Territorial Army Emergency Reserves (Call-Up)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th April 1965.

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Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park 12:00 am, 14th April 1965

The hon. Gentleman has underlined a great difficulty for Ministers. We could have sent out notices to all the people concerned so that there would have been no uncertainty before we made a public statement to the House, but I would have thought that the possibility of this being disclosed to the newspapers ahead of time was extremely likely, and we thought it our first duty to inform, the House of Commons.

If one takes this view, there must be inconvenience to the soldiers concerned. We informed the House first, and I understand that the hon. Gentleman's right hon. Friend expressed the view that that was the right course. We shall, of course, send out the notices as soon as possible.

As to the question about the infantry, we shall not go beyond the Home Counties Brigade. The Royal Engineers and the R.E.M.E. are specialists who are in short supply and, as the hon. Gentleman knows from his own visit to the Far East, one of the difficulties in the Far East theatre is that whereas a number of trades might be performed by civilians in Germany or in other parts, in Borneo we have to employ the military to do maintenance work.