asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the imminence of the General Election, he will instruct the Service Departments that there is to be maximum freedom of political discussion and impartial dissemination of political information in all the Services through A.B.C.A., the Army Education Corps, and all other available channels, and that Service men and women off duty are to be permitted to attend and take part in public political meetings.
It is unnecessary to give special instructions that there should be maximum freedom of discussion, as the greatest possible freedom of discussion is already permitted subject always to the overriding principle that military discipline must not be impaired. As regards the impartial dissemination of political information, I have nothing to add to my answer to the hon. Member on 27th March. There is no restriction on Service men and women when off duty attending political meetings, whether in uniform or plain clothes. Those members of the Services who attend such meetings are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is not likely to create an impression that they are engaged in political controversy or to draw upon themselves hostile criticism. They may not speak from the platform whether wearing uniform or plain clothes.