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Home Defence Force

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd February 1966.

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Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North 12:00 am, 2nd February 1966

If the right hon. Gentleman wants a debate I assume we shall have it on the Second Reading of the necessary legislation in the not too far distant future. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If hon. Gentlemen do not want a debate on the legislation we shall be pleased to take it on the nod.

The right hon. Gentleman did say that this was a change from the decision to destroy the Territorial Army and that there was a need for a Home Defence Force. The Government have made it perfectly clear right the way through that the home defence review was going on, but that it was not financially sound to keep an Army for home defence.

If the right hon. Gentleman is really saying that 40 regiments of artillery of 25-pounder guns from the last war, with ammunition which has to be rebuilt before firing, and 20 regiments of yeomanry with armoured cars—for none of these units are there any plans for use in warfare at all—should be specially kept for home defence, he needs to have another think about the whole matter.

In so far as the right hon. Gentleman is arguing that the A.V.R. should be integrated with the Home Defence Force, that must be the most ridiculous thing one could think of, if only because that force in the event of war—the majority of it—would have gone to Germany and not be here.

As for reorganisation and training, the two forces would be separately trained, but there will be the closest possible co-operation between them.