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Exempted Men

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 20 May 1943

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asked the Minister of Labour whether he will now consider a system whereby a gradual exchange may be made between a proportion of those serving in the Forces and those who are fit and hitherto, for one reason or another, have sought exemption, or have been exempted from service in the Armed Forces?

Large numbers of men are being continuously called up who had previously been regarded as reserved or whose calling up had been deferred, and simultaneously a limited number of men with special qualifications required in essential industry are being released from the Forces. In general, however, I understand that the Forces are not in a position to part with their trained men.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some such system would be extremely popular with the Army and would do a great deal of good to many of those who have hitherto been exempt? Would he consider such a system for the future?

The matter has been considered on many occasions, but training in the Army is of such a character and is so intense that the Forces would regard themselves as being seriously prejudiced if they parted with highly trained men.

Could not German prisoners of war taken in Tunisia be brought here to relieve agricultural labourers and farmers?