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Letters To Members Of Parliament

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that under company orders exhibited at 240 Training Regiment, R.A., Tonfanau, Merionethshire, North Wales, soldiers are forbidden to write to their Members of Parliament without the permission of the commanding officer; and if he will take steps to remedy this.

Instructions were given orally to the men in this Training Regiment that letters to their Members of Parliament should be passed through the commanding officer, who would add his remarks before forwarding the letters. These instructions were incorrect, and I have taken immediate steps to have them cancelled.

Is the Minister aware that, in spite of several decisions by this House that soldiers are free to write to hon. Members, the impression is still very widespread in the Army that they are not so free, and will he take steps to make it plain to every soldier that he can write to his Member?

If the hon. Member had an opportunity of looking at my postbag from Members of Parliament themselves, he would readily understand that soldiers are under no illusion about their right to write to Members.