asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the unsatisfactory working of the regulations under which British troops marrying without permission are posted to different theatres, he will consider establishing some sort of tribunals, so that soldiers infringing these regulations may have an opportunity of making statements before any action is taken.
No further postings under this rule will take place. A new regulation, which will not involve posting, will shortly be introduced.
Does the right hon. Gentleman's statement today represent a satisfactory solution of the problem which we debated just before Christmas in relation to the case of Guardsman Smith?
I think the new regulation, which is now in draft and will very shortly be approved, will solve the problem without involving posting a man away.
Does not the Minister realise that this interference by the Army authorities in the right of any man to marry the girl he chooses is causing great affront to decent people in this country, and does he not really believe that one of the fundamental freedoms of any man is the right to marry the girl he chooses without any reference to anybody in authority?
I think the Army has a responsibility in this respect—with the very large number of young men in Germany—to see that they do not rashly get married to undesirable girls. On the other hand, I think the new regulation will fulfil that function without the necessity for posting.
On a point of order. I did ask the Question but I have not had an opportunity of putting a supplementary question.
I will give the hon. Gentleman an opportunity.
Will the right hon. Gentleman make it very widely known that these new regulations are coming into effect? Nothing could be worse if men posted to other theatres are given the impression that the reason for their posting is that they married German girls.
No man has been posted for this reason during the last two months. Directly the orders are approved they will be circulated to the whole of the Rhine Army.