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: 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: 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: 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: 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: asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has considered the reprint sent to him of the two recent articles in the "Calcutta Diocesan Record," regarding requests by the civil police that inhabitants of a residential district in Calcutta should move elsewhere, their houses being required for brothels for the military; and whether he will inquire into the circumstances in which such...
Mr Tom Driberg: Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that, if a responsible church publication like this and the Bishop of Calcutta make detailed and grave charges of this kind, it is evident that some official who has made a blunder is being protected and the matter is being hushed up? Will he reinvestigate and make sure that, if people have been turned out of their houses, they shall be restored to them?
Mr Tom Driberg: Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that this organisation was able recently to secure a large London theatre for a meeting, and that the meeting was cancelled only as a result of the publicity given to it in this House, although we had not advertised the body by name?
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: asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any further statement to make on the possibility of a visit to this country of Madame Chiang Kai-shek?
Mr Tom Driberg: If it is correct, as rumoured, that Madame Chiang Kai-shek's health may prevent her from crossing the Atlantic, will the right hon. Gentleman convey to her the disappointment and sympathy which will be felt widely here, and will he consider whether it would be possible to invite one of her two brilliant sisters to visit us instead?
Mr Tom Driberg: asked the Postmaster-General whether he will cease describing as air mail and charging for at the high air-mail rate, the mail such as that to and from India, which is sea-borne for the greater part of its journey?
Mr Tom Driberg: Is it not a fact that there is not a substantial acceleration at present of this so-called air mail? Is it not rather absurd that it often takes longer than the sea mail sent at ordinary rates?
Mr Tom Driberg: Then why not abolish the air mail?