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Armed Forces (Trade Union Membership)

Volume 972: debated on Tuesday 23 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if, in view of recent convictions in connection with the ill-treatment of private Service men, he will now permit trade union organisation for Service men and for union officials to have access to them.

I strongly deplore the incidents to which the hon. Member is referring. I am satisfied, however, that these cases were fully and properly dealt with under the existing Service disciplinary procedures. The question of unionisation raises much wider issues and I do not believe that it would prevent incidents of this sort. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence said on 10 July, we have no plans for authorising any form of collective representation.