To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will investigate allegations made to him in a letter passed to him by the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South that initiation ceremonies in the Queen's Dragoon Guards for new junior officers involve nakedness and drinking cocktails including urine; and if he will make a statement.
As the allegations made in the anonymous letter passed to me by the right hon. Gentleman give no specific dates of the alleged incidents or the names of those supposedly involved, it has not been possible to initiate a Special Investigation Branch inquiry, as would normally be the case.Nevertheless, the allegations have caused considerable disquiet, both in my Department and in the regiment and its higher command chain. Very careful inquiries have been carried out within the regiment, under the supervision of the brigade commander, into all aspects of the behaviour alleged in the letter. All available officers of the regiment have been interviewed as part of this process, and I can state that no evidence whatsoever has been found which supports the allegations that newly joined officers of the Queen's Dragoon Guards are initiated by their soldiers in revolting and unseemly drinking rituals.I have explained to the right hon. Member on previous occasions the difficulty of pursuing conclusively allegations that are unsupported by specific details. Our inquiries have established no accurate basis for the very harmful allegations in this particular letter, against a most distinguished regiment. However, if additional details were forthcoming I would of course be prepared to look further into the matter.