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New Clause—(Relief Of Conscientious Objectors From Certain Penalties And Obligations)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Where any person who has claimed exemption under this Act or under the principal Act on conscientious grounds has served one or more sentences of imprisonment amounting in all to three months for failing to fulfil any obligation arising out of this Act, including any obligation to be medically examined, he shall be exempted from further penalty and from any further liability under this Act.—[ Mr. S. Silverman.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The course taken by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service just now encourages me to hope that he will take a similar course in regard to this new Clause. The undertaking which he has just given, and which I am sure he will honour when the time comes, has already been given in the Committee stage in regard to the new Clause the Second Reading of which I am now moving. I would like to call his attention to two statements which he made during the Committee stage. On 8th May he said:
"I want to deal with the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne We are very anxious not to get conscientious objectors into the position of being brought up, dealt with, put in prison, taken out of prison, dealt with, brought up again, and so on. We want to get away from all that. That is the point which will be raised when we reach the proposed new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne."
That point was not dealt with on the occasion to which my right hon. Friend referred, because I was not called, but there was another opportunity in the Committee stage when reference was again made to the point, and that was in connection with the new Clause moved by my hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson). On that occasion, dealing with a similar point, my right hon. Friend said:
"We are very much appalled by the idea that it is possible for a man to be constantly going in and out of prison for the same offence. But, the trouble with this Amendment is that it refers to 'any person…who declares himself to be a conscientious objector.' There must be some satisfaction that he is a conscientious objector. I cannot accept the Amendment for that, and other reasons, which I will not go into now. But I would like to know what the Committee feels about this matter. I am not very skilled in dealing with these matters in Committee, but I would like to know, as we cannot accept this Amendment, whether it would be possible for me"—
I gather he is speaking for himself—
"to have a look at this before the Report stage, and bring forward an Amendment then on which the House could say something."
I hope I am not being unfair about this, but that looks to me like a promise by my right hon. Friend to put something down on the Report stage, and I confess that I am a little disappointed to rind nothing put down by my right hon. Friend or by the Government on this matter. I was not in a hurry, because I hoped that the Government would put something down, and I thought it would be wise for the rest of us to see what form of words they put down, or what opinion they formed, before rushing in with proposals of our own.

But it was intimated then and there in the Committee that it might be well if some of us tried our hands at drafting a suitable Clause, and, in order to give my right hon. Friend as long notice as possible, I did then and there attempt to draft one. Later I suggested this as a possible form of words:
"Where any person who has claimed exemption under this Act, or the principal Act, on conscientious grounds, and who has either had his claim rejected, or granted subject to conditions which he refuses to accept, has served a sentence of — for failing to fulfil any obligation under this Act, he shall be exempted from further penalty, or further liability to serve."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th May 1947; Vol. 437, cc. 835, 867, 868.]
I do not want to bore the House with further quotations. I went on to say that it seemed to me that that form of wards met the difficulty in which my right hon. Friend found himself in regard to the new Clause which my hon. Friend had moved, that difficulty being that under the new Clause a simple declaration by the man that he was a conscientious objector would have been sufficient. My right hon. Friend felt—and I confess I agreed with him—that that would not quite do Therefore, I put forward the proposal where he had, in fact, made his application to a tribunal and the tribunal had considered it.

It then seemed to me that the new Clause which my hon. Friend had moved had another defect, in that it did not say what penalty should be served. It did provide the principle that since this was, in effect, only one offence there should be only one penalty; but it did not define the penalty. That might have meant that, in different cases, there would be different penalties for the same offence, which would be an undesirable thing. The Clause ought to define the penalties as well as defining the beneficences, as it were, and I attempted to do both those things, although I am afraid I shirked the task of saying what the penalty ought to be. However, since my right hon. Friend has himself put nothing down on the Order Paper, I have put down this new Clause which I am now moving. The only difference in principle between the new Clause I am moving and the one I suggested in Committee—I do not think the wording is exactly the same—is that for convenience I have included the point about the medical examination, so covering both points in the one Clause. Under the one law a man who claimed to have a conscientious objection could be fined repeatedly, and imprisoned repeatedly for repeated refusals to attend for medical examination. It is not necessary for me to labour the argument. In the opinion of everybody that would be either absurd or tyrannous, and whether absurd or tyrannous ought to be stopped, and my right hon. Friend said so in Committee. I tried to meet that by putting it in as one of the liabilities under the Bill.

What is the position? Those who are enthusiastic supporters of the principle of compulsion, those who are reluctant supporters of the principle of compulsion, and those who are opponents of the principle of compulsion, are all agreed that when a conscientious objection has been established to be genuine there should be no penalty and no liability, and the man's conviction should be suspended. There is no difference between us on that point, in any quarter of the House. I make no complaint of the machinery set up. I do not think tribunals have always worked perfectly, but then I cannot think of any machine doing such a job as this which could possibly work perfectly. Of course it does not work perfectly but they have done very well, and I think the proportion of errors made is surprisingly small in view of the difficulty of the task involved, especially in view of the temper in which such a task is necessarily performed in wartime. I suppose there might be even fewer mistakes in the judicious and calm temper in which a tribunal would approach such a question in peacetime.

7.45 p.m.

However, there still would be the risk of mistakes, and the question that arises is: what is to happen when subsequent events prove that the tribunal, with the best will in the world and acting with the most perfect fairness, was, nevertheless, mistaken? When a man appeared before the tribunal to answer their questions he may have been shy or awkward, he may have had something for breakfast which disagreed with him; anything might put a man into such a mood that his answers do not satisfy the tribunal; indeed, the members of the tribunal may have had something which disagreed with them. People are human beings and not mere machines. All that this new Clause seeks to do is to provide that where mistakes of that kind have been made, and where the man's devotion to his conscientious belief has been demonstrated by his readiness to bear burdens, to make sacrifices and suffer an element of persecution—because it is that if the objection is really conscientious—then the State must cry a halt at some stage. I know that they do administratively, but under the old procedure after certain sentences had been served a man came before a central tribunal, and the central tribunal considered the matter again. They might examine him or they might not, because even in those circumstances a central tribunal, after all that, might still be obstinate, or might still be mistaken.

Therefore, it seems to many of us—I hope to all of us—that there should be some statutory curtailment of the perpetual in and out of gaol and penalties. I do not want to labour it further. I think the Parliamentary Secretary ought to help me on this. He represents Caerphilly. I know we have our disagreements from time to time, but we have been Members of and colleagues in this House for a long time, and I do not want to do or say anything to imply any kind of disrespect. On the contrary, I have the utmost affection for him. I remember his predecessor, as I am sure he does, in the representation of Caerphilly, the late Mr. Morgan Jones, of whom I was proud to be a colleague in this House for a short time. He was a conscientious objector during the last war, and he was in and out of gaol several times because he failed to satisfy the tribunal that his conscientious objection was a genuine objection. I think I am right in saying, that, am I not?

No. Mr. Morgan Jones absolutely refused to go before a tribunal, which is an entirely different point.

No, my hon. Friend will forgive me, it is not an entirely different point. I know all about the absolutist conscientious objector: I was one myself. I was very young, and I am not ashamed of having taken that view. I do not think that the world today is quite the world it was in 1914, and the view that it was possible to take in 1914 it was not possible to take in 1939—at any rate, I did not think it was. I know it is easier to take a different view when one is older, when one does not have to do it oneself. I appreciate what can be said about that. However, I think I was perfectly sincere on both occasions, and know Mr. Morgan Jones was perfectly sincere. The absolutist conscientious objector merely said: "I am not going to bargain about this thing at all." He used the analogy of the criminal law, and so on. He regarded the thing as wrong. If a person does that he does not bargain; he does nothing except insist that his scruples shall be respected. Nobody doubts now that Mr. Morgan Jones was perfectly sincere and genuine in what he did, or that his attitude represented the man's religious convictions; the man's whole personality was involved in the attitude he took up. He spent a long time in prison for it. I think that my hon. Friend in the constituency of Caerphilly was well known as a loyal lieutenant of Mr. Morgan Jones for many years, and that he owes his position in this House to that. He ought to have sympathy with me in this new Clause.

I see one great difficulty. People will say; "Oh, yes, this is all very well, but under this new Clause a man can buy himself out of his liabilities by serving a sentence of three months' imprisonment. A great many will do so." I do not believe a great many will do it. If there are a few people who dishonestly do it. I would rather take that risk, than take the risk involved in having no limit by statute in peacetime. I think that the risk is a small risk, and that such risk as there is ought to be taken.

I beg to second the Motion.

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), I can speak in terms of disappointment that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, who, I thought, dealt with the matter very generously and understandingly when it was first raised, has not found it possible to present a new Clause which I, owing to my technical ignorance of the law, was not able to do. I said at the time that I was not really excusing myself, but that I understood the Minister or his Department would get us out of the difficulty. But here we are, as the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne says, without the promised new Clause. I have a further complaint of a more serious character to make unless I can get the Government to agree with me, as I sincerely hope they will. It is that the Parliamentary Secretary himself went all the way, at any rate in theory, to the acceptance of the ideas embodied in the new Clause now before the House. I will read from what the Parliamentary Secretary said with regard to the continuing imprisonments. He said:
"After each imprisonment the man's case is reviewed, and is sent back to the tribunal for the tribunal to review again in the light of the test of the man's sincerity to see what the position is. I am advised that"—
I hope my hon. Friend takes responsibility for the statement—
"very careful rules have been drawn up under which no man is prosecuted after he has served a sentence or sentences amounting to three months or more. I am advised that, furthermore, a man is not prosecuted more than twice even if such prosecutions result in prison sentences of less than three months."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th May, 1947; Vol. 437, c. 1875.]
Well, the terms of this new Clause correspond fairly exactly with that promise. I hope, therefore, that both the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary, on behalf of the Government, will now be able to say that, in view of the uncertainty in the past—and, certainly, the Parliamentary Secretary will agree with me that it is a very long past where conscientious objectors are concerned—not merely the administrative rules, but the law itself should be put beyond all shadow of doubt, in the terms regarding conscientious objectors. When I first introduced the matter—and I have every excuse for quoting this, because I should like to get not only the support of the Government but the support of the Opposition—when the first and principal Measure in connection with national service was introduced, the Prime Minister of the day, Mr. Neville Chamberlain, said, quite frankly, that he hoped we should drop the whole idea of persecuting men who stood for conscience. He agreed it was a nuisance to attempt to go on trying to make them do things which, conscientiously, they would decline to do, and that it was bad business on the part of the State to try to adopt any other attitude than that of recognising these men's consciences.

We have made some sort of a compromise on the difficulties that this issue has always presented. I referred to these difficulties previously, when I said that a supposed conscientious objector might be masquerading as such, that he might be a lunatic, that he might be a criminal, that he might be a social saboteur doing his best to injure the Act of Parliament under which he was being treated. I admit all that. But they are very exceptional instances. After the long experience we have had of conscientious objectors, it has come to be generally recognised that a man who will face the social ostracism that always accompanies the imprisonment and in some cases is worse than the actual imprisonment and the long period of unpopularity afterwards, must be genuine. A man who will face that for the sake of his convictions begins to earn respect, even from his opponents, for the opinions he holds. Indeed, people think that that man should not be sent to any imprisonment at all. This Clause recognises the difficulties, and the efforts to find out whether a man is genuine. It may be that he will get a month's imprisonment. This Clause lays it down, as the regulations will, according to the Parliamentary Secretary, that when three months have been served in continuous sentences, or in one sentence of three months, that ought to be sufficient for the State. I shall be bitterly grieved—I am quite sure the Parliamentary Secretary will not think I am extravagant in making this statement—and there will be many people in Caerphilly who will be bitterly grieved, if, after all the developments of public opinion that have taken place since the heroic days of Morgan Jones, this Labour Government cannot see its way to put this provision into law, so that there will be no more mistakes by tribunals, and no more mistakes by Government Departments. I beg of the Government not to let this opportunity pass of accepting the new Clause.

8.0 p.m.

We have listened to two speeches the sentiments of which, I am sure, have appealed to hon. Members on both sides of the House. I will deal first with the undertaking which my right hon. Friend gave in Committee. Anybody who knows my right hon. Friend will agree that there is no duplicity in his make-up, and that when he gives an undertaking he gives it in good faith and has the intention to give effect to his promise. We have examined this matter very closely. We have tried to provide in the Bill for the kind of treatment that is now meted out administratively I hope my hon. Friends to whom this undertaking was given will realise that my right hon. Friend is not playing false to them, or doing anything deliberately to mislead them That has not been suggested, and I do not think it would be suggested against my right hon. Friend from any part of the House

I must thank my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) for the very kind references he made to my predecessor and to me. If my hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson) thinks that by this new Clause we would prevent mistakes in the future, he is himself mistaken. What is the procedure? The tribunals are set up with the authority of the House. There is an appellate tribunal. If a man fails at the local tribunal, he can go to the appellate tribunal That is the distinction I was trying to draw. We have all agreed that men who want to claim the rights of conscientious objection should go before a tribunal. Even with the best will in the world, and with the best machinery, the tribunals will sometimes make mistakes. The new Clause seeks to protect a man who has failed to convince the tribunal that he is a bona fide conscientious objector. Whatever we may do, there will always be cases of that kind, and with all due deference to my hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing, whatever may be the feelings of my constituents in Caerphilly, there is nothing I or the House can do to prevent these mistakes from occurring. Therefore, we are concerned about those cases of men who are bona fide conscientious objectors, where, as a result of an error on the part of the tribunal, or a failure on the part of the man in putting his case—which very frequently happens, with the result that frequently the tribunals are blamed, although it is neither their fault nor, indeed, that of the man, but simply the result of his inability to put his case—there are wrong results. In those cases we do not want a man to be running into and out of prison.

The new Clause says that, if the man has served three months' imprisonment, we should let him go. In many cases the punishment that would be provided under the new Clause would be greater than the punishment that is allowed today. We do not want a bona fide conscientious objector who has not been registered to have to serve three months' imprisonment before the case against him is dropped. What we want to do is to maintain the present practice. Undertakings that were given in Committee by my right hon. Friend and by me have been quoted. I would like to repeat them. The position is that this is, in fact, prevented by administrative rules under which no man is prosecuted after he has served a prison sentence or sentences amounting to three months or more, and which provide, furthermore, that a man is not prosecuted more than twice even if these two prosecutions have resulted in prison sentences of less than three months, except where the sentences are derisory, for instance, small fines. The man goes before the tribunal, he fails to convince the tribunal, and his failure to convince it cannot be blamed upon anybody. [Interruption.] I thought I had covered that ground. I am taking a case where there is no fault on the part of the man or the tribunal—

Yes. The man is refused registration, and he is called for medical examination preliminary to his being called up to the Forces. He refuses to appear for medical examination. He is then taken before the local magistrates and is sentenced to, say, one month's imprisonment. As soon as that man is out of prison, we send his case back to the tribunal for re-examination. The House has decided that the tribunal, and not the Minister, must decide, and the Minister cannot usurp the position of the tribunal. The man goes back to the tribunal with a statement from the Ministry of Labour that he has been in prison for one month, and the tribunal is asked to review his case, taking into consideration that he has shown what he is made of, and what his intentions are, by serving the sentence. After having examined the man, the local tribunal may refuse to register him, but in that case he automatically goes to the appellate tribunal. Here is a case in which the Ministry of Labour directs that the man should go from the local tribunal to the appellate tribunal. The appellate tribunal may turn him down again, and he may again be called up for medical examination, and refuse to appear. He then goes before the magistrates again, and is sentenced to another month's imprisonment. At the end of that month, we are satisfied that we ought not to proceed any further against him.

I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he must make up his mind between two positions—either an end is to be put to the cat-and-mouse business by Act of Parliament, or an end must be put to it administratively. Unless he provides a limit in the Statute, then administratively he has no power at all, because while a man remains in defiance of his obligation under the Bill and fails to persuade a tribunal to put it right, no Minister, no civil servant, and not even this House itself has the right to authorise that he shall not be prosecuted. If it is desired to stop the prosecutions and imprisonments when a term has been served, it must be put in the Bill, because otherwise there is no legal power to do it.

That is very interesting, because it means, if it means anything at all, that in the past we ought to have continued to prosecute these men.

I do not accept that position. This House does not accept that position and never has accepted it. The situation has been reported repeatedly to this House. The present Foreign Secretary reported during the war on what the procedure was, and it was accepted by this House. To suggest that all that has been done illegally, at this stage, in order to impose a greater penalty than that which is now imposed, is really carrying things too far.

I beg the hon. Gentleman to believe that however stupid we are, we are perfectly serious in what we are saying. In so far as people were exempted by administrative action from obligations under the Act otherwise than in accordance with a decision of a tribunal, we were all deliberately and rightly closing our eyes to an illegal thing and allowing it to be done in order that a moral thing should be done. What we are saying now is that we cannot tolerate that in peace time, and that we must establish the law.

That is a wholly wrong statement of law. The situation is that the right to prosecute or not to prosecute is always—

The hon. and learned Gentleman seems to be about to make a speech; I thought he rose to ask a question.

The Parliamentary Secretary may have given way, but I cannot allow the hon. and learned Member to make a speech. If he wants to put a question, he may do so.

This is an interesting legal argument, but I am concerned about the facts—about what we have done, and what we undertake to do in these cases. The Amendment goes further than that. It says that the Minister of Labour cannot act until a man has done three months. If this goes into the Statute it is a direct instruction to the Minister. A man may have had two convictions against him, convictions perhaps of less consequence than three months imprisonment but this says that he must allow him to have three months' imprisonment first. That, it seems to me, is making the position worse for the mistaken case of a conscientious objector who is unable to get registered. [An HON. MEMBER: "You can reduce the period if you like."] That is what I cannot understand. First we are told that we have no legal right to do what we are now doing; and after having laid down a period, we are told that we can exercise that right. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not want to be unfair, I have given way repeatedly—

The hon. Gentleman is misrepresenting the interjection that was made. No one is suggesting that if three months is put into the Bill he can make it two; what we are suggesting is that if he thinks this proposed period of three months is too long, we will allow him to amend it, either here or in another place, and put in two, or one, or nothing.

8.15 p.m.

Then we shall get into this fine state, that a man will know beforehand—and I say this in the interests of conscientious objectors—that if he does a month in prison he will get off. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is the danger we shall get into, and it will bring discredit upon conscientious objectors. [An HON. MEMBER: "Two months."] If you make it two months or any fixed period, that will happen. Conscientious objection is a purely personal matter, and each case must be considered upon its merits. It is a personal question. You cannot legislate in a very general way about it and, whatever has been said, even the mover of the Amendment admits that the administration in regard to conscientious objectors in the late war has been, especially in the later stages, fair by and large.

There have been mistakes; we willingly admit that. We have tried to mitigate the effect of those mistakes. We have tried to correct every reasonable case. We have sought the assistance of the tribunals time after time where errors have taken place. We have referred cases to appellant tribunals and have got their assistance, and the Minister has the right to do that. We have given a guarantee that there will be no "cat and mouse" business in connection with this, and I think the House would be well advised to leave the matter with the Minister of Labour to carry on with those principles. We have rules for dealing with these cases, and I think my right hon. Friend would agree with me in being prepared to put a copy of those rules in the Library, so that hon. Members can see for themselves how it is being done. Then, if they feel that adequate protection is not given to the case that has slipped through the tribunal, they will be able to make their representations to us. In view of these undertakings, in the interests of the conscientious objectors themselves I hope my hon. Friend will not press this new Clause.

I think the stronger case on this question has been made by the Parliamentary Secretary, but although he desires to aid the conscientious objector, it has been impossible to find, words that could be embodied in the Bill. I submit that there has been a very great change in this country during the last 30 years towards conscientious objectors. Those who were involved during the 1914–18 war are bound to admit that the treatment they received then was very harsh indeed, whereas, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that during the recent war conscientious objectors, in the main, were fairly dealt with. Surely now we are entitled to go a stage further. During a war feeling develops and men hate each other on the least pretext, and as a result of that it is impossible to reason calmly or sanely in dealing with those people who are opposed to war. I speak with some little experience of the tribunals during the first and second world wars.

The Minister has made provision in the new Bill that the tribunals must be impartial, but with the best will in the world the Minister is bound to select people who, in the main, accept the policy laid down by His Majesty's Government, and accept the idea that the young men of the country should engage in compulsory military service. That is the first handicap that a young person meets when he goes to the tribunal, and therefore it is extremely difficult for the tribunal properly to understand the approach of the young man who is opposed to war. Let me put the point about the young man who comes before the tribunal. Only those who have appeared in the courts know how a young person can be completely tongue-tied and unable to express himself. Those of us who have appeared at the tribunals on their behalf have recognised on many occasions that we have lost cases because, in the first place, the tribunal set out to prove to the young man that he was taking a wrong step.

I do not want to be unfair and say that trick questions are put, but questions of an amazing kind are sometimes put to young men who are turned down because they are unable to prove that they have a conscientious objection to war. They appear before the appellate tribunal. If the atmosphere at the local tribunal is difficult for these young men, it is much more so before the appellate tribunal, and they are again turned down. If, after that failure, they refuse to submit themselves for medical examination, they get three months' imprisonment, or more. I have known a young man serve his entire 12 months, subject to the usual remission, which means that he serves nine months. In the latter stages of the war there was a very considerable reduction in that kind of treatment.

It may be said that if we put into the Bill a period of one month, or even three months, a young man will say, "I will do a month, or three months, in prison, and when I come out I will be free"; but I do not think it works in that way at all. When a young man makes up his mind to appeal as a conscientious objector he faces the opposition and hostility of the people in his own area whose sons are going into the Army. He may well jeopardise his prospect of a career in a trade or profession, and no young man does that lightly. He may also have to submit to pressure from his parents. I know it may be argued that parents give their sons liberty to make up their own minds in these cases, but that is not always the whole of the story. Environment counts.

If the young man appears before the court, there is nothing in the Bill to prevent the sheriff sending him to prison for 12 months. It is possible for the young man to serve the entire sentence. He comes out, and again has the right to appear before the local tribunal. The local tribunal turns him down again. I have appeared at tribunals when it has been made quite clear to the young man that because he served nine months in prison was no evidence that he had a conscientious objection to military service. The young man has been rejected again, and then has gone before the appellate tribunal, only to be turned down again. That is the cat-and-mouse procedure.

I plead with the Parliamentary Secretary. What he said would not be accepted by everybody in the House. As a comparatively new Member I hope I may say that I know of no Minister who is more frank and open, and from whom we can more expect that his word is his bond, when he makes a statement. I ask him to look at the proposed new Clause again. Those who have proposed it are not rigid in saying that we should send thee men to prison for three months and then let them go. Surely, with all the talent on the Front Bench, capable of piloting very intricate Measures through the House such as the Town and Country Planning Bill—I would say that people who can formulate a Bill of that kind—

I am extremely pleased, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that you call me only slightly out of Order after my last experience on this Bill. My only

Division No. 221.]


[8.28 p.m.

Ayles, W. H.Gruffydd, Prof. W Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Bowen, R.Harris, H. WilsonShurmer, P
Byers, FrankJohn, W.Stephen, C.
Carmichael, JamesKendall, W DTimmons, J
Collins, V. JMcGhee, H. G.Yates, V F
Cove, W. GMorris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)
Cunningham, P.Rankin, J.TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)Mr. Sidney Silverman and
Granville E (Eye)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Mr. J. Hudson


Adams, Richard (Balham)Chater, DFraser, H. C. P. (Stone)
Adams, W T. (Hammersmith, South)Chetwynd, G. R.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)
Agnew, Cmdr P. G.Clarke, Col. R. SFreeman, Maj. J. (Watford)
Aitken, Hon. MaxClitherow, Dr. R.Freeman, Peter (Newport)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A V.Coldrick, W.Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P M
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Colman, Miss G. MGage, C.
Attewell, H. C.Comyns, Dr. L.Gammans, L. D.
Austin, H. LewisCook, T. F.Gibbins, J.
Awbery, S. S.Corvedale, ViscountGibson, C. W.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs BCrawley, A.Gilzean, A.
Bacon, Miss ADavies, Edward (Burslem)Glanville, J. E. (Consett)
Baird J.Davies, Hadyn (St Pancras, S.W.)Gooch, E. G.
Balfour, ADe la Bère, R.Gordon-Walker, P C.
Barton, CDelargy, H. JGreenwood, Rt. Hon A. (Wakefield)
Beamish, Maj. T. V. HDiamond, J.Greenwood, A. W J (Heywood)
Bechervaise, A. EDobbie, WGrey, C. F.
Bellenger, Rt Hon. F JDodds, N. N.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)
Berry, H.Dodds-Parker, A DGriffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)
Bing, G. H. CDonovan, T.Guest, Dr. L. Haden
Binns, J.Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)Gunter, R. J.
Blackburn, A. RDrewe, C.Guy, W. H.
Blyton, W. RDugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Haire, John E (Wycombe)
Boardman, H.Durbin, E. F MHall, W. G.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D C. (Wells)Dye, SHamilton, Lieut.-Col. R
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H WEdwards, N. (Caerphilly)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)
Bower, N.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Hardy, E. A.
Boyd-Carpenter, J AEvans, E. (Lowestoft)Harrison, J.
Bramall, E. A.Evans, John (Ogmore)Harvey, Air-Comdre. A V
Brook, D. (Halifax)Evans, S N. (Wednesbury)Hastings, Dr. Somerville
Brooks, T. J (Rothwell)Ewart, R.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C
Brown, George (Belper)Fairhurst, F.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)
Buchan-Hepburn, P G T.Farthing, W. J.Hicks, G.
Burke, W. A.Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E)Holman, P.
Challen, CFoot, M. M.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)
Champion, A. JFoster, W. (Wigan)House, G.

point was that if Members on the Government Front Bench are capable of piloting Bills of that character, surely it is not beyond the Minister of Labour and his legal advisers to find a form of words that will be satisfactory to the entire House in this matter.

I make that plea. Let us give the young person the benefit of the doubt, if we have put him before two tribunals and before the sheriff. It that is appreciated, it might be possible tonight to find a form of words that will save the situation. If we cannot do so, perhaps it, the later stages tomorrow it might be possible for us to give satisfaction to these young men, who are entitled to get the benefit, if they have shown a conscientious objection to military service.

Question put, "That the Clause be read d Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 23; Noes, 253.

Hubbard, T.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Hudson, Rt Hon. R. S. (Southport)Mayhew, C. P.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S W.)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Medland, H. MSnadden, W. M.
Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)Mellish, R. J.Soskice, Maj. Sir
Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Messer, F.Sparks, J. A.
Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Mitchison, G. R.Stanley, Rt. Hon. O
Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Moody, A. S.Steele, T.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Morgan, Dr H. BStewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Jay, D. P. T.Mort, D. L.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J (Moray)
Jager, G. (Winchester)Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. EStudholme, H. G.
Jones, D. T (Hartlepools)Moyle, ASummerskill, Dr Edit)
Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Naylor, T E.Sutcliffe, H.
Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Neal, H. (Claycross)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Nicholls, H R. (Stratford)Teeling, William
Keenan, WNicholson, G.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Kenyon, C.Nield, B. (Chester)Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Kerr, Sir J GrahamNoble, Comdr. A. H PThorp, Lt.-Col R A F
Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr ENoel-Buxton LadyThurtle, Ernest
Kinley, J.Oldfield, W. H.Titterington, M
Kirby, B. V.O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir HTolley, L.
Langford-Holt, JPaget, R. T.Tomlinson, Rt Hon G
Lavers, S.Paling, Rt. Hon Wilfred (Wentworth)Touche, G. C.
Lee, F. (Hulme)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Turner-Samuels, M.
Legge-Bourke, Maj E A. HPargiter, G. AUngoed-Thomas, L.
Leonard, WParkin, B. TVernon, Maj. W F
Leslie, J. R.Pearson, A.Walkden, E.
Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Peart, Capt T. F.Walker-Smith, D.
Lewis, T (Southampton)Popplewell, E.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Lindgren, G. S.Porter, E. (Warrington)Warbey, W N.
Lindsay, M (Solihull)Porter, G. (Leeds)Ward, Hon G. R
Linstead, H. N.Proctor, W T.Watson, W M.
Lipson, D L.Pursey, Cmdr H.Webb, M. (Bradford, C)
Logan, D. G.Randall, H. EWells, W. T. (Walsall)
Low, Brig. A. R. WRanger, J.Westwood, Rt. Hon. J
Lucas-Tooth, Sir HRees-Williams, D. H.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. OReid, Rt Hon. J. S. C (Hillhead)Wigg, Col. G. E.
McAdam, W.Reid, T (Swindon)Wilkes, L.
Macdonald, Sir P (I. of Wight)Rhodes, H.Wilkins, W. A.
McEntee, V. La T.Rogers, G. H. RWilley, F. T. (Sunderland)
McKay, J. (Wallsend)Ropner, Col. L.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Williams, W R. (Heston)
McKinlay, A S.Savory, Prof D. LWilliamson, T
McLeavy, FScott-Elliot W.Willis, E.
Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Segal, Dr. SWoodburn, A
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)Shackleton, E. A. AWoods, G. S
Macpherson, T. (Romford)Sharp, GranvilleWyatt, W.
Mallalieu, J. P. W.Shawcross, Rt Hn Sir H. (St. Helens)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Marlowe, A. A. H.Simmons, C J.Younger, Hon Kenneth
Marquand, H. A.Skeffington, A. MTELLERS FOR THE NOES
Marsden, Capt. ASkinnard, F WMr. Collindridge and Mr. S