Libyan and Mediterranean Operations.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 23rd June 1942.

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Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

Is not the Deputy Prime Minister making the same mistake as has been made before of believing that the House requires to have a detailed description of what has happened from generals in the field before we can discuss this disaster? As I see it, it is not that which we want to discuss; what we want to discuss is where the blame lies for one of the most serious disasters that has ever fallen upon this country, following upon other disasters. What is wanted by the House is an opportunity of discussing the conduct and military direction of the war. Certain Members with whom I have had conversations will desire to put upon the Order Paper a Notice of Motion that, while having the highest admiration for the work of the troops and for their endurance, they have no longer confidence in the central military direction of the war. That being the case, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether this matter can be left open until some indefinite date during the next series of Sitting Days, or until later. Surely in a case as serious as this the House wants to discuss the matter at once, and I suggest that the third Sitting Day of our present series is a suitable day for beginning this discussion. The Business on the Paper for that day—important as it is, no doubt—is purely a domestic matter, and I suggest that the grave war situation is not a matter which, in accordance with the dignity and rights of this House, should be put off for an indefinite period.