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Clause 3—(Voluntary Service In Lieu Of Tart-Time Service)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 7 May 1947

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Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

I should like to ask the Secretary of State for War why there is no provision for a man volunteering for the Supplementary Reserve. There seems to be provision for all the other volunteer elements. This omission is curious, because it comes at the time when the Secretary of State for War has just made a statement to the Press about resurrecting the Supplementary Reserve In view of the decision reached to reduce the period to 12 months, there would be fewer national service men who reached commissioned rank during their service. If that is so, there will be a greater demand in all three Services for officers to serve in the acting part of the Forces. I think I am right in saying that the Supplementary Reservist is distinguished from the volunteer by the fact that he does his service, not in the Auxiliary forces, but in the Regular forces, for a short time. There would seem to be good reason for requiring more, rather than fewer, officers in the acting forces, so I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to explain why there is no provision for volunteering for the Supplementary Reserve.

If the hon. and gallant Member will look at line 9 of the Clause he will see the words "Army Reserve." Those words cover the Supplementary Reserve.

Question put, and agreed to

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

I desire to ask the Government if they would tell us their intentions in respect of the Bill tonight, as I think it would be helpful if we could know how far they propose to proceed. A large measure of interest has been taken in the Bill today, as has been shown by the speeches which have come from all parts of the Committee. Matters of considerable importance are now looming up, and we ought to know whether the Government intend to deal with them at this late hour, or whether they intend to adopt the normal procedure.

It is very necessary to get this Bill completed by tomorrow night. We made an arrangement, through the usual channels, that the original time allocated for the Bill should be two days, but because of the special importance attached to the Government Amendment which we discussed today, an arrangement was made to have an extra day. We are now much behind schedule. It is essential to get the Bill, and we propose to go on tonight to get Clause 19, or Clause 20.

It depends, of course, whether the Government wish the Committee to partake in the discussion or not. I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that there was no agreement as to the number of days to be spent on the Bill. It is true that two days were suggested originally and that we asked for three days because one Amendment would require a full day's discussion. That Amendment has taken up most of today. I much regret the right hon. Gentleman's decision. I do not think it is in the interests of the Bill or the interests of the people of the country.

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why it is essential to get the Bill by tomorrow night? Is there any defence reason why it is essential that this Bill should go through? Why does he use the word "essential"? Essential to defence? Is he now taking over the functions of the Leader of the House? Does he mean that it is convenient to his party when he uses the word "essential," or what does he mean?

I speak in the general sense of the need of the Government to get through their programme. We intend to do that.

The Minister of Defence has not given any satisfactory answer to what has been said by Members on this side of the House. Why is it necessary at this late hour of the morning to consider a Bill which affects the life of every young man in this country? [An HON. MEMBER: "Because we want to."] An hon. Gentleman behind the Government Front Bench interjects, "Because we want to." If that is going to be the sort of interjection that is going to come from behind the Government Front Bench there will be many speeches made on this side which cannot be charged as being obstructions. Hon. Gentlemen must learn that to get their legislation through, not only is it necessary to make arrangements through the usual channels, but they must show the courtesy to the minority which is usual in this House.

2.0 a.m.

I was shocked by the right hon. Gentleman. He has not been very well treated by his own supporters and he seems to have no consideration for the Committee. As the right hon. Gentleman says, we all want to get this Bill through in a reasonable time. Many of us realise that this Bill is of a very important character to the people of this country, and I say quite candidly, having supported the Bill when it could have been so easy to have taken another and easier line, that I might have expected more consideration from the right hon. Gentleman for the Committee. If there had only been more efficient administration there would have been no difficulty in getting the programme through, and I fail to see why the Committee should be kept up now dealing with these details simply because the Government have made a mess of their own affairs as well as those of the country.

I wish to add my voice to the protests which have been made, and I think that the Government ought to reconsider this matter and see whether it is possible to avoid proceeding now with the long list of Amendments which have yet to be taken. I ask the Government to consider this in view of the fact, as the Opposition speakers rightly said, that the Government took such a long time on an Amendment in which they were deeply interested. There are a very large number of important Amendments yet to come. We have been closured on some of them when many of us were on our feet trying to take part in the discussion. We expect that, but if we are to take the long series of Amendments on the Order Paper that will carry us well into the coming day. I submit that the Government are not fair to their own side in pressing forward with this matter, and I would ask them to reconsider the question.

I should like to save the time of Members on all sides of the Committee. We want to get on as far as we can get, and if we work quickly now perhaps in a little while we can see how things are. If we get on with the job now perhaps we will make some progress.

We are put in a great difficulty. To start with, the right hon. Gentleman announced a programme which I think all of us know is quite ridiculous. We have got to Clause 3 and he now proposes that we should get another 16 Clauses during the night. A considerable number of important points are to be raised, and not all of them from one side of the House. All of them require discussion, and they should be given real discussion at a proper hour. In proposing this programme, we see the right hon. Gentleman in a dictatorial mood. Sometimes we see him in a frigid form, but when we ask him now what progress he proposes making, he says in his dictatorial tone, "This is our programme and we mean to get it," and when a reason is sought we are told by one of his supporters behind him, "Because we want it." He cannot do that and then afterwards appeal to us and ask us to be reasonable. If the right hon. Gentleman

Division No. 193.]


[2.8 a.m.

Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Linstead, H. N.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Birch, NigelLow, Brig. A. R. W.Stanley, Rt. Hon O.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. TLucas-Tooth, Sir H.Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Butcher, H. W.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Byers, FrankMacpherson, N. (Dumfries)Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Studholme, H. G.
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Manningham-Buller, R. E.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Maude, J. C.Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Touche, G. C.
Gage, C.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Wadsworth, G.
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Orr-Ewing, I. L.Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Head, Brig. A H.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Hollis, M. C.Pickthorn, K.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Hope, Lord J.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Lambert, Hon, G.Ramsay, Major S.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Rayner, Brig. RMr. Drewe and Major Conant.


Adams, Richard (Balham)Driberg, T. E. N.Keenan, W.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)King, E. M
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Dumpleton, C. W.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Dye, S.Kinley, J.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Lang, G.
Austin, H. LewisEdwards, N. (Caerphilly)Lee, F. (Hulme)
Awbery, S. S.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Leonard, W.
Ayles, W. H.Evans, John (Ogmore)Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. BEvans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Lindgren, G. S.
Bacon, Miss A.Field, Capt. W. J.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Baird, J.Foot, M. M.Logan, D. G.
Barton, C.Forman, J. C.Longden, F.
Bechervaise, A. E.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)McAllister, G.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F JFreeman, Maj. J. (Watford)McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Bing, G. H. C.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.M.)
Binns, J.Gibbins, J.McKinlay, A. S.
Blenkinsop, A.Gibson, C. WMcLeavy, F.
Blyton, W. R.Gilzean, A.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Boardman, HGordon-Walker, P. C.Marshall, F. (Brightside)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Mellish, R. J.
Bramall, E. A.Grey, C. F.Mikardo, Ian
Brook, D. (Halifax)Grierson, E.Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.
Brown, George (Belper)Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Mitchison, G. R.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. TGriffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Morgan, Dr. H. B
Burke, W. A.Guest, Dr. L. HadenNally, W.
Callaghan, JamesHale, LeslieNeal, H. (Claycross)
Champion, A. J.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R,Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Chetwynd, G. R.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Noel-Buxton, Lady
Coldrick, W.Hardy, E. A.O'Brien, T.
Collindridge, F.Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Paget, R. T.
Collins, V. J.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Colman, Miss G. M.Hewitson, Captain M.Palmer, A. M. F.
Comyns, Dr. L.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Pargiter, G. A.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)House, G.Parkin, B. T.
Corlett, Dr. J.Hoy, J.Paton, J. (Norwich)
Corvedale, ViscountHubbard, T.Peart, Capt. T. F.
Crawley, A.Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Platts-Mills, J. F. F.
Daines, P.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)Price, M. Philips
Davies, Harold (Leek)Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)Pryde, D. J.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Pursey, Cmdr. H.
de Freitas, GeoffreyJeger, G. (Winchester)Randall, H. E.
Delargy, H. J.Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Ranger, J.
Diamond, J.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Reid, T. (Swindon)
Dodds, N. N.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Robens, A.

would outline a reasonable programme I think everybody in the Committee would do their utmost to expedite business, but when he sets an absolutely absurd programme it is apt to incite people who know how absurd the programme is.

Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 45; Noes, 188.

Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Stubbs, A. E.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)Swingler, S.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Rogers, G. H. R.Sylvester, G. O.Wigg, Col. G. E.
Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Symonds, A. L.Wilkins, W. A.
Sargood, R.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Shackleton, E. A. A.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)Williamson, T.
Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (St. Helens)Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Willis, E.
Silverman, J. (Erdington)Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)Wise, Major F. J.
Simmons, C. J.Tiffany, S.Woodburn, A.
Skeffington, A. M.Tolley, L.Woods, G. S.
Smith, C. (Colchester)Vernon, Maj. W. F.Wyatt, W.
Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)Walkden, E.Yates, V. F.
Snow, Capt. J. WWallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Solley, L. J.Warbey W. N.Zilliacus, K.
Sorensen, R. W.Watson, W. M.
Soskice, Maj. Sir F.Weitzman, D.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E,)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)Mr. Pearson and Mr. Popplewell.
Stress, Dr. B.West, D G.

May I raise a point of Order? Bearing in mind the fact that outside this House there are a large number of men waiting with buses, ought we not to send from this Committee a note telling them when we are likely to rise?