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Personnel (Political Views)

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1952

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty in view of his action regarding Commander Young, based on the political views held by him, what steps he now proposes to take with respect to the many men now serving, and who have served, in the Royal Navy, and who hold views identical with those of Commander Young.

None, Sir. I am not aware of any officer or man whose conduct is causing the same embarrassment and discredit to the Royal Navy as that of Mr. Edgar Young.

In view of the reply which the right hon. Gentleman has given to the first part of the Question, will he not reconsider the petty action he took in respect of Commander Young, at the same time wipe out the obloquy that he himself has inflicted upon the Senior Service?

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the basis for getting rid of someone either from the active list or the retired list is what he thinks or believes or the expression he gives to those beliefs, because, as the First Lord has told us, he is retaining men in the Service who hold views similar to those of Mr. Young?

I think there is some misunderstanding behind the Question of the hon. Member. Mr. Young has been taken off the retired list not because of his political utterances, but because he has used his naval connection to add weight to those political utterances, especially when making speeches abroad.

Does the First Lord mean that he described himself as being what in fact he is, a retired commander of the Royal Navy?

Does the First Lord realise that his action will have the backing of almost the whole of the people in this country?