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Commons Chamber
03 March 1959
Volume 601

House Of Commons

Tuesday, 3rd March, 1959

The House met at half-past Two o'clock

Prayers

[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

New Writ

For Norfolk, South-West, in the room of Sidney Dye, esquire, deceased.—[ Mr. Bowden.]

Oral Answers To Questions

Local Government

Manchester And Salford (Air Pollution)

1.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he is aware that workers engaged in Trafford Park, Manchester, on night shift are complaining of noxious fumes; what inquiries he has made; and what steps he proposes to prevent these emissions.

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My right hon. Friend is aware that there have been complaints, but he understands that these arise from processes which are not registered under the Alkali Act. The matter is therefore one for the local authority.

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Is the Minister prepared to consider letters which I have received from very big trade union branches at Salford on this matter? Secondly, does he feel satisfied that the limits imposed by the Alkali Act on the emission of sulphur dioxide and other acid fumes are being adhered to in Trafford Park, both by day and by night?

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The answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is certainly "Yes". On the second part, there are, I think, 12 works out of a total of about 150 at Trafford Park which fall within the jurisdiction of the Alkali Inspectorate. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are doing all we possibly can to keep down the emission of sulphur dioxide fumes.

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Is my hon. Friend satisfied that there are sufficient powers to deal with emission of sulphur dioxide fumes?

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Yes, Sir.

2.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he is aware of the unusually large number of hospital cases resulting from the recent fogs in Manchester and Salford; and what steps are being taken in conjunction with the Alkali Inspectorate and the Clean Air Council to reduce atmospheric pollution.

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My right hon. Friend is informed that there has been a heavy demand for hospital beds in Manchester and Salford as elsewhere due mainly to the incidence of acute respiratory infections. Manchester and Salford City Councils have in mind the early establishment of substantial smoke control areas in addition to the existing smokeless zones, and the Alkali Inspectorate are dealing as vigorously as possible with air pollution from processes registered under the Alkali Act. My right hon. Friend has not so far consulted the Clean Air Council about the problems of particular areas.

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Is the Minister aware that the Medical Officer of Health for Salford stated that on 30th January the amount of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere was the highest ever recorded for Salford, which is saying something? It was considerably higher than the figure in the 1952 London disaster, which killed 4,000 people. Since it is possible to wash acid fumes out of effluent gases, may I ask the Minister whether he feels that industrialists are spending the money necessary to do so?

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This is a difficult question. I understand the anxiety of the hon. Gentleman and indeed of my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Storey) about the conditions in the Manchester and Salford area, but it is a fact that one of the worst days for pollution in that district was Sunday, 25th January, when the only possible cause of the pollution was emission from domestic fires. Manchester City Council is proposing to introduce a further smoke-control area at Wythenshawe, and Salford Council is preparing four more smoke-control areas. On the industrial aspect of the matter the Alkali Inspectorate is vigorously pursuing this matter all the time. If the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) has any suggestions that he would care to put to my right hon. Friend at any time we should welcome them.

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Would my hon. Friend undertake to consult the Clean Air Council on this question, because many firms in Manchester have gone to a lot of trouble to comply with the regulations? It is just a few firms who have not even bothered to look into the matter with his inspectors. Much could be done to improve conditions.

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Yes, Sir.

Factory, Prescot (Noxious Fumes)

4.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs, in view of the fact that the Prescot Urban District Council has been informed that it has no powers, under the Clean Air Act or otherwise, to deal with the problem of noxious fumes emitted from a local factory, what Departmental action he proposes to take in the matter.

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The problems at this factory involve certain processes now registered under the Alkali Act, as regards which the alkali inspectors are responsible, and also certain unregistered processes, as regards which the council is responsible under the Clean Air Act. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that every effort will be made to secure a reduction in air pollution from the registered processes, though there are technical difficulties which cannot be quickly overcome. The district alkali inspector, recently paid a visit to the factory in company with the council's chief public health inspector, and will be prepared to assist with his informal advice as to the unregistered processes if the council wishes.

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Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Prime Minister, when Minister of Housing and Local Government five years ago, gave me a precisely similar Answer, except that he said on that occasion that the council had all the powers necessary to cope with this nuisance? Further, is he aware that over those five years householders in the area—I can send him evidence of this—have had to face a situation in which nothing will grow in their gardens, privet hedges have died, washing put out has turned green as a result of these fumes and there is corrosion of all metal properties? Will the Minister take some urgent action in view of the failure of the Government over the last five years to do anything about this nuisance?

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There has been no failure of the Government. Until 1st July last year my Alkali Inspectorate had no powers to deal with this matter but, since then, we have had powers over certain of the processes and we have been working in close co-operation with local authorities. I can assure the right hon. Member that I take this matter very seriously. These copper processes are difficult to control and technical problems are involved which cannot be solved easily.

Open Coal Fires

5.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what advice he has received from the Clean Air Council, in connection with abating the pollution of the air, as to the effects of advertising open coal fires; whether he is satisfied with the present position; and if he will make a statement.

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The Clean Air Council will meet in a few days time and my right hon. Friend hopes to discuss the matter then.

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Is the Minister aware that the Coal Utilisation Council, in its advertising campaign, is urging people to burn coal in open fires? Is there any co-ordination of policy between his Ministry and the Ministry of Power and between the Coal Utilisation Council and the Clean Air Council? Will he suggest to the Minister of Power that it would be better to spend money advertising smokeless fuel and at the same time to make sure that it is available for those who want it?

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There is, of course, close co-operation between my right hon. Friend and the Minister of Power. As I said, this matter is to be discussed with the Clean Air Council very shortly. In general, the Coal Utilisation Council is helpful to the cause of clean air, although I agree with the hon. Member that it is undesirable that sales of ordinary coal should be pushed in the "black areas" and particularly in smokeless zones, but this is a many-sided business.

Public Inquiries (Reports)

8.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs why the new procedure for public inquiries announced on 28th February, 1958, relating to reports of inspectors on public inquiries covering disputed planning permission applies only to inquiries held after 27th February, 1958; and whether he will make available to objectors and others concerned reports of inspectors on public inquiries held prior to that date, upon which his decisions have been given since that date.

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The decision to publish reports, which was announced on 27th February, 1958, applied to any inquiries held from that date on. Previously, the reports made to my right hon. Friend by his inspectors were written as confidential documents not intended for publication. The answer to the second part of the Question is, therefore, "No, Sir".

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Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that there is any difference in the nature of the inspector's report if it is made confidential or if it is made available to those concerned in a particular inquiry? The underlying situation there is surely undesirable. Is the hon. Gentleman aware of how unsatisfactory it is that, when a change in procedure has been announced, twelve months afterwards there should be decisions taken in his Ministry governed by the old and obsolete procedure?

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I am afraid I do not agree with the hon. Member. It is quite clear that reports written before 28th February were written as confidential reports. In certain cases they contained information about the personal circumstances of appellants and so forth. I think it would be quite wrong to publish those reports.

9.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he will place in the Library a copy of the report of his Department's inspector on the public inquiry heard in December, 1957, into the appeal of the Standard Brick Company Limited for planning permission to excavate sand at Godstone, Surrey, and upon which he has given his decision only recently.

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Reports of planning inquiries held by my right hon. Friend's inspectors before 27th February, 1958, are not published in any form, and my right hon. Friend regrets that he cannot see his way to complying with this request.

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Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I am presuming to give some support to my own Member of Parliament, the hon. Member for Reigate (Mr. Vaughan-Morgan), whose views I understand coincide with my own? Will the Parliamentary Secretary give a more conciliatory answer for his sake, if not for mine?

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I have already said that we are not prepared to publish the report, but, if it would help the hon. Gentleman, I am willing to let him have a copy of my right hon. Friend's decision letter, or, if need be, to place a copy in the Library.

Sewage (Treatment And Disposal)

10.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what experiments are taking place in this country in the treatment and disposal of sewage by new methods, including the sonic vibration method now installed at works near Cologne.

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Experiments are constantly in progress at the Water Pollution Research Laboratory and at sewage disposal works. One authority has had tests carried out in connection with the sonic vibration method. The results are not yet available.

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Will not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that we are faced with a very real and growing problem in the disposal of sewage? Does he agree that we should do everything possible to devise some means of dealing with sewage, instead of simply putting it into the rivers? Can he say whether his Department accepts any national responsibility for trying out these methods, apart from the laboratory work, or are we leaving it to the different sewerage boards?

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This is primarily a matter for the local sewerage boards. My right hon. Friend accepts an overall national responsibility. That is why I say that work is constantly being carried out at the Water Pollution Research Laboratory. The hon. Gentleman might also like to know that the method referred to in his Question has been the subject of tests carried out for Bracknell Development Corporation and that the Derby County Borough has recently applied for approval to instal this sort of installation. We are considering the application favourably.

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Is there any possibility of applying this or other methods on a wide scale? Can we get beyond the laboratory scale?

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So far, this experiment is being carried out for a local authority in the Ruhr in Germany, which has a population of about 20,000. The trouble at the moment is that it is not yet established, either in Germany or this country, that it would be effective in a large city.

11.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he is aware that the sludge disposal at the Maple Cross works is now out of control and that the matter is one of urgency; and what action he proposes to take in these circumstances to expedite the construction of works already planned and the further expansion which is now needed.

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I think it is going too far to say that the matter is out of control, though I agree that serious difficulty is being experienced. A public inquiry into the Colne Valley Sewerage Board's proposals has been provisionally fixed for 7th April.

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Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the words I use in the Question are taken from a report by the Clerk of the Collie Valley Sewerage Board, in which he says that sludge disposal is out of control? Moreover, he threatens that, unless some help is given, he will simply open the sluice gates and let the whole of the sludge go untreated down the river. In those circumstances, is it not a most serious situation which faces us? Can the Parliamentary Secretary tell the House when we are likely to have extensions to the work, other than those that are proposed simply to cope with the increased sewage that has to be dealt with?

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I agree entirely that the existing plant has failed badly. This is a very serious local problem. The public inquiry has been brought forward to an early date in April. I assure the hon. Gentleman that, once that Report is in, it will be considered as a matter of extreme urgency.

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Does my hon. Friend know that, as an alternative to letting the sludge run down the river, the sewerage board is proposing to dump it on my constituency? Will he ensure that the board installs some proper machinery at its works in order to avoid recourse to either of these highly objectionable expedients?

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We will consider what my hon. Friend has said.

Smoke Control Areas

13.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether, in the interests of clean air, he will ask local authorities which have established smokeless zones to report to him the principal difficulties they experience, including any local shortage of the smokeless fuels which householders wish to burn, in order that the difficulties may be considered and removed and the establishment of smokeless zones greatly extended.

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I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a circular issued on 26th January which invites local authorities in the "black areas" in England and Wales to consider a five-year programme for smoke control areas in their districts and to let my right hon. Friend know their conclusions. I expect that local authorities which already have smoke control areas will tell him of any difficulties they foresee as a result of their experience so far.

On the availability of smokeless fuel supplies locally, my right hon. Friend is guided by the views of regional advisory committees under the chairmanship of the regional directors of the Ministry of Power. An officer of the Department who recently visited a number of smoke control areas reported that the changeover to smokeless fuels has so far proceeded reasonably smoothly, but my right hon. Friend will continue to watch the position closely.

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Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether the circular that he has issued to local authorities on this point makes provision for the information, when it has been received by the Minister, to be co-ordinated and disseminated to local authorities which have not yet introduced smokeless zones? Some action of this kind will be necessary to spur them on, because I believe that there were only twenty-eight smoke control orders in operation at the end of last year.

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When the replies to the circular are received, they will be collated and my right hon. Friend, in conjunction with the Clean Air Council, will decide what the next policy steps ought to be.

Shop Premises (Car Sales)

14.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what consideration he has given to control of the location of premises used for car sales by removing such premises from the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order; and if he will make a statement.

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The effect of this Order is that if shop premises previously used for some other trade are used for the sale of motor cars, this change of use does not require planning permission. On the evidence before me, I do not consider that I should be justified in amending the Order so as to make planning permission necessary in such cases.

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Since the sale of cars invariably involves as much disturbance and traffic nuisance as, say, a petrol filling station or a garage, is not it desirable that car sales showrooms should be taken out of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order so that planning permission is necessary before they come into operation?

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We have had very few complaints in this matter. I am always ready to watch it. An access to the highway to enable cars to get on or off shop premises would require authorisation. I can say to the hon. Lady in all sincerity that at present I am not convinced that we need to make a change.

Home Safety (Scottish Booklet)

16.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he has considered the publication issued by the Department of Health for Scotland entitled "Design for Safety in the Home," a copy of which has bean sent to him; and if he will issue a similar one for use in England and Wales.

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I have not in mind to issue a separate booklet to housing authorities in England and Wales, because safety in the home will be dealt with as part of a general review of housing standards about to be made by a subcommittee of the Central Housing Advisory Cotnrnittee. Meantime, however, I shall be glad, with the concurrence of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, to send copies of the Scottish booklet to English and Welsh authorities for information.

Trowbridge Barracks Site (Development)

18.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when the Trowbridge Urban District Council can expect a decision on its appeal relating to the development of the Trowbridge Barracks site, having regard to the fact that nearly four months have elapsed since a public enquiry was held.

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This is an exceptionally difficult case, and my right hon. Friend is still not quite ready to take a decision. He expects to do so very soon, and I will inform my hon. Friend.

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Would my hon. Friend say how soon?

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In a week or two.

New School, Otley

19.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs why he did not revoke the consent given by the planning authority to the erection of the unsightly school building in brick, plaster and glass in proximity to the ancient Otley Bridge, where all the surrounding buildings are in stone; whether he satisfied himself that the local authority had been consulted and agreed to this bad building; and if he will take steps to prevent the erection of structures in such bad taste.

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My right hon. Friend was not consulted on the design of this school, and he thinks that such matters should be left to local planning authorities. I am told that Otley Urban District Council was consulted, and offered no comments before the plans for the school were approved by the West Riding County Council as both local planning authority and education authority.

Vale Of Health, Hampstead (Development)

21.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when he expects to announce his decision on the application of Mr. Erno Goldfinger for planning permission to develop a site in the Vale of Health, Hampstead, in view of the fact that a public inquiry was held in November, 1958.

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I have given permission for this development. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the letter notifying the applicant of my decision.

Petrochemicals, Limited, Partington (New Chimney)

22.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what decision he has taken upon the inspector's report upon the public inquiry into the application of Petrochemicals, Limited, for planning permission to erect a 300-feet chimney at Partington.

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The application raises difficult issues, which my right hon. Friend is still considering. He will reach his decision as soon as he can, and I will let my hon. Friend know when he does so.

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Is my hon. Friend aware that the overwhelming medical opinion in the district is against this chimney, as it will throw out large quantities of sulphur dioxide over a residential area that is already suffering from severe atmospheric pollution? If he does agree to the putting up of this chimney, will he—in view of the somewhat surprising statement he made earlier this afternoon that he has ample powers to deal with sulphur dioxide—give an assurance that those powers will be used to the full?

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The main issue here is whether this boiler plant and chimney, which is likely to discharge about 36 tons of sulphur dioxide a day, should be built in an area already badly polluted. The report now before my right hon. Friend deals with such considerations, and, of course, the alternative possibility that the sulphur should be removed by gas washing. I assure my hon. Friend that all those considerations will be taken into account.

Noise Nuisances

23.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what action he proposes to take upon the representations he has received from the Urban District Councils' Association upon the need for additional powers to deal with noise nuisances.

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The Association has been notified that, when opportunity permits, legislation will be introduced which will propose, among other things, that excessive, unreasonable or unnecessary noise should be made a statutory nuisance for the purposes of the Public Health Act, 1936. A provision on these lines is already included in many local Acts.

Rivelin Valley, Sheffield (Planning Appeal)

24.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs the cost to his Department of the inquiry into the appeal against the Sheffield Corporation's decision not to allow building developments in parts of the Rivelin Valley in Sheffield

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About £40.

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Will the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend to look at the question of protecting the public from frivolous appeals such as this one? We must ensure that everyone has the right to make a legitimate appeal, but is he aware that, in this case, the solicitors must have known that every political party, every civic organisation and all the Government Departments concerned were utterly opposed to any idea of building development in this valley, and that any appeal was bound to be frivolous?

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That is a point of view, but applicants for planning permission do not always regard their own applications—or, indeed, their appeals—as frivolous. I think that it would be quite wrong for my right hon. Friend to use his powers in a case like this to try to fetter the effective right of appeal of the citizen.

Housing

Rent Act (Decontrolled Houses)

3.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will institute an inquiry in Salford, in some other industrial city, or nationally, into the number of houses which have become decontrolled through a change of tenancy since the Rent Act became law and into the rent increases which have followed decontrol.

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I am not sure what purpose the hon. Member thinks that such an inquiry would serve.

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Would not the purpose be to reveal a very large number of such houses which are becoming decontrolled in this way despite the protection which was supposed to be given in the Rent Act to tenants in houses of under £30 a year rateable value? Does not this mean that new tenants, because of the terrible housing shortage, are being grossly overcharged when they go into their new homes?

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No, Sir, I do not think there would be any evidence of that. There would be evidence of the fact that not nearly so many of these decontrolled houses have been relet as the Government hoped. That is because the effect of the Opposition's pledge to repeal the Rent Act has operated severely against tenants and would-be tenants.

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Does not the Minister think that decontrol and its effects are matters of importance and of concern to him in relation to the housing situation generally? Why does he not answer the Question he has been asked?

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I was anxious to know what was in the mind of the hon. Member, because I thought the effect of an inquiry such as he contemplated would certainly not satisfy him.

Mortgage Loans (Women Applicants)

6.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware that some corporations, empowered to advance money on mortgages under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts, 1899 to 1923, to assist the purchase of existing houses or the construction of new houses, demand that women applicants supply a guarantor; and if he will introduce amending legislation to prohibit such restriction.

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I have no evidence that local authorities in granting mortgages require women borrowers to supply a guarantor. I propose, however, to send a circular to local authorities making it a condition of schemes under the Housing Act that loans be given without distinction of sex. I cannot do this in respect of loans made under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts, as the conditions governing loans under these Acts are embodied in law; but most loans for house purchase are now made under the Housing Acts, and use of the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts is steadily declining.

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While I was glad to hear the last part of that Answer, may I ask if the Minister is aware that I have with me the printed form for the scheme and general conditions of the County Borough of Hastings under these Acts, and that paragraph 9 says:

"The council will require to be satisfied that the applicant for the loan is capable of meeting his repayments, and where the applicant is a female, and in certain other cases, a guarantor of the repayments will be required."
Would not the Minister agree that such language is both outrageous and indefensible today? Could he find whether the County Borough of Hastings, following our debates in this House, is still using such out-of-date words?

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I recognise that it is not only the building societies which the hon. Lady is up against, but certain local authorities. I have no evidence from Hastings and there is no reason why I should have because it is not obligatory on the council to tell me exactly what it is doing, I repeat my assurance that I shall tell all local authorities that in future it will be an important condition of my approval of schemes under the Housing Acts that there must be no discrimination such as that to which the hon. Lady objects.

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If the right hon. Gentleman has not the necessary power under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts, could not he put down an Amendment today to be taken on the Report stage tomorrow of the House Purchase and Housing Bill?

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No, I think it would be outside the scope of that Bill and, in any case, as the number of loans under these Acts is steadily declining in relation to the Housing Acts, I do not think that is really necessary.

7.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he has considered the evidence supplied to him by the hon. Member for Coventry, South, on 17th December last relating to the demand for male guarantors in the case of women applicants for mortgage loans t and if he will make a statement.

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I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) on 22nd January, and to the debate on the Committee stage of the House Purchase and Housing Bill on 4th February.

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The Minister will not mind if I prefer the Answers given to me on this matter. Is he aware that since those Answers and the statement by the Building Societies Association that no such discrimination is made, many people, including several of his own party, say that the association is not telling the truth? Will he look into the matter of further evidence?

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I should be prepared to look into further any evidence, but what the Building Societies Association has done is to inform me that, as regards eleven societies which I thought the hon. Lady had in mind, it is the practice of those societies not to discriminate and not to demand that a woman shall have a guarantor. It is against the policy of the association as such to do that.

Building Land, Sunderland

15.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether, in view of the requirements of the Sunderland County Borough Council for new housing, he will reconsider his refusal to confirm the report of his inspector recommending the compulsory purchase of 53 acres required by the council for building purposes.

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I have no power to review or alter my decision on a compulsory purchase order once it has been given, as it has in this case.

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Is the Minister aware that his action is bound to disurb confidence in public inquiries and to import a suspicion of bias on his part? Is he further aware that the Sunderland County Borough Council believes that his action will seriously prejudice its present housing programme?

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No. I do not think that it is right that a Minister should be absolutely bound to endorse the view his inspector expresses as a result of any inquiry. The Minister is responsible to Parliament, and he must reach his own judgment. In this case it was clear that, apart from this land, Sunderland had enough building land available for live years' council house building. In those circumstances, it did not seem to me that it was incumbent upon me to confirm the compulsory purchase order for further land.

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Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is most unsatisfactory if he reverses a decision taken by an inspector at a public inquiry and then his decision is not challengeable in the House? It is very unsatisfactory that there is no procedure to enable a further review to take place of the Minister's reversal of an inspector's decision.

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The inspector does not reach a decision. He makes a recommendation. I am answerable to the House and I must, therefore, be left free to reach my own decisions.

Walsall Borough Council (New Rent Scheme)

17.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs why he has refused to grant a dispensation to members of the Walsall Borough Council who are tenants of council houses to vote on the proposed new rent scheme.

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Members of a local authority are debarred by law from speaking or voting on matters in which they have a pecuniary interest, unless I give a dispensation under my statutory powers. The power relevant to this case requires me to be satisfied that dispensation is in the interests of the inhabitants of the area.

I am prepared, in the exercise of this power, to consider sympathetically any application for a dispensation allowing councillors to vote on a particular issue when their inability to do so might lead to the adoption of a policy contrary to that of the party group which had been given a majority by the local electorate.

At the last election in Walsall, an equal number of councillors was returned in each of the two groups, and, in these circumstances, I was not satisfied that the councillors who applied for a dispensation had discharged the onus of showing that the interests of the inhabitants required the setting aside of the normal rule that members with a pecuniary interest should not vote.

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Does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that by his decision in this case he has altered the composition of the voting power of the council as established, and is it not most undesirable that his Ministry should act as a means of assessing the value of individual votes on the council?

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No, Sir. This jurisdiction that is given to me is a very difficult one. In this case, as the result of the last election had been to produce a dead-heat of councillors—a situation with which I am not unfamiliar—it did not seem to me that it would be right to give a dispensation. I can say to the House that in discharging my responsibilities I get criticised, now by Conservative councillors, now by Socialist councillors. That being so, I think that it is fair evidence that I am trying to act impartially.

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Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in Walsall, his decision has given very great satisfaction to fair-minded people of all political parties who value political consistency and despite the sort of chicanery that has given rise to the present position?

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I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I just try to do my best.

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One cannot deny that there was an element of political consistency in the Minister's decision, but did not it go against his own Departmental circular? Is not this a case in which the inability of even a small proportion of councillors to vote might possibly lead to the adoption of a policy to which the majority of a council were opposed? Is not that the very case to which his predecessor undertook to give sympathetic consideration? Is not the result of the electoral position in Walsall that he is, in fact, by refusing this dispensation, going against the views of the majority of the council and of the electors, and ought not this Section to be amended, and the inability of councillor tenants to vote withdrawn?

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I think that we must look, not at he number of aldermen or anything like that, but at the result of the last election in terms, not of votes, but of councillors. The underlying suggestion in the circular issued by my predecessor is that the will of the local electorate should prevail. It is in the light of that that I seek to exercise my jurisdiction, but I am having discussions with the local authority associations to see whether there is a prevailing view that I should submit to Parliament that Section 76 should be amended. So long as that Section stands as it does on the Statute Book, I submit to the House that I am acting impartially in my application of it.

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In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment of the House.

Newcastle (Building Programme)

20.

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he has yet replied to the request of the Newcastle housing authority for an increased allocation of houses to be built in the city.

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I told the council three weeks ago that it could expect to get approval for an increase in its 1959 house-building programme, and asked it for information about sites and projected contracts to show that it is likely to be able to fulfil an enlarged programme during the year. I am awaiting the council's reply.

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As I understand that the reply that the Minister has requested is in course of being sent to him, could he say that, provided he is satisfied with the reply, he will allow the city council to build 2,000 houses instead of the 900 he has allocated?

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As I have asked for certain information and have not yet received it. I think that it would be unreasonable for me to reach a decision now—before the information is available.

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But all I ask is whether the right hon. Gentleman is willing, provided that he is satisfied with the information he receives, to agree to the allocation of the 2,000 houses that are urgently needed in the city?

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I will say that, once I receive the reply, I will let the council know my decision as soon as I possibly can.

Ascension Island

Water Rationing

25.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give details of the system of water rationing now in force on Ascension Island.

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Each member of the English or St. Helenian community gets 8 gallons a day and, in addition, each household gets another 8 gallons.

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Is it not the case that European employees on the island get 8 gallons of water a day each, and 8 gallons for use in their houses, but that the St. Helenians get only 1½ gallons, and one-quarter of a gallon of hot water, if available? If so, why should there be this differentiation between one section of the community and the other? Would the Under-Secretary look at this question again, as it is giving rise to considerable resentment?

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My information is that there is no such discrimination; that each member of the English or St. Helenian community gets 8 gallons a day, and, in addition, each household, whether English or St. Helenian, gets 8 gallons a day.

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But is not the hon. Gentleman aware that when I visited this island last August the situation was as I have described it? Has there been a change since then?

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I have given the information, as I have it.

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Will the hon. Gentleman reply to the Question? Is there any inequality at all in the provision of a water supply to the people on this island, whether English or otherwise?

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I have tried twice to tell the House that, according to the information in my possession, there is no discrimination.

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Whilst it may be true that the ration for the British population is 8 gallons a day each, is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there has been a British base on the island for over 60 years and an American base there for only 5 years, yet the American ration is 50 gallons a day? Will he look into this situation, and see if we can at least do as well as the Americans?

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The American ration is supplied by an evaporation plant.

St Helenians (Curfew)

26.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why a curfew is imposed on St. Helenians employed on Ascension Island.

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The curfew which is of long standing is enforced rarely and then only for special reasons. For example, on the last occasion—four days in January, 1958—it was the means of apprehending a night prowler who had been entering the homes of staff out on night duty. Until recently, lights were put out in the quarters of the St. Helenian staff of Cable and Wireless at 11 p.m. but. following an improvement of the electricity supply, the time is now 11.30. This restriction is relaxed for all social occasions.

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Why should there be a curfew at all for these British subjects? Why should there be these disciplinary measures on this British island? Will the hon. Gentleman look at the matter again? To differentiate between one set of British subjects and another really does give rise to the greatest resentment on the island. I should be very grateful if the hon. Gentleman would consider the question from that point of view.

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As I tried to explain at the beginnning of my reply, the curfew is very seldom used. The last occasion was just over a year ago.

Mauritius

Economic Survey

27.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when an economic survey of Mauritius will be carried out.

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This matter is under consideration by the Government of Mauritius, and I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

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As my hon. Friend has previously stated that emigration is no solution to the problems of Mauritius, will my hon. Friend agree that economic development becomes of increasing importance, and can he say whether the World Bank has been asked to carry out or will be asked to carry out any special survey?

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I will certainly look into the point my hon. Friend has made.

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Is the Minister aware that the Luce Committee found over 20,000 unemployed in the island, which is almost ten times the number given to me in answers by Ministers during the last year or two? In view of this unemployment, does not the hon. Gentleman think that we need an economic survey and that there should be diversification of the economy in order to mop up the unemployment?

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Yes, Sir; we consider, and so do the Government of Mauritius, that an economic survey is of the greatest importance, more particularly for the longterm economic development of the island.

Election (Broadcasts)

39.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will ensure that the opposition parties in Mauritius have a fair proportion of broadcasting time over the local radio compared with Government Ministers prior to the election on 9th March.

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The Mauritius Broadcasting Service will not be made available for party broadcasts by Ministers or anyone else before the election on 9th March.

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Is it not a fact that Ministers have broadcast in support of the five-year plan? If that is so, should not the opposition parties be allowed to broadcast their views on this matter?

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I understand that Mr. Guy Sauzier, who was a nominated member of the Executive Council, made a broadcast. I am informed that this was not a party political broadcast but a Ministerial broadcast. It was also something in the nature of a farewell broadcast, because Mr. Sauzier is leaving Mauritius and retiring from political life.

Kenya

Africans, Nairobi (Houses)

28.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement about the progress of urban African house building in Nairobi.

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With the completion by the Kenya Government of 1,400 houses this month, the first stage of the city council's plan to provide 5,000 houses will have been achieved. Finance for some 500 more houses, to house 2,500 Africans, has been advanced to the council by the Central Housing Board, and construction is likely to begin in two or three months' time.

The Government propose to invite contractors to tender for a further 3,000 family type houses, on the understanding that in the first place the contractors will provide the capital, which will be repaid over a period of years after an initial moratorium.

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Does not that reply reflect very great credit on Mr. Amalemba who has stood up to political intimidation and has now proved his ability as Minister?

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Yes. I am very glad that Kenya has found a Minister who can devote his whole time and enthusiasm to this most important service and give real proof to the Africans of the real value which they gain by participation in the Government.

Singapore

Trade Unions

29.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many trade unions were dissolved in Singapore in 1958; how many have appealed against the dissolution; what were the reasons for dissolving the Malayan Seamen's National Union and the Harbour Board Workers' Union; and how are the rates of wages and conditions of employment of these men negotiated.

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Two voluntarily and fifteen by withdrawal of certificates of registration. Of the latter, three have appealed. The Harbour Board Workers' Union was dissolved at its own request. The certificate of registration of the Malayan National Seamen's Union was withdrawn for continued contravention, after notice, of the provisions of the Trade Union Ordinance relating to the preparation of annual returns.

On the last part of the Question, an agreement applying to all seamen irrespective of union membership and negotiated in 1957 between four seamen's unions—of which the Malayan National Seamen's Union was then one—and the Singapore Maritime Employers' Federation is still in force. Harbour Board workers are catered for by a joint consultative and negotiating committee on which six trade unions are represented.

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I am much obliged to the Secretary of State for that reply, but is he aware that, when a trade union secretary becomes a little pugnacious and puts up a good fight for his members, he is immediately dubbed a Communist and that is made an excuse for dissolving his union? Will he ensure that this is not made an excuse in the future.

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The hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. He cannot both press for things to be made a matter of concern and responsibility for local Ministers and then get angry at the use they make of their responsibility.

Zanzibar

Administrative Department (Africans)

30.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress is being made in appointing suitable Africans to the Administrative Department of Zanzibar; and if he will state the number of Africans employed in the information section of this Department.

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Four Africans now hold senior posts in the Provincial Administration. A total of eleven Africans are employed in the information section.

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Does not the Minister think that, on an island of this racial composition, there are far too few Africans employed in this Department? Further, is he aware that, among the people of the island, the wireless is now named the "Voice of Aden" because of its predominantly Arab composition? Is not this an unhappy situation in view of the island's population?

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I think that the expansion of African staff in the posts to which the hon. Gentleman is referring depends upon the expansion of education facilities. We are concentrating on that at the present time.

Secondary Education

31.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what consideration lie has given to the plans for expanding secondary education in Zanzibar, particularly for African girls; and if he will state the numbers of African boys and girls who completed their school certificate course in 1958.

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This was one of the matters considered by a local committee on education problems, the report of which should be available shortly and will then be considered by the British Resident. Eleven African boys and one girl completed the 1958 school certificate course.

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Can the Minister give an assurance that he will give his special attention to the matter of secondary education? Is he aware that the African Party won all the seats at the last elections in 1957, and, in view of this, there is much complaint by these members of the Legislative Council and their supporters about the lack of African secondary education?

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I have no doubt that the Committee will have taken full account of this plainly very important problem.

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Can the Minister say why it is not generally recognised that it is most important to educate the potential mothers of Africa?

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I think that the right hon. Lady is quite wrong in thinking that it is not so recognised.

Aden

Legislative Council Elections

32.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the disturbances in Aden that preceded and followed the elections to the Legislative Council in January.

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There were no disturbances immediately before or after the elections on 4th January.

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Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many complaints about these disturbances have been received from people in Aden? Were none of them transmitted to him by the local authorities?

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No, Sir; there were none at all. There were about six cases of a minor character, the details of which I will send to the hon. Gentleman, but they certainly can in no way justify the description "disturbances".

Industrial Situation

33.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what representations he has received from the Aden Trades Union Congress, the International Confederation of Free Trades Unions, and the British Trades Union Congress about the industrial situation in Aden; and if he will make a statement.

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I received in Aden a letter from the Aden Trades Union Congress dated 14th February which included representations on a number of matters related to the industrial situation in Aden. These are being carefully studied. No formal representations have been received from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions on this subject, but before I went to Aden I had a talk with a delegation from the British T.U.C. about industrial relations in the territory.

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Since the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions has expressed concern at the industrial situation in Aden, will the right hon. Gentleman agree to meet it to discuss the situation?

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If it makes a request to me I will certainly consider it.

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While fully recognising the interest of the British Trades Union Congress in industrial matters in Aden, may I ask my right hon. Friend to resist any attempt by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions to interfere in the internal affairs of British territories?

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I think that it is to the British Trades Union Congress that the unions in Aden should most wisely look for guidance in their difficulties.

34.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what consultations have taken place in Aden between the Government and the trade unions for establishing better machinery for industrial relations.

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There have been no formal consultations recently, but the Aden Government have had regular informal discussions with representatives of the Aden T.U.C., the unions and employers with the object of improving the negotiating machinery. I understand that the Aden T.U.C. is now ready to consider co-operating in setting up a joint industrial council for the port.

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Is the right hon. Gentleman willing to sponsor the plea of the Aden T.U.C. that there should be consultation in all the main industries in the port before redundancies and dismissals take place?

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I gave the Aden T.U.C. an opportunity of meeting me when I was there last week. I am sorry to say that it did not take it.

Nyasaland

European Agriculture

35.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any decision has yet been reached by the Nyasaland Government regarding the future of European agriculture.

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No, Sir.

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Is the hon. Gentleman fully aware of the genuine fears felt by Africans in Nyasaland about the future of agriculture. Is he aware that they fear that this will be one more portfolio which will go over to the Southern Rhodesians in the Federal Parliament? Are not these factors one of the most important causes of the present physical disturbances in the Protectorate? Will the Minister pay careful attention to this matter when he is considering the future?

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We shall certainly try to inform ourselves of the different currents of opinion in Nyasaland, but we must await the outcome of the Governor's discussion with the authorities.

Situation

45.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a further statement on the situation in Nyasaland.

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I should be grateful if the hon. Member would await the statement which I am to make at the end of Questions.

Hong Kong

Educational Text Books

36.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the value of educational text books imported last year into Hong Kong from Taiwan and China, respectively.

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I am asking the Governor of Hong Kong if the information is available and shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

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When the hon. Gentleman is seeking those figures, will he impress on the Governor the need to keep a fair balance in the type of educational text books now being used in the schools in Hong Kong?

Kenya

Kkm Movement (Arrests)

40.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Kenyan Africans have been arrested, up to 31st December, 1958, for offences connected with the newly-formed K.K.M. movement; and, of those arrested, how many were former Mau Mau adherents.

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Of the 1,777 Africans arrested up to 31st December, 1958, for K.K.M. activities, 1,672 or 94 per cent. were former Mau Mau adherents.

41.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many of those Kenyan Africans, arrested up to 31st December, 1958, for offences connected with the newly-formed K.K.M. movement, have been convicted and detained; and how many of such convicted and detained persons, respectively, are former released Mau Mau convicts and detainees.

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Of the 1,777 Africans arrested up to 31st December, 1958, for K.K.M. activities, 1,315 were convicted in the courts and 326 were detained. Some 50 of the latter had previously been detained during the emergency. I am asking the Governor how many of those convicted were former Mau Mau convicts and detainees and I will circulate a further reply in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

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Would not my right hon. Friend agree that these Questions and Answers indicate how right Her Majesty's Government and the Kenya Government are to resist political agitation for the premature release of Mau Mau detainees?

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Yes, Sir.

Jamaica

Banana Industry (Commission Of Inquiry)

42.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what support is being given by Her Majesty's Government to the commission appointed by the Jamaican Government to consider the marketing of bananas.

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In instituting this inquiry the Jamaican Government have not sought the advice of Her Majesty's Government, although they did inform me that the Commission was being set up. The Commission will investigate every aspect of the banana industry and not only marketing.

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is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is great concern in Jamaica about the price of £50 15s. a ton, which is the lowest for very many years? Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that I put this Question down to the President of the Board of Trade, but it was transferred to his Department? Should not someone be responsible for ensuring that trade relations with Jamaica are better than they are, particularly with regard to price?

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This Commission is purely an internal Jamaica matter. I am naturally extremely interested in the problem in Jamaica, the Windward Islands, and the Federation as a whole. Matters are not finally settled, but it is expected that a joint delegation from Jamaica, the Windward Islands and the West Indies Federal Government will come to London in the summer for talks on certain aspects of the price assistance scheme. That has nothing to do with the purely Jamaican commission of inquiry.

Malta

Constitution

43.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on developments in Malta following the suspension of the constitution providing for the election of a Parliament; and which Maltese citizens have been selected to serve on the Governor's Council.

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The 1947 Constitution is still in force, but a new Constitution is being prepared and will be introduced in the near future. An important and serious development was a not last Friday at the dockyard, on which I am circulating a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

As regards the second part of the Question, the membership of the Gover- nor's Council will be announced when the new Constitution is ready.

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What is the use of the Prime Minister in Moscow saying that British imperialism is obsolete when he destroys democratic institutions in Malta in this way? Is not the right hon. Gentleman yet able to say whether "stooges" have been found in Malta to sit on the fatuous Council which he is establishing?

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The hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, perhaps not surprisingly, is a travesty of the facts.

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Is not the future of Malta entirely dependent on its economic prosperity, and are the present activities of the late Prime Minister conducive to the future prosperity of Malta?

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No, they certainly are not.

Following is the statement:

There were disturbances in the Naval Dockyard last Friday at noon which lasted until 2.30 when the situation was brought under control. During these disturbances, some damage was done and I regret to say that the Admiral Superintendent and the Captain of the Dockyard, when they attempted to intervene, were first stoned and then assaulted. It is thought that the trouble was started by a number of apprentices and young workers, including members of the Young Labour League. They seem to have used as their pretext the issue on Friday morning of an Admiralty notice, the text of which was as follows:
"H.M.G.'s Dockyard in Malta will be transferred to the management of Messrs. Bailey on 30th March. The Admiralty regret that they will not be able to retain your services after the 29th March and that you will be discharged on Admiralty books on that date.
Arrangements have been made for you to enter the service of Messrs. Baileys if you wish as from 30th March. The wages and conditions of your employment will be those offered by the firm.
The Admiralty take this opportunity of thanking you sincerely for your past services and of wishing you all good fortune in your new job."
A number of rioters have been taken into custody and investigations are proceeding. Precautions are also being taken against the possibility of further disorder. Although riots of this character damage facilities and must inevitably endanger confidence, what has happened does not in any way affect the decision to transfer the dockyard to Messrs. Bailey, with whom it is hoped to agree final details in time for the transfer to take place on 30th March. as announced.

Cyprus

Political Organisations And Trade Unions

44.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the bans on the activities of political and other organisations in Cyprus will be lifted; and when trade unions will be permitted to function freely.

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As regards the first part of the Question, I cannot at present add to the Prime Minister's statement of 19th February, but it is our intention to bring the state of emergency to an end as soon as possible. Trade unions are, and have been throughout the emergency, allowed to function freely.

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Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a number of political, ecclesiastical and other organisations—and, despite what he has said, trade unions as well—have had their functions restricted during the period of emergency? Will he take urgent steps to lift these restrictions?

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No. Action has been taken against trade union leaders in their individual capacity. The trade unions have been allowed to function normally. Under the agreed conclusions of the London conference, two bodies will he set up--a joint commission in Cyprus and a transitional committee. The removal of bans on any organisation can best be considered in these connections.

British Somaliland

Education

46.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many students of British Somaliland are receiving secondary school and university education, respectively, in the United Kingdom, Somaliland, or elsewhere; and what proportion of Somalis are now filling Government administrative posts in British Somaliland.

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Students receiving secondary education in the United Kingdom, the Somaliland Protectorate and elsewhere number 39, 81 and 26 respectively. There are 12 students at universities in the United Kingdom and 4 else- where. A further 42 students are undertaking various courses of higher education and practical training in the United Kingdom. Higher education is not available in the Protectorate. All those students are government sponsored. Eight Somalis hold Government administrative appointments out of a total of 33.

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Does not the right hon. Gentleman feel that the number of students receiving secondary and university education is quite inadequate in view of the very great responsibilities which Somalis will have to exercise next year when they have responsibility for their own Government?

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It is certainly not enough, but it is a very great improvement on what it was before.

Uganda

Buganda

47.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further developments have taken place in Uganda in respect of the political claims of Buganda.

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A resolution passed by the Buganda Lukiko on 5th December, 1958. seeking termination of the Buganda Agreements and the surrender of the powers of protection was not approved by the Governor. A memorandum addressed to Her Majesty The Queen by the Lukiko, with a covering letter by the Kabaka, has been received, and I am consulting the Governor about it before tendering advice to Her Majesty.

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Is anything being done to try to reconcile the rival claims of Buganda on the one hand and the rest of Uganda on the other?

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We always try to do that.

Northern Rhodesia

Kariba Lake

48.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many applications for land on the shore of the new Kariba Lake have been received by the Kariba Lake Co-ordinating Committee; and, of these, how many are from Africans.

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Twenty-two, none of which is from an African, but it is expected that when the lake is full a number of African villages will move down to the shore.

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Do not those figures enforce the view that Africans are now gravely worried by the fact that the new Kariba Lake will become a great commercialised venture for Europeans only in which they will lose existing rights which they may now have in fishing, and so on? Will the hon. Gentleman say whether the fears of the Africans will prove to be true?

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First, the interests of the Africans are predominent in our mind. Secondly, as I tried to explain in my Answer, we expect that a number of African villages will move down to the shore.

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That is not an answer.

49.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how much Crown Land lies along the shore of Lake Kariba.

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I have consulted the Governor, and when his reply is received I shall circulate the information in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

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Why does the hon. Gentleman need to consult the Governor on a matter like this? He has only to look at the map to see that on the north shore there is no Crown land whatsoever. Therefore, the only land which will be lost is the native trust land, the reserve land, which now belongs to the Africans. Is it the case that that land will not pass into the hands of the Europeans in the development of the new Kariba Lake?

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I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is misinformed. As I understand it, there is a strip of Crown land on the north bank of the Zambesi which is about ten miles long and two miles deep. I await details of the area upstream from the dam which will be on the shore of the lake. It is because I have not those details yet that I did not want to give the hon. Gentleman a false answer.

Questions To Ministers

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On a point of order. May I have your advice, Mr. Speaker, on a matter of procedure on Questions? On Wednesday of last week I submitted two Questions, one to the President of the Board of Trade and one to the Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty. Both were transferred to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The first Question has been answered today, but the second has been put on the Order Paper for tomorrow, a day on which the Colonial Secretary does not normally answer Questions. Is it possible that arrangements might be made so that when a Question is transferred it is put down for reply on a day appropriate to the Minister?

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I have often said that the transfer of Questions has nothing to do with me and I repeat it again, but I hope that Ministers and Departments, in transferring Questions, will consider the convenience of hon. Members as much as possible.

Federation Of Rhodesia And Nyasaland (Hon Member For Wednesbury)

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On a point of order. I submitted to you, Mr. Speaker, a Private Notice Question—

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I have ruled that for an hon. Member whose Question has been refused to read it out to the House is an abuse of the rules of the House, because he gets his Question before the House on a point of order.

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I was merely going to ask whether you would be so good, Mr. Speaker, as to state why the Question, of which I gave you Private Notice, has been rejected by you?

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I remember the hon. and learned Member's Question. He asked about the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) and what had happened to him. I would preface anything that I say by reminding the House that I am as much bound as is any hon. Member by the rules on Questions. When considering a Private Notice Question, I have to see whether it conforms to the general rules on Questions. One of the most important is that the Question relates to the Departmental responsibilities of Ministers.

Yesterday, in the exchanges that took place, it was made clear that in the Government's view, and on the documents as I was able to understand them, the matter of immigration and the making of an order that the hon. Member for Wednesbury was a prohibited immigrant was entirely a Federal responsibility, on which the Federation was not obliged to consult Her Majesty's Ministers here in the United Kingdom at all. Therefore, I was bound to rule that the hon. and learned Member's Question was not in order, as being deficient in the responsibility of a Minister.

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In view of your Ruling yesterday, Mr. Speaker, on the facts as they existed yesterday, I would not, of course, have sought to trouble you further today, but the position now is that a deportation order has been made and carried out, and the information on the tape is that the Northern Rhodesia Government agreed to the action taken and there is a report in a newspaper, from a correspondent in Lusaka, that the Northern Rhodesian police were also there to support Federal officers, if necessary, but were not called upon to do so. It looks, in that case, as if the Colonial Secretary is aware of it and has responsibility for it, and it was in those circumstances that I sought to put my Question.

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The hon. and learned Member has produced a lot of facts of which I do not know, but the Question which he put to me, and put in at the very last minute—in fact, it was not submitted in writing until after 12 o'clock—seemed to me to be a matter entirely of the responsibility of the Federal Ministers. The hon. and learned Member may take a different view of the law on the subject from the view I take, but I understand that there is to be a debate on this subject tomorrow, when all that can be gone into.

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It is surely not necessary for an hon. Member, or a right hon. Member, who submits a Private Notice Question to you, Mr. Speaker, to give you a full account of all the facts which have been published in the newspapers. It is reasonable to assume that, naturally, you would ascertain what had taken place. My hon. and learned Friend the Member far Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) has made it plain that, according to the reports received from Lusaka, not only were the Government of Northern Rhodesia aware of this but also apparently concurred in this action.

With great respect, whatever personal views there may be about my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stone-house), it is surely the duty of the House to consider very seriously a situation in which Her Majesty's Government have some share of responsibility for deporting an hon. Member from a Colonial Territory.

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As I understood the matter, and still understand it, the hon. Member for Wednesbury has been removed from the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland by virtue of an order declaring him to be a prohibited immigrant. That order was made by the Federation authorities, for whom this Government in that sphere has no responsibility. I understand that the hon. Member was transferred from Lusaka which is in Northern Rhodesia and, by virtue of that order, the action of removing him was entirely that of the Federal Government and nobody else.

The action which the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) says was taken by the local police in assisting there was, I presume, under the orders of the Federal Government, because it is the Federal Government who made the order declaring the hon. Member for Wednesbury a prohibited immigrant.

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Further to that point of order. I must have put the matter a little confusedly, Mr. Speaker. The report is that the Government of Northern Rhodesia agreed to the action taken. If they agreed to the action taken, then the Colonial Secretary here is answerable for that action.

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If the hon. and learned Member's Question to me had been whether, in view of the fact that the Northern Rhodesian Government had agreed to this, he could put a Private Notice Question, that would have been a different matter, but that was not the Question that reached me.

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This is a very grave matter. An hon. Member of the House has been arrested and deported from a British Colonial Territory and I would hope that the whole House would consider this as a serious matter.

We fully understand that, as the situation was yesterday, the order had been made by the Federal Government and, although there was some disagreement about their rights in this matter, nevertheless you, Mr. Speaker, took the view, and we have to accept it, that you could not accept a Motion for the Adjournment of the House on those grounds. But now we have two particular reports, first, that the Government of Northern Rhodesia agreed to this and, secondly, that the police of Northern Rhodesia, in Northern Rhodesia, indirectly under the control of the Colonial Secretary, took some part in the act of deporting an hon. Member of this House.

I submit to you that it was reasonable that a Question on this matter should have been accepted so that the Colonial Secretary could have given some explanation.

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If the Question had been confined to a matter which included only the responsibility of the Northern Rhodesia police, and if I had been satisfied that the Northern Rhodesia police were on this occasion acting under the orders of the Colonial Secretary, or that the Colonial Secretary was responsible for their action there, it would have been a different story, but that was not the Question as it came to me. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman, also, that this is a matter which I understand—and as soon as I can I shall call the Lord Privy Seal to make a statement on tomorrow's business—which can be fully debated tomorrow. We must not debate it now.

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May I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on procedure? Your Ruling was based on the responsibility of the Federal Government, but is it not the case that frequently over the years, and even up to a few days ago, Questions have been put to Her Majesty's Government about the arrest, deportation or expulsion of British subjects whether in Russia, or Egypt, or anywhere else in the world, and that it has been the practice of the House that Her Majesty's Government are responsible for making inquiries on these matters, even if they are entirely within the jurisdiction of the countries concerned? Are we not entitled, therefore, to ask questions on a matter more directly under the jurisdiction of Her Majesty's Government?

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The question which the hon. Member raises assumes that the hon. Member for Wednesbury is under arrest. I have made inquiries about that, and I find that he is not. He has been transferred to another part, to Dar-es-Salaam, where he is perfectly free to do what he likes—to come back to this House, if he wants to.

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On a point of order. I wish to raise a complaint of breach of Privilege concerning the hon. Member for Wednesbury, and—

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If the hon. Member will await the proper time, I will call him to make his point on privilege.

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Further to the original point of order. All I was seeking to get was a statement from the Colonial Secretary on the deportation. The deportation means that somebody has pushed the hon. Member for Wednesbury out of Northern Rhodesia. That has been done with the co-operation of the local Northern Rhodesian forces, and with the approval of the Northern Rhodesian Government.

For that, the Colonial Secretary is responsible, and all we are asking is that a statement about that should be made by the Colonial Secretary in this House as an urgent matter of public importance. All we are asking is for a factual statement, and the fact that there is to be a debate tomorrow, in my respectful submission, does not touch it at all. What we want to have is factual information upon which we can base our debate.

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I am afraid that that does not alter my decision. As I said before, the Question as submitted to me related entirely to the responsibility of the Federation Government, and not anybody else.

Business Of The House

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I have a short statement to make on business.

Arrangements have been made, following discussions through the usual channels, for the Opposition Motion relating to the Prohibition of Entry into a British Protectorate to be debated tomorrow, Wednesday, at 7 p.m.

We hope to make good progress with the House Purchase and Housing Bill until that hour, and it has been agreed to complete the remaining stages of the Bill in one further day.

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We are glad to have made available Opposition time for this debate on the understanding announced by the right hon. Gentleman, but may I now ask him whether, in view of this debate, the Government will make a statement on the deportation of the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) from Northern Rhodesia?

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No, Sir. The hon. and learned member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas), who intervened with you earlier, Sir, on a point of order, brought up certain evidence which is in process of being examined. I think that it would be a far more sensible course for the House if we were to adhere to the debate tomorrow, when the Government will be only too pleased to answer the challenge of the Opposition and give all the latest information. I think that that would not only be the most appropriate course, but would also be the more efficient course. We shall be perfectly ready to give full information on that occasion.

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Is the reason why the Government are unwilling or unable to give the information today that they are not sure of the facts at the moment, but that, as soon as they have the facts available, they will make a statement to the House?

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No, Sir. Perhaps I was being too modest. In my opinion, at least one of the facts given by the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East is untrue, but I do not want to say that until I have verified it. Therefore, I think that it would be very much better that my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary should make an authoritative statement after checking the facts which the hon. and learned Member has brought to our attention; otherwise, we cannot make an authoritative statement which we can be sure is correct. I am quite sure that it would be wrong to make any imputations or statements which cannot be verified. As we have a debate tomorrow, it is far more sensible that the whole interchange should take place tomorrow.

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As there appears to be some confusion—at least, I confess that I am confused myself on the legal and constitutional position—would it not be advisable for those of us who are not familiar with the subject, if the Government issued a statement, perhaps a short White Paper, before the debate tomorrow, setting forth what they regard as the legal and constitutional position so that those of us who are not fully informed on the subject, and who are certainly not experts on it, will be able to assess the position correctly?

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I sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman in that the Acts, particularly the Act of 1953, followed by certain actions of the Federal Legislature, when read together, are very complicated. They have to be read with a Schedule to understand the full implications of this matter. I have done my best, with the aid of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, to understand the matter.

If I may be permitted to discuss the practicability of a short statement with my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, may I say that he has already said to me that he will do his best to meet the wish of the right hon. Gentleman and the House? If we find it impossible, I cannot go further, but I will do my best to see that there is something available which will make the debate a little dearer.

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May we take it that the Government will be prepared to make a short statement at the end of Questions tomorrow, both on the legal position as they see it, and on the question of the hon. Member for Wednesbury, before the debate is opened from this side of the House?

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I am not so sure whether we should adopt that procedure or attempt to put something on paper. I think that it is probably better to put it on paper, because the House has a natural inclination to extend its discussions following upon a Government statement, especially on such a controversial matter. If we are to have the debate at seven o'clock in the evening, I think that it would be better to reserve most of this debate until then, but if we can set out anything that will clarify the position it will be to the advantage of all concerned.

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May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will seek to implement the promise which he has just made, because it appears to me that if there is no statement on paper which hon. Members can examine, and about which they can come to a conclusion, and if it is left entirely to the Attorney-General's statement, there may be more confusion? Will he see that there is something on paper?

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I have said that I will do my best to meet the wishes of the right hon. Gentleman and the House. I have already had consultations with my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary on this subject.

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In the statement which the Government are to prepare, Will they include information about any hon. Members of this House who have been deported, either from foreign countries or British Colonial Territories, and show what action has been taken by the Government in such cases?

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No, Sir. I would confine my compliance with the request of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) to the point which he raised about the need for clarification of the legal position. Then, opinions, precedents and other matters can be raised in the debate.

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To clarify the whole situation, will my right hon. Friend consider with his right hon. Friends whether it might be possible to include in the information made available to the House the text of the speeches which the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) made overseas?

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No, Sir. No doubt, reference can be made to these speeches from the published extracts which are available in the House to anybody who is interested, but I really must confine my understanding to the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman; otherwise, we shall have confusion.

Nyasaland (State Of Emergency)

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Since the statement of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, on Friday, 27th February, the situation in Nyasaland has continued tense. The airstrip at Fort Hill was recovered with the aid of a detachment of Tanganyika police; it is now in use again for light aircraft.

The presence of the reinforcements from other parts of the Federation had the effect of preventing major disturbances in the last few days; but the situation continued to be so dangerous and there was such clear indication of the intention of the Congress to stir up further disturbances, involving widespread violence and murder of European, Asian, and moderate African leaders, that the Governor was compelled this morning to declare a state of emergency.

Leading members of the Congress, including Dr. Banda, have been detained and removed out of the Protectorate to Southern Rhodesia, where they will be held as long as the Governor of Nyasaland thinks it necessary. It would be clearly impracticable, in present circumstances, to detain them in Nyasaland.

I am now awaiting a full report from the Governor, and will give the House further information as soon as it is available.

I am sure that this action was necessary in the interests of people of all races in Nyasaland, including the great majority of peaceful and law-abiding Africans whose lives and property have been threatened by the violence instigated by the Nyasaland African Congress.

When order has been restored, Her Majesty's Government will certainly resume with the Governor consideration of what constitutional reforms may be appropriate.

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Did the Colonial Secretary see in The Times this morning that the Governor of Nyasaland said at his Press conference yesterday afternoon—that is, barely 24 hours ago—that

"… no state of emergency was needed in Nyasaland to act against dissidents."?
Is not this the most extraordinary state of emergency that has ever been declared? Have we ever had such a categorical statement made by a Governor about the absence of a need for a state of emergency so soon before one has been declared? Is not the reality of the position that the Governor is not acting freely, that the Colonial Secretary has to support what is done, whether he agrees or not, because he is abdicating his responsibilities to the Central Government?

Is not this exactly what was asked by the Federal authorities a week ago, and refused by the Governor of Nyasaland at that time, and is not the Colonial Secretary ashamed to come here and camouflage the real position in Nyasaland, which is that a few panic-stricken people are now precipitating trouble, and that all the poison gas of propaganda against the Africans, all the smears, all the denigrations, will now be used to justify an act that has no responsibility behind it and will merely foment further trouble in this territory?

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At his Press conference yesterday the Governor said he was not prepared to make any statement about the state of emergency—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—about the imposition of a state of emergency, and what his intentions were in that matter. The general action has certainly not been taken because of outside pressure. It has been taken freely by the Governor of Nyasaland with the full support of Her Majesty's Government.

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Is the Colonial Secretary saying, then, that the report in The Times this morning from Blantyre, dated 2nd March, is inaccurate, and that the Governor did not say what he is reported in that newspaper to have said? If that is so, surely there is something radically wrong either with the reporting from there or the information that has reached the Colonial Secretary.

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As the hon. Gentleman read that quotation, it was to the effect that a state of emergency might make it necessary to take one particular action that the Governor has taken in Nyasaland. As far as I can make out from the quotation which the hon. Gentleman read, the Governor has to take other actions as well as the deportadons consequent on the state of emergency. The Governor, when asked whether he intended to declare a state of emergency, refused, for natural reasons, to be drawn on this matter.

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I will read the quotation again:

"Sir Robert Armitage, the Governor of Nyasaland, said at his Press conference this afternoon that no state of emergency was needed in Nyasaland to act against dissidents."
Is not this in line with the whole attitude of the Governor of Nyasaland throughout the past week? Have not all his expressions of opinion, as they have came here in the Press, been against the state of emergency which has now been declared, and is not the Colonial Secretary aware that we shall need far more than his assurance before we believe that the Federal authorities have not been responsible for this?

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Answer.

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May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not a fact that up to three days ago any disturbances in Nyasaland were of a minor character; that if they have become more serious it has been since the Federal Government have sent troops into the territory? Is it not also the fact that the Governor of Nyasaland has resisted up to the last moment the extreme courses which have been pressed upon him by the Federal Government?

Is this not a disgraceful surrender on the part of our Government to the conspiracy of the Prime Minister of the Federation—[Hon MEMBERS: "Oh."]£a conspiracy on the part of the Prime Minister of the Federation and of Southern Rhodesia to have a showdown with the African population before Labour is returned to office in this country?

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The statements made by the hon. Gentleman are quite untrue from first to last. The Governor of Nyasaland was himself anxious, naturally, to avoid having to establish a state of emergency and he delayed quite a time before doing so. It was certainly not the arrival of troops from Southern Rhodesia which worsened the situation. The troops came at the request of the Governor of Nyasaland, who asked for that support to maintain law and order.

May I point out a curious fact, that there was an announcement that my noble Friend, Lord Perth, the Minister of State for the Colonies, was going out to Nyasaland merely to help to bring to a head the constitutional talks that have been going on for some time. The Chief Secretary told Dr. Banda this and pointed out the utmost need for those talks to be carried on in a state of tranquillity. Despite this appeal violence rose to a high pitch, and I cannot refrain from thinking that there may have been some friction between the two, and a desire not to allow the constitutional talks to take place in a calm atmosphere.

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rose

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will have heard the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) say that there was a conspiracy on the part of the Prime Minister of a friendly State. Is it in order to make such allegations against the head of a friendly State, and if it is not in order, should not the hon. Gentleman be asked to withdraw that statement?

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I did not think that the word in itself, though not agreeable, was out of order. I put the most favourable construction I can upon the utterances of hon. Members, which is sometimes not very easy. I took it in the sense that it was some sort of compact or agreement. I did not think that it carried with it any sinister significance.

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Further to that point of order, Sir. The hon. gentleman specifically referred to the Prime Minister, not to the Governor or to any particular party, but to the head of the Federation. If it is not in order, is it not right that the hon. Gentleman should be asked to withdraw that accusation?

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Mr. Gaitskell.

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May I ask the Colonial Secretary for a reply to the question put to him by my hon. Friend: why the Governor of Nyasaland changed his mind within 24 hours, between making a state- ment in which he said that, in his opinion, there was no need for a state of emergency—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, the quotation was read—to deal with dissidents, and the declaration of a state of emergency? Will the Colonial Secretary say whether he agrees that the Governor made the statement, or does he say that he denies it? If he made it, why has he changed his mind. Will the Colonial Secretary say whether, during the last few days, any representations have been received from the Federal Government urging upon Her Majesty's Government that a state of emergency should be proclaimed in Nyasaland?

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The Governor certainly did not change his mind. Up to almost the last moment he hoped, as we all did, that the state of emergency could be avoided. He came to the conclusion yesterday that it could not be avoided and it was imposed early this morning. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] It was imposed solely by the act of the Governor, with the full authority of Her Majesty's Government.

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Will the right hon. Gentleman answer my second question? Was any representation received from the Federation urging Her Majesty's Government to impose a state of emergency in Nyasaland?

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Approaches were made by the territorial Government to the Federal Government for military help. That was the nature of the representations made.

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Does not my right hon. Friend agree from his reading of The Times—if he has read it, as I have—that there seems to be some misunderstanding? Does he not agree that the Governor said something quite different from what has been suggested, that a state of emergency was not necessary to take a certain action of the sort he described, to deal with dissidents, that he did not say that a state of emergency was not needed and would not be needed, but that he merely said that it would not be needed in a certain context?

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That is what I said earlier.

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Will the right hon. Gentleman answer my question? Were any representations received from the Federal Government urging Her Majesty's Government and the Governor to impose a state of emergency in Nyasaland? Is not that a straight question?

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It is not for me, as Colonial Secretary, to give information as to what may pass between Governments for which Her Majesty's Government are not responsible. All I can say, speaking for the Governor, for whom I am responsible, is that the representations concerned the dispatch of troops. Needless to say, the declaration of a state of emergency is regarded by the Government of the Federation as a wise move, just as we regard it as a wise move.

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Can we not take it that the Federal Government did make representations and that it was those representations which caused the Governor of Nyasaland to change his mind?

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The hon. Member can take no such thing.

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Is not evidence now accumulating to show that the Colonial Office has brought pressure to bear on the Nyasaland Government, overruling the judgment of the Governor on the spot, to take action in obedience to pressure from the Federal Government?

Is the Colonial Secretary aware that in his report in The Times of yesterday, its correspondent, referring to the introduction of Tanganyika police into the Fort Hill area of Nyasaland, said that he understood that the Tanganyika Government had insisted that their police should go in and were backed in their demand by the Federal Government and that they were concerned at the indecision of the Nyasaland Government in curbing the rioters?

Can the Colonial Secretary say on whose instructions the Tanganyika Government insisted on sending police into Nyasaland, apparently not at the invitation of the Governor of Nyasaland? Was it on his invitation?

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The assumptions and innuendos in the hon. Lady's question are not true. What is in a newspaper cannot be regarded invariably as gospel, as the hon. Lady has herself pointed out from time to time. The movement of troops to Fort Hill was at the request of the Government of Nyasaland. There was no pressure from outside.

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Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Opposition would be the first to complain if an ugly situation developed in Nyasaland without proper steps being taken?

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Are not Dr. Banda and his colleagues British-protected persons? Is it not a breach of our moral obligations, our treaty obligations, and our constitutional obligations to move them out of our protection into an area where we have no jurisdiction?

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I regard the duty of the protecting Power as being far more applicable in the case of our responsibilities to the vast number of Africans who want to live in peace.

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Does the Colonial Secretary consider, then, that he has no duty towards protected persons of whom he disapproves, and that he can disregard their individual rights in favour of his conception of the general interest?

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No, Sir. I believe no such thing, but I think that the protecting Power, apart from its duty to individuals, also has a very great duty to the country which it protects. That is all I say. The reason for moving them out of Nyasaland was that it would clearly be impracticable, in present circumstances, to detain them in Nyasaland. I remind the House of a number of recent incidents when members of the Nyasaland Congress, which is Dr. Banda's party, attacked gaols in Nyasaland to try to release prisoners. I am satisfied that the action taken by the Nyasaland Government is right.

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The right hon. Gentleman has not explained why, if it was impracticable to keep them in Nyasaland, it was necessary to move them to Southern Rhodesia, a territory over which we have no jurisdiction. Why were they not moved to Northern Rhodesia, Tanganyika, or some other British Colony?

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This is a matter in which local judgment must obviously play a large part. I remind the right hon. Gentleman that prisons and the running of prisons are a Federal responsibility. Whether they have been imprisoned in Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, or Southern Rhodesia it would equally have been a Federal prison.

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In view of the most unsatisfactory explanation which we have just heard, I beg to ask leave to move, under Standing Order No. 9, the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the declaration of a state of emergency in Nyasaland.

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The hon. Member asks leave to move, under Standing Order No. 9, the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the declaration of a state of emergency in Nyasaland. Does the hon. Member have the support of the House?

The pleasure of the House having been signified, the Motion stood over, under Standing Order No. 9, until Seven o'clock this evening.

Federation Of Rhodesia And Nyasaland (Hon Member For Wednesbury)

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Mr. Speaker, I rise on a separate point, namely, to call your attention to a breach of Privilege, which, in my submission, has taken place owing to the arrest of my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse). If I may, I will briefly refer you to the authorities on this matter in Erskine May. To some of them I have already drawn your attention.

I base my complaint on the official statement which appears in the Star of this evening's date. It is a statement from the Chief Secretary of Northern Rhodesia and refers to
"The arrest of Mr. Stonehouse"—

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Order, order. I cannot hear the hon. Member's submission.

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It refers to

"The arrest of Mr. Stonehouse and his subsequent placing on an aircraft for Dar-es-Salaam".
May I refer you first to page 120 of Erskine May, in which it is stated quite specifically:
"It is a contempt to cause or effect the arrest, save on a criminal charge, of a member of the House of Commons during a session of Parliament".
Lest there be any question that this might not be a criminal charge, I also refer you to the reference in Eskine May which says that where a Member is arrested on a criminal charge, the Speaker of the House of Commons must be so informed. Unless you have received official notification from the Federation that such a thing has occurred, I do not believe that we can accept it in those circumstances.

I also refer you to page 43 of Erskine May, which lays down that certain rights and amenities, such as freedom from arrest or of speech, belong primarily to the individual Members of the House and only secondarily and indirectly to the House itself. Therefore, the hon. Member for Wednesbury is entitled in his own person to freedom from arrest, save on a criminal charge, during a Session of the House.

Now I come to the question of jurisdiction which arose yesterday on the duty and responsibility of the Government. There is no doubt, and the Government have made it clear both yesterday and today in answer to questions in another place, that in their view the control of immigration and emigration was conferred on the Federal Government by the 1953 Act and, therefore, administratively the Government have no authority for the actions of the Federal Government.

However, the privileges of the House do not depend on the administrative writ of the Government of the day. They depend on a very different thing. They depend on the legislative authority of the House of Commons. The legislative authority of the House of Commons was quite unaffected, if anything it was reinforced, by the 1953 Act. In the Act under which the Federation was set up this House stated, by implication, and subsequently confirmed its view, that it was itself the supreme law-making and constitution-making body for the Federation of Central Africa.

If I may refer you, Mr. Speaker, to page 28 of Erskine May you will find that Sir Edward Coke is quoted as saying that the power of Parliament
"'is so transcendant and absolute, as it cannot be confined either for causes or persons within any bounds'."
Should any doubt be expressed on this, Erskine May, in subsequent pages, says:
"As regards the Colonies, the legislative competence of Parliament is absolute."
and, further:
"The legislative authority of Parliament also extends over Protectorates and over the territories administered by His Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom under the trusteeship system of the United Nations."
Therefore, I submit that two quite separate questions arise here. One is: have the Government any administrative responsibility over the actions of the Federal Government in Central Africa? You have ruled, Mr. Speaker, that they have not, and it is not my purpose to dispute or challenge that in any way today. Secondly, as to the legislative authority of this House from which we derive our privileges, there is no doubt whatsoever that it would be in order for the Government tomorrow to present a Bill to dissolve the Central African Federation and that if that Bill were passed by the House, and received the Royal Assent, the Central African Federation would come to an end.

While the House retains its absolute supreme legislative authority, the privilege of hon. Members to go and travel about the area where this legislative authority exists must also be absolute. It is my submission that the arrest of a Member of Parliament, not on a criminal charge, not reported to the House and to you, Mr. Speaker, in a territory over which the House has absolute legislative authority, raises a question of the Privilege of Parliament so serious that it deserves reference to the Committee of Privileges.

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The hon. Member asks me whether I would say that there was a prima facie case in what he said was a breach of Privilege, I suppose by the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, or by its servants, in what has happened to the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse). The hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) referred me to a number of instances and passages in Erskine May.

It is not my duty to declare whether or not there has been a breach of Privilege. That is a matter for the House. I am only engaged in discharging the procedural duty of saying whether there is a prima facie case so as to give the hon. Member's Motion priority over the Orders of the Day. It is to that matter that I am confining myself.

In my view, there is not such a prima facie case and I shall give my reasons in brief. The origin of the doctrine of freedom from arrest which attaches to all Members of Parliament during a Session of Parliament lies in the fact that this House is entitled to have a first claim upon their services and that any person who, by any action of arrest or hindrance prevents a Member from attending in his place to do his duty is guilty of contempt of the whole House.

I made inquiries to find out whether or not the hon. Member for Wednesbury was under arrest because I am concerned, naturally enough, in what happens to any hon. Member of this House—and I am told that he is not. He has been deported, if that is the proper word in consequence of non-compliance with an order declaring him to be a prohibited immigrant. I am told that he is now in Dar-es-Salaam and free to go wherever he likes. I cannot see that the Federal Government have done anything to prevent or hinder the attendance of the hon. Member for Wednesbury in his place here. On that ground, I should say that they have not acted in contempt of Parliament.

The hon. Member for Bristol, South-East put the matter a little too wide, I think, when he said that the only exclusion from prohibition from arrest was in the case of a criminal charge. If he reads further the passage of Erskine May to which he has referred me, he will find that it also says that, similarly, an order made by the Secretary of State for Home Affairs detaining a Member of Parliament in pursuance of the Defence of the Realm Regulations is not a breach of Privilege. That is really an administrative act and I see very little difference.

It is true that there is no criminal charge against the hon. Member for Wednesbury, but neither was there in the case of that hon. Member which gave rise to the Privilege Motion under Regulation 18B. So I do not think that I am at liberty to judge that here a prima facie case of breach of Privilege has been made out so as to give the hon. Member's Motion priority over the business of the day. But that does not debar him, if he holds a contrary view, from putting a Motion on the Order Paper for the judgment of the House. It is really a matter for the House, and not for me, to decide.

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May I point out, Sir, that there is no state of emergency in the Federation of Central Africa and Rhodesia? There is a state of emergency in Southern Rhodesia and in Nyasaland, but there is no Federal state of emergency and the parallel which you, Mr. Speaker, draw concerning the detention of Captain Ramsey under Regulation 18B does not, I submit, apply.

If, in your view, only arrests which affect the attendance of a Member in the House are to be held to be breaches of Privilege then it would be in order for people to wait outside the House and detain Members at night and release them in time to ask Questions on the following day. I submit that since the protection of Parliament extends from 40 days preceding to 40 days following the Session your interpretation of the purposes of it does, therefore, need some further clarification.

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It possibly does. Like all statements made on the spur of the moment it may need further clarification, but I am perfectly certain that the gist of the matter is what I have said.

The hon. Member points out that there is no state of emergency in the Federation as a whole. I was not basing the argument that I put to him upon the question of a state of emergency. I was saying that this House has ruled that where a Member is detained under an administrative action which has the sanction of law in the place concerned, that, also, is not a breach of Privilege. I think that that is what has happened here. The House takes a very broad view—and I hope that it will always take a broad view—of what is likely to prejudice the attendance of a Member of this House, but I see nothing here which would enable me to give the hon. Member the priority which he seeks.

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Is it your view, Mr. Speaker, that the arrest of a Member of Parliament in circumstances not reported to you personally does not raise the question of Privilege appropriate to immediate action?

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I would make no such pronouncement as that.

Business Of The House

Ordered,

That this day the Business of Supply may be taken after Ten o'clock and shall be exempted from the provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House) for Two Hours after Ten o'clock.—[Mr. R. A. Butler.]

Orders Of The Day

Supply

[4TH ALLOTTED DAY]

Considered in Committee.

[Sir CHARLES MACANDREW in the Chair]

Army Estimates, 1959–60

Vote A Number Of Land Forces

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 351,000, all ranks, be maintained for the safety of the United Kingdom and the defence of the possessions of Her Majesty's Crown, during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1960.

4.20 p.m.

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In the course of the defence debate last week the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brawn) asked why it was that the gross expenditure in the Army Estimates for this year was £4 million down compared with those for last year. In fact, the net estimated expenditure is almost the same this year as it was last year. Out of a total of £431 million there is a difference of only £50,000. In asking his question, the right hon. Member could not have taken full account of the fact that between the beginning and the end of the two financial years concerned the size of the Regular Army would have decreased by about 80,000 men. I should have thought that it would be more understandable to put the question the other way round, and ask why the considerable reduction in manpower has not led to a more notable decline in expenditure.

The Motion before the House concerns Vote A, which deals with the number of all ranks in the Army. The decrease in numbers has not been matched by a decrease in expenditure for three reasons. First, the proportion of higher-paid Regular soldiers compared with National Service men is steadily rising, so that the saving in pay and allowances cannot be proportionate to the run-down of the Army. Secondly, £3½ million is included in this year's Estimates for increases in allowances, pensions and other improvements recommended by the Grigg Committee. These measures, coupled with last year's increases under the pay review, have considerably improved the financial position of the soldier, and it is broadly agreed that his remuneration now compares well with that of his civilian opposite number. Thirdly, our re-equipment and building programmes still demand very substantial expenditure.

The Motion provides for a maximum force of 351,000 all ranks. As the Committee knows, this figure of Vote A strength includes, for constitutional reasons, Gurkha, Colonial and Commonwealth troops, and also women in the Army. The figure which has generally 'concerned the House in debates on the Army during the last few years is that of the actual strength of United Kingdom adult males. In this respect, we shall be running down by 38,000 during the year, from a strength of 290,000 to 252,000. This means that the run-down in the Army, from a strength on 1st April, 1957, of 365,000, to a strength of about 180,000 on 1st April, 1963, will move past the half-way stage in the coming year.

The Committee already knows of our decision to raise the Army's recruiting target from 165,000 to about 180,000. By taking in about 15,000 more recruits the Army, and particularly its fighting units, will obtain a welcome increase in strength. I want to emphasise that this decision does not affect the structure of the Army as it was settled in 1957. The number of units and the arms to which they belong remains the same.

The second phase in the amalgamation of units will continue as we had planned, but the addition will enable us to keep our fighting units abroad and in the Strategic Reserve at a higher strength. In respect of the infantry, upon whom falls the greatest burden in the cold war, the plan for the 165,000 Army was drawn up on the basis of the majority of infantry battalions being at a strength of 635, which was the establishment of an infantry battalion at the time the re-organisation was decided upon. Experience in working with this figure has shown us that there are certain circumstances in which a higher strength would be better. This was most noticeable in Cyprus, when things were at their worst, and when units were at full stretch day and night. It was then necessary to keep battalions at a strength of over 700.

If the Army were at a strength of 165,000, we would increase the strength of such a battalion, in such circumstances, by cross-posting from another battalion. This is manageable, but it has its drawbacks, and it would be more comfortable if all battalions, whether abroad or in the Strategic Reserve at home, were at a strength sufficient to meet the most onerous peace-time commitments. By and large, we will be able to do this within an Army of about 180,000. The same principle applies, to a greater or lesser extent, to other fighting arms. The increase of strength of units within the fighting arms will take up 11,000 of the 15,000 increase, and the remaining 4,000 will go to improve the administrative support of the Strategic Reserve.

I do not intend to go over yet again in detail the well-worn ground of recruiting figures. I will merely say that they continue to be better than most of us had hoped, and considerably better than some had feared. I gather that no one is more glad that that is so than those who originally doubted. The progress continues. In January, the number of recruits was 2,543, as compared with 2,250 in the same month a year ago. It now seems quite clear that the improvement in recruiting which began last spring is quite different in kind and character from any of the short-term spurts which have occurred from time to time in the post-war years. If we can maintain the momentum we will surely reach our target.

In the course of this speech I shall be dealing with many aspects of Army organisation, but we must never lose sight of the fact that manpower is the Army's first concern. We may remember the words spoken by the Duke of Wellington to Mr. Creevey, on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo.
"There,"
said the Duke, pointing to a private soldier,
"it all depends upon that article whether we do the business or not. Give me enough of it and I am sure."
Basically, it is the same today, but with the difference that we now have to lay a greater emphasis on quality. Time was when any fit young man could do a soldier's job. Today, many aspects of soldiering are highly skilled. The great cry being raised by all our industries today is for more highly trained technicians, and the recruiting sergeant must join in that chorus. We have to convince the youth of this country that there is a satisfying job in the Army which is suited to their particular talents.

Before leaving the subject of recruiting I must draw the attention of the Committee to the remarkable growth of the Territorial Army in the last twelve months. On 1st January, 1957, the volunteer strength of the Territorial Army stood at about 76,000, and at the beginning of 1958 it was 78,000—a gain of about 2,000. By the beginning of this year there had been a further gain of 23,000, bringing the total number of volunteers on 1st January to over 100,000. It is most encouraging to see this revival of the volunteer spirit in the Territorial Army. There is not much financial reward in it, though we do our best to ensure that people are not out of pocket as a result of their training, and the growth of the Territorial Army has been a heartening feature of the last two years.

I now turn to the question of accommodation. The building programme is gathering way. We have under construction today barrack accommodation at home and abroad for about 5,000 soldiers and 1,100 married quarters. We plan to start on accommodation for a further 8,000 soldiers and 2,000 more married quarters here and overseas in the coming financial year. Against the strength of the all-Regular Army which we shall have in four years' time these figures are at last beginning to assume a reasonable proportion. Taking into account buildings erected just pre-war and the good accommodation we have in Germany, 117,000 soldiers—82,000 in barracks and 35,000 married men with their families—now enjoy accommodation of the standard at which we are aiming for the whole Army, and I am determined that the building programme shall continue to be driven forward with all the urgency which it deserves.

As I said in my Memorandum, our building projects in Cyprus for the coming year were to concentrate on further improvements to the temporary camps scattered over the island. Happily, events have made this unnecessary. As we reduce the number of units in Cyprus, so will the temporary camps be closed down, and we will now be concentrating our efforts on accommodation within the British base areas.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the notable part played by the security forces in Cyprus. Since the war the British Army has been involved in many unpleasant situations, varying from minor internal security troubles in the West Indies to a considerable war in Korea, but the situation in Cyprus was, for the Army, the most delicate and most difficult of all. The security forces knew full well that the final solution had to be not a military but a political one. For four long years their efforts were devoted to maintaining law and order among a population a proportion of which were intent on disorder. It was a hard and thankless task, and I feel that the Committee will agree that the units who served in Cyprus in those four difficult years have maintained the British soldier's reputation for steadiness in the face of great provocation, and that we owe them much for the part they played.

A feature, if not the main feature, of last week's defence debate was criticism of the state of the Army's equipment. I got the impression, listening to the speeches on that subject, that the background of the problem was not fully appreciated. The war ended with the Army holding large stocks of equipment. In the immediate post-war years it was on this that the Army lived. For that reason, between 1945 and the outbreak of the Korean War, little of our research and development effort was devoted to Army equipment. When the Korean rearmament programme was launched there was precious little modern equipment available for the Army. The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey), urged on, I have no doubt, by his right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), set about his programme of building up the Army's equipment with a will. That was followed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Head).

They could only buy what was available at the time and that, with a few exceptions, represented equipment of last-war types. At the end of the rearmament programme, which lasted, broadly, from 1950 to 1954, the Army was left with a large quantity of equipment which was needed, but was still predominantly of wartime types. It was during this period that greater emphasis was placed on research and development into modern types of equipment, and it is only now that this programme of research and development is bearing fruit. It is against this background that I would give a detailed report of the progress of re-equipment of the Army, taking it arm by arm.

First, vehicles, which are common to all of them. Here, the position, I am happy to report, is now quite satisfactory. The vast majority of vehicles are in the quarter-ton, the one-ton and the three-ton ranges. Of the quarter-ton and one-ton trucks, all are modern types and there is no problem with them. Most criticism is centred on the three-ton lorry, of which, until recently, there had been a large number of old types with units. This has been commented on, particularly in B.A.O.R., but there have been great improvements in the last year. Whereas twelve months ago in Germany only 18 per cent. of the three-tonners were modern, today the figure is 84 per cent. By the end of the coming financial year all units will be entirely equipped with modern three-ton lorries.

In the air, the equipment of the reconnaisance flights of the Army Air Corps with the Saunders Roe Skeeter helicopter is continuing. Various types of four- and five-seat fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters have been under examination during the past year, with a view to issue in a year or two's time to the liaison flights of the Army Air Corps.

I turn now to weapons and, first, to the infantry. The F.N. automatic rifle has been issued in large numbers, and this year the issue to teeth-arm units of the Regular Army will be complete.

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It has taken a long time.

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At the same time, several thousand Bren guns will have been converted to take the same round as is fired from the F.N. rifle, the 300. In the next twelve months, all the infantry should also have the converted weapon. Both the Vickers medium machine gun and the converted Bren will remain with the infantry for a few years yet, but a new sustained-fire machine gun is undergoing trials. We think that this might take the place of both the Vickers and the Bren in time.

The battalion anti-tank gun, the Mobat, which is a much lighter and more accurate version of the original Bat, is now being issued in quantity, and the whole of the Regular Army will be equipped with it this year. Our order for the Saracen armoured personnel-carriers has been fully met and all the infantry serving with armoured brigades now have it. This year we shall be getting the new pattern of web equipment for the infantry, which is much less cumbersome than the old, and far more comfortable, and I am told that it is impossible to polish it.

For the Artillery, the important items are a new field gun and new anti-aircraft weapons. For the field Artillery we need a gun which can be readily airportable and can if necessary be dropped by parachute. For this purpose we are trying out the Italian 105 mm. howitzer. Where anti-aircraft guns are concerned, the L70 Bofors, with modern fire-control equipment, is a great improvement on its predecessors for dealing with low-level attack. For the higher level, we have coming into service this year the Thunderbird mobile surface-to-air guided weapon. This has a considerably higher ceiling than any gun. There is a great deal of development to be done yet, but it will be developed and improved, I have no doubt, in the years ahead. I turn to the Armoured Corps.

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Could the right hon. Gentleman say something about the Sterling submachine gun?

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I think that it is issued throughout the whole Army now. If it is not, it will be, during the course of this year.

Armoured car regiments are being equipped with the Saladin armoured car and the Ferret scout car. Many units have had them for some time now, and deliveries will be completed to all the armoured corps during the next twelve months. The Centurion, which has proved such an outstanding tank, is being converted to carry heavier armour and a gun of greater power and accuracy.

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Are we still going on with the heavy tank?

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I am referring to the Centurion. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, because he had something to do with its inception, it is a medium tank. We are certainly going on with it.

In the present stage of tank development the Centurion has the edge over every medium tank in the world. It has been widely sold to foreign countries. By putting in this gun, with greater tonnage, and by armouring it up slightly in certain places, we believe that it will continue to have that edge over any other tank which we know of coming in the future for many years yet.

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What about the tank of which there have been trials in the past two years?

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Trials that have been going on for two years? I seem to remember telling the hon. Gentleman, in an Answer before the Christmas Recess, that we would be doing trials with the prototype of a new medium tank which will come in, years ahead, to succeed the Centurion. Preliminary trials will take place some time this year of this new tank, which, if successful, may be the successor to the Centurion.

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In view of the need for greater mobility, does the right hon. Gentleman think that there is any future for the tank at all?

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Wherever there is a major battle fought, as far ahead as the right hon. Gentleman or I can see, there will be the need on the battlefield for the tank. I am absolutely convinced of that.

Now I will move on from armour. I have been paying particular attention, in conjunction with' my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply, to the production of the Army's new range of wireless sets. Here, the best has tended to be the enemy of the good and as successive improvements have been made in radio communication in the last few years there have been many modifications in design which have delayed production. The programme of re-equipment is now well under way. Its total cost is about £20 million for the wireless sets. More than £11 million worth has already been bought and there is a further £3 million provided for in these Estimates.

A number of these sets is already with units in Germany, and B.A.O.R. will have the great majority of the sets it needs in the next twelve months. The Army, world-wide, from headquarters down to the forward troops, will be equipped with the new range of wireless sets by the end of 1961. That is also the date by which the Royal Engineers well be re-equipped with a new range of plant and machinery and most of the bridging equipment which will replace the Bailey bridging.

In view of the concern which has been expressed, I have given the Committee a rather detailed catalogue of equipment now coming into service. Re-equipment will not cease on 31st December, 1962. It is a continuing process. There will be other weapons to come. There are weapons now in the stage of research and development which will come in in the 1960s. I believe the hard facts and dates which I have given to the Committee show that weapons and equipment which are now going into service are of a standard which will match the prowess and be the pride of those now serving and of the recruits who will be joining them.

An aspect of equipment which was referred to by a number of hon. Members in the defence debate was standardisation within N.A.T.O. We are doing all we can from the point of view of the Army to promote this. Our policy is to go for the best weapon we can find in its particular field, wherever it is produced. For example, the F.N. rifle is from Belgium, the Corporal has come from the United States and we have our eye on developments in anti-tank weapons in Canada and Australia. The 105 mm. airportable gun which we are trying out is Italian in origin. It is possible that the eventual sustained-fire machine gun will be Belgian.

On the other side, I am pleased to say that many of our N.A.T.O. Allies are using British equipment. For instance, the Centurion has been widely accepted as the outstanding tank of its generation and has been bought in large quantities by three N.A.T.O. countries. The Ferret scout cars are also finding a considerable market within N.A.T.O. We are providing facilities for our Allies to test our new equipment and we are always prepared, in consultation with them, to consider modifications which will make any particular piece of equipment more acceptable for general N.A.T.O. use.

We gave a demonstration of Army weapons last summer to senior military representatives of N.A.T.O. and Commonwealth countries. This demonstration showed that we had drawn not only from our past experiences, but also from a great deal of data gained from work done at Ministry of Supply research establishments and War Office technical schools. I know that our visitors were impressed with the quality of the items coming into production and that, as a direct result of the demonstration, we have had a number of inquiries about weapons and equipment from our Allies.

One of the great advantages which the Soviet bloc has over the Western Powers is the monolithic character of its development and production. National interests and independence, which are a feature of life in the Western world, militate against such a monolithic war machine. If we are to sustain the long haul of competitive co-existence without placing too great a strain on our economies, a high degree of interdependence among Western countries in research, development and production is the only policy which makes sense for an Alliance with a number of national armies, many of them quite small. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence said in the defence debate, we have not made the progress in this respect within N.A.T.O. that we would have liked, but we intend to continue to do all we can to improve it.

This year, we arrive at the half-way mark of the vast reorganisation of the Army foreshadowed in the Defence White Paper of 1957, and in the debates held in the spring and summer of that year. The amalgamations and redundancies announced in 1957 came as a considerable shock to the Army. The Army as a whole and the individuals directly affected by the changes—that means the majority of Regular soldiers have faced them with a will and with exemplary loyalty. For some time after the announcement of the reorganisation, the Army had to take on trust the promise of better things to come, but now there is evidence in the form of improvements in conditions of service, new equipment and the building at home and abroad of new accom- modation, to show that the hopes held out two years ago are being fulfilled.

I do not mean to imply by this that all the problems of an all-Regular Army have already been solved. Although I think that the main objectives we set ourselves are within our grasp, there is plenty yet to be done. One particular problem which we still have to overcome is the recruitment of officers. We are not getting enough young men of suitable quality to offer themselves as candidates for Sandhurst. On this, I have taken note of all that the Grigg Committee has said, of what has been said by hon. Members on both sides, and of the views of many other people. This year, we are starting with a scholarship scheme whereby a boy receives a bursary for his two final years at school before entering Sandhurst. We have hitherto regarded Welbeck College as our alternative to such a scheme. We are very pleased now to have both. That should help.

I do not think that it is widely understood how much the scope and interest of the average Army officer's career have increased in recent years. That is one of the facts that we have got to get across to headmasters and parents. Science is becoming yearly more important to the Army and we intend that not only specialist officers but also a large number of those serving on general duty should be well informed on scientific matters. With the growing complexity of modern equipments, the Royal Military College of Science, at Shrivenham, is now assuming a greatly increased importance in the education of the officer. It is our intention that the career opportunity for the technically educated officer should expand, so as to ensure that a sufficient degree of technological awareness is maintained at all levels in the Army. The qualification Passed Technical Staff College will be for officers required to fill primarily technical appointments, but our aim is to produce the "Double Blue", P.T.S.C./P.S.C., to whom every senior appointment in the Army will be open.

But officer recruitment is a many-sided problem to which there is no single solution. No one of the alternatives put forward at different times—alter the Regular Commissions Board system, increase the intake from the ranks, get more boys from the grammar schools, provide more security for the officer— will produce the answer. In 1951, a Committee, under the chairmanship of General Sir Montagu Stopford, rendered a Report which resulted in the founding of Welbeck College, which is proving such a great success in producing officers for the technical arms of the Service. There have been many changes since then and it is time this problem was again put under the microscope. So I have recently set up a Committee, under, General Sir Richard Goodbody, to report on all the ramifications of the problem of officer recruitment.

Simultaneously, we are having a thorough review of the career which the Army offers to its Regular officers to see what we can do to make it more attractive both as regards offering a longer career to some, and enabling those who have not a long-term future in the Army to leave at an age when it is easier to start afresh in civil life. We have broken the back of the other rank recruiting problem and we are certainly not going to fail in the related question of seeing that the Army is well officered.

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Could I put one point for consideration while the right hon. Gentleman is considering these matters? The great source of officer recruitment in the old days used to be the military families who went into the Army from generation to generation. It is that source in which there has been the largest falling off. Is not the reason for that falling off the fact that the older pensioners and retired officers are labouring under a feeling of great injustice and are saying to the boys, "Do not go into the Army. You will be treated like I am"? Is not perhaps the best recruiting we could do to give justice to people who have suffered in that way?

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Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, may I add this? It seems to me, from my experience at the War Office and viewing the officer recruitment problem, that perhaps the most important assurance that the potential officer requires is that when he leaves the Army, or is compelled to leave the Service, he should have some assurance of profitable employment. That is the real problem as I understand it. Unless something is done about that, either so that the officer has a longer career or, if he goes out at an earlier age, he should be assured of some profitable employment, the problem of officer recruitment will not be solved.

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Those two interjections show the wideness of the scope of the problem. There is a great deal in the points made by the right hon. Member for Easington and the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). Those are the sort of problems—I assure hon. Members opposite, and there are numerous others—which will be taken into consideration by this Committee.

On all this I and my colleagues on the Army Council are keeping open minds, except for one principle, to which we hold fast. The standard of leadership to which the British soldier has been accustomed in the past must not be lowered. A regiment is as good as the officers in it and the British soldier deserves the best. On that, we will not compromise.

There is another issue in the forefront of our thoughts. That is mobility of the Army in all its aspects. The Committee knows of our plans for strategic air mobility between home and overseas and between theatres—the Britannia for troops and the Britannic for freight—and of our plans for tactical mobility within a theatre with the Beverley and later the Armstrong-Whitworth Argosy; but mobility does not end with the provision of aircraft. This basic concept of flying to the scene of operations with equipment that allows units great battle mobility must be a primary consideration both in our training and in the design of new equipment, whether fighting vehicles, guided and electronic devices, personal weapons, or administrative support.

This goes right back to fundamentals; for instance, the weight of equipment which the ordinary unit has to carry around with it. Not counting vehicles, the weight of the G1098 of an infantry battalion today is of the order of 56 tons. This is too heavy, and we have this year been carrying out experiments to see in what ways it can be lightened, both by the production of new and lighter articles and also by cutting out certain items of equipment. The Parachute Regiment has already done a lot in this respect. The G1098 of a Parachute battalion used to weigh 45 tons and it has succeeded in reducing it to 32 tons. This year our experiments, which hitherto have been confined to battalions, will take place at brigade group level, and I believe that they will lead to satisfactory results.

The transformation which is now taking place in the Army is unparalled in time of peace. When I say that, I do not forget the great changes made at other periods, but we are at one and the same time not only changing the Army's operational and regimental structure, its weapons and its order of battle, but, simultaneously, we are putting into effect revolutionary changes in the soldier's whole circumstances and conditions of service. Moreover, this is all being done at a time when, as never before in peace, the Army has been fully extended on cold war and internal security tasks throughout the world.

I am sure that right hon. and hon. Members of the Committee will join me in paying tribute to the way yin which these tasks have been sustained throughout this period. I have had the opportunity, in the last year or so, of seeing the Army in all major theatres, other than the Far East, and on each occasion I have gone away with the abiding impression of high efficiency and high morale, of a growing belief, which I am sure is well-founded, that at the end of this transition period we will have a well-balanced Army which is up to date in its equipment and, every bit as important, up to date in its outlook.

5.1 p.m.

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Once again it is a pleasure to congratulate the Secretary of State on the most interesting survey which he has given us. As he said, a great deal is being done in the Army. There was never a time when there has been a greater transition going on. Therefore, he had a lot of interesting things to tell us. In the earlier part of my speech, I shall follow the order of subjects which he took.

The right hon. Gentleman began with the subject of manpower, and there again we congratulate him, the Army and all those who had confidence in the rate of recruiting and in the building up of an all-professional Army. We are very interested in the change of target from 165,000 men to 180,000 men. We think it right; but I could not help noticing that the Secretary of State gave us a totally different reason for this change than the one put out in the Defence White Paper. The right hon. Gentleman said it was to bring units to a higher level of establishment. That obviously is very desirable, but the Defence White Paper gives us quite a different reason. It says:
"While the Government are satisfied that their present plan for an all-regular Army is soundly conceived, they consider it desirable to ensure that its strength shall not fall below the planned figure of 165,000. Since in any voluntary force fluctuation in the levels of recruiting are inevitable, it has been decided to accept recruits in excess of this figure, up to an overall ceiling of about 180,000."

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I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Member so soon, but I want to make clear that I was not endeavouring to give the Committee the reason why the ceiling had been raised. What I thought the Committee would be interested in was what we would do with the 15,000 and an explanation of where we would be putting them.

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I thought the right hon. Gentleman was saying that it would be nice to have 180,000 because then establishments could be raised to a higher level and generally strengthened. That is eminently sensible, much more sensible than the reason in the White Paper.

I should not necessarily go so far as The Times, whose comment on that passage in the White Paper was that it was particularly silly. That is harsh, but I think it is a pity that that excuse was put in because, if we need to have a target of 180,000 in order to be sure of getting 165,000, clearly if we had a target of 165,000 we would have to be sure of getting 140,000, and everyone would agree that that would be on the small side. It would have been much more sensible to admit that 165,000 was what was thought possible and that now it was found there was a good prospect of getting 180,000. That really is all there is in it.

There is one more thing I should like to say about recruiting, and that is to utter a word of warning. We have all studied the interesting answer which the Secretary of State gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) on 24th November in which the right hon. Gentleman broke down the increase in recruiting to the different recruiting centres. It is very difficult to be dogmatic on the result of that, but on the whole, it suggests that the main and most important increase in recruiting has, at any rate, some correlation to the increase in unemployment throughout the country. If that is so, we must remember that the present level of recruiting may be connected with the present level of unemployment.

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I should like to clear up this point. I am doubtful whether there is a direct correlation between recruiting and unemployment. I think there is a correlation between recruiting and the incidence of unemployment. If I had had the opportunity to speak, I would have made the point. It is the availability of jobs rather than the specific movement of unemployment. It is the same pattern as before the war.

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Yes, but, for instance, in towns and districts where there is a shortage of jobs today there is, on the whole, the most marked upward movement in recruiting. There is some evidence of that, at any rate.

We ought to be warned that, as and when a future Government bring unemployment under control again, further inducements may be necessary to maintain the level of recruiting. We ought not to take it for granted that recruiting efforts will continue to be so successful. When one has made that caveat, the fact remains that the recruiting figures are better than almost any of us imagined they would be. Both for the Regular Army and, as the Secretary of State said, for the Territorial Army they are very encouraging. I wish to join with him in congratulating the Army as a whole on the wonderful resilience, patience and good sense that they have shown in accepting the profound reorganisation which has been necessary in this transition from a National Service Army to a full professional Army.

The House was very much concerned with equipment in the defence debate last week. The Secretary of State was very wise to devote a great deal of attention to this matter in his speech and to attempt to reassure the Committee on it, because a very great deal of concern was expressed in the defence debate on this matter, and quite as much from the other side of the House as from this side.

It was good to hear the list of new equipment which we were assured by the Secretary of State would reach the Army in the near future. All it amounted to was a promise from the Secretary of State that all would be right from now on. If we accept that promise completely at its face value, it does not mean that we can pass over the situation as it has been for the last few years and as it is, to a considerable extent, today. We think, in common with Members from all parts of the House, that, for whatever reason, the state of Army equipment has been deplorable and that the Grigg Committee, a completely non-political body whose Report is accepted by the Government, was justified in making its particularly severe strictures on this subject.

It may be held that the House, the Grigg Committee or anybody else ought not to say too much on this subject, because it affects the morale of the Army or affects recruitment, but one must probe this matter precisely in order to remedy it. I have not the slightest doubt that it will be remedied. If it is not remedied by the present Secretary of State, I can assure the Committee that it will be remedied by the successor Government which we believe will come into office in a fairly short time. No potential recruit need be discouraged in the very least from joining the Army by the state of things which we are bound to reveal and re-emphasise, as has been done again and again in these debates.

The explanation which the Secretary of State gave us was that the great Korean spurt in production was necessarily all of equipment which is now out of date. No one can deny that. When we made the spurt in arms production at the time of the Korean war, we could obviously produce only the items of equipment then in existence. That was eight years ago. Therefore, it was equipment of that vintage. I re-emphasise that that was eight years ago.

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The right hon. Gentleman must not be too modest about it. In paint of fact, it is eight years since we negotiated at Washington on the British rifle. If when the Tory Government came to power in 1951 they had rejected the advice of the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), we should have proceeded with the manufacture of the British rifle, which was regarded by the War Office technical experts as the best in the world, and we should have been able to supply every arm of the Service with the best rifle in the world, instead of which we went on to the Belgian rifle.

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I agree entirely with my right hon. Friend. The rifle is a good example of a piece of equipment which was not of last war vintage, but a new post-war weapon which we proposed to go into production with at once. That also applies to the Centurion.

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Would the right hon. Gentleman forgive me for a second or two? Am I following his thought aright if I understand that, looking back on it, he would have advocated us adopting a rifle of a different bore than that which other countries in N.A.T.O. were adopting?

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No. It is a very much more complex business than that.

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May I help my right hon. Friend? The Secretary of State should not come across with that one. The E.M.2 rifle had a bore of ·282 inch, but it could easily have gone into production to take the ·300 inch round.

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I think that is the case. I continue to deplore the change-over from the Enfield-produced rifle to the Belgian rifle. The Belgian rifle is an incomparably better weapon than the one it has succeeded, but we have re-equipped the British Army with the second-best rifle in the world and not with the best. That is a great pity. The Secretary of State states simply that the re-equipment with the Belgian rifle eight years ago was re-equipment with the best weapon of its kind. Of course it was. That does not excuse the failure year after year to move forward. The fact is that it is still in the future—we are told now in the immediate future—when this new weapon will come into operation.

I must call the attention of the Minister to statements in the Grigg Report, which, after all, are much more ex parte than anything I can produce. Paragraph 64 of the Grigg Report says:
"The Navy and the Royal Air Force, are on the whole, reasonably well equipped; but this is by no means so of every Army unit."
The Committee goes on to describe the situation in one unit after another.

This is not something which the Opposition is inventing. It is something which is common ground for students of the matter. Paragraph 138 of the Grigg Report explains why that is so. It must be so if one looks at the financial con- siderations which have gone to making the Army Estimates over the past five years. They state:
"The amount allocated by the Army to production has declined by 65 per cent. over the past five years."
The consequence of that is that the Army is now receiving only 15 per cent. of the total given to production for the three Services, as compared with 30 per cent. five years ago. There can be no doubt that the Army has fared very badly in comparison with the other two Services. It is not a question of the total. It is the proportion that the Army has received.

The real point to which I should like to draw the attention of the Committee is this. As I read the present Estimates—and the Secretary of State will correct me if I am wrong—that process is still continuing. The expenditure of the Army on the production of new weapons and warlike stores generally is still dropping. To take another set of figures which we have calculated, for production and research as a whole in 1953 the Army was receiving just about one-third as its share. In 1959 it will be receiving rather less than one-tenth of the expenditure on production and research over the whole field. That is a very severe drop.

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On production or services?

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That is the two taken together. That is a drop of such a magnitude that it needs some explanation. The Secretary of State explained it partly by saying that at the same time the number of men in the Army has gone down sharply and, therefore, the provision of weapons and the like per man has gone down to the same degree. That is true. It is an offset on one side. The Secretary of State forgets that at the same time the value of money has gone down. Those two factors are bound to offset each other. It remains true that the proportion of effort on military production which has gone to the Army has been, right up to now—and, as I shall show in a moment, will be over the year for which we are estimating—lower and lower.

Vote 7 is the critical Vote in the Army Estimates. The essential subheads are E. Mechanical Transport and Aircraft. and F, Technical Stores. Once again, the amount is still dropping. It is true that mechanical transport and aircraft are up by £111,000; but technical stores, which is the Vote under which weapons come, are down by £2¼ million. Therefore, the process of decreasing the money spent for arming the Army continues.

When I look at the breakdown of Subhead F, Technical Stores, I see a very strange factor which I do not understand. The Secretary of State tells us that re-equipment in signals and wireless is going very fast and very well, but we find that the amount of money provided for signals and wireless equipment drops from nearly £7½ million to just over £4 million. Once again, the actual amount being provided seems still to be going down rapidly—

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Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider it is at least possible that the reason for this does not lie in the hands of the Secretary of State for War but in the hands of the Minister of Supply, who is not, in fact, meeting the orders he has been given? If the Ministry of Supply is not meeting those orders, then, of course, the money is not spent. That may well be the reason, although I do not know that it is.

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Far be it from me to allocate blame between two Government Departments. The hon. and gallant Member must do that for himself. I myself put the blame on the shoulders of the Government, whichever Department it may be—and I could not say which Department it is—

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Is my right hon. Friend's argument that the Estimates are not big enough?

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That they should be higher?

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This is a new one on me. If every one is to have his pet theory advanced the total bill must be largely increased.

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The next page of my notes deals with that very matter, as I was quite sure that some hon. Friend would ask me that very question. We are asked: are we proposing to spend more money? In this field, we certainly are. These two subheads of Vote 7 amount to £50 million. Out of that sum has to come all the equipment for the Army, and, be it remembered, that £50 million appears in Defence Estimates of £1,500 million. It is therefore a very small part of the general Defence Estimates.

I think that the Secretary of State would agree that if those two subheads were £10 million higher the re-equipment of the Army in any given year would be transformed. And £10 million is well within the margin of error of the present Defence Estimates. It is a matter of fact that that error was more of the order of £30 million this year. Therefore, the actual amount spent on the earlier re-equipment of the Army would be well within the error that there must be in Defence Estimates of this size.

Cheeseparing or delay, whatever the reason—I do not pretend to know—in this particular aspect of arming the Army has been really bad economy, and I must reinforce the pleas that came from all sides of the House last week that it should end.

During the defence debate we were given a lot of reasons for this having happened. We were told, and I think the Secretary of State repeated it, that it was because of having to use up stocks. That is an understandable reason, and to some extent we accept it. What we could not accept—and I must refer to them again as I see them in HANSARD—Were the reasons given by the Minister of Supply.

He gave two reasons, and they were extremely strange. One of his reasons for not re-equipping the Army had nothing to do with costs or technical difficulties. According to him, it could not be done because of tradition. He said:
"There is something here which is deeply embedded in tradition. The weapons of the Army, by tradition, change but slowly."
He gave examples of how far back some of the existing weapons of the Army date. He mentioned the rifle, dating back to the First World War—it would be almost true to say that it went back almost to the Boer War. He went on to say that this was because:
"… the weapons of the Army, to a much greater degree than those of the Navy and Air Force are either personal weapons of the individual soldier, or are introduced on a considerable scale and are made universal for the entire Army, with the result that the process of re-equipment is expensive and protracted. That is traditional …"
He went further. He became almost philosophic, and said:
"I am suggesting that there is latent in things a slowness of change …"
That, indeed, is a very broad way of putting it.

Frankly, this is nonsense. We know that the Army is crying out for new, efficient and up-to-date weapons and equipment, and it does not do for the Minister of Supply to say that if we furnished these weapons the soldiers would not use them because they are so traditionally minded. I invite some Minister lo correct that statement.

That was not his worst reason for not re-equipping the Army. His worst reason was this. He said:
"The question which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are really seeking to ask is: why has this happened now and not before? The answer is that the prompting factor is the change from National Service to a volunteer force.… Yes, the very size of a conscript force makes the question of equipment very much more expensive and holds it up. With the removal of that impediment, the opportunity of change is being seized."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th February, 1959; Vol. 600, c. 1317–20.]
If those words mean anything at all, it is that we could not re-equip the National Service Army but could do so when it became a volunteer Army. That was a most unfortunate thing to say. To say to the wretched National Service man, who is forced to go into the Army, that he must be given inferior equipment because it is too expensive to equip him properly is a dreadful thing. Someone should withdraw that statement and make it clear that that is not why the re-equipment has been held up.

Frankly, I do not believe that these are the reasons. The real reason comes out of what we discussed in the defence debate. It has been the false military doctrine of the Government as a whole; and the Minister of Defence especially, with his intense nuclear preoccupation or obsession, has really not cared about the equipment with conventional weapons of the land Army. He has not felt that it was of really high priority, or mattered very much. That is why the thing has slipped and has gone on so slowly.

It does not, of course, mean that the Army will not eventually be re-equipped, but it matters very much this year, and it is a tragedy that it has happened. It arises from this doctrine that has failed to identify what the real rôle of the land Army in the present-day world must be. I do not think that that is easy—it is very difficult—but it is indispensable if we are to agree about the re-equipment of the Army, and re-equip it in the right way. We cannot do that until we know what its jobs are.

The Army's jobs would seem to be three. I will not repeat what I said last week, but the first is the capability of fighting conventional war in Europe, because unless it has that capability we are back to the Minister of Defence's terrible dilemma of either giving in to any Russian aggression or of blowing up the world as one's only reaction. If the Minister of Defence will expound how he is to avoid that dilemma unless he has an Army capable, as part of the N.A.T.O. force, of fighting a conventional war, I should be very grateful. I myself see no way of otherwise avoiding it.

Next, the Army must have the capacity to fight with tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons because, obviously, the Russians may have them and might use them. We discussed that last week. Further, there is what might be called the overseas function, which is the distinct one of being able to mount an expeditionary force to some part of the world in some emergency, the nature of which we may not be able to foresee but with which we must have the capacity or the capability to deal.

It is that third capability that seems most difficult to provide for, because it raises the whole technical question of air transportation, air portability or equipment on the one hand, and of overseas dumps and bases on the other. There is also the possible question of naval portability of transport, to which we have often resorted before, although always on a sort of emergency basis by aircraft carrier or naval vessel. The answer may be, as I suspect, a combination of all three methods.

I do not think that anybody has really given to the House—they may have thought about it—a rational picture of these three functions of the Army and how it should be equipped to deal with them. The idea of the Army finding its equipment overseas and of the dumps placed about the world for it to go to is an attractive policy, but it means bases all over the world, and that raises very difficult and far-reaching political issues.

In this connection, the Secretary of State referred, and I refer, advisedly to Cyprus. There, of course, we join with the right hon. Gentleman most heartily in congratulating our troops on their conduct when doing what, as he said,—and I entirely agree—was the most unwelcome and the most ungrateful of all the jobs they have had to do.

As I understand the right hon. Gentleman, he said that while naturally the expenditure on temporary accommodation for large masses of troops of up to 25,000 or 30,000 men was being scrapped, there was more building work to be done and more expenditure to be incurred on the two bases that we retain at Dhekelia and Episkopi. I was interested in that. It may be right, but I am doubtful about these two bases. I ask hon. Members opposite to recall what has happened. These two bases are to be in an island over which we shall not have sovereignty. Therefore, they will be in exactly the same position as was the Suez base before the Suez operation.

The Government were abundantly right but appallingly late in making the Cyprus settlement. They could have had that settlement and could have retained bases in an island over which they did not have sovereignty years ago without precipitating any of the protracted trouble, the immense burden on the Army, and the world-wide odium that the Cyprus situation created. All the Government have got is what they could have had at the very beginning—bases in foreign territories.

For a time, those bases may or may not be useful, but I am rather sceptical—and are not hon. Members also sceptical by now?—of basing a world-wide strategy on bases that, at the very best, turn out to be wasting assets. Therefore, I do not really believe that this principle of obtaining mobility by having dumps over the world will suffice, in the long run at any rate, and I am driven back to the view that an important function of the Royal Navy in the future will be to transport and maintain troops overseas and that part of their heavy equipment which it is not really practicable, and will not be for many years yet, at any rate, to move by air.

These are the rôles of the Army. We shall certainly want a very versatile and well-trained Army, because, of course, we cannot have three separate armies to perform the three separate roles. I should be the first to agree that a National Service Army is not one which could possibly be trained in the three roles, but I should have thought that, although it is a very difficult one, it is a possible assignment for an all-professional long-service Army which could be trained in the three separate though to some extent related rôles of major conventional warfare, warfare with tactical nuclear weapons, and overseas expeditions.

I should like to know whether the training authorities and the best training advisers consider that this is a possible task to give to an all-professional Army. If it is not, we shall have to think again very hard. I cannot see that the numbers suggested could possibly suffice unless the Army could be given that versatility and, of course, the very considerable amount of equipment necessary to perform all those three rôles.

It seems to me that, while we on this side can certainly congratulate most heartily the Army on its performance over the past year, on the way it has tackled the tremendous job of transformation into an all-professional Army, and the way it has done the hard jobs we have given it all over the world—we congratulate the Secretary of State, too, on the efforts he has made for the Army—we cannot congratulate the Government at all on their attitude to the Army. On the contrary, we feel that, within the defence programme as a whole, the Army has been, in the Government's view, a poor relation.

This is a very profound mistake to make in the world today. It is a profound mistake for the reason which my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) gave, and which I endeavour to repeat, in the defence debate, that, because of the circumstances of the world balance of power today, because nuclear parity is approaching, and because of the appalling character of nuclear war, the capacity of the Army to deal, without recourse to nuclear war, with some outbreak of force in the world is something on which our very lives depend. Therefore, far from the Army being a poor relation among the Defence Forces, it ought today to have something like the very highest priority.

5.39 p.m.

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The Committee will have listened with its usual interest to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey). I am very glad indeed to welcome him as a supporter of the Army. Indeed, I welcome support for the Army from whichever quarter it may come. I wish to take up only one point with him. I did not want to make my own speech by way of interventions, but I wanted to comment on his remarks about the relationship between unemployment and the recruitment figures. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that the Grigg Committee dealt with this matter and, in paragraph 5 (a) of Appendix B said:

"… no correlation between unemployment and recruiting can be established from the figures, although on the face of it one would expect such a relationship to exist."
I do not think that one should pay too much attention to the coincidence of a certain development of unemployment in some areas and the recruitment figures as they now exist.

I last spoke in a debate on the Army Estimates in 1956. I then moved what I thought would be the last of the intervening Amendments. Right hon. and hon. Members will remember that those were Amendments which used to interrupt our debates at 7 o'clock and tend to disrupt the debate for the rest of the evening. Now, unfortunately, we are to have another interruption today. I was wrong in thinking that the Amendment I moved on that occasion would be the last intervention in the middle of a debate such as this.

I referred then to the fact that the defence problem was completely overshadowed by nuclear weapons which had introduced completely new factors into strategical and tactical thinking, and I ventured to call for a comprehensive review of the organisation of the Army, first to decide what its task was likely to be—

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That is still wanted.

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—and, secondly, to ensure that it was adequate to carry out that task. It is often very salutary, and some- times rather melancholy, to reread old speeches. Reading my own speech on that occasion, I do not think that there is anything I should like to alter in it apart, perhaps, from the grammar. I do wish, however, that I had on that occasion been much more emphatic in the case I then put to the Committee. It is only now that we are beginning to appreciate what rôle the Army will be called upon to play.

It is generally admitted—indeed, there is no attempt to disguise the fact—that at this moment the Army is not adequately equipped to carry out that rôle. It is not really my purpose to review the mistakes, hesitations and lost opportunities of the years since the last war. I have no wish to make a party speech or party points on this matter. Everybody has to take a certain measure of responsibility for the mistakes which have been made. We must remember that the development of nuclear weapons posed for us completely new strategical and tactical problems the answers to which even now we do not really know. From time to time I have had the opportunity of listening to the discussions of senior Service chiefs from the three Services. When I have heard the very considerable differences of opinion which have been expressed among them, I have had the greatest sympathy for Ministers of both parties who have been called upon to make defence decisions on the advice they have received.

My purpose is to try to review the rôle of the Army in the defence structure in the type of warfare which it is most likely to have to encounter. I do not wish to discuss the deterrent, because this was very adequately covered in the defence debate, except to express the view that, provided we can take it that any potential enemy is convinced that we will use the deterrent if we are faced with an attack which we cannot meet with conventional forces, we can, I think, assume that we shall not have a world shooting war except by accident. If that accident happens, then the Army of the United Kingdom together with the Reserve Army, or such of them as is left, will be fully occupied with rescue operations purely and simply. I do not think that we should he very much concerned then with how the rest of the Army in other parts of the world might be deployed or operating.

In this connection, if I may stray from my main theme for a moment, I want to put two questions to the Minister. In his admirable survey of the Army Estimates, he said that there had been a considerable increase in recruiting to the Territorial Army. This is very much to be welcomed. It is due partly to the understanding that the Territorial Army will play an operational rôle in providing units or divisions for the support of N.A.T.O. Forces. I should like to ask my right hon. Friend whether he thinks that he will still obtain recruits at anything like the same rate when a number of units are diverted to purely Civil Defence operations which, by their very nature, are not very glamorous and are much duller than the operational roles which one may expect in the field.

Secondly, does my right hon. Friend see any future in the Army Emergency Reserve. The Army Emergency Reserve depends almost entirely upon the supply of National Service men. What will happen to that organisation when National Service comes to an end particularly bearing in mind that the A.E.R. was organised originally to provide Service units for the reinforcement of a Continental or overseas Army?

I now revert to my main theme. In my view. the main task of the Army is for policing actions and for limited war. I do not think that we can in this country, with all our other commitments, have an Army which is capable of fighting, even in conjunction with its Allies, a major conventional war. I do not think that that is possible; it is certainly not possible without reintroducing National Service. With an all-Regular Army, we must, I am sure, confine ourselves to police actions and limited war. If warfare did spread to a major conflict, we should, in fact, have started a nuclear war then because, without any doubt at all, in those circumstances nuclear weapons would be used.

For the purpose I have in mind, I think that we should have—I should like to quote here from the concluding words of the speech I made three years ago-
"… a highly trained, highly efficient and fully mobile Army, free of National Service …"—OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1956; Vol. 549, c. 1452.]
We are certainly within sight of the last requirement, but, by the time National Service ends, are we likely to have a highly trained, highly efficient and fully mobile Army?

I will deal with mobility first. The Secretary of State in his speech referred to air transport and other methods of deployment. We are told that we are likely to have a force of 180,000. The original conception of a force of 165,000 meant that we had battalions at what I might describe as a lower lower establishment. With 180,000, we shall probably have infantry battalions of about 750, still, in my view, too low a strength for real operational efficiency. Indeed, I would say that the curse of the Army for many years, both before the war and since, has been this conception of a lower establishment in peace time which has meant that units have had to be reinforced and brought up to strength by reserves brought in either from other units or by recalling men to the Colours whenever it was necessary for units to act in an operational rôle. That was all right, perhaps, when there may have been time to train and deploy units so that the newcomers would become accustomed to their new command, but I do not think that that is a very effective method now.

We must face the fact that we shall have this Regular professional Army of 180,000, and that will be less than the United Kingdom enlisted Army as it was in 1937. It is, therefore, all the more essential that this Army should be completely mobile. It is essential also that there should be prior deployment of units and reserves in such of the strategic bases around the world as are still available to us.

I do not think that it is any secret that, to put it no higher, there has been some delay in providing the Army with the air transport it requires. I wonder how much of this is due to the fact That this air transport is carried on the Air Estimates. It is very understandable that the Royal Air Force is reluctant to give too much of its resources to providing the Army with transport if, by so doing, it must deprive itself of some aircraft which it regards as more important for its own purposes. I am not at all sure that we should not change this method and bring air transport for the Army on to the Army Estimates, even if it happens to be administered, serviced and crewed by the Royal Air Force.

Whatever the reasons may be, I wish to emphasise something which I feel very deeply. We must do all in our power to ensure that the supply of aircraft now ordered is hurried up as much as it possibly cart be. Everybody will agree that, if we have a small force, it is essential that that force should be taken very quickly indeed to any spot where trouble breaks out, because by so doing it is sometimes possible to put a stop to an outbreak of trouble which. if left, might required ten to twenty times the amount of troops to deal with it at a later date.

I now come to the other points which I made about training and the efficiency of the force. The efficiency of any force must be dependent to a large extent on its equipment, and I hope, having heard what the Secretary of State said, that by the time National Service ends the Army will be fully equipped with modern and up-to-date weapons, and especially with first-class communications. Communications in the operational Army today are appalling. No army can fight efficiently unless it has first-class communications. I look forward with the greatest interest to the development and issue of new signals equipment to the Army in the next few years.

Given adequate equipment, the fighting efficiency of an army is dependent on three things: first, the quality of its officers, N. C. O. 's and men; secondly, the standard of training which it receives; and thirdly, the ability to generate among the soldiers themselves pride in themselves and in the army to which they belong, born of some understanding of the cause which they are called upon to defend, and of confidence in their equipment and in themselves as fighting men.

I am not satisfied that the quality of officers and the standard of training in the Army is all that it should be. I know that it is customary for retired lieutenant-colonels approaching late middle-age to consider that the rising generation of young officers is not what it was in their day. In looking back on one's early career, in one's mind the tail and horns disappear and one finds that in memory one's head is surrounded by a halo. I have no doubt that there is a certain amount of that sort of thinking in one's reflections about the quality of officers today.

However, making every allowance for that tendency, I am disquieted by the evidence which I constantly receive that young officers today are much more interested in the social prestige and privilege of their position than in their job and the men they command. There are many exceptions to this and I must generalise, because it is unfair to stigmatise and condemn everybody in the same way. There is, however, a tendency among many young officers to treat their job as a sort of nine-to-five job and to believe that when they are off-duty they should have no further concern or interest in the men for whom they are responsible. That must be bad for the Army as a whole.

It is said in the Memorandum that there is considerable difficulty in getting candidates of the right quality to submit themselves for commissions. I suggest that there are several reasons for this. Although the question of pay may be incidentally connected, I think that the pay of a young officer, certainly up to the rank of captain, is extremely good, and I doubt very much whether many young men at the age at which they are likely to become captains would do better, if as well, in civil life.

The really able young man, however, who takes an interest in the career which he has decided to follow looks beyond that. He considers the pay rates above the rank of captain and he finds that they are by no means as good as those for comparable responsibilities in civil life. When a man goes above the rank of major, to lieutenant-colonel or brigadier, the pay and allowances which he receives do not compare favourably with the rewards of men with positions of similar responsibility in civil life. He realises, too, that his chances of promotion are limited very largely by the establishment of the Army, which may be reduced during his career. He knows, too, that if he is not fortunate enough to get promotion beyond the rank of major, he may well come out at the age of 45 or 50, which is the most difficult age at which to obtain other employment.

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Would the hon. Member say what jobs in civvy street carry a rate of pay equivalent to that of a major?

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I can give the hon. Gentleman any number of positions throughout industry where a man with the responsibility and background training equivalent in civil life to that of a major would certainly get as much and possibly more. Indeed, one of my own responsibilities is trying to find executives in the medium and senior range for various appointments in industry, and I find it extremely difficult to get people to accept anything like the rate of pay which a major receives. A person with commensurate ability who is trained for professional or commercial work could hope to get more than, say, a lieutenant-colonel who is approaching the end of his period of service.

A lieutenant-colonel, unless he is fortunate, is likely to come out of the Army at the age of 55. Between 55 and 65 is the period of the major earning power of most people in civil life, during which they go on acquiring and accumulating the greater part of their income. That is denied to a lieutenant-colonel in the Army and he has to come out on moderate pension and try to find suitable further employment.

I should like to suggest some of the remedies which might help to attract young officers. First, we must acknowledge that many officers will leave the Army at the age of 30 and onwards if they have no chance of promotion. We must provide industrial, technical and professional courses and training for them against the time when they leave the Army and we must try to make it possible for them to maintain contact with some of the industrial and professional firms and organisations which might be prepared to employ them when they leave the Forces. In the higher ranks, we must compensate the more senior officers who may have to retire between the ages of 45 and 55 either by giving them increased pay during service or by improving their pensions. I am convinced that we shall not get men into the Army if their career is likely to be interrupted at what should be the peak of their earning power.

Even when the financial conditions and conditions of service are right, we shall still not attract the right young man unless we build up in the Army a pride in the Service and develop the sense of prestige which it had in the past and which attracted many people who remained loyal to the Army even though they were, by today's standards, grossly underpaid. This is a vital problem, because with mediocre officers we shall have a mediocre Army, which even the most outstanding non-commissioned officers will not be able to put right.

I now turn to the question of training. My impression from such investigations as I have been able to make is that training in the Army today is not sufficiently constructive and purposeful or filled with a sense of urgency. It is, perhaps, understandable that during the continuation of National Service, and with equipment dating from the last war, it is difficult to give adequate training; but, if we are to have a first-class Army, it is absolutely essential to destroy the sense of boredom which seems almost inseparable from peace-time soldiers and which is summed up by the expressive term of the soldier that he is "browned-off" or "cheesed-off". He has long periods of inactivity between short terms of intense activity. This problem springs largely from insufficient constructive activity and the lack of close personal contact between officers and men. It also springs from the lack of opportunity for training which bears some realistic relation to the task which the Army will have to perform.

I suggest that there should be far more training in movement by air as well as by road and foot—I stress, by foot. One of the problems that we are likely to be up against is that we may be fighting a physically tough people. If the Army becomes too road-bound or too unaccustomed to be moved by transport, it will come up against great difficulties in certain parts of the world. A few toughening up courses would not only be good for the Army but would be welcomed by many of the men.

Training is a very big subject and I do not want to go into it in detail. In fact, it would be quite impossible to do so in the course of a speech. It is, however, something which is important enough to be investigated again by the War Office, because I have a shrewd suspicion that there should be a lot of re-thinking, not only about training in general, but about our present training methods.

On the point about the esprit de corps which should be generated in the Army, I think that we must try to develop a sense of pride, confidence and understanding of the way of life which soldiers may be called upon to defend, to match the sense of personal dedication which we may find in some of the troops who may be opposed to us in a future war. This matter comes under the heading of "psychological warfare" to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Head) referred during the defence debate. It is essential that we must have complete belief in the cause which we defend if we are to prevail against superior forces and, which is very much more important, if we are to win the war of ideas.

I believe that we have our priorities wrong. Behind the shield of the nuclear deterrent, to which we make a contribution, our priorities should be, first, defence and counter-attack in the cold war—by that I mean economic and ideological war —and, secondly, in a limited shooting war. I do not believe we can go further than that.

I think that we are losing the cold war. We are being out-flanked and out-manoeuvred, particularly in what is described as the war for men's minds. It is not a question of pouring more money into underdeveloped countries, as was said in the defence debate. I do not think that money necessarily makes friends. The United States found that out to their cost. Often, in giving money away, one incurs enemies, because one places people under a sense of obligation, which they do not like. It is not a question of getting more students over here as a counter to those going to Czechoslovakia. A lot of students come over here and we educate them. but it is the Communist Party that gets hold of them—

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To what item in the Estimates is the hon. Gentleman referring?

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