorised the instruction. It is a question of the wording of an instruction which has now been put right, and nobody has suffered from it.
Could not the right hon. Gentleman issue some form of instruction to commanding officers in order that these matters shall not arise again and that in the main men and women in the Services shall be treated as human beings and not as children?
I cannot issue an order that nobody in the Royal Air Force shall ever make the slightest mistake of any sort. For the instruction, as originally framed and for the alteration which has been made, I take full responsibility.