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National Service (Period)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 18 May 1954

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if, in view of the relaxation in world tension, he will reduce the period of National Service to 12 months.

I am sorry that the Minister has not given an affirmative answer this time, but is he not aware that European countries, and also the Australian Government, have reduced the period of conscription recently, and surely it is time that this Government gave serious consideration to a considerable cut in the period of National Service?

I have previously assured the hon. Gentleman that if he asked me a question susceptible to an affirmative answer, I should be glad to give it, but my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister dealt with this question on 11th May, and I would refer the hon. Gentleman to what he said then.

Whilst appreciating the difficulty of reducing the period of National Service with present commitments, would not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that this is an additional reason for re-opening conversations with the Egyptian Government for the settlement in respect of the Canal Zone, which would really open the way to a reduction in the period of National Service?