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New Clause—(Drills)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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(1) The Service Authority may cause to be served on any person during his term of part-time service a notice which shall state that he is required to present himself for periods of instruction at such place and time on such days (of which the earliest shall not be earlier than the fifteenth day after the service of the notice), as may be specified in the notice.

(2) A person who without leave lawfully granted, or sickness or other reasonable excuse, fails to present himself as required by a notice served under this Section shall be liable to forfeit to His Majesty a sum of money not exceeding five pounds recoverable on complaint to a court of summary jurisdiction.—[ Brigadier Head.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This new Clause seeks to make good two omissions from the Bill and I should like to deal with the two relevant Subsections in turn. Subsection (1) seeks to make good the omission of any regulation for the notices being served for periods of not less than six days. Clause 6 of the Bill contains the whole machinery for serving these notices, which is defined as a period of not less than six days for the camps, but there is no reference to periods for what were normally called, before the war, the territorial drills. We feel it is essential that some machinery should be included in the Bill, so that notices can be served, and so that the machinery for their serving is contained in the Bill.

In our opinion Subsection (2) of the new Clause is more important, and constitutes a matter which my hon. Friends and myself think will have the strongest effect on the success or failure of the whole of this scheme. It concerns the omission from the Bill of any sanction which can be put upon men who do not attend these drills. I do not think there will be any strong argument against the assertion that that omission occurs. It will be within the recollection of many hon. Members who sat up very late one night, how we watched the frenzied searchings of the right hon. Gentleman and the learned Attorney-General to see where this sanction could be found. I think I should also be right in saying that none of my hon. Friends is wedded to the proposal contained in the new Clause. Obviously, it is difficult to arrive at an entirely satisfactory form of sanction.

It seems obvious that the temptations for absenteeism will be very strong, and that the inconvenience of a lot of absenteeism will be very considerable and might, if it reached serious proportions, almost serve to wreck the scheme. Although a really firm sanction is required it does not, of course, want to be a very savage one. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman has come to the House with some solution of this problem, and it may be that his solution is superior to the method suggested in Subsection (2) of our new Clause. The one thing we wish to get at is, that a definite sanction should exist; that it should be a practical one, and that it should discourage men from continued and frequent absence, which will stultify so much of the part-time training which will depend, to a very large extent, on good attendance and on maintaining continuity in performing these drills.

4.45 p.m.

I beg to second the Motion.

I very much hope we shall have a Service Minister speaking on this, perhaps in addition to the Attorney-General, because it is not simply a legal question; it raises a matter of the very greatest importance to the success of the whole of this scheme. In the past we have not had any experience of what might be described as compulsory volunteers. The men about whom we are now thinking are men who are made to serve in a volunteer organisation. In the Territorial Army before the war there were sanctions; men were under military law when they were at camp, and there was always the question of a possible fine if they did not perform their minimum number of drills. Of course, in fact in any decent Territorial unit—indeed, in almost all territorial units—these sanctions were never applied, and it would have been fatal to a unit to have applied them. I know from my own experience, as a Territorial officer before the war, we never had any trouble of this sort.

At the beginning of the war, in the company I commanded, we had no conscripts serving with us for the first four months, and not a single man came up on a charge; they were all volunteers, they worked very hard and their behaviour was perfect. When we got the conscripts coming in, they were perfectly good soldiers—probably just as good as the Territorials—but they were not volunteers, and they did the things which soldiers are apt to do, such as overstaying their leave, which could not be overlooked. In a mixed unit there are bound to be people who will not turn up, because they are conscripts and not volunteers. There will have to be some form of sanction, and unless that sanction is clear, and unless that sanction is applied reasonably, the whole scheme will break down. That is the reason I was worried when this was discussed in the small hours of the morning the other day. It did not appear that the Minister had really thought seriously on this particular point. Like my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head), I am not particularly enamoured of this new Clause. It is excessively difficult to know what is the right thing. I hope we shall get, not a purely legal answer but one from the point of view of the Minister who is trying to make the scheme work.

It might be for the convenience of the House if I said a few words before the Attorney-General replies, because the new Clause standing in the name of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea (Commander Noble) and myself (Hourly, etc., drills), is also being discussed. I should like to take up a little time in explaining a little more fully than has been done so far what is at the backs of our minds. I say at once, that I agree with what the hon. Member for Flint (Mr. Birch) has just said about volunteers and conscripts, and about his experience when they mingled at the beginning of the war. Anyone who was in the same position of my hon. Friend and myself, will confirm that that was the general experience.

Whereas before the war we were satisfied—I think wrongly satisfied—with allowing Territorials, to take them as an example of volunteers in the Auxiliary Forces, to choose the days on which they should do their drills, they were doing drills over a much longer period than that which these conscripts, the National Service men, will be required to put in. In fact they were doing over twice as long per year. Before the war they put in that long time, but we were not satisfied with the efficiency produced. I think my hon. and gallant Friend and myself, in our various Amendments, both have at the backs of our minds the thought that if training is to be of any use for part-time service it should be planned and not unplanned training. Surely, that argument should appeal to hon. and right hon. Members opposite, who are so wedded to planning in other matters? One matter on which we on this side of the House do require planning, at any rate in this Bill, is that of training.

During the dark watches of the night, some time back, the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) told us of the dangers of happy-go-lucky methods of training, and, besides drawing some laughter from the House, he did impress even right hon. Members opposite, sleepy and bewildered though they may have been. The scheme we have in mind consists of a notice procedure and a sanction. The point of principle in which the House is interested is really the sanction, but before I come to that I should like to say one word about the notice procedure. Under the new Clause which we are considering at the moment, the notice procedure is designed to cover periods of instruction. I think we have elsewhere in the Bill, or will have when we come to complete our consideration of it, provision for training notices covering periods in excess of six days. If the Government are going to accept the principle that we put forward, a notice under this new Clause, or whatever Clause is put in substitution of it, must cover anything under six days, and in my new Clause, which I will move if it is necessary, provision is made to cover all periods of less than six days, as well as hourly periods of instruction. I also think it necessary, and I hope the House will agree, that provision should be made to enable the Service authority to vary the notice; and I think that the notice procedure which is adopted for longer periods of service should apply to this notice procedure, too.

Let me pass to the sanction. I was very glad to hear my hon. and gallant Friend say he was not wedded to the principle of the £5 fine. I think that in thinking over this matter of the sanction—and most of us agree that a sanction would be desirable, if we could find one against which there were not too many disadvantages—all hon. and gallant Gentlemen will realise the difficulty in reaching a satisfactory solution. Speaking for myself and, I believe, for my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea, I would say that we feel that the £5 penalty procedure has too many disadvantages. We do not like the idea that men could be allowed, as it were, to buy themselves out of the results of having missed a period for which they were summoned. We do not think that young soldiers, sailors or airmen should be allowed to get any advantage so to make good their absence by merely paying a penalty. Therefore, we have looked round to see what other sanction we could find; and, bearing in mind that the object of part-time service is to train a man as efficiently as he can be trained, we think that, if a sanction is required, that sanction should be to deprive him of being able to count a number—perhaps, not many—of the hourly periods of instruction which have formed part of the training programme, with which he has been summoned, in the notice which he has disobeyed For that reason we have put forward the fourth Subsection in the Clause standing in my name

I have no doubt the Government, too, have given full attention to this matter, and all I would ask is that, if they cannot accept my sanction, or the sanction proposed by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) they will indicate to us what sanction they are going to put in its place. 1 do ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, or the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General, to give the House this time what they did not last time—some account of the scheme by which the national service men are to be allowed to satisfy part of their liability part-time service by hourly drills or periods of less than six days.

We have given the most careful and, in many ways, sympathetic consideration to the two new Clauses that have been put down by hon. and gallant Gentlemen opposite, as, indeed, to any Amendment which is put down from either side of the House; but we are satisfied that these proposals are neither necessary nor practicable. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Blackpool (Brigadier Low) has observed, we have already put on the Paper an Amendment which will define what is meant by a training notice for the purposes of Clause 6 of the Bill, and that definition will, as I promised when we were discussing the matter in Committee, make it clear, if, indeed, it is not clear already in the Bill as at present framed, that a training notice will relate only to periods of service of some duration—periods longer than hourly drills, namely, periods of six days or more.

A training notice will normally relate to the annual camp, will be served only once in the course of the year; and it will only be in the case where a man fails to comply with the training notice calling him up for a period of some duration of that kind that he will be liable to the penalties imposed under the existing law in the case of the particular Force to which the man has been allocated who fails to obey a call up or embodiment notice. It will be seen by hon. Members from that, that the training notice will not be issued at all in respect either of the hourly drills or in respect of the weekend camps, and, consequently, that absence from an hourly drill or from a weekend camp would not constitute desertion, and would not be punishable in the way that failure to comply with a training notice would be punishable. The position in regard to these short periods of service, which was, I think, fully explained to the Committee on the previous occasion—

No doubt, owing to the comatose condition of hon. Members opposite on that occasion it was not sufficiently apparent to the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I make quite clear now the position in regard to the short periods of service. Under Clause 2 of the Bill there is, as hon. Members know, a limit of 21 days on the amount of training which may be required from a National Service man in the course of any one year of his part-time obligation. A substantial part of the 21 days will, of course, be required to be served in continuous training in the annual camp, or training of that kind, training which he undergoes pursuant to a training notice; and if the liability had not already been partially discharged—I mean the liability to do the complete 21 days had not been partially discharged—by doing hourly drills, or by training at a weekend camp, a training notice for the full period of 21 days could, of course, be served.

It is intended, however, to make regulations under Clause 2 (4) providing that an individual may, by carrying out a specified number of hourly drills, or by attending a weekend camp—weekend camps will count as eight hourly drills—count those drills against his liability to serve for the 21 days; and it is intended that four training periods—four hourly drills—shall count as one day against a total liability to serve for 21 days. In our view, it is undesirable, and certainly impracticable, to observe any very strict or formal rules in regard to the length of notice which has to be given to a man in respect of the hourly drills These things will be matters of arrangement in each unit. The intention is to arrange this part of the part-time training for the National Service men in exactly the same way as it is done for other men in the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces. In the Territorial Army the volunteers and the conscripted personnel will be trained side by side. Matters will be arranged in regard to the dates, the times, and so on, of the hourly drills in each unit to meet, as far as may be, the convenience of all concerned. It would be manifestly impracticable and unfair that a man who had been asked, perhaps at comparatively short notice, to attend for an evening drill in order, perhaps, to make up a gun team or a searchlight team and who had turned up and performed his drill, should not be allowed to count that against his 21 days, but under the new Clause in the name of the hon and gallant Member for North Blackpool (Brigadier Low), because that was a period which had not been served pursuant to a 15 days' notice, the man would not be allowed to count it to his credit.

5.0 p.m.

There is a provision that h shall count if it is done with the consent of the Service authority as part-time service. The example which the Attorney-General gave would be covered.

I am very much obliged to the hon. and gallant Gentleman for that explanation, but it does not in any way alter our view that it would be impracticable, where one was providing for hourly drills, which might take place on a Thursday in one week and, because of some local holiday—a football match or some other thing—an arrangement might be made the following week for it to take place on a Wednesday, to provide for 15 days' notice always to be given in writing to each individual in advance of the drill being held. Regulations will be made with regard to these periods of hourly drill, and adequate and proper notice will certainly be given, but we cannot tie ourselves down by Statute to give 15 days' notice in every case.

I come now to the question of the sanction by which attendance at the drills and the weekend camps, as opposed to attendance pursuant to a training notice, will be secured. The real sanction—and when I say "real sanction" I mean what we anticipate will be the effective sanction—is very much that which the hon. and gallant Member for North Blackpool has in mind, as opposed to the quite different sanction which the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) and the hon. Member for Flint (Mr. Birch) would like to see. It is a sanction which, in fact, exists. I hope that in this matter we shall be able to satisfy all hon. Members. There is the penalty to which I referred in Committee. There is also the penalty which we think in practice will be, as it has been in the past, much the more effective penalty, that if a man fails, without reasonable excuse, to complete the full course of hourly drills, where for instance he has been given the opportunity of commuting six days of whole-time service by attending 24 evening drills, and where, without reasonable excuse, he fails to complete the whole course of hourly drills in that way, he will not be entitled to exemption from the liability to serve the six days' period. If, on the other hand, he has a good excuse, that he was ill on the night in question or that something unexpected prevented him from turning up, he will be allowed credit for the drills he has actually performed.

That is, in a sense, an administrative sanction, but in practice we think it is likely to be the more effective sanction, and we do not contemplate that there will be a constant necessity to issue summonses, go to the police courts and to get men fined £5; but if it is a matter of any consolation to the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton and the hon. Member for Flint, there is still a legal sanction in the background. I informed hon. Members in Committee, speaking, I confess, "off the book," that when a man does not turn up for a drill in circumstances of this kind when he has been ordered to attend, there was a small penalty, which I thought was £5. This seemed to create some despondency or amusement—I was not quite sure which—on the part of hon. Members opposite, and, consequently, I used a good deal of midnight oil to find out whether or not the information I had given was correct, and I found to my relief that the position was exactly as I had said. In the case of the Territorial Army, the Auxiliary Air Force and the Air Force Reserve, the penalty is a maximum fine of £5 The Army Reserve, the Naval Reserve and the Naval Special Reserve apparently think in rather higher figures and there the maximum penalty is £25 Therefore, in these cases where a man is required to perform hourly drills and fails to comply with this requirement, there is a legal sanction in the background.

It is not under Regulations. If hon. Members will look at Section 21 of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907, Section 15 of the Reserve Forces Act, 1882, and at the Auxiliary Air Force Order, 1924, they will find the relevant statutory provisions in this regard.

Does the imposition of the sanction and the fine wipe out the offence?

In no way. That is why we think the really effective sanction will be that a man who fails to complete his course of drills will fail to be relieved from his obligation to do the full-time service. We think that is likely to be the effective sanction in all these cases.

No; there is no question of that. As the hon. Member for Flint said, it has been found in practice in the Territorial Army that it is neither desirable nor really practicable to pursue the legal sanction in the court and recover these penalties. In bad cases it might have to be done, but in the ordinary way the administrative sanction is the one that will ensure that men do, in general, comply with the requirement to perform their weekly drills. Having regard to the fact that both the sanction which the hon. and gallant Member for North Blackpool and the hon. and gallant Member for Chelsea (Commander Noble) desire, and the sanction desired by the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton and the hon. Member for Flint, will be provided, and in view of the explanation I have given of the arrangements that will be made for this commutation of the fulltime liability by part-time hourly service, I hope hon. Members opposite will feel able to withdraw the new Clause.

The Attorney-General said that hon. Members on this side were in a comatose condition when this point was discussed in Committee. I can assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that he is quite wrong. It is true that, during some short period in the many hours we sat on the Committee stage, some of us no doubt felt drowsy, but none of us felt drowsy for one moment while we were discussing this particular Amendment. Many of us are deprived by the hours of work of this House from anything like the constant visas to see the Crazy Gang which we should like, and the performance of right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite was the nearest thing to the Crazy Gang that any of us have been able to see for some months. On the other hand, I do plead guilty to the charge made against us that the Debate on this Amendment filled us with despondency. We were not so despondent at the learned Attorney-General's statement with regard to the £5 sanction; we did not question whether he was right or wrong, though we are now happy that for once he should have got the thing looked up by somebody else and found that he was right. What we were despondent about was the fact that, whoever was right or wrong, the Secretary of State for War and the Attorney-General, speaking within a few minutes of each other, have made entirely contradictory statements, and our gratification at the proved correctness of the Attorney-General is slightly tempered by disappointment about the statement of the Secretary of State for War.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman, in dealing with these new Clauses, has, T think, rather missed the point which was in the minds of my hon. and gallant Friends who have put them down, and which has been expressed in the speeches of the hon. and gallant Members. What we are above all anxious about is whether there is any method possible under this Bill whereby people can be made not only to do the actual number of days' or hours' training which the Bill lays clown, but can be made to do it more or less at the times required, so that they will have a planned training. I was left in doubt by the Attorney-General's statement as to whether the regulations to which he referred would in fact be adequate to secure the purpose we have in mind, and with which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Defence has no quarrel, because it is quite clear that part time training will be valuable or useless not merely in accordance with the number of hours served but in accordance with some plan of training and education which is laid down from the start. As far as I could follow the Attorney-General's argument, it was that under Subsection (4) of Clause 2, the regulations which permit of converting the days into hourly periods would lay down certain rules which would have to be observed if the change from days into hours was to count. From my point of view, however, I am afraid he did not give sufficient details of the way these regulations would work to convince me that in fact they would meet our point. I can quite see that if the regulations are to lay down that a man can only count his hourly training to make up the days if he does so many hours in January, so many in February, so many in March—so that there is a planned, forced attendance and a plan of instruction leading up to the yearly camp—and that if he does not carry out these precise instructions under the regulations he is not able to count these drills towards making up his training—

I had intended to make that absolutely plain, and I thought I had done so. The position will certainly be that if a man does not do the drills as and when required, to commute the particular number of days he seeks or is permitted to commute, he will be liable to the double sanction that he will not escape liability to do the full period of 21 days whole time training and the more remote sanction that a monetary penalty may he imposed upon him.

5.15 p.m.

I thank the Attorney-General, and I would like to ask him one more question. He said "as and when required." How will he be required? Will the regulations lay down the drills he will have to attend, spread over the whole five years?

I apprehend that the regulations will not lay that down. The regulations will necessarily differ in the case of each Service and each unit, but they will give a power to each Service to require particular men in particular units to turn up at a regular and organised course of drills. It may be every day in a particular week or every day in a particular month, whatever seems to be practicable for the unit concerned. They will not leave a man with a choke of saying, "I will not turn up in May or June but I will put in all my drills in July." There will be some provision to secure regular attendance, so that the training given at the drills may be systematic.

That explanation from the Attorney-General relieves a good deal of my fears. My fear was that a man would be able to choose, that the regulations would lay down of course the number of drills he had to do to make up the days, but would leave him at complete liberty to choose when he did them. That is what appeared from the previous discussions. Of course that left it open to a man to do the whole of the drills, say, in the last year, and would have made complete nonsense of any form of training programme. I understand now, however, that without laying down complete details the regulations made under Subsection (4) will in fact specify that the hourly drills will not count towards making up the day unless they are carried out at times—not perhaps exact times, but in periods laid down and required of the soldier.

Then, if he does not carry out the drills at the required time he does not get the benefit of this Subsection at all, and even the hours he has already served will not count towards making up the necessary number of days?

Presumably, then, he can get a training notice to make him serve a number of days' training and the ordinary, normal sanctions would apply to that. No doubt some of my hon. Friends will want to ask more questions to get this absolutely precise, but personally I feel that that statement as to the sort of thing the regulations under Subsection (4) will contain removes a good deal of my apprehension. I can comprehend that if the regulations are full enough, that will to a large extent meet the point of view I have held.

Who is responsible for the efficiency of the training? Are we to assume that the departmental Service Ministers accept responsibility, or does it devolve on the Minister of Defence? I put that question for two reasons. I think everybody will appreciate what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General said, that it is far better not to exercise any sanctions at all, but that surely involves a responsibility on the Service Departments to provide adequate training facilities. At the present moment they are not there, and there does not seem to be much chance of these training camps being set up.

The Attorney-General has talked about weekend camps and six-day camps. If he went to any Territorial Association he would discover that there are no facilities at all for such training. If the Minister of Defence will give the House the assurance that he will see to it that there is, in every county, a standing camp to which men can go and do training, where they will have proper accommodation and proper catering, I believe that not only would the men welcome it, but, quite apart from any sanctions, they would want to make themselves efficient and would go to such camps. At the present moment, however, they do not exist. If in every county there could be for instance an existing airfield set aside as a standing camp, not only for the men called up for the Army but for the Air Force, where permanent staff instructors could be accommodated, with cover where training could be carried out in inclement weather, and where the weapons with which the men have to train could be provided, it would be very useful. At present it is impossible for a Territorial Association to know whether there is transportation for the men to the camps to train for the units to which they are attached. It makes sheer nonsense of training for a gunner, for instance, to do drill for an infantry unit.

The hon. Member is going far beyond the terms of the proposed Clause.

If we are to have a discussion on whether drills are to be converted into days surely it is important to know whether there are camps into which the men may go for their training.

There will be plenty of scope within the regulations for training to say that if a man does not take the system of training, he should not have any of his time excused. That would appear to be a better sanction than has been proposed by the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head). A further point is that a bench of magistrates may consist of two conscientious objectors and two old women, and that definitely would not be a suitable instrument for enforcing these provisions. There is still another point as to which I am in a good deal of doubt. What is the power to enforce order during these periods of training? I am not too happy about it. What is to happen to the man who goes along and plays the giddy goat?

With very great respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I suggest that it does. When we are considering the sanctions which are applicable, it is important that that matter should be considered.

The sanctions that the House is considering are those arising in the event of a man failing to present himself, and not of a man misbehaving himself.

Is it not important when we are requiring a man to attend for training and bringing him under military law to say that if he does not turn up, he is absent without leave and can be punished for it? I understand that that is not the position. If the man is not brought under military law, what is the position when he is there? Can he turn up and put in an hour "blowing raspberries" at the sergeant instructor?

I can assure the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) that if he were to follow the instructions of his right hon. and learned Friend and refer to the "Manual of Military Law" he would find there the answers to his questions. The hon. Member was a little unfair to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head). The suggestion of a £5 penalty did not come from my hon. and gallant Friend at all in the first place, but from the Attorney-General, who said, in the course of the Committee stage, that there was a £5 penalty for nonattendance at drill. In repeating that statement today he was basing it upon Section 21 of the Act of 1907. The Attorney-General was wrong in one respect. Under that Section, there can be a fine of £5 for not doing the required number of drills but not for nonattendance at a particular drill. I think that if the right hon. and learned Gentleman will read the proposed new Clause again, he will have to concede the point.

I agree that the point which has been put is thoroughly bad. The proposed Clause raises points of great importance. I am very glad that we have had a clearer statement from the benches opposite than we were able to get in the early hours of the morning recently. The Minister of Defence said that there should be sanctions. We agree, but in that he differs from his colleague the Secretary of State for War, who spoke about an amicable arrangement for turning up at the drill.

My statement has been taken out of its context. What I wanted to say was that there was no real penalty. The £5 sanction mentioned by the hon. Mem- ber was utilised before the war, but I do not think it will be used in the future.

I have read through HANSARD and I thought that the words of the right hon. Gentleman were quite clear. I do not want to go into the question at length or to enter into any dispute which may exist among Members of the Front Bench opposite. If a man does not present himself for parades where required to make up the 21 days in each year, he will be liable to be called up under a training notice to complete his service. How is this to work out in practice? We do not know what camps there are going to be. Suppose it should be decided that there is to be a six months' camp for each individual. That takes 42 days out of his 60, leaving a balance of 18, which, presumably, will be spread evenly over the other period. If a man fails in the first year to do the required number of days' training, or if he fails in the second year to do so, and he has to be called up in the third year for his training, how are we to work that out? We could serve upon him a training notice for a period less than six days, but as he will not be liable to do more than 4½ days I am puzzled how the regulation will be operated. I hope that I have got it right. It was a little hard to follow when the Attorney-General was dealing with it, because of his continual reference to the £5 penalty. I am inclined to agree that the question of the £5 is of small moment. What we want to see is an efficient system whereby men come to the right place at the right time to get the full benefit of their training, and unless we can provide some machinery, part-time training is not likely to prove of much value.

The hon. and learned Member referred me to the "Manual of Military Law." I wonder to which section he was referring. I can find nothing which provides power to discipline a man when he is not embodied.

The hon. and learned Member is quite wrong in thinking that the Territorial is subject to military law only when embodied. He is subject to military law when serving with any military forces. The hon. and learned Member will find the matter dealt with in the Territorial Army regulations, but I do not undertake to advise him on law.

What we are all trying to get is planned training for the Territorial conscript. Whether sanctions are or are not in existence, it is quite obvious that some form of sanction must be included in the Bill, if everyone is to understand what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it. I should like to hear a word from one of the Service Ministers, and preferably from the Secretary of State for War, who has said very little so far, who has been defended gallantly by the Attorney-General. I should like to hear what he proposes to do about planned training for these conscripts. I suggest that if there are sanctions, as I fully appreciate there are, they should appear in the Bill so that we shall all understand them.

I speak again by leave of the House. Regulations will not in themselves provide the exact extent to which the 60 days' total liability may be commuted by hourly drills. That will vary in different units and with different personnel. What the regulations will do is to provide, in the case of different units and, possibly, in the case of different personnel, that provision may be made, by orders, for liability to 15 days' camp in every year, with the remaining six days commuted to 24-hour drills; in another unit there might be 10 days' camp with the remainder of the time being devoted to weekend drills. It must be left to the discretion of those in command of particular units.

The Attorney-General speaks of the "remaining six days," but suppose five days remain—a training notice could not be served in that case?

In the event of that unlikely situation arising, one would fall back on the legal penalty. It is not likely to arise, because the regulations will provide in advance for a period of annual camp and for a period of hourly part-time training. The hourly training will commence earlier in the year than the camp, and if a man fails to comply with his obligations without reasonable excuse, he will get a new training notice. The hon. and learned Member's point concerned the end of the six-year period, when there might be an outstanding liability of five days. In that case one would have to fall back, if it were thought worth while—and it would be one case in hundreds of thousands—on the legal sanction. Section 21 provides that for the case of a man who fails to appear at the time and at the place appointed for preliminary training or for annual training, or who fails to attend the number of drills and to fulfil the other conditions. "Annual training" is the annual camp, and "preliminary training" is the hourly training. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] In my view it is. It is perfectly clear that it includes hourly training, and it cannot contemplate anything else. In other words, it means: "You must turn up at 6 o'clock at Carshalton Drill Hall on Thursday, and if you do not, there is this penalty." In any case, it is not likely to operate, because, as the hon. and learned Member has said, the real penalty is the administrative one.

I add my plea to that of my hon. and gallant Friends, that some words of the kind proposed should be incorporated in the Bill. As one who has spent many hours going through the "Manual of Military Law," as amended at various stages, I can say that it will make the lot of a commanding officer exceedingly unhappy unless definite standards are set down in the Bill. It seems to me that Clause 2 (4), which the Attorney-General has quoted in reply to these two Amendments, is extremely tightly worded. I hope that it will be stated categorically and in a convenient form for commanding officers who have to administer the regulations to which the Attorney-General has referred.

I thank the Attorney-General for his assurance, and in the circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.