Inland Revenue (Discretion)
Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister (Engagements)
Mr Ernest Perry (Wandsworth Battersea South)
That may be so. But the point is that the Tory Party had a three-to-one majority in the House of Commons. They could have passed any measure they wished. When some of my hon. Friends and friends on the other side—I call them my friends because between 1939 and 1945 we served in different spheres of the Armed Forces but called ourselves friends—were serving together, we called ourselves comrades.
The hon. and gallant Member for Eye (Sir H. Harrison) is leaving the House at the end of this Parliament, as I am. He served in Burma. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese and remained a prisoner for three and a half years. I extend to him my felicitations and I wish him a good retirement. He has rendered greater service to the country than many others. I wish him good health and happiness in his retirement.
There are other right hon. and hon. Members who served in the last war. The right hon. Member for Pavilion did a memorable job in Yugoslavia. Sometimes sneering remarks are made by those on the Opposition Front Bench about Ministers fiddling the books. They should remember that most of those who sit on the Government Front Bench took part in the last war if they were old enough to do so. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Secretary of State for Defence and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force all took part. Mr. Anthony Crosland also served. Sneering and jeering remarks are made about Labour Ministers fiddling the books, but such remarks are being directed to those who rendered a contribution from 1939 to 1945. That should not be forgotten.
We have reminisced about the Second World War. One of the greatest moments in my life was to hear the result of the battle of El Alamein. The hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) may grin, but the results of the battles of El Alamein and Stalingrad were morale-boosters for the British Army, especially for those serving overseas. I am sure that the hon. and gallant Member for Eye, who was imprisoned in Singapore, must have been sent almost into the sky with those imprisoned with him when he heard the news of El Alamein and Stalingrad. Those pieces of news must have been great fillips to them. Let us not jeer and grin like the hon. Member for Woking. These were pieces of news that kept the forces going during the last war in times of adversity.
I read a small article in the Daily Mirror yesterday about Bofors being fired for the last time by the British Army. The Bofors gun went out of use yesterday and six rounds were fired as a memorial. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army could have invited a few Members of Parliament who used Bofors during the last war to take part, for example, in halt action and to fire the Bofors.