§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Mr. Roger Freeman)
I beg to move,That the draft Army, Air Force and Naval Discipline Acts (Continuation) Order 1988, which was laid before this House on 17th June 1988, be approved.The purpose of the order is to continue in force for a further year the Army and Air Force Acts 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957, which together provide the basis for the disciplinary arrangements in the three services. The concept of annual parliamentary approval for the special legal position of service men and women is a long-established one in British constitutional practice. Indeed, it stems ultimately from the 1689 Bill of Rights, which prohibited the raising or maintenance of a standing army in the realm in time of peace without the consent of Parliament. Every fifth year the opportunity is taken to review in depth the needs of the service disciplinary systems and an Armed Forces Bill is presented proposing such amendments to those systems as are considered necessary. As hon. Members will recall, the last such Act was passed in 1986.
The legal position of service personnel is in some respects unique. They are subject to service discipline as well as to the ordinary law of the land, and their individual rights as citizens must be respected within the constraints necessarily imposed by service discipline.
I want to take this opportunity to bring the House up to date briefly on some areas in which this balance has had to be considered. In its report, the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill 1986 suggested that accused persons in the Army and Royal Air Force should be allowed the assistance of an accused's friend at summary proceedings, in the same way as in the Royal Navy. In the light of that recommendation, we have set in hand a wider review of summary proceedings, including proposals for providing assistance to the accused. The outcome will be included in our proposals for the next Armed Forces Bill.
A fair and equitable system of discipline is essential to good morale in the services, which in turn helps us to recruit and train good quality personnel. The current manning position in the armed forces is broadly satisfactory. There are shortages in certain specialist areas, mainly those in which there are national shortages, but those shortfalls are not significant enough to prevent the services from carrying out their operational roles. The House will be aware of the difficulties that we face because of demographic trends and increased competition from other sectors of an expanding economy. In common with some of our NATO allies, we are considering ways of meeting these challenges. Never has it been more important for our armed forces to offer the right conditions of service to their members.
It is right, therefore, that recent allegations of bullying in the armed forces should have attracted the concern that they have. Since January 1986, 45 such allegations have been substantiated and resulted in disciplinary action. Bullying has no place in the armed forces. The serious view that we take has been reflected both in the sentences awarded to those found responsible and in the comprehensive package of measures being implemented, which I am confident will help to deal with the problem.
677 Let me deal finally with a subject that graphically illustrates the fact that—for good or ill—the services are part of society. The Ministry of Defence recognised the seriousness of AIDS at an early stage, and it has taken a full part in the AIDS education campaign. Service units going abroad are briefed on AIDS as well as other health hazards, and individuals considering themselves at risk are encouraged to undergo voluntary screening. In short, AIDS policy for the armed services is consistent with that adopted nationally.
Let me draw the attention of the House to a pamphlet that we have recently produced called "The Armed Forces: Your Rights and Responsibilities." It sets out in straightforward language the rights and responsibilities of service men and women. A copy will be given to all new recruits to the armed forces and will, I hope, help them to understand the services' disciplinary system. I shall place a copy in the Library, and if any hon. Member is interested in receiving a copy I shall be pleased to send him a copy directly. It is a brand-new leaflet, and it covers rights in regard to injustice or ill-treatment, equal opportunity of employment in the armed forces, voting and injury on duty. In regard to responsibilities it deals with the service discipline Acts, drug abuse and alcohol abuse. I hope that it will be of interest, use and benefit not only to recruits but to their parents.
The service disciplinary system that will be continued by the order plays an essential part in maintaining the extremely high standards displayed by the services, both in peace time and in fighting roles. I am pleased to take this opportunity to pay wholehearted tribute to the skill and dedication of our armed forces, and I invite the House to approve the order.
§ Mr. Sean Hughes (Knowsley, South)
In view of the hour, I shall not venture down the road of historical reference with which the Minister opened his remarks, much though I might be inclined to do so. We experienced the niceties of the 1688 debate recently, and, although as a Catholic I may have my own views about just how glorious that revolution was, I shall refrain from exploring the subject tonight.
Let me say in my immediate response to the Minister that he should perhaps consider making the leaflet for recruits available to all service personnel rather than merely to recruits. Let me also say that Opposition Members hope that an indication at least of the contents of the Armed Services Bill will be available in time for the estimates debate in the autumn.
In the past, our debates have concerned themselves with the generalities of discipline and morale in the armed forces rather than merely with the technicalities of the Acts whose continuation is the subject of the order. Hon. Members have concerned themselves with what an hon. Member referred to last year as the niggles that we all hear whenever we visit a unit. I believe that that is right. Morale and discipline are composed of the minutiae of life in the services, and it is therefore incumbent on us to discuss them.
I join the Minister in his praise for the men and women who serve in our armed forces. It is easy to praise them at times of national crisis, and to forget that in the humdrum preparation for crisis they forgo much of the personal freedom which we as civilians enjoy and exercise. It was 678 right that the Select Committee of 1976 refused to give up the annual affirmative orders when such a proposal was considered.
As the Minister pointed out, one aspect of life in the armed forces that has been of concern to hon. Members is that of bullying. Nothing could more sap morale and diminish discipline than such behaviour. During the Army debate on 26 January, the Minister asserted his belief that the problem of bullying and ill treatment was riot widespread. I simply do not know, nor can anyone know, the incidence of bullying in the armed forces. None of us would want to stand accused of either exaggerating or understating the problem. The Minister devoted a considerable part of his speech to the Government's response to some of the bizarre examples of bullying and, to that end, he outlined a programme on which he hoped to make rapid progress. Perhaps he can inform the House tonight whether it is now possible to report any measurable progress on that matter.
There were six items in that programme. I should like to draw the House's attention to two of them. Although Opposition Members welcome the fact that he Government are taking the question of bullying seriously, we remain concerned about the first suggestion—that there should be a more thorough screening at the recruiting and entry stage of young men who, as the Minister put it,may not be robust enough to cope with the toughness of military training"—[Official Report, 26 January 1988; Vol. 126, c. 257–8.]As the item under discussion was bullying, that appeared to equate some aspects of bullying with tough military training. It was an unfortunate use of words which I am sure the Minister did not intend to lead to misinterpretation. As this is the first opportunity to put the record right, I hope that the Minister will do so when he replies.
The final proposal in the Minister's six-point plan was a formal ban on harmful initiation ceremonies. Clearly the experience of such degrading ceremonies is hardly conducive to good discipline in the armed forces. Perhaps the Minister can tell us how such a ban has been enforced and whether there has been any measurable effect in the past six months.
One other matter that has given cause for concern of late is that of racism in the armed forces. In an earlier debate, my hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr. Grant) asked soldiers to write to him about individual cases of racism. The Minister replied that that was the wrong advice and that it would be more effective and in the best interests of British soldiers to take up such allegations with their commanding officers. This is an extremely sensitive matter, and I must be honest with the House and say that in the past 12 months only one allegation of racism has been drawn to my attention but, ominously, it was withdrawn on the ground that identifying the individual or regiment might have repercussions and that it would have been impossible to prove motive. I do not try to concoct any theory on that matter. I do not know the extent of the problem. However, I know that hon. Members and journalists have identified the matter as one of real concern and I hope that the Minister will assure the House that he continues to monitor the matter closely.
Another item of concern that has been expressed to me both in conversation and correspondence has been the question of private contractors at barracks, which affects 679 morale and discipline. For the record, I should add that the incidents to which I refer concern private contracts at Army institutions, although common sense would suggest that such incidents must be happening generally throughout the services if they are happening in one particular service. The complaints that I have received had not been limited to private soldiers.
I understand that, as a result of privatisation, various contracts are now being awarded on the basis of competitive tendering to cover such services as gardening, cleaning and catering. The substance of the complaints is that the contractors sometimes—I shall not over-egg the pudding by saying often—fail to deliver the full service and, as a result, the commanding officer must order his men to finish off the job.
It has been suggested to me that in some instances the work of the private contractor has been so unsatisfactory that the commanding officer has had to order his men to provide the complete service again. I tabled a question to the Minister earlier in the year and his reply informed me that there have been some such instances but they have been infrequent and confined generally to the early stages of contracts. I think that the problem is greater than that and I hope that the Minister will give it his attention. The use of young soldiers to carry out work that has been contracted out does not lead to good morale or good discipline.
In civilian life, expectation of pension is considered a legitimate aspect of working conditions, and with that goes the question of how we treat the widows of those so employed. If discipline is dependent on morale and not only on punishment, the morale of service men and women cannot but be affected by how we treat the widows of those who have served their country in the past. The Minister replied to a debate on this subject shortly before the Christmas recess. I hope that the Government will be prepared to reconsider their position on war widows' pensions. The problem has been identified in two early-day motions.
I ask the Minister to explain the use of section 24 of the Armed Forces Act 1971 in respect of unauthorised disclosure of information. I apologise for not giving him notice of my question. Section 24 provides the following provision to substitute for section 60 of the Army Act 1955:It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section that he did not know and had no reasonable cause to believe that the information disclosed related to a matter upon which information would or might be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy.Under the proposed reform of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, the Government have recommended thatit should not be necessary for the prosecution to adduce evidence of the likely damage to the operation of the security or intelligence services when information relating to security or intelligence has been disclosed by a member or former member of one of those services.Let me suppose that someone who is serving in one of the military intelligence agencies discloses information about his job that he knows will not be of use to the enemy but will reveal, for instance, that a defence contractor overcharged the agency. He could not be prosecuted under section 24 of the Armed Forces Act 1971. Under the new 680 proposals for the reform of the Official Secrets Act, however, he could be prosecuted and would have no defence in law. The law would then be made to look an ass.
I ask the Minister to tell us whether section 24 will be amended so that it is compatible with the proposals in the White Paper on the Official Secrets Act. I hope, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the Minister will catch your eye and will be able to respond to the issues that I and others have raised during this brief debate.
§ Dr. Alan Glyn (Windsor and Maidenhead)
I endorse everything that my hon. Friend the Minister has said in paying tribute to the armed forces in general and to their high standard of discipline.
Discipline rests with the leadership of the officers and with providing the men with the right conditions, and in Windsor there is a difficulty. When the Victoria barracks were demolished, a smart guard continued to go to the castle, and the public admire it. They do not know, however, what the men have to go through. They are bussed from Hounslow, Chelsea or from wherever they can be obtained. They then have to go to Combermere barracks, where they put on their uniforms, which are carried separately. That is extremely difficult. The tunics are very expensive. As everyone knows, the entire uniform is extremely expensive. The uniforms are carried in the bus or on a lorry to the barracks, where two rooms have been provided for the men to change in. They then have to be bussed back to the royal mews. That causes extreme difficulty for the men who have to parade in public. If I were one of those men, I should be extremely worried about whether I could make the change to full dress under those conditions. It is wrong that that should continue.
That situation has existed since 1980. I make no apology for the fact that since 6 June 1980 I have been pressing successive Ministers to do something about it. The last of the Foot Guards left in May. On 26 January, at column 259 of Hansard, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces was most sympathetic.
There are two reasons for my request. We need another barrack in London and in Windsor. That is not entirely selfish, because I am led to understand that another barrack is required in the London district. The House may not be aware that Windsor is technically under the London district. It is also a fact that another barrack is required. The inconvenience to the men is important, but there is also the more important point that there is a barrack there that has been lying idle for eight and a half years.
I do not blame any Minister who has had responsibility for the armed forces. Each successive Minister gave me undertakings, and I was told that the barrack would be ready long before now. The empty site has now been cleared. I know that there were demolition difficulties, but they have been dealt with and I look forward to the rebuilding of the barrack.
After all, as I have said in previous debates, we are a garrison town. The castle has to be guarded by Foot Guards, and it is up to us to make sure that the conditions under which those men guard it are as comfortable as possible.
At the same time, we need another barrack in the London district. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the 681 Minister for what he said in column 259 of Hansardon 26 January, and I look forward to working with him for the rebuilding of Victoria barracks at an early date.
§ 12.2 am
§ Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)
Sometimes I think that it is Ministers who should be disciplined for the waste of money in many areas of defence expenditure. For example, the Minister's predecessor, the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malting (Mr. Stanley), reported to the House that a constituent of my hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) had not been strip-searched, and now it has been reported that she was. The Ministry of Defence has had to pay damages. The right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling has still not apologised for misleading the House. Perhaps he should be disciplined by the House if he does not.
Similarly, the Minister who went ahead with Trident in the first place should be disciplined; but other Ministers have misled the House over the figures for the Trident programme. They have not told the House that the Trident programme does not include the capital works, which the Select Committee on Public Accounts has said could add another £1 billion-plus to the cost of the work.
Perhaps we are discussing the wrong kind of discipline and it should be the Ministers who are disciplined. I hope that we shall do that at the next general election, when they will be duly put in their place, which will not he in Government.
I welcome the leaflet announced by the Minister and I shall examine it closely. It seems as though it will be a welcome publication and extremely helpful to the armed forces.
I echo the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. Hughes) about bullying. I was most concerned when the Minister used that phrase about those who were not robust enough for military training and having to sort them out. It struck me at the time that the Government and their advisers were putting all the blame on the victim instead of on the bully. I hope that the Minister will have second thoughts about that.
I shall be interested to see what the leaflet says about equal opportunities. When I asked the Prime Minister recently about the security services and equal opportunities policy, she said that there was not one—it did not apply to the security services and the armed forces. I do not think that there can be any excuse for not having a proper equal opportunities policy throughout the armed forces. I want to see extensive monitoring and action on it to ensure that it is carried out. There are certainly not very many—certainly not enough—of our black and ethnic minority citizens in senior positions in the armed forces. The implication of the Prime Minister's answer was that they cannot be trusted to hold senior possitions. That is a travesty of the truth, and in many respects it is discrimination against them. It was Prince Charles who first called for the Guards to have a black guardsman. A great deal needs to be done to get proper equal opportunities.
The Minister referred to AIDS in the armed forces, but it is also a serious problem throughout society. There was a television programme recently, mainly concerned with the United States forces in Thailand, which showed that the Thai Government were most irresponsible in relation to visiting troops. That might apply, too, to countries that 682 our troops visit. For example, in some of the African countries as many as 90 per cent. of prostitutes have the HIV virus. If our soldiers frequent such establishments, perhaps in a fit of drunkenness or a deliberate act on their part, they take a grave—grave is the right word in this context —risk.
The Minister should not only promote health education, which is vital, but put pressure on the Governments of the countries which our troops visit to behave responsibly and clean up those areas where AIDS can be spread. That is a serious issue to be dealt with.
The Government should be examining ways of making it easy for those in the armed forces who contract AIDS to acknowledge it, leave the armed forces and receive proper care. They need to be able to do that without fear, without shame and stigma and, especially, without severe financial hardship. If that does not happen, they will stay in the armed forces and try to cover it up and suffer.
I have argued when we have had similar debates before that there should not be a ;separate law for the military. The death penalty is still applicable in the armed forces. The Acts came into force in 1955 when we still had the death sentence for civilians, so it is understandable that it should have been provided, but we have since got rid of it for civilians and I believe that it should be got rid of for the armed forces. I know that it is not used, but it could be, and it should be taken off the statute book.
It is for the Minister to argue the case for keeping the death sentence, especially when we have had debate after debate, at the end of which the House has decided that it does not want the death penalty for civilians. State murder is regarded as morally unacceptable, and in my view the same view should apply in the armed forces. It is obvious that no such change can be made this year, but I hope that the Minister will at some stage have the courage to abolish the death penalty.
§ Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)
I want to refer to one case, more in passing than in detail, because there are one or two points of principle which it is important to state now rather than to leave too late.
I refer to the case of the Life Guards Captain Simon Hayward, who was arrested in Sweden more than a year ago on charges of drug trafficking, and who is now serving a period of five years' imprisonment. To determine his future in the Army, I understand that it is necessary under the Queen's Regulations for the authorities to determine whether he has received a fair trial in the foreign country in which he has been sentenced. Only in the light of such inquiries will he be deprived of his commission.
I am absolutely satisfied that the procedures which I understand are taking their normal course will be handled most sympathetically and fairly, but I wish to urge on my hon. Friend the Minister the view that when the processes are completed the Ministry of Defence should completely ignore any possible repercussions on our diplomatic relations with Sweden.
In my view, and, I hope, in the view of all, the prime consideration should not be the expedient of whether a judgment hinders or helps our relations with another country, but whether justice has been done. In that context, I urge my hon. Friend that consideration of "fair" must be on our standards of the term and not those of another country, particularly if the standards, as I have 683 learned before, during and since Captain Hayward's trial, have been a matter of question not just by me—that is not important—or by other hon. Members, but in copious correspondence from the very country in which the trial took place. Therefore, I hope that it will be standards not just of natural justice, but of justice of the purest possible kind that will be applied when a decision is reached.
Secondly, I hope that, despite the fact that Captain Hayward has lodged an appeal with the European Court, whatever findings are arrived at here in this country will not necessarily be dependent upon what happens at the European Court of Human Rights, whether it finds in his favour or against him, although it is probable, if the case is considered to be admissible, that the ultimate result will be long delayed, if precedent is followed, and will not be forthcoming until he has served his sentence.
I believe that it is essential that it be recognised that the European Court examines whether an agreed code has been followed by a particular country and does not necessarily address itself to whether the verdict was a fair or an unfair one. We should make this decision on the basis of what we know of the proceedings at trial and appeal. I am quite satisfied in my mind that if the Ministry of Defence addresses itself to that and that alone the outcome will certainly be a fair consideration of Captain Hayward's case.
I do not seek from my hon. Friend either a reply or comment at this stage. I understand that it may be preferable to allow matters to take their course. However, I hope that my words will have some influence in ensuring that it is not diplomatic relations but justice that will eventually prevail in this matter.
§ Miss Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone)
The hon. Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. Hughes) said something that I think would be echoed by both sides of the House—that high morale is fundamental to good discipline. Similarly, fundamental to high morale is the conviction on the part of serving officers and men that their families are well looked after and are integrated into the local community where they happen to be based. That is particularly important where regiments serve a substantial part of the year overseas.
It is a matter of concern to me, and indeed to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Kent (Mr. Rowe), who cannot be here to record his concern in person, that there is a question mark over the future accommodation of 36 Engineer Regiment, which has been based in Maidstone for many years. It is a feature of their service that, as sappers, they spend a substantial period each year abroad, away from their families. They have told me, and I am sure that it it true, that they are very satisfied with the facilities in Maidstone and with the relationship that they enjoy with the town. The town would echo those sentiments. They have said that when they are abroad they are satisfied that their families are integrated into the community, they are happy with the schooling opportunities for their children and they do not wish to break the connection between themselves and Maidstone.
I know that my hon. Friend will not be able tonight to pronounce, one way or the other, on what is to happen to 36 Engineer Regiment, but members of the regiment 684 believe that it is now being seriously considered that they should be moved from Maidstone and based instead on Thorney Island. That is not a proposition that fills either them or the town that they will be leaving with enthusiasm.
I ask the Minister for an assurance that full account will be taken in any decision of the established fact, well recognised in a recent report, that the welfare of families is fundamental to high morale and that that, rather than any consideration of value of site, will be the governing criterion in taking the decision. Otherwise, I fear not only for the morale of the 36 Engineer Regiment, but for recruitment potential and retention, and, in view of the expense of training engineers, retention is extremely important.
§ Mr. Freeman
This has been a brief, well-informed and constructive debate and I shall endeavour to cover the salient points raised by hon. Members.
The hon. Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. Hughes) gave me notice of some of the points that he raised, for which I thank him. He dealt with the leaflet being sent to service personnel. We have 300,000 service men and women. He put forward an interesting idea, which I will consider. The intention at present is to concentrate on recruits, and I feel sure he will agree that initially that is the correct focus. However, I will bear in mind his suggestion of a wider distribution.
The hon. Gentleman questioned me about the Armed Forces Bill. The inclusion of our proposals, following the review of summary proceedings, will not come until the Bill is produced, and that will not be until 1991 because it is a quinquennial review.
The hon. Gentleman asked what progress had been made on the subject of bullying. I refer him, and other hon. Members who have expressed interest in this subject, to the answer I gave on 7 June to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) in which I spelt out precisely what we had done since the announcement I made to the House in January. I referred to the steps that we had taken, and at this hour I will merely refer to that rather than go into the matter in detail.
I have covered the issues of the better medical screening of recruits and how we train and select instructors, the creation of 100 extra posts in the training establishments to provide better supervision of recruits, the creation of 92 extra posts for members of the WRVS, the way in which we are looking again at man management training for officers and NCOs and how the Army has taken steps to ban initiation ceremonies.
The hon. Member for Knowsley, South referred to racism. The results of the ethnic monitoring survey for the year to 31 March 1988 will be known towards the end of this year and a summary will be published in the Statement on the Defence Estimates next year.
The hon. Gentleman asked about private contractors. I am aware of his concern on that issue. I believe in this instance that trade unionists, the services and the Ministry of Defence all have a common cause in making sure that service personnel do not assist contractors in the fulfilment of their contractual obligations. Commands will be reminded that such assistance should not be given.
The hon. Gentleman asked about widows' pensions. This is a complicated issue. The so-called anomaly arises because the DHSS provides a war widow's pension to all 685 whose husbands were injured or who died at any stage of their careers; there is no time limit. Since 1973, when the provisions of the armed forces pension scheme were much improved, war widows generally receive a second, additional, pension from the armed forces contributory scheme, and that creates the so-called anomaly of those who were widowed before 1973. All I can say is that my ministerial colleagues in the DHSS are well aware of the points that he has raised, and both the DHSS and the Ministry of Defence have the matter under constant review. It is a matter of resources, as I am sure he appreciates. We are not ignorant of the problems.
Finally, the hon. Gentleman asked about unauthorised disclosure of information. I am advised that it would be for the prosecuting authorities in the circumstances of the particular case to decide under which statutory provision the proceedings should be instituted against a service man or woman accused of the unlawful disclosure of official information. Perhaps I might study in the Official Reportthe text of the hon. Gentleman's remarks. If I have to amplify what I have just said, I will do so in writing.
My hon. Friend the Member for Windsor and Maidenhead (Dr. Glyn) raised the subject of Victoria barracks. I am happy to repeat the assurance that I gave him in January, I believe, in the Army debate that I would visit Windsor with him on 1 September. I am happy to confirm that I will visit the site with him on 1 September. I hope to make an appropriate announcement.
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) for his kind remarks about the leaflet. I hope that he still feels the same after he has read it.
The hon. Gentleman asked me to clarify, as did the hon. Member for Knowsley, South, my remarks about toughness and training being robust enough. There is no question of any equation between bullying and toughness in Army training. The two issues are different, but it remains the case that the expectations of young recruits are not always appropriate for joining a disciplined force. It is important for both individuals and the services that recruits should be mentally and physically attuned to the demands of the service which they are joining. I must reiterate that tough training does not and should not involve bullying. I hope that clarifies the position.
The death penalty, which is a very serious issue, was also raised by the hon. Member for Leyton. There are five serious offences involving positive acts of treachery which, under the service Discipline Acts, can carry the death penalty. That penalty is not mandatory for any of the offences, even though they are broadly equivalent to high treason, for which the death penalty is still mandatory.
686 Our policy is that the death penalty should never be applied in peacetime. Nevertheless, we see a clear need to retain the option of the death penalty for this small group of serious offences. That need was accepted in 1986 by the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst) referred to the case of Captain Hayward. My hon. Friend knows that the matter is with the chain of command in the Army. He would not expect me to comment on whether Captain Hayward should be asked to resign his commission because it is under review, but my hon. Friend's comments will have been noted.
My hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Miss Widdecombe) referred to 36 Engineer Regiment, a very fine regiment with a long and proud history of being based in Maidstone. If my hon. Friend is content, I should be happy to visit the regiment with her, perhaps after the recess, so that I may understand more fully the concerns that she has expressed, which will be appreciated by the regiment.
As I said at the outset, I am grateful for the opportunity to reply to the debate. I commend the order to the House.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That the draft Army, Air Force and Naval Discipline Acts (Continuation) Order 1988, which was laid before this House on 17th June 1988, be approved.