asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to criticisms reflecting upon the personal character of Brigadier-General Sir Joseph Byrne; and whether, if in their opinion those criticisms are unjustified, His Majesty's Government propose to offer further employment to this officer?
I am obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend for affording me this opportunity of saying on behalf of His Majesty's Government that General Byrne is an officer whose loyalty, courage, and devotion to duty reflect the highest standards of the service of the Crown. Any suggestion to the contrary is, in our opinion, quite unwarranted. If a suitable opportunity arose the Government would be glad to re-employ Sir Joseph Byrne.
No, Sir. I am sorry that my hon. and gallant Friend has thought it necessary to put that question. The Government, as long as it is a Government, must be allowed to choose the servants it employs for any particular task and at any particular moment. If it is to be suggested that because we think a change necessary at a particular time and in a particular position that that is to be considered a reflection upon the officer removed, then the discretion of the Government will be very gravely hampered, and the due execution of the public service will be much impeded.