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National Service (British Legion)

Volume 344: debated on Wednesday 1 March 1939

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71.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is now in a position to state what answer he proposes to give to the offer of the British Legion to place the services of its organisation at the disposal of the Government in connection with National Service?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave on Thursday, 23rd February, to my hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Sir T. Cook). I am sending him a copy.

72.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will state the basis on which National Service committees are composed throughout the country; and whether, in view of its extensive influence with ex-service men, he will ensure that the British Legion is officially represented on these committees?

Local National Service committees are composed primarily of representatives of the various services for which volunteers are required, and include representatives of the fighting services, both regular and auxiliary; of the local authorities, who are responsible for air-raid precautions and related services; of the St. John's Ambulance Brigade or St. Andrew's Ambulance Corps, and of the British Red Cross Society; and also representatives of the women's voluntary services, acting as agents for many local authorities in dealing with offers of voluntary service from women. In addition, there are representatives of employers and workpeople, together with a small number of persons prominent in the committee's area. The necessity for securing that these committees should not become unduly large has rendered it impossible to give specific representation upon them to any organisation, however widespread and important in other connections, which is not immediately concerned to secure recruits; but I am glad to say that, as representatives in other capacities, many members of the Legion have accepted invitations to serve on these committees.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that in many localities the British Legion are in a far better position than any other organisation to contribute to the success of the National Service movement?

I thought that had been dealt with in another Debate. My right hon. Friend said that "people of standing" had nothing to do with class.

Are any steps to be taken to see that there are on these committees representatives of the different political parties?