Orders of the Day — Defence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st August 1961.

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Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 1st August 1961

They will cost more. One reason for the present financial crisis, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is that we have been spending too much money and must cut down on our overseas expenditure. We are now in the middle of a financial crisis, a large part of which is due to the fact that early this year the House agreed to this vast expenditure of over £1,660 million, which the country is now told has helped to land it in this financial crisis.

If we add to that the burden of a conscript Army, which would have to be equipped with very expensive modern weapons, we should add expenditure to expenditure. The economic crisis would continue and the country would be faced with an insoluble problem. We are already warned that the consequence of the Chancellor's financial action will be a difficult economic situation, in which there will be strikes. This will mean industrial unrest and will add to the possibility of a stronger Communist movement in Britain.

The hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire is in his usual dilemma. I do not think that the dilemma can be solved by putting his suggestions into practice. If there were a conscript Army, from what strata of industry would it be raised? Would it be from agriculture, mining, engineering, or from trades concerned in exporting?