HC Deb 25 February 1947 vol 433 cc1868-9
35. Mr. William Wells

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will cause an instruction to be issued to all units of the Army making it clear that all ranks are entitled to write to Members of Parliament without permission from their military superiors.

Mr. Bellenger

It is well known throughout the Army that an officer or soldier is permitted to write to his own Member of Parliament. It is, however, most desirable, both in the interests of those who may have complaints and of the Army as a whole, that complaints should, at least in the first instance, be made in the proper and normal way. If this is done they can usually be dealt with far more quickly and efficiently.

Mr. Wells

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some units are still issuing orders prohibiting the writing of letters to Members of Parliament, and that hon. Members of this House continually receive complaints about this? Will he take action that will prevent indiscipline on the part of colonels, as he would in the case of corporals?

Mr. Bellenger

Yes, I am aware of that, and I have taken steps to stop that. The hon. Member may or may not know that in the last Parliament I was one of the back bench Members who established this right.

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