Territorial Army

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th March 1968.

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Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 6th March 1968

Somebody mentioned Hong Kong. I believe that it was the hon. Member for Dorset, North (Sir Richard Glyn). I would not have tried to introduce the subject of Hong Kong if the possibility had not been mentioned. Hong Kong is a long way from the Ayrshire Yeomanry and even the hon. and gallant Member for Bute and North Ayrshire does not think that the Territorials could help to act as a reserve for Hong Kong. If such a fantastic possibility is brought up, one can justify anything on the ground that one may need reserves in distant parts of the world. I do not know what will happen in Hong Kong, but the Chinese could make our forces there useless by turning off a couple of water taps. So the argument about reserves is as ineffective as that about what the Army can do on the home front.

The Government are entitled to look at expenditure on the Services and go over it with a small tooth comb in order to save the country money in a national emergency, and if hon. Members say that they do not want to save money at the present time they are traitors to their country, because what the country needs at present is economy. Our great need is to be solvent, and when I hear about the £ being in danger I wonder how the Territorials can defend the £. When the Defence Estimates were published, there was a report in the financial columns of the Glasgow Herald which said: As a result of publication of yesterday's estimates the £ weakened on the Stock Exchange. So the more money we spend on the Territorials, the more we spend on military strength, the more we weaken the £. As the most essential thing is to defend the and the national economy in this grave hour of financial crisis, I support the Government 150 per cent. in reducing this expenditure and saving us the £2½, million so badly needed.