No, Sir. Saluting of senior officers was an established practice in many of the old fire brigades. There was, however, much diversity of procedure, and now that the National Fire Service has been instituted it is essential to establish a recognised and standard practice. That is the object of the recent Instruction. The original Instruction has been amended in one particular, but, apart from that, I am satisfied that the general Instruction on the subject is necessary and should stand.
It is when on duty. They are not required to salute when off duty. The practice follows that adopted by the old fire brigades in many parts of the country, including, I may say, the Fire Brigade of the London County Council when it was under the Council. I do not remember that my hon. Friend, when he and I were acting closely together—off and on—on the London County Council, ever protested against saluting by London firemen.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that some of the alterations which he has introduced in the saluting procedure have aroused great hostility, and in fact he has withdrawn some of them? I was anxious to know whether there were any other alterations which he has introduced which are equally unpopular.
My hon. Friend asked me to abolish saluting, and I do not propose to do it. I propose to follow his admirable example, and mine, on the London County Council. I have not received any communication from my hon. Friend objecting to the police courteously saluting him when, as a Member of Parliament, he arrives at the House of Commons.