asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that Marion West, age 26, of 58, Old Hall Street, Kearsley, Manchester, employed on work of national importance with a Trafford Park firm of steel manufacturers, was recently sentenced to prison for three months without the option of a fine for failing to comply with a direction of the National Service officer to return to work in a textile mill; what qualifications Dr. Smith, who examined her for the Ministry, possesses to decide whether her eyes were affected by six years' employment in that trade; whether his Department presses magistrates to send offenders of this kind to prison without the option of a fine on their first appearance in court; and whether the Trafford Park firm will be prosecuted?
I am having inquiries made about the particular case referred to and will write to my hon. Friend. I can say at once, however, that the answer to the third part of the Question is "No!".
Has the right hon. Gentleman ever thought of the distress he is causing in the homes of these poor people by prosecuting them and sending them to prison in this fashion?