Mr Tom Driberg: asked the Secretary of State for Defence if his review of the conditions and opportunities of work in Naval detention quarters is now complete; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Tom Driberg: I thank my hon. Friend for that welcome announcement of improvements. Can he say something about the tasks performed in these detention quarters? May we take it that it is not now only the archaic task of picking oakum which is available to some of these men?
Mr Tom Driberg: Since the Gurkhas seem actually to enjoy serving in H.M. Forces—
Mr Tom Driberg: —and since they make very good soldiers, anyway, why confine them to the Gurkha Brigade? Why not bring some of them to the United Kingdom to replace the reluctant teenage Servicemen whom my hon. Friend will not release?
Mr Tom Driberg: Why did my right hon. Friend say that the new Clause would be dangerous? We are not living in the age of Herbert Morrison.
Mr Tom Driberg: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You have not selected my sub-Amendment (h), to leave out lines 1 to 36 and insert: 'The Post Office and any of its subsidiaries shall, after consultation with the Minister, have power to construct, manufacture, or produce, for and relevant purpose, things of any kind to an extent which may be necessary in the public interest at any time, and to engage in any...
Mr Tom Driberg: I agree with two things, at any rate, that have so far been said from the other side. I agree strongly with the point which was made about accountability. Although I think that any prolonged discussion of accountability would not be in order on this new Clause, I hope that on new Clause 6 right hon. and hon. Members opposite who are interested in accountability will vote for that new Clause,...
Mr Tom Driberg: No.
Mr Tom Driberg: I said that the hon. Gentleman cannot take any Clause he likes at the moment.
Mr Tom Driberg: I am sorry if I was inaudible, although the hon. and gallant Gentleman's remark was uncalled for and untrue. I was referring to his statement that he could take any Clause he liked. He cannot. He can take only new Clause 1 at the moment.
Mr Tom Driberg: If new Clause 6 is accepted then it will be possible to get at the Minister.
Mr Tom Driberg: More.
Mr Tom Driberg: And secure approval.
Mr Tom Driberg: I believe that in subsection (2) it should also be "consultation".
Mr Tom Driberg: As I said in interrupting a previous speaker on the hon. Gentleman's side, accountability to Parliament is the main thing and that will be achieved if the new Clause 6 is carried.
Mr Tom Driberg: Unthinkable.
Mr Tom Driberg: Certainly.
Mr Tom Driberg: rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put:—
Mr Tom Driberg: It is better than nothing.
Mr Tom Driberg: I am deeply moved by my hon. Friend's speech. I agree with it. As I said earlier, I would rather leave out the last few words of the Clause, but we are dealing with this horrible thing called practical politics. When one is dealing with a Front Bench of good comrades who are also pragmatists, one must try to table something which they are able to accept.