13 NOVEMBER 1936, Page 3

There is a general and uneasy belief, forcefully expressed in

particular by Lord Winterton, that " our whole defence programme is vastly behindhand." The House was not in the least reassured by .Sir Samuel Hoare's statement with regard to the Air Force that " it was not true to say that the programme had fallen vastly into arrears." It obviously indicated that the programme was in arrears, and that it was merely a question of what meaning the Government attached to the word " vast." It was interesting, too, that criticisms by the Opposition of Mr. Duff Cooper's controversial and unnecessary exchanges with the Bishop of Birmingham on the Pacifist issue were received in uneasy silence on the Government side of the House. There is a growing disposition to blame the War Secretary for the failure to secure the necessary recruits. In fact no Defence Minister at the moment enjoys the real confidence of the House of Commons, and if more energy and drive is not speedily shown there will be a demand to " sack the lot."

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