asked the Minister of Labour whether he intends to prosecute boys conscripted for work in mines who leave their colliery and return home; and, if not, whether he will call them up for military service.
:Yes, Sir, it is necessary that these lads should remain in the industry until the date when they would have been released in their age and service order had they served in the Forces, and I am therefore prosecuting in appropriate cases those individuals who, unlike the majority of young men called up to the mines, have not been willing to carry out their national service in this way.
Is the Minister aware that, because of the statement of the Minister of Fuel and Power that he does not intend to prosecute for absenteeism, hundreds of Bevin boys have returned home, and will he give the widest publicity at every pit to the statement that he has just given?
We distinguish between absenteeism and those who have deliberately left the service.
But the boys are not distinguishing.