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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2019


When I decided to join the Army I thought I should first seek guidance as to how membership of the armed forces could be squared with my parliamentary duties. So I wrote to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Simon, better remembered as Foreign Secretary in the 1930's, to ask his advice. Lord Simon stated that: ‘[t]he same point arose, of course, in the last war and I remember the discussions about it when I was serving’; and summarised his views as follows:

The first point is I think, that a member of either House who joins the armed forces, must in the main be his own judge as to what is proper and appropriate. No-one can restrain a member for doing his full duty as a member of the legislature, and he is under no reproach for doing so. Of course if he offers to take active military service and is accepted this must be some restraint upon his political activities, but how much is I think, for him to say.

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Copyright © Royal Historical Society 2019 

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273 1st Viscount Simon, formerly Sir John Simon (1873–1954), Liberal and later National Liberal MP and peer; served in many high offices; foreign secretary, 1931–1935, and lord chancellor, 1940–1945.

274 General staff officer, Grade III.

275 General staff officer, Grade II.

276 A.J. Ayer, also known as Freddie Ayer (1910–1989), later Sir Alfred Jules Ayer, philosopher and Oxford academic.

277 The London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage, run by MI19 of the War Office to interrogate enemy prisoners of war; allegations of torture surround its existence.

278 68 Regent St., once a famous meeting place and restaurant, now a hotel.

279 Joseph Kenworthy, 10th Baron Strabolgi (1886–1953), Labour MP and peer. Listowel succeeded Strabolgi as chief opposition whip in the Lords in 1942.