I regret that the information required is not readily available, and could not be obtained without a disproportionate amount of labour, but I can assure the hon. Member that this matter is under constant review and instructions have recently been issued with a view to reducing the period to a minimum.
As the hon. Gentleman does not seem to have the information, would it surprise him to learn that many soldiers are kept under arrest for weeks before they are brought before courts-martial? Does he realise that such a procedure would not be tolerated under civil administration?
The usual reason for delay is that the evidence is not collected in a proper manner in the first instance. We are issuing instructions to enable that cause to be eliminated.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the simplest cases weeks pass before men are brought to trial by courts-martial if they elect so to be tried, and that during that time the men are suffering by being confined to barracks?