Reserves (N.A.T.O. Obligations)

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3 December 1969.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes 12:00, 3 December 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has for strengthening the reserves to match Great Britain's obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Measures to strengthen and improve our reserves were announced by my predecessor on 28th November, 1968. During the course of the year, those changes have been consolidated, whilst future requirements have been kept under review.—[Vol. 774, c. 739–48.]

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Why are the Government so complacent about the fact that our military reserves, both Regular and volunteer, in relation to available manpower are the weakest in all the N.A.T.O. countries?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The word "complacent" is absolutely wrong. The Government have made sure that the anxiliary reserves which we now possess are a great deal more effective than they were four or five years ago.

Photo of Mr James Ramsden Mr James Ramsden , Harrogate

Once the reserves currently being planned by the Government are committed in the role intended for them by the Government, with what is it planned to support the Regular forces in the United Kingdom in those roles for which the Government are now raising a new territorial force in Northern Ireland?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I have said to the right hon. Gentleman on previous occasions, and I am happy to reiterate now, that of all the roles for which a territorial force—of his sort or of mine —might be inappropriate, its use in Northern Ireland in the present circumstances is the most inappropriate.