30 JANUARY 1942, Page 4

One passage in the Prime Minister's speech on Tuesday was

a little perplexing. Addressing the House of Commons less than five months ago—on September 9th—he mentioned that our forces in the Middle East were then " beginning to approach " 750,000 men. On Tuesday he said that " during this battle " (the context shows this to mean during the whole Libyan campaign) " we have never had in action more than 45poo men." When all allowance is made that must be made—Libya and the Middle East are very different things, and 45,000 men in action postulate much more than double that number behind the lines—the discrepancy between the two figures seems remarkable. Were not more than 45,000 needed? Could more not have been forthcoming out of the 7,50,000?