Mr Tom Driberg: Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the documents about this party which I sent him, at his request, and do they not indicate clearly the treasonable nature of its activities or intentions?
Mr Tom Driberg: Can we still take it, in spite of the modifications which the Prime Minister has just announced of what he said last week, that serving officers and men can still write for the Press without censorship on all matters other than military or "literature in furtherance of the purposes of any political organisation or party"?
Mr Tom Driberg: Is it not essential to leave on the land as many skilled agricultural workers as possible?
Mr Tom Driberg: I had not intended to intervene, and I will only detain the Committee a few moments, but in view of what the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) has just said, I think it is necessary to debunk this artificial Tammany pressure which he professes to believe to be genuine representations from his constituency. I, like I suppose all other hon. Members, received telegrams on the day...
Mr Tom Driberg: I want to counter the extraordinary revival by the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Levy), and one other hon. Member, of the old discredited argument that this Bill was in some way a breach of the Government's pledge.
Mr Tom Driberg: With all respect, you did allow the hon. Member for Elland to make this mis-statement. Can I not contradict him?
Mr Tom Driberg: I want to congratulate the Minister on his steadfastness. The hon. and gallant Member who referred to Tunisia seems to forget that this Bill was introduced because of the Minister's desire to see that these men fighting out there get a fair chance of a job afterwards.
Mr Tom Driberg: Will the right hon. gentleman bear in mind that the boots which he mentioned as being coupon free are the very things which wear the socks out more quickly?
Mr Tom Driberg: Is not this an admirable illustration of the value of prodding the Government, and of disregard of the party Whips by hon. Members?
Mr Tom Driberg: The hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken make a very interesting legalistic point, but I think that the broad issue is covered by the wording of the Clause and explains itself naturally to the minds of most hon. Members. It is true, generally speaking, that the soldier of the present day is interested in politics and would like to be able, on occasion, to express himself if he wished...
Mr Tom Driberg: The impression that I got from the hon. Member's speech was very different. He said that one thing soldiers disliked and avoided was the political soldier.
Mr Tom Driberg: I am glad to have given the hon. Member an opportunity of making himself clear, and to welcome him to the fold. There is even weightier testimony than his that the soldier in the Middle East is interested in broad political issues. May I recall that the Minister of State in the Middle East, broadcasting last December, said how very keenly the troops were discussing the Beveridge Report? The...
Mr Tom Driberg: asked the Minister of Health whether he can increase the minimum quantity of furniture supplied to transferred war workers in billets where they are accommodated in bare rooms only; and whether he will take steps to impress further on the householders concerned that hospitality to such workers is a social duty of importance in the war effort?
Mr Tom Driberg: Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the situation in the particular districts referred to in the document?
Mr Tom Driberg: asked the Minister of Health whether transferred war workers are permitted to go on living in private houses, in which they have been billeted, during the absence, on holiday or for other causes, of the householders?
Mr Tom Driberg: Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is an unpatriotic minority of householders who do treat billetees with rudeness and inhospitality and will even go away for a week or two in order to avoid having workers billeted in their houses? Can he do anything about this?
Mr Tom Driberg: asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has considered the resolution sent to him recently by a conference of Essex blacksmiths, saddlers, wheelwrights, thatchers and hurdlemakers, drawing attention to the small number of men now engaged in these essential trades; and whether he will introduce a scheme for training apprentices or take other steps to secure a revival of these trades?
Mr Tom Driberg: Taking one of these crafts alone, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind, having regard to the acute shortage of rural houses, the importance of keeping alive the craft of the thatcher; and can he indicate whether these matters are likely to be covered in the forthcoming Luxmoore Report?
Mr Tom Driberg: On a point of Order. It is only a small point, but I think it is worth clearing up. Questions on the Paper coming up for answer are given as allotted to the "first, second or third" Sitting Days. Should that not read "second, third and fourth" Sitting Days respectively?
Mr Tom Driberg: That is just my point, Sir. Therefore Questions down for the "first" Sitting Day should read "second."