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Conscientious Objectors

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 1 November 1945

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asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that persons registered as conscientious objectors are employed on work other than their usual pre-war occupations; whether those with qualifications, such as schoolteachers, are likely to be released from manual labour and engaged in occupations where their knowledge and skill can be more usefully employed; and, if so, on what conditions it will be done.


asked the Minister of Labour if he wall introduce a release scheme for persons registered as conscientious objectors to enable them to resume their normal occupations.

Yes, Sir. Under the National Service Acts conditionally registered conscientious objectors are ordered by Tribunals to undertake work of a civil character until the end of the present emergency, and in the Majority of cases the work they have been ordered to take up is outside their usual occupation. I have already presented a Bill to provide for the release of conditionally registered conscientious objectors under a scheme based on age and length of time conditionally registered and related to the Army timetable of releases in Class A.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many of these conscientious objectors are school teachers?

Is it not the case that men are released from the Army under Class B, not at all on their own account, but because the service they can render to the community elsewhere is more valuable than in the Army, and cannot this be rationalised and extended to conscientious objectors in the same way?

I have been asked to answer a question in relation to releases under Class A, and if the hon. Gentleman will put down a question relating to Class B releases, I shall be glad to answer it.