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Earl Howe: I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Judd, and I am happy to clarify the provisions of Clause 21 for the benefit of the Committee.

The purpose of this clause is to make it clear that former marines in the Royal Fleet Reserve are treated as marines and not as naval ratings when in permanent service, performing duties or undergoing training. It avoids two problems. First, men of the Royal Fleet Reserve come under the Naval Discipline Act when called out or being trained or exercised. Those who are former Royal Marines come under the Naval Discipline Act when on ship or on the books of a naval establishment, and are also subject to military law under the Army Act. This reflects the position of regular Royal Marines. This clause, in conjunction with the relevant service discipline Acts, recognises it.

Secondly, it clarifies which sets of orders, regulations and other powers apply to former marines in the Royal Fleet Reserve when called out or training. It is a fairly abstruse area, but that is the explanation. I hope that the noble Lord will find it of assistance.

Lord Mottistone: Having served with Marines both ashore and afloat, I can slightly help the noble Lords opposite. The Royal Marine, when he serves at sea, as was explained by my noble friend, comes under the Naval Discipline Act. When he serves ashore, on the whole he comes under the Army Act for disciplinary purposes. This kind of thing has to be taken care of and it has to be covered for reserves in a special way, particularly in relation to when they are in permanent service. It is an obscure area as my noble friend says, and I really feel that it would be helpful to the noble Lords opposite to have a lengthy lecture from a distinguished Royal Marine and, if necessary, I could try and arrange that for them if they really want to know the answer to this. But I can assure them that what is here makes a great deal of sense to me.

Lord Judd: I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, for what he has just said. I find it very helpful. I would just like to suggest that, in view of the helpful explanation, there might be a case for the Government looking again at this clause and seeing

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whether it could not more self-evidently and clearly state what the noble Earl has explained to the Committee. I am not claiming any particular intellectual status for those of us on this side of the Committee, but if we were slightly bewildered by the intention of the clause it might be that others contemplating service or reading the Act, without the benefit of the background and experience, might also be a little bewildered. It seems to us that it is better if legislation states clearly what is intended as distinct from stating in a rather obscure way what is intended and only enabling people to discover the full meaning if they have the opportunity of questioning the responsible Minister. I would be glad if the noble Earl would take the main purport of what we have been saying and at least indicate that he is prepared to look at the matter before the Bill is finalised.

Earl Howe: I will gladly look at it again. The key point is that former regular soldiers joined the Army Reserve, former regular naval ratings joined the Royal Fleet Reserve but so do former regular Royal Marines. The point of the clause is to keep those two bodies of men separate. That is the essence of it.

Clause 21 agreed to.

Clause 22 agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 23 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Williams of Elvel: Again, these are fairly small points. I am sure that all Members of the Committee would wish to preserve the principle that members of the reserve forces should be properly trained. Otherwise they will be no good when they are called out into service, and it is appropriate that there should be obligatory training as specified in Clause 22. The problem--if there is a problem--comes in exemptions to obligatory training. I should be grateful if the noble Earl could give an assurance that exemptions will be carefully monitored, limited to the smallest possible extent, and not given without due consideration. Will exemption under subsection (3)(b) "in the case of the unit or group" be carefully considered by senior officers?

Earl Howe: As the noble Lord indicated, the clause relates to the power to make exemptions from the training obligation under Clause 22, or to relax that obligation. Subsections (1) and (2) permit the appropriate orders or regulations to be made. It may be helpful to the Committee if I explain what lies behind the proposal. The power will be used, for example, to exempt officers who are in the Territorial Army or the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve solely for the purpose of service with the cadet forces from their training liability.

Subsection (3) enables the Defence Council to delegate to an "authorised officer" the power to exempt particular units or other groups from their full training obligations. Those obligations may also be relaxed as an alternative to straight exemption. For example, it may be that some unusual circumstance leads to cancellation of a unit's annual camp. If there were insufficient time to arrange another in the training year, it would be

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necessary to exempt the unit from its liability. The "authorised officer" will be an officer somewhere in the chain of command between the Defence Council and the commanding officer of a unit. He might be, in the case of the Territorial Army, a Brigade Commander or Divisional Commander.

A commanding officer will have the power to exempt or relax the training obligations of individuals under his command. This might be because the individual already has the necessary qualification or skill or, indeed, to take account of personal commitments.

It is in our view sensible that decisions of this kind are taken by the people best placed to know the personal circumstances of the individuals concerned. I can assure noble Lords that all such decisions are very carefully taken and considered. I hope that is of help to the noble Lord and that the Committee will agree that this delegation of the power is appropriate and indeed can only work to the benefit of the individual.

Clause 23 agreed to.

Clause 24 [Commitments to a period of full-time service]:

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 14:


Page 10, line 40, at end insert--
("( ) A person who, in any training year, has been in continuous full-time service for a period exceeding one month shall--
(a) have that period of service count towards the period of service required to qualify for a Territorial Decoration or Territorial Efficiency Medal;
(b) be certified efficient and qualify for any annual training or liability bounty notwithstanding that he may not have passed all the relevant tests.").

The noble Earl said: I start by declaring a special interest. I already have my Territorial Efficiency Medal and I aspire to my Territorial Decoration. The Territorial Efficiency Medal is for soldiers; the Territorial Decoration is for officers. The position of my OC is the same, and several other officers within my unit are in the same position. They already have the TEM and they aspire to the TD.

There was a problem during the Gulf War where TA soldiers and officers were invited to take on an S-type engagement or a short service voluntary commission. The problem came at the end of the training year when it transpired that they had not carried out all their training commitments. Perhaps they had not done a camp, perhaps they had not passed annual personal weapons test--for some reason they had not met their training liability.

There was also another problem. The time they served in the Regular Army on the S-type engagement or the short service voluntary commission did not accrue towards either their Territorial Efficiency Medal or their Territorial Decoration. I hope the Bill covers this problem and I look forward to listening to what the noble Earl, the Minister, has to say on that.

At one point there was a study on the two TA long service medals. Does the Minister know where we are with that? If he does, can he advise us? If he does not

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know, can I ask him not to interfere? I have never heard a complaint about the two medals and they should be left exactly as they are. I beg to move.

Lord Redesdale: I support the amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and speak to my amendment, Amendment No. 25. I realise that this is a probing amendment and I doubt that it will make the face of the Bill. However, I would like to question the Minister on what are two of the most useful tools of the Territorial Army in keeping both our soldiers for a long period of time and also making sure that they fulfil their commitment and training. Obviously the S-type engagement which has been discussed has raised questions in many people's minds and it is not a matter which is taken lightly. Both the TEM and the TD are regarded extremely highly and the people who are aspiring to these medals have to serve 12 years to get them. If they fail one year to fulfil their engagement, they have to complete a further year.

I believe that both the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and I are intimately acquainted with the problems that can be associated with this as we both commanded the same LAD and we have both had to deal with the paperwork involved when a craftsman, a recovery mechanic, had lost one payslip and was therefore discounted from getting his TEM. It caused a great deal of uproar within the unit.

I realise that it may not get on the face of the Bill, but I hope the noble Earl can give us some assurance that these matters will be taken seriously.


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