The National Council for Civil Liberties has asked to be associated with a recent request from the Parliamentary Civil Liberties Group to discuss with me the question of young Servicemen. I have advised the Group that I am prepared to examine and subsequently discuss with it detailed complaints; and I have kept the National Council for Civil Liberties informed.
Are the Government aware of a report and connected activities which tend to tamper with the morale and loyalty of Her Majesty's Forces? What advice has been taken from the Law Officers of the Crown?
I am aware of quite a number of things, but on the information that the hon. Gentleman has given the House now I would not like to say it has anything to do with what he is talking about. If he cares to let me have details, I will certainly look at them.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is not tampering with the morale and loyalty of the forces to recognise that 15-year-olds who sign on for 12 years without really knowing what they are doing should be released, or given the option of release, at 18 in accordance with the Report of the Latey Committee?
This matter, as my hon. Friend well knows, has been and is still being examined by the Government. Despite all the publicity there has been, I am still surprised at the very small number of such cases in which there is hardship which has been so far forwarded to me in the last two years.