asked the Attorney-General to what day the date of operation of the free legal aid scheme for the Army has been postponed; whether he will make a statement on the details of the scheme to be operated; and whether the Army Welfare Department have consulted with the legal departments of any trade unions for information on the experience gained by them and the general facilities of a similar service available to trade union members?
I have been asked to reply. The date of the operation of the scheme to which my hon. Friend refers has not been postponed. I understand that a statement on the scope and details of the scheme is to be made by my Noble Friend either this week or next. Experience gained in operating similar schemes of free legal aid has been placed at the disposal of my Noble Friend and my right hon. and learned Friend, but there has been no direct consultation between the Departments mentioned by the hon. Member.
Could not the Solicitor-General make a statement in the House at the same time as a statement is made elsewhere, in view of the fact that the Army Welfare Department issued a statement to the Press which was full of contradictions and has not really been answered satisfactorily so far in reply to two Questions in the House?
I cannot give my hon. Friend any undertaking, nor accept every implication of what he has said, but I promise that the points he has raised will receive due consideration.