Egypt (Withdrawn Units)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th December 1956.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Arthur Moyle Mr Arthur Moyle , Oldbury and Halesowen 12:00 am, 12th December 1956

asked the Minister of Defence why, in the withdrawal of our forces from Port Said, those who took part in the advance operations there have been withdrawn to Cyprus and not to this country.

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

I have been asked to reply.

Some units have gone to Cyprus because they were stationed there before, or were about to begin a normal overseas tour. Others have gone there to help in certain aftermath tasks. Arrangements are in train for the move of some units to the United Kingdom.

Photo of Mr Arthur Moyle Mr Arthur Moyle , Oldbury and Halesowen

As a number of National Service men were included in that withdrawal—and whatever views we may have about the Middle East exercise these boys did a first-class job—does not the Minister think that they are entitled to a break at home, at least, before Christmas?

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

My Answer was intended to indicate that the normal postings procedure—the normal disposition of our forces—is being resumed as quickly as possible.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

Is not the Minister aware that National Service reservists are still being sent out to Cyprus, and has not this been the cause of a good deal of difficulty, if that is the case?

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

That is quite a different question. I am not aware that they are, but perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would put down a Question to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Does not the withdrawal of our forces from Port Said, as mentioned in the Question, make it more and not less vital that we should maintain our forces in Cyprus at adequate strength to defend, by a supreme effort, British interests in the Middle East?

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

My Answer indicated that the Cyprus garrison was being maintained.