Skip to main content

Orders Of The Day

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.

National Service Bill

As amended, considered.

New Clause—(Candidates For Commissions)

Where persons are during their terms of whole-time or part-time service selected as candidates for commissions in his Majesty's Forces, it shall not be made a condition of their acceptance as such candidates that they shall perform additional whole-time service after the completion of their terms of whole-time service except in accordance with regulations made by the Service Authorities under this Act.—[ Mr. A. V. Alexander.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.42. p.m.

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

During the Committee stage of the Bill the Opposition moved the introduction of a new Clause to the effect that regulations should be introduced providing for the attainment of commissioned rank by selected men during or immediately after the expiry of their 12 months' service. I promised then to consider whether some suitable Amendment could be put on the Order Paper to meet the situation as it was submitted to me then and this new Clause is submitted in fulfilment of that promise. The reduction of the whole-time period of service to 12 months has naturally given rise to the question: Can officer training he completed in the time, or what other arrangement is proposed? Of course we should hope to get some candidates from among National Service men suitable for training as regular officers, but those selected for training for regular commissions will of course, make a fresh contract and thus be enabled to undergo the full course of military training which would be essential to prepare them for regular commissions; and they would be released from their engagements if they afterwards failed to gain such a commission. But in general, National Service men who wish to become officers will be thinking in the main of obtaining commissions in the Auxiliary and Reserve Forces. They will not want to do more full-time service therefore than is absolutely necessary, and will be anxious to get back to their civilian professions or trades. We are seeking to meet that situation as well as we can.

It is anticipated that in the case of the Army these cases will be very largely met. Nearly all the men will be selected from National Service men for training for commissions of that kind. We think we can complete their training within a year except in a few of the more technical cases. While we have not yet reached detailed and final decisions in the case of the Royal Air Force, they tell me that probably the great majority of the branches of that Service will be covered in the same way. Of course in the Royal Air Force there are specialist and technical commissions for which it would not be possible to complete training in that time and that is one of the reasons why we shall wish to lay regulations. The same applies, of course, very largely to the Royal Navy. I think we have met the situation by providing that a man shall not be required, as a condition of his obtaining a commission from among National Service candidates, to serve more than the standard whole time period as a condition of getting his commission unless regulations are laid. I quite understood the point which was pressed that in the case of a Bill of this kind which deals with National Service for a considerable period in peacetime, the House would need to be informed of the general conditions governing commissions under National Service, and therefore I propose to lay regulations for the selection of candidates for commissions of that kind before the House and they will be able to follow the normal Parliamentary procedure and raise in the House any points on which they are not satisfied. I think I have met the point of view that was put forward and I hope the Clause will be passed right away.

3.45 p.m.

I am not clear, from what the Minister of Defence said, how the Navy is to come into this. I think the whole Clause is for the benefit of the Army, although a few kind words were said about the Royal Air Force, and finally about the Navy, to assure the House that they have not been overlooked. But let the House understand that no person, after one year's service, with one possible exception which I will mention later, can be expected to get a commission in the regular Navy. A year's service will be of assistance towards that knowledge which every officer must have. It will be a great help in developing those officer-like qualities which he will need later on, but to say that he will get, or can be anywhere near, getting a commission in 12 months, is fooling the House.

I have not said anything of the kind. What I said was that the case of the Royal Navy was very much like that of the special and technical branches of the Royal Air Force, and therefore we should need special regulations.

I hope the Minister will tell the House more. I am a little bewildered. There are conditions in which, after a year's service, a man keen on officer rank can achieve it. He can join the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and from the ranks of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve he may get a commission. That is one way of doing it, but to get it straight away is not possible.

The Minister shakes his head. I am glad he indicates that that will not be the case. There is a type of commission which might be given. We are talking here about a man or boy of 18 years of age, but many others will come in at a later stage in life who may have achieved great technical knowledge in radar, or something of that sort. They may be given a commission, not in the R.N., but in the Reserve, or as we called it during the war, the Special Reserve, distinguished by a green stripe. There is certain technical knowledge for which general naval service is not necessary, and a man possessing such knowledge might be given a commission. However, I will not press the point. The Minister is evidently doing his best, and no man can do more than that. But I think everybody is still very bewildered as to how any one in the Naval Service can imagine that he will get a commission, until some period of time has elapsed, and some experience has been gained after one year's service.

The hon. and gallant Member for Chertsey (Captain Marsden) should remember that a great number of naval officers who did great service in the last war, had much less than a year's service. In fact, I think I am right in saying that at one time, more than half, indeed, more than three-quarters, of the officers serving in His Majesty's Navy had been commissioned with less than a year's service. Therefore, I do not think that the hon. and gallant Member's remarks can be taken as wholly correct. On the other hand, I agree with him that a single year would not bring any one up to the tremendously high standard required of a regular R.N. officer. We must, however, remember that the whole object of this conscription Bill is to create a reserve, and that reserve cannot be expected to be quite up to the standard of the full-time regular Force. I wish to make this suggestion, which I believe is important, from the point of view not only of the Navy but of the other Services concerned. This reserve will not be of much use to us unless we also have a reserve of officers. A large reserve of privates is something, but it would not be entirely satisfactory. I suggest that full use should be made of the cadet organisations to bring people up to the standard where they can be trained as officers, and that a system should be instituted, whereby people can go through the voluntary cadet organisation, which will provide great encouragement for the recruitment of these cadet organisations. Provided that they get a proper recommendation, they can then go straight into O.C.T.U. and spend their year of training there. Officers' training corps have in the past brought lots of young men up to the standard at which they were fit to be trained for officers. I believe that if the cadet corps were expanded and used upon that basis, they would bring forward the officer material, the people who are keen—

This new Clause deals with the method of selection of candidates for commissions in the Forces under this Bill and not the general question of how commissions are granted.

As I am speaking after the hon. and now learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), I should like to take this opportunity of extending to him my congratulations, and those of some of my colleagues, on die event which took place this morning. I wish to ask the Minister whether he envisages that officers who are commissioned by regulations made under this new Clause will be commissioned in the auxiliary Forces and will later be allowed, if they so wish, to transfer to the regular Forces. If so, will regulations to provide for that be made in accordance with the last line of this new Clause?

The right hon. Gentleman intimated that some of the officers created under this new provision would probably desire to serve in what I might call the Territorial Force Would he indicate whether he intends that officers for the Territorials shall be provided in this way, or from what source does he anticipate that those officers shall be provided? I should have thought that perhaps the majority of officers for the Territorials in the future would come forward this way very satisfactorily.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Clause, in line 1, to leave out from the beginning, to "it," in line 2, and to insert;

"The service authorities shall make provision for the attainment of commissioned rank either during or immediately upon the expiry of the term of whole time service by persons called up for service under this Act and selected as candidates for commissions in His Majesty's forces and."
I hope that, even at this late stage, the right hon. Gentleman will consider the propriety of asking himself whether this Amendment is not an improvement upon the Clause to which the House, at his suggestion, has just given a Second Reading. The main question seems to be quite clear, and without wishing to be controversial I think we may regret that we have not had any discussion upon it earlier. We had no discussion at all on the Second Reading. Although the topic was introduced by one or two speakers on this side of the House, Ministers were then apparently unprepared to deal with it. The question is surely this: We are now to have a semi-permanent conscript scheme. I take it that it is ministerially intended to be really permanent, because of what the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Defence told us about his courage in introducing a conscription scheme in what he described as a more or less normal peacetime. If such a system is to work, it will mainly—certainly largely—depend upon the question of whether the Force which is provided, is or is not properly officered. Therefore, it seems to me plain that from the first, the House and the country should have known how it was intended to get officers for that Force, and how it was intended that conscripts should reach officer rank.

I am not very much impressed by the difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman suggested just now—and also I agree an hon. and gallant Member on this side of the House—about the more technical branches in the Army, about the Navy and about the flying crews for the Royal Air Force. Of course, it is true that for those branches, it is not to be expected that a man shall learn everything and reach the level of a competent officer within 12 months. That does not necessarily mean that he is not fit to be commissioned at the end of 12 months, because hitherto, before the war, men have reached commissioned rank in all those departments without any previous whole-time service at all. That is what has happened in this country under the voluntary system—men got Territorial commissions, Reserve commissions and equivalent commissions in the Navy without having had any whole-time service.

Turning to foreign parts, it was certainly true in both France and Germany before 1939 that a man had a smaller whole-time service if he was going into the officer reserve than did those who were going into the reserve, as other ranks or ratings. Even in those cases I do not think that the difficulties are insurmountable. The main thing is that it should be made plain in the Statute, and not merely introduced afterwards by administrative action by the right hon. Gentleman and the Service Ministers. It should be made quite plain in the Statute that the normal method of getting a commission on the Reserve should be that one gets one's commission just at the end of one's conscript service.

If that is not done there will be two great disadvantages. The right hon. Gentleman told us, I think it was at an early part of the Committee stage, that one of the advantages of cutting down conscript service from 18 months to 12 months was the number of labour hours thus saved. I ask him to consider that in getting civilian life going again, in getting our productive capacity going, increasing it and so on, the most important class of people will be the best young men as they are now emerging or have been emerging in the last year or two from the schools. Therefore, any advantage there is in cutting down the interruption of the civilian careers of people who are not going to rise above the rank of private, is very much grater indeed in connection with those who are fit to be commissioned. It ought to be made plain in the Statute that such young men will not have their ordinary civilian professional careers interrupted for longer than would be the case if they remained in the ranks.

If not, there will be two disadvantages. One is that the Services will get fewer of the best young men in their reserve of officers than they ought to get; the other is that the officering of civilian life will be delayed and will, to some extent, get the best men coming to it a year or two later than they intended to, and more or less disgruntled. Those are the disadvantages we wish to avoid. We are grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for going some way to meet us, but we are still not clear that he has done all that he ought to have done. We still ask him to consider this Amendment. Along with it—I hope this is not out of Order—I ask him to consider the question of young men who, by a more or less formal pledge, have received, or are on the point of receiving, commissions, the more or less formal pledge being "If you have a commission in this regiment, you are expected to stay x years." I am quite sure that that system, if allowed to go on, will have very bad effects, especially very bad social effects. I am quite sure that something of that sort has been happening, and is still happening. We ought to have assurances about that.

I shall be very glad to meet the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) as far as possible, but I think that if he will read in print what I said just now in moving the Second Reading of the new Clause, he will see that most of the points he has made have been met except in those cases where candidates are selected for commissions in the more technical and specialist sides of the Services The statement I made was that in the case of the Army, the great majority of men selected from National Service candidates for commissioning in the reserve forces will be able to complete their training within 12 months. No question of extra time arises. I have said that probably it will not be possible to complete training for certain specialist and technical commissions, and that we will lay regulations governing the process under which selection will be made in those cases, so that the House will have an opportunity of considering them and raising any point which arises. Therefore, I think that the great majority of the cases which have been in the minds of the hon. Member and his hon. Friends who have been interested in this matter, have been met He says, of course, that the provision should be made plain in the Statute. On that point, I would say that the position is made plain in the Statute except in so far as the detailed regulations governing those who will be selected for the more technical and special commissions are concerned These will have to be covered by regulations and can be checked up on in the House. All the other part will be put into the Statute by the new Clause. Therefore, I think I have met his point.

If I may reply to the point made by the hon. and gallant Member for North Blackpool (Brigadier Low), and the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Stewart), I am certain that the very large proportion, especially in the Army, of the officers who will be required for the reserve forces of the future—and we shall be building up very large reserves—will have to he found from among those who will be selected from the National Service candidates in the course of their normal training. If there is any question with regard to ultimate transfer from, say, the auxiliary to the regular forces, I have no doubt it will be arranged that that can be covered by the regulations to be submitted to the House. I should very much prefer that, when we are dealing with the selection of candidates for regular commissions, we should try to arrange that they make a decision whether or not they are to be regular officers during their period of training in the ranks so that we can decide then whether they show the officer-like qualities and general ability that the authorities think will be necessary in giving what is a very great honour, the opportunity of a very great career as a regular professional officer in the Services. Nevertheless, if it is found necessary to arrange for transfer, I have no doubt that any such provision could be covered in the regulations. I hope that with this explanation, hon. Members will feel that in the main the spirit, at any rate, of what the hon. Member for Cambridge University had in mind, has been met.

None of us on this side of the House would like to appear ungracious to the right hon. Gentleman who, undoubtedly, has done his best since the Committee stage to meet us on what we consider to be a most important point. Some part, at any rate, of my disquiet as to the actual wording of the Amendment was removed by the right hon. Gentleman's speech. I should like the opportunity, which he suggested, of reading in detail the report of his remarks, but it seems to me that he laid down, much more clearly and definitely than we have had it up to now, the principle that, wherever possible, these people would get their commissions during their 12 months' service. The cases in which we all admit it would be impossible for them to do it, seem to me to be relegated by the right hon. Gentleman to the exception rather than, as appeared before, proving to be the rule. All that I think my hon. Friend desires now by his Amendment is to ensure that the emphasis which the right hon. Gentleman gave to this question in his speech, which is ephemeral in character, should appear in a permanent form in the legislation. I hope my hon. Friend will agree when I say that it has now come to a matter of wording. I think that there is no difference in spirit between the right hon. Gentleman and ourselves. If before this is discussed in another place, the right hon. Gentleman would see whether some other form of words could be introduced which, while not altering the substance in any way, would give greater emphasis to the fact that a year would be the normal method, and a longer period, by regulation, would be the exceptional method, I think that would go far to meet us. In those circumstances, I would advise my hon. Friend not to press his Amendment.

Perhaps I may, by leave, ask one question. I am sorry if this is confronting the right hon. Gentleman with a difficulty, but I do not think it is. May we take it that the Amendment is contrary to what the Secretary of State for War—I am not in the least making a point against him here—said at an earlier stage, when he was inclined to think that a high proportion of these young men getting commissions would have to be held, in order to deal with the next intake of conscripts? May we take it that the remarks which I attributed to the Secretary of State for War do not indicate what is now the official view?

I think the explanation by the hon. Member is quite right, although I would not accept that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War gave that impression. It may have been somebody else.

Amendment to the proposed Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause added to the Bill.

New Clause—(Unconditional Registration Of Conscientious Objectors In Certain Circumstances)

The local tribunal, if satisfied by the application duly made under section five of the principal Act, or the appellate tribunal, if satisfied on appeal that the ground upon which application was made is established, shall by order direct that the applicant shall without condition be registered in the register of conscientious objectors.—[ Mr. Hopkin Morris.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

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

The present position in regard to this matter is established by Section 5 of the Act of 1939. Under that Section, conscientious objectors can be registered under three conditions, but I propose to deal only with Subsection (6). The object of this New Clause is to delete Subsection (6), which provides for the registration of conscientious objectors in two classes—the unconditionally exempt and the conditionally exempt. The object during wartime is perfectly clear. During wartime, all industry, as well as the Armed Forces, is necessarily directed to the winning of the war, but war conditions are not applicable in any sense to peacetime. If a person objects to military service and appears before the local tribunal, and that tribunal finds that he is a conscientious objector and should be registered, the question remains whether he shall be registered as unconditionally exempt or exempt upon conditional circumstances. The man may very well object to doing all forms of military service, both combatant and noncombatant, and he may, in wartime, object to doing any service which assists in the prosecution of the war. In a case which was accepted as a bona fide case, the objector was registered unconditionally where he objected to all forms of service, but, in some cases, where there was an objection to doing military service, both combatant and non-combatant, but no objection to engaging in some form of civilian national service under control, the objector was registered as conditionally exempt.

That is easily understandable in wartime, but it is perpetuated in this Bill, and what I am seeking to do is to retain the unconditional registration only. Where a man establishes that he has an objection to military service, both combatant and non-combatant, he should be registered unconditionally in the register, and the other classes, who would otherwise be registered in wartime as conditionally exempt, should adopt some other means. A young man of 18 makes an application to a tribunal, and, in wartime, it is found that he has no objection to doing agricultural work or becoming a miner, and he is setting out upon a university career. In wartime, agriculture is essential for the prosecution of the war and so is mining, and one can understand the State saying to a man "You object to military service in any form, but this is national service, and we will conditionally register you, subject to your carrying out this work." That case no longer holds in these times. Why should a man, once he has established his case as a conscientious objector, be directed to do agricultural work, mining or any other form of civilian occupation under Government control?

4.15 p.m.

Yes, and it is a great mistake, which arises because the Minister has the right to direct labour in wartime, and what is being done here is to direct conscientious objectors in peacetime to do certain work merely as a penal measure and as a form of punishment. Why should this one class be so treated? If we admit this policy in peacetime, we are then admitting the policy of the direction of labour for one specific object. If we are to have direction of labour, let it be universal. Why should this class, once the only case which they are permitted to make—the case of the conscientious objector—has been established, have a form of punishment brought to bear upon them? That seems be quite unfair to one class of the community, and is an assumption by the State, of rights which, quite clearly, it has no claim to adopt in peacetime. The consideration that justifies this action in wartime is that the State is concerned with its own preservation, but, in peacetime, it has no such right.

I beg to second the Motion.

I am not at present concerned to ensure that the "provisional" conscientious objector has justice done to him; I want to make a plea for the "out-and-outer" whom I must declare to have my complete sympathy. I am concerned with the man who objects to being placed under military law in any circumstances, and I do not understand the attitude of a man who will palter with his conscience and allow himself to be placed under military orders to do certain things and not other things. I wish to call attention to some of the hopeless confusion that took place under the old Acts. There were for instance cases where men were given exemption on condition that they did agricultural work. If the man was poor, he had to be an agricultural labourer, but if he was rich—and I have known cases of this kind happening—he would buy a farm, put in a bailiff to work the farm, and himself go on with his own work in his office or on the Stock Exchange or wherever he happened to be. That happened more than once, and I could give instances and names. It happened sometimes that a conscientious objector was allowed to evade military service if he carried on with the work which he was already doing. Some of them were teachers who were given exemption on condition that they remained in their profession. But a neighbouring education authority dismissed such men from their position as teachers because they were conscientious objectors. In future, I hope we shall not have one authority dismissing people for being conscientious objectors and another retaining them for the same reason. My last reason for seconding this Amendment is that the present Clause seems to me to go 75 per cent. towards perpetuating the very hated system of direction of labour in peacetime.

I think that the hon. Gentlemen opposite who have moved and seconded this new Clause, and who have so much sympathy with conscientious objectors, are doing conscientious objectors an injustice. They are attempting to narrow the limits under which they can be registered. I suppose that conscientious objectors are as difficult to define as any other category of persons. Take the Liberals, for instance. It is very difficult to define National Liberals, Liberal Nationals, Independent Liberals, and other Liberals.

Has not the Minister taken the trouble to read the announcement made during the last to days that the Liberal Nationals and the Conservatives are now to all intents and purposes combined?

I am afraid that is only adding to the confusion. 1n the case of conscientious objectors, the difficulty is equally great. One man may be a conscientious objector on religious grounds. According to the sect to which he belongs he might be intensely and vehemently opposed to any form of military service. Then, of course, there is the conscientious objector—

The Statute sets out clearly that a conscientious objector must object to being registered in the military register for the performance of military service and combatant duties. It says nothing about religion.

But that does not relieve a tribunal of the duty of deciding whether or not a man's conscientious objection is genuine. The tribunal decides that, in relation to the professions the man makes when he comes before it. Some men will argue on religious grounds; others will argue on political or humanitarian grounds as the basis of their objection. The tribunal has to decide, from the evidence before it, how deeply a man holds that view. With the best tribunal in the world, and with the best applicant in the world, there is always an element of doubt in these matters. It is a question of degrees. They are not all white, or all black; there are some grey in between, and what we are providing for in the Bill—

Does the Minister really claim that degrees of conscientious objection are provided for in the Bill?

I am surprised at the hon. Member for the University of Wales (Professor Gruffydd). It was he who raised this point when he said that he had no time for the man who was prepared to do some sort of service, and that all his sympathise were with the "out and outer." He admits that there are at least two kinds—the "out and outer" and the man prepared to be registered conditionally. In supporting this new Clause, the hon. Gentleman is putting the conditional man out completely.

I must correct the Minister there. What I said was that I did not regard the other person as a conscientious objector in the same sense at all.

That makes the position even worse. The man who seriously objects to going into the Armed Forces, but who is prepared to render some national service, should not, according to the hon. Gentleman, be registered as a conscientious objector. That is not the position which this House has taken up. It has taken the view that when a man claims that he has conscientious objection to combatant service, it should then be put to him whether he is prepared to render some other national service. The man might well say that though he is not prepared to go into the Army, he does not wish to dodge his contribution to the State, and is willing to render some national service. In the past, the House has held that such a man is no less a conscientious objector, and no less entitled to be registered as such. I think that the mover and seconder of this new Clause are really doing a disservice to a very respectable section of the conscientious objector category.

I feel that the Minister has answered the case put forward. I entirely agree with him that the law ought not to provide for a wider degree of exemption than the individual conscientious objector himself requires. I think that argument is quite sound. But I fancy that the hon. Gentlemen opposite had something else in mind and that the danger to be avoided here is that involved in some tribunals making a kind of bargain with the applicant. I think it is that kind of bargain which it is sought to avoid. A tribunal might say, "We are not sure that this man who applies for absolute exemption is as genuine as he makes out. On the other hand, we are not satisfied that there is not something genuine in his application. Let us strike a middle course, and give him something which he does not want anyhow. He claims absolute exemption. We cannot admit that, but we will not deprive him of everything. We will give him a conditional exemption." It is out of that sort of thing that one ultimately gets the majority of "cat-and-mouse" cases, with which I am hoping to deal in a later Clause, where some measure of exemption has been granted not satisfactory to the applicant.

It is not a case of a man who seeks to be registered as a conscientious objector and fails to establish his claim. The tribunal ought to make up its mind whether he is genuine or not, but many do not. The real issue is that in peacetime the State says that there are priorities in industry.

I do not think that that point is involved, but, of course, if the hon. and learned Gentleman wishes to make it, he should be allowed to do so. My point is that if the tribunal comes to a decision which is not satisfactory to the man concerned, it may result in his being imprisoned, released, further trials, further courts-martial, and further sentences. I do not think that this new Clause would meet that type of case.

4.30 p.m.

This House has a very great tradition of being extremely careful in its consideration of all cases of conscience. I think it right that that position should be upheld. Therefore, I should like to be clear about the issue raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman. At present, I am not at all clear. Whether we agree with the point of view or not, this House has always very wisely admitted the sincerity of conscientious objection in wartime. Therefore, very rightly and wisely, it has never compelled a conscientious objector to fight. There are some people who carry their objections so far that they cannot in time of war, do any form of national service because they consider that that would be contributing to the conduct of the war. Most of us would find it a little difficult to defend that position, but we all recognise the sincerity of that view as held by some people, and, therefore, the law has allowed for it. But I cannot quite follow the point of the hon. and learned Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Hopkin Morris) that it is worse to make people do this alternative service in time of peace than in time of war. The case seems to be exactly the opposite. One can understand a person who has such an extreme abhorrence of war that he objects to doing agricultural labour in time of war because, somehow or other, it contributes to the prosecution of the war, but I cannot see how anybody can object to doing any other form of national service on conscientious grounds in peacetime, when it merely contributes to the general welfare of the community and not to this wicked thing, the prosecution of war.

In the 1914–18 war there was a class of men who while perfectly willing and anxious, as an act of voluntary service, to do all kinds of things, whether or not these were useful to the war effort, were, nevertheless, not willing to bargain with the tribunal for exemption from military service. Therefore, they refused every kind of condition on that ground

I appreciate there were such people, but I was not passing judgment on anybody's point of view I was contrasting the situation in time of war and the situation in peacetime. It is not the same thing at all During the war one would be contributing to the prosecution of the war, and some people felt that sincerely. During peacetime, one would be contributing to the general welfare of the community, and I cannot understand how anybody can think that is very wicked. I appreciate the further point made by the hon. and learned Gentleman about direction of labour being undesirable. Of course, direction of labour is undesirable Conscription, in itself, is undesirable; we all agree on that. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a situation where we have reached the conclusion that we cannot avoid it, and the hon. and learned Gentleman cannot argue that these people are being put in an exceptionally unfavourable position. They are put in an exceptionally favourable position, if they are allowed to continue with their university studies, or whatever it is convenient for them to do, at a time when all their contemporaries are in the Army. It is to that point of conscience that I would like hon. Members to direct their minds, because I do not think the hon. and learned Member for Carmarthen has established his point

I believe this new Clause, in support of which the Liberal Party have turned up in their massed battalions today—as opposed to their attitude on the Finance Bill when they indulged in absenteeism in a very high degree—provides another example of how this unfortunate remnant of a party is steadily dividing itself and Liberal opinion in the country. I think it is a very sorry thing that they should turn up in such force today to plead for a Clause such as this. As my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) has just said, there is the greatest distinction between wartime and peacetime, and that was recognised by the mover and seconder of the new Clause

Like many hon. Members, I have a son who will be affected by the Bill by the time it becomes law. Incidentally, it might be of interest to hon. Members on the Government benches to know that my son practically insisted on the period of 18 months, and will be really disappointed if he has to do only 12 months' service, because he thinks that is not enough time in which to become a good soldier. It seems that we, as a House, have decided to take over the lives and activities of boys of 18 years of age, in preparation for the self-preservation of the country. If a young man is a conscientious objector and is absolutely honourable in that belief, surely he should insist that because his conscience will not allow him to train for the Army, he should make his sacrifice equal to that of the boys in uniform. If he did not, he would not be worth this mass movement of the Liberal Party. He should say, "Since I cannot even in peacetime, without taking blood"—be cause there is no bloodshed involved—"put on a uniform, I offer to go into any service which is of use to the country." The conscientious objector who would not do that would not be worth fighting for.

I do not know that it will be necessary for me to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. Baxter) on the subject of the mass movement, because that hardly seems to be a matter which requires any deep consideration by this House. However, I do express some surprise at the fact that hon. Members below the Gangway have moved this Clause. I understood that there was fairly common agreement in this House that if we are to support the United Nations organisation, it is necessary that we should be reasonably strong.

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I was endeavouring to make the point that even if one objects to war on the ground that it is wrong, surely it is not wrong to try to stop war by offering one's services to the country in time of peace, or by having one's services taken by the country in time of peace. That would seem to me to have something to do with the new Clause, and I am sorry if I did not put the point sufficiently clearly. It seems to me to be rather vital when dealing with this matter of conscientious objectors.

I am afraid the hon. Member has not read the new Clause. The main point is whether conscientious objectors should be registered for other duties, and not for service in the Armed Forces.

I have certainly read the new Clause. I wish to confine myself to the point concerning the performance of other duties which is vital to the Clause. I take this point of view, which seems to be very strong. For a very long time, there have been certain societies, such as the Quakers, who, although they are not strictly able to take up military service, do everything they can to help in the medical service and in that sort of way. That would seem to me to be a very strong argument in support of the Government if there were a Division upon this new Clause. There is also a point on which I agree with the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). I should like it laid down clearly in this House—because I think there is almost universal consent upon it—that in a matter of this kind, we do not want anything in the nature of bargaining between the tribunal and the individual as to whether he should perform this or that service. That is something against which we all ought to stand. If only because that point has been raised, and has enabled some of us to express an opinion upon it, I think it has been worth while moving the Second Reading of this new Clause. Beyond that I am afraid I cannot find any particular reason why even hon. Members below the Gangway, should press it to a Division.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and negatived.

The following new Clause stood upon the Order Paper:

( Hourly, etc., drills)

(1) The Service Authority may cause to be served on any person during his term of part-time service a notice which shall state that he is required to present himself for hourly periods of instruction or a continuous period of less than six days at such place and time on such days (of which the earliest shall not be earlier than the fifteenth day after the service of the notice), as may be specified in the notice.

(2) The Service Authority shall have power at any time to cancel such a notice and to vary it by issuing a supplementary notice provided that the earliest day for attendance under the supplementary notice shall be not earlier than the fifteenth day after the service of the notice.

(3) No hourly period of instruction nor day's training shall be reckoned towards the completion of any person's part-time service under Section two of this Act unless it has been detailed in a notice under this Section or in a training notice or carried out as part of part-time service with the consent of the Service Authority.

(4) The Service Authority may, if any person without leave lawfully granted or sickness or

other reasonable cause fails to present himself as required by a notice or supplementary notice under this Section declare some or all of the hourly periods of instruction which such person has previously undergone under that notice or supplementary notice void and such hourly periods of instruction shall not be reckoned towards the completion of that previous part-time service under Section two of this Act.—[ Brigadier Low.]

The proposed Clause (Hourly, etc., drills) in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for North Blackpool (Brigadier Low) can be discussed together with the new Clause (Drills) which I am now about to call.

New Clause—(Drills)

(1) The Service Authority may cause to be served on any person during his term of part-time service a notice which shall state that he is required to present himself for periods of instruction at such place and time on such days (of which the earliest shall not be earlier than the fifteenth day after the service of the notice), as may be specified in the notice.

(2) A person who without leave lawfully granted, or sickness or other reasonable excuse, fails to present himself as required by a notice served under this Section shall be liable to forfeit to His Majesty a sum of money not exceeding five pounds recoverable on complaint to a court of summary jurisdiction.—[ Brigadier Head.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

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

This new Clause seeks to make good two omissions from the Bill and I should like to deal with the two relevant Subsections in turn. Subsection (1) seeks to make good the omission of any regulation for the notices being served for periods of not less than six days. Clause 6 of the Bill contains the whole machinery for serving these notices, which is defined as a period of not less than six days for the camps, but there is no reference to periods for what were normally called, before the war, the territorial drills. We feel it is essential that some machinery should be included in the Bill, so that notices can be served, and so that the machinery for their serving is contained in the Bill.

In our opinion Subsection (2) of the new Clause is more important, and constitutes a matter which my hon. Friends and myself think will have the strongest effect on the success or failure of the whole of this scheme. It concerns the omission from the Bill of any sanction which can be put upon men who do not attend these drills. I do not think there will be any strong argument against the assertion that that omission occurs. It will be within the recollection of many hon. Members who sat up very late one night, how we watched the frenzied searchings of the right hon. Gentleman and the learned Attorney-General to see where this sanction could be found. I think I should also be right in saying that none of my hon. Friends is wedded to the proposal contained in the new Clause. Obviously, it is difficult to arrive at an entirely satisfactory form of sanction.

It seems obvious that the temptations for absenteeism will be very strong, and that the inconvenience of a lot of absenteeism will be very considerable and might, if it reached serious proportions, almost serve to wreck the scheme. Although a really firm sanction is required it does not, of course, want to be a very savage one. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman has come to the House with some solution of this problem, and it may be that his solution is superior to the method suggested in Subsection (2) of our new Clause. The one thing we wish to get at is, that a definite sanction should exist; that it should be a practical one, and that it should discourage men from continued and frequent absence, which will stultify so much of the part-time training which will depend, to a very large extent, on good attendance and on maintaining continuity in performing these drills.

4.45 p.m.

I beg to second the Motion.

I very much hope we shall have a Service Minister speaking on this, perhaps in addition to the Attorney-General, because it is not simply a legal question; it raises a matter of the very greatest importance to the success of the whole of this scheme. In the past we have not had any experience of what might be described as compulsory volunteers. The men about whom we are now thinking are men who are made to serve in a volunteer organisation. In the Territorial Army before the war there were sanctions; men were under military law when they were at camp, and there was always the question of a possible fine if they did not perform their minimum number of drills. Of course, in fact in any decent Territorial unit—indeed, in almost all territorial units—these sanctions were never applied, and it would have been fatal to a unit to have applied them. I know from my own experience, as a Territorial officer before the war, we never had any trouble of this sort.

At the beginning of the war, in the company I commanded, we had no conscripts serving with us for the first four months, and not a single man came up on a charge; they were all volunteers, they worked very hard and their behaviour was perfect. When we got the conscripts coming in, they were perfectly good soldiers—probably just as good as the Territorials—but they were not volunteers, and they did the things which soldiers are apt to do, such as overstaying their leave, which could not be overlooked. In a mixed unit there are bound to be people who will not turn up, because they are conscripts and not volunteers. There will have to be some form of sanction, and unless that sanction is clear, and unless that sanction is applied reasonably, the whole scheme will break down. That is the reason I was worried when this was discussed in the small hours of the morning the other day. It did not appear that the Minister had really thought seriously on this particular point. Like my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head), I am not particularly enamoured of this new Clause. It is excessively difficult to know what is the right thing. I hope we shall get, not a purely legal answer but one from the point of view of the Minister who is trying to make the scheme work.

It might be for the convenience of the House if I said a few words before the Attorney-General replies, because the new Clause standing in the name of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea (Commander Noble) and myself (Hourly, etc., drills), is also being discussed. I should like to take up a little time in explaining a little more fully than has been done so far what is at the backs of our minds. I say at once, that I agree with what the hon. Member for Flint (Mr. Birch) has just said about volunteers and conscripts, and about his experience when they mingled at the beginning of the war. Anyone who was in the same position of my hon. Friend and myself, will confirm that that was the general experience.

Whereas before the war we were satisfied—I think wrongly satisfied—with allowing Territorials, to take them as an example of volunteers in the Auxiliary Forces, to choose the days on which they should do their drills, they were doing drills over a much longer period than that which these conscripts, the National Service men, will be required to put in. In fact they were doing over twice as long per year. Before the war they put in that long time, but we were not satisfied with the efficiency produced. I think my hon. and gallant Friend and myself, in our various Amendments, both have at the backs of our minds the thought that if training is to be of any use for part-time service it should be planned and not unplanned training. Surely, that argument should appeal to hon. and right hon. Members opposite, who are so wedded to planning in other matters? One matter on which we on this side of the House do require planning, at any rate in this Bill, is that of training.

During the dark watches of the night, some time back, the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) told us of the dangers of happy-go-lucky methods of training, and, besides drawing some laughter from the House, he did impress even right hon. Members opposite, sleepy and bewildered though they may have been. The scheme we have in mind consists of a notice procedure and a sanction. The point of principle in which the House is interested is really the sanction, but before I come to that I should like to say one word about the notice procedure. Under the new Clause which we are considering at the moment, the notice procedure is designed to cover periods of instruction. I think we have elsewhere in the Bill, or will have when we come to complete our consideration of it, provision for training notices covering periods in excess of six days. If the Government are going to accept the principle that we put forward, a notice under this new Clause, or whatever Clause is put in substitution of it, must cover anything under six days, and in my new Clause, which I will move if it is necessary, provision is made to cover all periods of less than six days, as well as hourly periods of instruction. I also think it necessary, and I hope the House will agree, that provision should be made to enable the Service authority to vary the notice; and I think that the notice procedure which is adopted for longer periods of service should apply to this notice procedure, too.

Let me pass to the sanction. I was very glad to hear my hon. and gallant Friend say he was not wedded to the principle of the £5 fine. I think that in thinking over this matter of the sanction—and most of us agree that a sanction would be desirable, if we could find one against which there were not too many disadvantages—all hon. and gallant Gentlemen will realise the difficulty in reaching a satisfactory solution. Speaking for myself and, I believe, for my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea, I would say that we feel that the £5 penalty procedure has too many disadvantages. We do not like the idea that men could be allowed, as it were, to buy themselves out of the results of having missed a period for which they were summoned. We do not think that young soldiers, sailors or airmen should be allowed to get any advantage so to make good their absence by merely paying a penalty. Therefore, we have looked round to see what other sanction we could find; and, bearing in mind that the object of part-time service is to train a man as efficiently as he can be trained, we think that, if a sanction is required, that sanction should be to deprive him of being able to count a number—perhaps, not many—of the hourly periods of instruction which have formed part of the training programme, with which he has been summoned, in the notice which he has disobeyed For that reason we have put forward the fourth Subsection in the Clause standing in my name

I have no doubt the Government, too, have given full attention to this matter, and all I would ask is that, if they cannot accept my sanction, or the sanction proposed by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) they will indicate to us what sanction they are going to put in its place. 1 do ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, or the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General, to give the House this time what they did not last time—some account of the scheme by which the national service men are to be allowed to satisfy part of their liability part-time service by hourly drills or periods of less than six days.

We have given the most careful and, in many ways, sympathetic consideration to the two new Clauses that have been put down by hon. and gallant Gentlemen opposite, as, indeed, to any Amendment which is put down from either side of the House; but we are satisfied that these proposals are neither necessary nor practicable. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Blackpool (Brigadier Low) has observed, we have already put on the Paper an Amendment which will define what is meant by a training notice for the purposes of Clause 6 of the Bill, and that definition will, as I promised when we were discussing the matter in Committee, make it clear, if, indeed, it is not clear already in the Bill as at present framed, that a training notice will relate only to periods of service of some duration—periods longer than hourly drills, namely, periods of six days or more.

A training notice will normally relate to the annual camp, will be served only once in the course of the year; and it will only be in the case where a man fails to comply with the training notice calling him up for a period of some duration of that kind that he will be liable to the penalties imposed under the existing law in the case of the particular Force to which the man has been allocated who fails to obey a call up or embodiment notice. It will be seen by hon. Members from that, that the training notice will not be issued at all in respect either of the hourly drills or in respect of the weekend camps, and, consequently, that absence from an hourly drill or from a weekend camp would not constitute desertion, and would not be punishable in the way that failure to comply with a training notice would be punishable. The position in regard to these short periods of service, which was, I think, fully explained to the Committee on the previous occasion—

No doubt, owing to the comatose condition of hon. Members opposite on that occasion it was not sufficiently apparent to the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I make quite clear now the position in regard to the short periods of service. Under Clause 2 of the Bill there is, as hon. Members know, a limit of 21 days on the amount of training which may be required from a National Service man in the course of any one year of his part-time obligation. A substantial part of the 21 days will, of course, be required to be served in continuous training in the annual camp, or training of that kind, training which he undergoes pursuant to a training notice; and if the liability had not already been partially discharged—I mean the liability to do the complete 21 days had not been partially discharged—by doing hourly drills, or by training at a weekend camp, a training notice for the full period of 21 days could, of course, be served.

It is intended, however, to make regulations under Clause 2 (4) providing that an individual may, by carrying out a specified number of hourly drills, or by attending a weekend camp—weekend camps will count as eight hourly drills—count those drills against his liability to serve for the 21 days; and it is intended that four training periods—four hourly drills—shall count as one day against a total liability to serve for 21 days. In our view, it is undesirable, and certainly impracticable, to observe any very strict or formal rules in regard to the length of notice which has to be given to a man in respect of the hourly drills These things will be matters of arrangement in each unit. The intention is to arrange this part of the part-time training for the National Service men in exactly the same way as it is done for other men in the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces. In the Territorial Army the volunteers and the conscripted personnel will be trained side by side. Matters will be arranged in regard to the dates, the times, and so on, of the hourly drills in each unit to meet, as far as may be, the convenience of all concerned. It would be manifestly impracticable and unfair that a man who had been asked, perhaps at comparatively short notice, to attend for an evening drill in order, perhaps, to make up a gun team or a searchlight team and who had turned up and performed his drill, should not be allowed to count that against his 21 days, but under the new Clause in the name of the hon and gallant Member for North Blackpool (Brigadier Low), because that was a period which had not been served pursuant to a 15 days' notice, the man would not be allowed to count it to his credit.

5.0 p.m.

There is a provision that h shall count if it is done with the consent of the Service authority as part-time service. The example which the Attorney-General gave would be covered.

I am very much obliged to the hon. and gallant Gentleman for that explanation, but it does not in any way alter our view that it would be impracticable, where one was providing for hourly drills, which might take place on a Thursday in one week and, because of some local holiday—a football match or some other thing—an arrangement might be made the following week for it to take place on a Wednesday, to provide for 15 days' notice always to be given in writing to each individual in advance of the drill being held. Regulations will be made with regard to these periods of hourly drill, and adequate and proper notice will certainly be given, but we cannot tie ourselves down by Statute to give 15 days' notice in every case.

I come now to the question of the sanction by which attendance at the drills and the weekend camps, as opposed to attendance pursuant to a training notice, will be secured. The real sanction—and when I say "real sanction" I mean what we anticipate will be the effective sanction—is very much that which the hon. and gallant Member for North Blackpool has in mind, as opposed to the quite different sanction which the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) and the hon. Member for Flint (Mr. Birch) would like to see. It is a sanction which, in fact, exists. I hope that in this matter we shall be able to satisfy all hon. Members. There is the penalty to which I referred in Committee. There is also the penalty which we think in practice will be, as it has been in the past, much the more effective penalty, that if a man fails, without reasonable excuse, to complete the full course of hourly drills, where for instance he has been given the opportunity of commuting six days of whole-time service by attending 24 evening drills, and where, without reasonable excuse, he fails to complete the whole course of hourly drills in that way, he will not be entitled to exemption from the liability to serve the six days' period. If, on the other hand, he has a good excuse, that he was ill on the night in question or that something unexpected prevented him from turning up, he will be allowed credit for the drills he has actually performed.

That is, in a sense, an administrative sanction, but in practice we think it is likely to be the more effective sanction, and we do not contemplate that there will be a constant necessity to issue summonses, go to the police courts and to get men fined £5; but if it is a matter of any consolation to the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton and the hon. Member for Flint, there is still a legal sanction in the background. I informed hon. Members in Committee, speaking, I confess, "off the book," that when a man does not turn up for a drill in circumstances of this kind when he has been ordered to attend, there was a small penalty, which I thought was £5. This seemed to create some despondency or amusement—I was not quite sure which—on the part of hon. Members opposite, and, consequently, I used a good deal of midnight oil to find out whether or not the information I had given was correct, and I found to my relief that the position was exactly as I had said. In the case of the Territorial Army, the Auxiliary Air Force and the Air Force Reserve, the penalty is a maximum fine of £5 The Army Reserve, the Naval Reserve and the Naval Special Reserve apparently think in rather higher figures and there the maximum penalty is £25 Therefore, in these cases where a man is required to perform hourly drills and fails to comply with this requirement, there is a legal sanction in the background.

It is not under Regulations. If hon. Members will look at Section 21 of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907, Section 15 of the Reserve Forces Act, 1882, and at the Auxiliary Air Force Order, 1924, they will find the relevant statutory provisions in this regard.

Does the imposition of the sanction and the fine wipe out the offence?

In no way. That is why we think the really effective sanction will be that a man who fails to complete his course of drills will fail to be relieved from his obligation to do the full-time service. We think that is likely to be the effective sanction in all these cases.

No; there is no question of that. As the hon. Member for Flint said, it has been found in practice in the Territorial Army that it is neither desirable nor really practicable to pursue the legal sanction in the court and recover these penalties. In bad cases it might have to be done, but in the ordinary way the administrative sanction is the one that will ensure that men do, in general, comply with the requirement to perform their weekly drills. Having regard to the fact that both the sanction which the hon. and gallant Member for North Blackpool and the hon. and gallant Member for Chelsea (Commander Noble) desire, and the sanction desired by the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton and the hon. Member for Flint, will be provided, and in view of the explanation I have given of the arrangements that will be made for this commutation of the fulltime liability by part-time hourly service, I hope hon. Members opposite will feel able to withdraw the new Clause.

The Attorney-General said that hon. Members on this side were in a comatose condition when this point was discussed in Committee. I can assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that he is quite wrong. It is true that, during some short period in the many hours we sat on the Committee stage, some of us no doubt felt drowsy, but none of us felt drowsy for one moment while we were discussing this particular Amendment. Many of us are deprived by the hours of work of this House from anything like the constant visas to see the Crazy Gang which we should like, and the performance of right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite was the nearest thing to the Crazy Gang that any of us have been able to see for some months. On the other hand, I do plead guilty to the charge made against us that the Debate on this Amendment filled us with despondency. We were not so despondent at the learned Attorney-General's statement with regard to the £5 sanction; we did not question whether he was right or wrong, though we are now happy that for once he should have got the thing looked up by somebody else and found that he was right. What we were despondent about was the fact that, whoever was right or wrong, the Secretary of State for War and the Attorney-General, speaking within a few minutes of each other, have made entirely contradictory statements, and our gratification at the proved correctness of the Attorney-General is slightly tempered by disappointment about the statement of the Secretary of State for War.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman, in dealing with these new Clauses, has, T think, rather missed the point which was in the minds of my hon. and gallant Friends who have put them down, and which has been expressed in the speeches of the hon. and gallant Members. What we are above all anxious about is whether there is any method possible under this Bill whereby people can be made not only to do the actual number of days' or hours' training which the Bill lays clown, but can be made to do it more or less at the times required, so that they will have a planned training. I was left in doubt by the Attorney-General's statement as to whether the regulations to which he referred would in fact be adequate to secure the purpose we have in mind, and with which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Defence has no quarrel, because it is quite clear that part time training will be valuable or useless not merely in accordance with the number of hours served but in accordance with some plan of training and education which is laid down from the start. As far as I could follow the Attorney-General's argument, it was that under Subsection (4) of Clause 2, the regulations which permit of converting the days into hourly periods would lay down certain rules which would have to be observed if the change from days into hours was to count. From my point of view, however, I am afraid he did not give sufficient details of the way these regulations would work to convince me that in fact they would meet our point. I can quite see that if the regulations are to lay down that a man can only count his hourly training to make up the days if he does so many hours in January, so many in February, so many in March—so that there is a planned, forced attendance and a plan of instruction leading up to the yearly camp—and that if he does not carry out these precise instructions under the regulations he is not able to count these drills towards making up his training—

I had intended to make that absolutely plain, and I thought I had done so. The position will certainly be that if a man does not do the drills as and when required, to commute the particular number of days he seeks or is permitted to commute, he will be liable to the double sanction that he will not escape liability to do the full period of 21 days whole time training and the more remote sanction that a monetary penalty may he imposed upon him.

5.15 p.m.

I thank the Attorney-General, and I would like to ask him one more question. He said "as and when required." How will he be required? Will the regulations lay down the drills he will have to attend, spread over the whole five years?

I apprehend that the regulations will not lay that down. The regulations will necessarily differ in the case of each Service and each unit, but they will give a power to each Service to require particular men in particular units to turn up at a regular and organised course of drills. It may be every day in a particular week or every day in a particular month, whatever seems to be practicable for the unit concerned. They will not leave a man with a choke of saying, "I will not turn up in May or June but I will put in all my drills in July." There will be some provision to secure regular attendance, so that the training given at the drills may be systematic.

That explanation from the Attorney-General relieves a good deal of my fears. My fear was that a man would be able to choose, that the regulations would lay down of course the number of drills he had to do to make up the days, but would leave him at complete liberty to choose when he did them. That is what appeared from the previous discussions. Of course that left it open to a man to do the whole of the drills, say, in the last year, and would have made complete nonsense of any form of training programme. I understand now, however, that without laying down complete details the regulations made under Subsection (4) will in fact specify that the hourly drills will not count towards making up the day unless they are carried out at times—not perhaps exact times, but in periods laid down and required of the soldier.

Then, if he does not carry out the drills at the required time he does not get the benefit of this Subsection at all, and even the hours he has already served will not count towards making up the necessary number of days?

Presumably, then, he can get a training notice to make him serve a number of days' training and the ordinary, normal sanctions would apply to that. No doubt some of my hon. Friends will want to ask more questions to get this absolutely precise, but personally I feel that that statement as to the sort of thing the regulations under Subsection (4) will contain removes a good deal of my apprehension. I can comprehend that if the regulations are full enough, that will to a large extent meet the point of view I have held.

Who is responsible for the efficiency of the training? Are we to assume that the departmental Service Ministers accept responsibility, or does it devolve on the Minister of Defence? I put that question for two reasons. I think everybody will appreciate what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General said, that it is far better not to exercise any sanctions at all, but that surely involves a responsibility on the Service Departments to provide adequate training facilities. At the present moment they are not there, and there does not seem to be much chance of these training camps being set up.

The Attorney-General has talked about weekend camps and six-day camps. If he went to any Territorial Association he would discover that there are no facilities at all for such training. If the Minister of Defence will give the House the assurance that he will see to it that there is, in every county, a standing camp to which men can go and do training, where they will have proper accommodation and proper catering, I believe that not only would the men welcome it, but, quite apart from any sanctions, they would want to make themselves efficient and would go to such camps. At the present moment, however, they do not exist. If in every county there could be for instance an existing airfield set aside as a standing camp, not only for the men called up for the Army but for the Air Force, where permanent staff instructors could be accommodated, with cover where training could be carried out in inclement weather, and where the weapons with which the men have to train could be provided, it would be very useful. At present it is impossible for a Territorial Association to know whether there is transportation for the men to the camps to train for the units to which they are attached. It makes sheer nonsense of training for a gunner, for instance, to do drill for an infantry unit.

The hon. Member is going far beyond the terms of the proposed Clause.

If we are to have a discussion on whether drills are to be converted into days surely it is important to know whether there are camps into which the men may go for their training.

There will be plenty of scope within the regulations for training to say that if a man does not take the system of training, he should not have any of his time excused. That would appear to be a better sanction than has been proposed by the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head). A further point is that a bench of magistrates may consist of two conscientious objectors and two old women, and that definitely would not be a suitable instrument for enforcing these provisions. There is still another point as to which I am in a good deal of doubt. What is the power to enforce order during these periods of training? I am not too happy about it. What is to happen to the man who goes along and plays the giddy goat?

With very great respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I suggest that it does. When we are considering the sanctions which are applicable, it is important that that matter should be considered.

The sanctions that the House is considering are those arising in the event of a man failing to present himself, and not of a man misbehaving himself.

Is it not important when we are requiring a man to attend for training and bringing him under military law to say that if he does not turn up, he is absent without leave and can be punished for it? I understand that that is not the position. If the man is not brought under military law, what is the position when he is there? Can he turn up and put in an hour "blowing raspberries" at the sergeant instructor?

I can assure the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) that if he were to follow the instructions of his right hon. and learned Friend and refer to the "Manual of Military Law" he would find there the answers to his questions. The hon. Member was a little unfair to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head). The suggestion of a £5 penalty did not come from my hon. and gallant Friend at all in the first place, but from the Attorney-General, who said, in the course of the Committee stage, that there was a £5 penalty for nonattendance at drill. In repeating that statement today he was basing it upon Section 21 of the Act of 1907. The Attorney-General was wrong in one respect. Under that Section, there can be a fine of £5 for not doing the required number of drills but not for nonattendance at a particular drill. I think that if the right hon. and learned Gentleman will read the proposed new Clause again, he will have to concede the point.

I agree that the point which has been put is thoroughly bad. The proposed Clause raises points of great importance. I am very glad that we have had a clearer statement from the benches opposite than we were able to get in the early hours of the morning recently. The Minister of Defence said that there should be sanctions. We agree, but in that he differs from his colleague the Secretary of State for War, who spoke about an amicable arrangement for turning up at the drill.

My statement has been taken out of its context. What I wanted to say was that there was no real penalty. The £5 sanction mentioned by the hon. Mem- ber was utilised before the war, but I do not think it will be used in the future.

I have read through HANSARD and I thought that the words of the right hon. Gentleman were quite clear. I do not want to go into the question at length or to enter into any dispute which may exist among Members of the Front Bench opposite. If a man does not present himself for parades where required to make up the 21 days in each year, he will be liable to be called up under a training notice to complete his service. How is this to work out in practice? We do not know what camps there are going to be. Suppose it should be decided that there is to be a six months' camp for each individual. That takes 42 days out of his 60, leaving a balance of 18, which, presumably, will be spread evenly over the other period. If a man fails in the first year to do the required number of days' training, or if he fails in the second year to do so, and he has to be called up in the third year for his training, how are we to work that out? We could serve upon him a training notice for a period less than six days, but as he will not be liable to do more than 4½ days I am puzzled how the regulation will be operated. I hope that I have got it right. It was a little hard to follow when the Attorney-General was dealing with it, because of his continual reference to the £5 penalty. I am inclined to agree that the question of the £5 is of small moment. What we want to see is an efficient system whereby men come to the right place at the right time to get the full benefit of their training, and unless we can provide some machinery, part-time training is not likely to prove of much value.

The hon. and learned Member referred me to the "Manual of Military Law." I wonder to which section he was referring. I can find nothing which provides power to discipline a man when he is not embodied.

The hon. and learned Member is quite wrong in thinking that the Territorial is subject to military law only when embodied. He is subject to military law when serving with any military forces. The hon. and learned Member will find the matter dealt with in the Territorial Army regulations, but I do not undertake to advise him on law.

What we are all trying to get is planned training for the Territorial conscript. Whether sanctions are or are not in existence, it is quite obvious that some form of sanction must be included in the Bill, if everyone is to understand what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it. I should like to hear a word from one of the Service Ministers, and preferably from the Secretary of State for War, who has said very little so far, who has been defended gallantly by the Attorney-General. I should like to hear what he proposes to do about planned training for these conscripts. I suggest that if there are sanctions, as I fully appreciate there are, they should appear in the Bill so that we shall all understand them.

I speak again by leave of the House. Regulations will not in themselves provide the exact extent to which the 60 days' total liability may be commuted by hourly drills. That will vary in different units and with different personnel. What the regulations will do is to provide, in the case of different units and, possibly, in the case of different personnel, that provision may be made, by orders, for liability to 15 days' camp in every year, with the remaining six days commuted to 24-hour drills; in another unit there might be 10 days' camp with the remainder of the time being devoted to weekend drills. It must be left to the discretion of those in command of particular units.

The Attorney-General speaks of the "remaining six days," but suppose five days remain—a training notice could not be served in that case?

In the event of that unlikely situation arising, one would fall back on the legal penalty. It is not likely to arise, because the regulations will provide in advance for a period of annual camp and for a period of hourly part-time training. The hourly training will commence earlier in the year than the camp, and if a man fails to comply with his obligations without reasonable excuse, he will get a new training notice. The hon. and learned Member's point concerned the end of the six-year period, when there might be an outstanding liability of five days. In that case one would have to fall back, if it were thought worth while—and it would be one case in hundreds of thousands—on the legal sanction. Section 21 provides that for the case of a man who fails to appear at the time and at the place appointed for preliminary training or for annual training, or who fails to attend the number of drills and to fulfil the other conditions. "Annual training" is the annual camp, and "preliminary training" is the hourly training. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] In my view it is. It is perfectly clear that it includes hourly training, and it cannot contemplate anything else. In other words, it means: "You must turn up at 6 o'clock at Carshalton Drill Hall on Thursday, and if you do not, there is this penalty." In any case, it is not likely to operate, because, as the hon. and learned Member has said, the real penalty is the administrative one.

I add my plea to that of my hon. and gallant Friends, that some words of the kind proposed should be incorporated in the Bill. As one who has spent many hours going through the "Manual of Military Law," as amended at various stages, I can say that it will make the lot of a commanding officer exceedingly unhappy unless definite standards are set down in the Bill. It seems to me that Clause 2 (4), which the Attorney-General has quoted in reply to these two Amendments, is extremely tightly worded. I hope that it will be stated categorically and in a convenient form for commanding officers who have to administer the regulations to which the Attorney-General has referred.

I thank the Attorney-General for his assurance, and in the circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Royal Assent

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners.

The House went; and, having returned

Mr. SPEAKER reported the Royal Assent to:

  • 1. Cotton (Centralised Buying) Act, 1947.
  • 2. National Health Service (Scot-land) Act, 1947.
  • 3. Cotton Industry War Memorial Trust Act, 1947.
  • National Service Bill

    As amended, again considered.

    New Clause—(Deferment For Apprentices And Students)

    If the Minister is satisfied in regard to any person liable to be called up for service under this Act that, on the date on which he becomes so liable, he is serving an apprenticeship or receiving full-time education in a university, school or other institution, or that he will within one year from the said date be so receiving education, the Minister shall, if so requested by that person, direct that he may be called up at a date not later than six months after the completion of such apprenticeship or education; and accordingly Section one of this Act shall, in relation to that person, have effect as if for the reference therein to the age of twenty-six years there were substituted a reference to an age being the sum of twenty-six years and the period after such person became liable to be called up under this Act and before he was so called up.—[ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    5.45 p.m.

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

    The object of this Clause is to put into the Bill a statutory right for apprentices and students to be permitted to conclude their apprenticeship or period of education before doing their military service, if they so desire. The House will recollect that a number of Members on this side pressed this point so long ago as the Second Reading, and that on the Committee stage there was considerable discussion on an Amendment to the then Clause 16, which now stands in the Bill as Clause 17. I would remind hon. Members that the attempt made in the Opposition Amendment on the Committee stage to put this statutory provision into the Bill was not resisted on its merits, but solely upon certain technical aspects of the matter. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, who bore the major part of that particular battle, will recollect that, on a number of occasions, he attempted to convince hon. Members on this side of the House that, from the machinery point of view, the Amendment would not work.

    I do not think that I shall be challenged when I say that the merits of the proposal were not seriously challenged from any quarter of the Committee. It would have been surprising had they been, since, as long ago as the Second Reading, the Minister of Labour—reported in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 31st March, col. 1684—made it abundantly clear that it was the intention of the Government that such persons should be entitled to apply for a delay in the doing of their service. The Debate on the Amendment on the Committee stage concluded with an undertaking from the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Labour—who will find that undertaking in col. 860—to look at the Clause in question to see whether something could be done. No Amendment has been tabled by the Government to deal with this point, and, as my right hon. Friends and hon. Members feel very strongly on this matter, we have now tabled the present new Clause which, in our submission, not only does what most hon. Members want to do—to put this provision into the Bill—but does so in a manner to which no objection could be taken, on the grounds of machinery.

    The new Clause will contain a provision relating to deferment, subject to one important qualification. This was done to meet the Parliamentary Secretary's objection that the previous proposal for postponement could not work because it involved bringing in the hardship committees. Deferment involves administrative action by his Department and no more. Accepting the advice which the Parliamentary Secretary was good enough to tender to the Committee on the previous stage of the Bill, we have now put this proposal forward on the basis of deferment; but we have made one qualification. The Parliamentary Secretary made it clear that cases of deferment might involve not merely a delay in the doing of military service by the person deferred, but might involve a situation in which that person did not do his service at all, or, alternatively, did a shorter period than other people. It seems to us objectionable that persons who are to obtain the advantage of completing their education or apprenticeship without interruption should also gain the advantage—if it is an advantage—of doing less service than other people. Therefore, we have inserted in this new Clause a provision that, although these people will obtain deferment, it will be deferment shorn of that harmful aspect, and we have made it clear that the people so deferred will not, by reason of that deferment, do any less service than anyone else.

    The House will recollect that the objection was made—I think under misapprehension—by hon. Members opposite to our proposals on the grounds that they would tend to establish a privileged class. It is very far from our intention to establish a privileged class, and that is why we have gone to the trouble of inserting the concluding three or four lines in the Clause, which will prevent any possibility of any person benefiting by being absolved from liability to any part of his service. So much for the technicalities. The new Clause surmounts the technical difficulties, and I would urge on the House the broad merits of the proposals

    There is no dispute in any quarter of the House that it is desirable that the military service which we are asked to impose under this Bill shall cause as little interruption as possible to apprenticeship and education. If that is so, it is surely proper not to rely upon the discretion, however well exercised, of the Minister of Labour; it is surely essential to put it in the Bill It is essential for two reasons—one a practical reason and the other a psychological reason. The practical reason is that Ministerial discretion could be exercised in a variety of ways, and with perfectly genuine intentions, but could, nevertheless, be nibbled away by Ministerial action. By putting this in the Bill, there will be rights under Act of Parliament, which can be vindicated if necessary in the courts.

    Then there is the psychological aspect. We are imposing a very serious sacrifice on an entire generation, and it is desirable that that burden should be as light as is consistent with the interests of national security. It would convince a great many of these young people that we were attempting to do that, if we put into the Bill this provision for their benefit. It would help also those who have to plan the careers and education of the young, in that they would know that, in planning those careers, they could rely on statutory provisions to whose benefit they were en-titled as a matter of absolute right. I therefore urge on the House that it is extremely desirable that some statutory provision should be made. If hon. Members accept that proposition, as I think a good many hon. Members do, then, in the absence of any other statutory provision being put forward on behalf of the Government, as in my opinion it should have been, ours is the only one for the consideration of the House.

    I do not know what attitude the Government intend to take to this Clause. I do not know whether they will object to it on technicalities or on its merits, but if the objection is on technicalities then hon. Members have something of a grievance against the Government. The view of the majority of the hon. Members in Committee as to the desirability of some such provision was made abundantly clear. The Government obviously have technical resources of draftsmanship not available to hon. Members generally, and if the Government's only objection to the previous proposal was a purely technical one, they should not have opposed the obviously clear views of the House that they themselves should put forward an administratively workable proposal at this stage. The fact that they have not done so has compelled us to put this Clause on the Order Paper.

    I ask the Government to face up to this matter as one which concerns the serious principle that education and apprenticeship are valuable things which people are entitled to have safeguarded by Parliament. I hope that if the Government are not prepared to accept this Clause or offer any explanation of their own failure to put forward a similar one, they will at least face the issue and attempt to put before the House their views as to why these vital interests of apprenticeship and education should be neglected.

    6.0 p.m.

    I beg to second the Motion.

    In so doing, I feel that we should recall the Debate which we had on this matter during the Committee stage. The Parliamentary Secretary spoke at considerable length on the question of deferment and postponement as they affected the age limit of 26, and I regret to say that there were some of us who, even at the end of that lucid explanation, were still confused in our minds as to what was the real intention of the Government. I can assure the Minister that there are also many people outside this House—the very students who are affected—who are equally still confused. As my hon. Friend has said, this affects the future of a very large number of the young people, and we feel strongly that a matter of this sort should not be left to Ministerial assurances because, after all, Ministers come and go and they are apt to change. It would be grossly unfair that with a change of Ministry in a year or two's time those regulations or assurances might be altered.

    The Minister said that he would look into this matter again, and we rather hoped that there would be a new Clause introduced by the Government to cover the point. That has not been done and we have therefore tabled this new Clause. As my hon. Friend said, we do not set ourselves up as expert Parliamentary draftsmen, but I think that hon. Members will find that the Clause covers all the points which were discussed in the Debate and is a reasonable provision which will lay a statutory obligation on whatever Minister is in office.

    I have been wondering what possible objections the Minister could have to this new Clause, although I know that the Parliamentary Secretary is very prolific in his objections, whether they are valid or not. One of the objections he made on the last occasion was that such a provision would give an advantage to the bad student who, if I may so put it euphemistically, deferred passing his examinations for a number of years and would therefore be over the age of liability by the time he had finished his scholastic career. The last lines of this new Clause deal with that point and make it quite impossible for such a person to take advantage of the fact that he is a dull student. I am afraid I do not know whether there is such a thing as a bad apprentice; I know there is in literature, of course.

    I hope the Minister will view this Clause not only with sympathy, but with acquiescence, because it is necessary that students, in particular, should have something very definite to look forward to. University Members have had the experience of receiving many letters from their constituents stating that one kind of student was treated in a different way from another under exactly the same circumstances. The way in which they were treated differed from college to college and from university to university. One of the very worst things that could happen is that a feeling should arise among students that some have received favours which others have been denied. For that reason I hope the Minister will adopt, if not this Clause, something which will have the same object in view.

    I think it might be convenient if I intervened at this point, not with the intention of curtailing discussion, but in order to explain the Ministerial point of view. This matter has been discussed at very great length on two occasions when I think the ground was covered very fully and, I had hoped, to the general satisfaction of hon. Members. I think we were then all agreed as to the desirability of deferment for students and apprentices to enable them to complete either their studentship or their apprenticeship. The point is whether or not a person liable to National Service should have conferred upon him a statutory right of deferment. That is the question that is really involved in the argument that has been put forward.

    I do not think that I should be doing justice to my case if I did not indicate to the House that the arrangement under which this has been done since 1939 has been on an administrative basis and nut a statutory basis. It has been done by the machinery of the Ministry of Labour and, by and large, there has been very little complaint. Paragraph 9 of the White Paper on the call-up of Forces for 1947–8 contained a complete statement et the arrangements for the deferment of apprentices and students. There has been no pressure at all to suggest that that should have been embodied in legislation. The House has been quite content with the White Paper statement covering the position for the next two years without any demand that it should be embodied in terms of legislation.

    Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that there is a distinction between the kind of system which we have to operate in wartime and during the immediate aftermath of war, and one which is justifiable in a full-scale system of peacetime conscription?

    There is some force in that argument, but I should have thought that in 1947–48 we were in a period where things were fairly well defined, and though I would agree immediately that the university position is extremely difficult, nevertheless it may well have eased considerably by 1949 as compared with today. I would ask the House to consider what the new Clause is intended to do. In the first place, the Minister must be satisfied that the person concerned is serving an apprenticeship or receiving full-time education in a university, school or other institution, or that he will within one year from the said date be so receiving education. It makes two definitions. One, with regard to the apprentice, is that the man must be serving an apprenticeship, but with regard to the student it says that he shall be a student or that he may be a student in 12 months' time. The same argument in connection with the student applies to the apprentice, and I was rather surprised that in a new Clause drafted with so much care there should have been this distinction.

    Surely there is a difference, for, as far as I know, there is no rigid limit to the possible number of apprentices in any given year as there is to the possible number of entrants to the universities, crammed as they are now. Therefore, we did not wish to give a definite number when we were not sure that there would be room for the number which we would have specified. That is the difference.

    I can quite appreciate the position of the hon. Member, and I can assure him that though it was not his intention to do that, that is, in fact, what he has done. I know that it is probably done against his will and probably he is quite unconscious of it. It should be remembered that persons undertaking an apprenticeship do not find a completely open field. There are firm limits to the numbers of apprentices taken into a particular industry. The proportion of apprentices to skilled workmen is laid down in rigid agreements and rigidly enforced, and it is impossible for any apprentice to anticipate 12 months beforehand that he will get into that particular trade. This new Clause does anticipate that apprentices can go freely into what is a very close corporation. That is the first point I want to make, and I expect the hon. Gentleman would say that he was unaware of that. If that is so and he was not trying to make the distinction, he will appreciate now that he is, in fact, making a distinction between the manual worker and the academic student. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am trying to be fair to the new Clause as drafted.

    The second point is with regard to the student who is obliged under the National Service Act to undergo 12 months' routine training. He can say, "I can have a place in the university in 12 months' time, and because of that I want to postpone my whole-time service for the 12 months." Is it really suggested that that statutory right ought to be given? If there is no place for him there is time for him to do his full-time training. We ought not in those circumstances to give the right either administratively or by Statute to postpone his whole-time service when he has enough time in which to do it before starting on an academic career. If he is called up when he is 18—and it is at 18 that we are looking—he has 12 months' service to do. If, however, in 11 months and three weeks he can get a place in the university, is it suggested that he should have a statutory right to postpone his whole-time service? I do not think that that is a position which can be justified.

    With regard to the second arm of the new Clause, I think the hon. Gentleman destroyed the argument which was put up originally in connection with the previous Amendment on the Order Paper. I had better indicate to the House what machinery does exist in order that hon. Members can be satisfied, and in this I am reiterating what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour said in a previous Debate. The intention is that the student of 18, for whom there is a place in the university, shall be able to get deferment provided he has achieved the necessary academic attainments which will entitle him to go to the university. As to advice on that, it is not a matter solely for Ministerial discretion, as hon. Gentlemen know. It is for the vice-chancellors of the universities and for the University Joint Recruiting Board who sit and examine every one of these cases, and who decide whether the educational attainment of the student is high enough to entitle him to a place in the university. In these matters of deferment of students we consult professional bodies that have been set up to give advice on the various forms of educational tuition.

    6.15 p.m.

    The point that worries me is when it ceases to be a right. I think the Parliamentary Secretary said just now that it is a right, and in the Second Reading Debate the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Labour said we were not considering so much the national interests as the individual interests. Clearly when there are the two together—and I do not think that I am in sympathy with the whole year—there is not this right. If it is a question of three months, six months or nine months, who is to make a decision? Surely it is not the University Joint Recruiting Board but the Manpower Board that has to make the decision.

    I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for making the point, but he should have let me finish. I have dealt with the University Joint Recruiting Board, which consists of the vice chancellors of the universities. They advise us and we accept their advice. When there is different treatment in different universities it is due to the fact that the vice chancellors have approached the exemptions in a different way. In those cases it would appear that the student in one place is having different treatment to the student in another, but in all these cases we accept the advice of the Joint University Recruiting Board. There are certain other departments of education where we have similar professional bodies of equal standing and they, as it were, adjudicate as between the claims of the student and the claims of the Ministry of Labour. In this connection the Manpower Board does not enter into the thing at all.

    The Manpower Board deals with the cases of apprenticeships, and it seems to me that that Board is the right institution to deal with them. The Manpower Board will decide whether or not an apprenticeship is a genuine one. Hon. Members on both sides of the House will remember the Debate on this. The Board will examine each individual case to see if the apprentice has got the right technical education and the right opportunity, and is not just cheap labour in a factory or workshop. Also it will have regard to the fact whether there are not too many apprentices in a workshop to get proper tuition for them all. The Manpower Board will be able to grant deferment for the purpose of permitting a boy to conclude his apprenticeship. Thus, there are two different ways of dealing with these men who are called up. There is first the academic machinery to permit the student who is fully qualified to secure deferment if he is entering a university, and there is the Manpower Board which can defer the period of service in order to permit an apprentice to finish his apprenticeship in industry.

    There is a second point which arises, and I would ask the House to bear this in mind. If this statutory right is to be conferred on every boy in this country reaching the age of 18 we fear that it would result in a very small intake into the Army in the first year or two, because many of those due for call-up would be undergoing an apprenticeship or would be entering a university. They would get deferment for a time, and if they were genuine apprentices they will get a deferment for a considerable time It is true that they would not eventually dodge their liability, but they would have it deferred and deferred in such a way as to give them a privilege over other boys of 18 who are in precisely the same position as themselves.

    I do not want to keep interrupting, but the hon. Gentleman has just made a most important remark. If he will look at the new Clause he will see that this right is given if the Minister is satisfied with the various circumstances set out in the Clause. Surely he will agree with me that in the case of bogus apprenticeships the Minister would not be satisfied? If the Minister would be satisfied, there is something the matter with the machinery of his Department.

    I quite agree, but if the volume of applications became so great as to overrun the machinery, there could not be that examination of each case which this House would expect us to make and we should have so many people going through the mesh as to cause criticism in this House and perhaps throw an undue burden upon the machine in trying to solve this problem.

    There is a final matter. Normally the number of apprenticeships and studentships has a fairly even average. We can budget on that basis. The Forces budget on a basis of accepting 200,000 a year—that is round about the figure. If we create a situation in which 200,000 young men liable for service can make a claim that they are going to be students for 12 months or to be apprentices—that is intended in the Clause—it means that we should have a situation where there were so many claims that we could not examine them quickly and could do nothing with them, because once a claim had been put in, we could not call the young person up until we had sorted the whole thing out. This would cause very great administrative inconvenience and give rights where rights ought not to be given. The granting of a deferment should be on the basis that full advantage would be taken of it by the student or the apprentice, and it is important that we should have someone at the universities to tell us whether or not the student was really using his deferment for the purpose of his education and that the fellow who was playing the fool should not be allowed to have this advantage. The same thing should apply in industry. In those circumstances I regret that I must ask the House to reject the new Clause.

    I do not think honestly that the hon. Gentleman has quite done himself justice on this occasion. He has debated this, I think, with great clarity and great fairness throughout all the stages, and we have been very grateful for that. It may be that I am misunderstanding him or not following properly, but I do not think he has quite lived up to his own standard. Perhaps I might, without excessive egotism, begin by saying that I am not personally at all excited over this thing. My belief is that in 99 cases out of 100, if a boy is going to a university he had better do his service first at the age of 18, like anybody else.

    I do not wish to debate with the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. K. Lindsay) at the moment. As to my feeling, I have no sentiment in favour of making it easy for academic boys, so to speak, to put off this—no sentiment whatever of that kind. What we are asking for here is really the public interest. It was certainly in the public interest during the war, for instance, when trade union leaders were deferred. Under this Bill miners are going to be. Doctors and dentists are going to have the right to have their service as doctors and dentists and not to be called up until fully qualified. There are other things of that sort. Nobody throws it against them and says, "You are trying to shield the manual workers from the bullets," and so on. That is the last thing that would occur to us. Hon. Gentlemen opposite must do us the same justice.

    What we are trying to consider is it the postwar world—which we were all promised would be so much better than the chaos before 1939—really is to he got going at all, the most important thing about it is that the boys most likely to he the leading boys of the next generation should be educated to the limit of their educability and should with the least interruption to their normal careers get into their civilian employment. That seems to me to be the overriding principle. We must do each-other the justice of supposing that we are not in pursuing that principle chasing any kind of privilege or minor advantage. If that is the guiding principle, is it a good thing? I speak of university boys because I know most about them technically, but so far as I understand the matter my arguments can in the main be transferred to apprentices.

    In pursuit of that general principle, is it a good thing that there should be some class—I do not mean that in any social sense—some section of academic boys who should be able, and should know at the ages of 16 and 18 that they are going to be able, to do the thing in this order—in the order of time provided by this Clause? Is that a desirable thing? I think everybody agrees that it is a desirable thing. It is also a thing difficult to arrange administratively, and that two things have to be weighed against each other. With respect to the Minister, all his arguments really amounted to no more than to say there would be considerable administrative difficulty about this. He said that this was all very well in normal times. He thought that 1946–47 were properly describable as mainly normal times, but in 1946–47 and still to this moment His Majesty's Government are holding boys under the pretence that the emergency—that is, the war against Germany—is still continuing. As long as the Government's military arrangements repose on that legal fiction, they must not use the argument of, "We have already had two years' experience of the way these things work in normal times." They cannot use that argument so long as they are holding boys under emergency provisions of—I will not say fraudulent, but—a fictitious kind.

    The hon. Gentleman's only other argument was administrative inconvenience. Very well, I will admit that where the argument of administrative inconvenience is overwhelming, it is decisive, but it is the business not only of the Opposition but of all Private Members to be very slow to be convinced that the administrative inconvenience argument is overwhelming. I do not yet feel convinced by that part of the hon. Gentleman's remarks. Half his speech nearly seemed to be directed to saying that already under what he describes as normal arrangements and what he describes as these normal two years, all we are asking for, is being got, but it is being got by friendly arrangements between the Ministry and the vice-chancellors instead of a statutory provision. The other half of his argument was that the thing was inconceivably difficult from the administrative point of view and therefore could not be got.

    I ask the House to consider that. The two parts of the argument do not fit very well. I am quite prepared to believe that the drafting of this may be wrong. If it is true that the drafting would give a greater advantage to the academy boys than to the apprentice boys, I certainly would be in favour of altering the drafting although I would ask the hon. Gentleman to remember that the ceiling of the possible number of academic boys is very small anyway. The whole number of these boys is much smaller still because it cannot be more than 10 per cent. of an entry at a university—the universities take 90 per cent. from the Services. It has got to be out of the 10 per cent.

    The hon. Gentleman said 10 per cent. and 90 per cent. from the Services. Is he envisaging the situation when this Bill comes into operation?

    6.30 p.m.

    I do not want that to become a permanent fixed level. If I was arguing unfairly, it was inadvertently. If it were the fixed level I do not think there can be the least doubt that the Minister would wish to take those who had done their service. I do not think this ratio of nine to one would vary very much in the four or five years this Bill contemplates. You have to remember that the universities have a time lag in this matter in the fact that boys called up in 1945 and 1946 are held longer than those called up in 1946 and 1947, and they are being held longer than those who will be called up under this Bill. For that reason the universities are now choked, and will be choked for the next few years. This Bill only contemplates five years, and therefore I do not think really there is any risk of making a very high ceiling for boys of this sort.

    The second difference is that the university career really must begin in October. During recent years we have quite properly allowed it to start in other months, but, when that is avoidable, I beg hon. Gentlemen to take my word for it as a technician, so to speak, that it is a very great evil, even when it is unavoidable. That makes a difference from the apprentices and that weakens the hon. Gentleman's arguments about the 12 months. It would be 12 months only in the case of boys born in September. If he liked to cut it down to 10 months, I would be willing to accept it. Finally, I say this to him: He admits that in practice there is something almost amounting to a right of this kind, a kind of legitimate acceptance by way of agreement between his Department and the vice-chancellor's for a certain number of boys to get this sort of thing. That which is admitted to be tolerable, admitted to be useful, of which there is now some years of experience, is that something which his draftsmen could put into statutory form? If so, let us have it, and then we should all be contented that the right thing had been done. But I think it would be regrettable if we have to withdraw this Clause simply upon his argument, and I would suggest without disrespect, that there has been no other serious argument of administrative inconvenience.

    We have covered a lot of ground in discussing this subject, both this evening and in Committee. I agree with my hon. Friend the senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) that in dealing with this Clause, both tonight and in Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary dropped from the high level that he otherwise maintained throughout the Debate. The reason for it is not far to seek because he really is in difficulties in dealing with the substance of this new Clause. On the first occasion he got the Committee into a bog of deferment and subtle differences between the technicalities of deferment and postponement, and we tried to bring him back to deal with the broad issue as to whether the right of deferment should be a matter for the individual to claim in his own interest or whether, as in wartime, what was conceived, by the Ministry to be the national interest could override the interest of the individual. That is the fundamental issue raised by this new Clause.

    This afternoon the Parliamentary Secretary has again sought to answer this new Clause by dealing primarily with technicalities. He discovered an unintended distinction between the treatment of apprentices and that of university students. The reason for this has been made quite clear, and I would point out to him that he was incorrect in saying that in the case of the university student who was wanting to go up within a year of the date of his call-up, it would be impossible for him to complete his year's full-time service in order to do that. That point really does not bear examination at all. His second point was as to the possible number of deferments, and the students in 12 months, or people who might become apprentices, would upset the whole planning of the intake for the Forces. I would concede straight away that in the second point there is much more substance, and it seemed to me that ultimately, towards the end of the Debate, we got the real ground for the opposition to this new Clause emerging.

    I would suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that his fears with regard to that are unfounded. If young people know that they have to do their whole-time service some time, and that they cannot avoid the liability under this Clause, I do not believe there will be a mass application for deferment; I think a great many young people will prefer to do their whole-time service before starting on their apprenticeship or their university education. Therefore, I think that the fears of the Parliamentary Secretary as to the effect of adopting the principle of this Clause are completely unfounded. It comes back to this: the Minister of Labour is nervous of giving up some of the power he has held throughout the war, the power of being able to say to a young man, "You must go into the Forces now." I would have liked to see a recognition by the Ministry of Labour now that the young man, on the advice of his parents, might say, "Well, having regard to this, that, and the other cause, it is in the interests of my future career"—whether he be a rich man or a poor man—"that I should defer my service for a year." In those circumstances, and only when the Minister is satisfied—as provided by this Clause at the beginning, which leaves the final decision with the Minister—I suggest that there should be a right to claim deferment.

    The Minister of Labour on the Committee stage said that he would look at this again and consider it carefully. We have heard no word from him on it, and I hope he will say something. I hope he will be able to say that, on further reflection, he will accept the principle of allowing deferment where he is satisfied that it will not involve any avoidance of liability on the part of the person affected. If he can say that, I am sure my hon. Friends will be glad to withdraw this Clause and leave it to him to put down words to carry that principle into effect in another place. If he cannot go that far, I fear that we shall have no alternative but to show that we believe this principle should be adopted now that the war is over.

    I am not happy about this wording, and, at the same time, I would like to get something a little more definite if possible. I remember clearly that in the previous Debate the Minister said he would look at it again. The reason why I interrupted my hon. Friend the senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) was this: I have taken a lot of trouble to find out what the students, as far as the schools are concerned, feel about this. My own feeling was that a boy would prefer to go off and do his service first, and I said so, but I am told from the schools that there is great division. It is all very well to consult vice-chancellors of universities where the boys go at 17½, but the schools look at this in a rather different way. I was told by the headmaster of one big grammar school in the North of England this weekend that he was doubtful whether he would advise his boys to go off to the Services first. I am talking of those with open scholarships to the universities. So it is not quite clear yet, and nobody in this House knows precisely what the position will be. I think it is the right of the boy to know quite clearly when he is 16 or 17 what is his position.

    The Parliamentary Secretary said that the whole thing rested with the University Board and they were the people to decide, that they have decided in the past and that, therefore, it is completely outside the scope of the Manpower Board as far as the universities are concerned. This Clause seeks to give a person a right for 11 months hence. Suppose the university says it has a place four months ahead, would the right be conceded to the student to defer? He may have won his scholarship, and be waiting to go up in March, April or May. Would he have the right to defer? At the moment it seems to be left completely vague, and if the Parliamentary Secretary can find a happier form of words to give effect to his own phrase that it is in the interests of the student and not so much the national interest, I shall be completely satisfied.

    I think there is sufficient machinery to get deferment for those who are entitled to it. There seems to be a desire in this House, not so much to secure reasonable terms of National Service, but means of deferring, postponing, and getting out of service. At the best there have only been approximately 200,000 liable to be called up each year. What I am concerned about is that for nearly two years this House has been expressing a great deal of dissatisfaction at the length of time men are remaining in the Forces, and there has been growling about demobilisation, but now we have come to a time when we have to do something about it. We have to introduce National Service primarily to keep up the strength of the Services, and to get out those who are in. Yet, here we are trying most of the time to get deferment for one class or the other, so that they can escape National Service.

    I hate National Service. I never was a militarist, although I agree that the last war disclosed factors of which we did not know before. But if it is to be National Service, let it be National Service. We have the machinery for the student and apprentice to get deferment But the Opposition want to make it a statutory right; what for? The effect of it will be, as the Minister rightly stated, if not today, certainly a week ago, that the opportunity would be given for a very large number of people to get out of service—

    I take the responsibility of saying that there are some who will get out of it, if they can. This Clause would give a great deal of encouragement and help to them. I hope the Minister will resist this Clause, because I believe the Bill is good enough as it is

    6 45 p.m

    We have heard a lot about the educational side of the question, but I would like to come back to the question of apprentices. I am rather concerned at the feeling of uncertainty which seems to have crept into this matter I make no complaint about what has happened in the past in regard to the Manpower Board, but we are facing this question in cold blood. We have no heat of war, and are not concerned with any rush I was very sorry to hear the Parliamentary Secretary suggest that there was something wrong with the apprentice having a statutory right, and that he must be quite prepared for administrative action to take care of his future. As a boy approaches this period, he and his parents will be considering what his future is to be I would like an assurance that the matter will be clear and certain without any peradventure.

    To suggest that this will mean that large numbers will conspire together to avoid service or to postpone it, is quite a mistake. The idea of the youth will be to get on with it, and get it over. He looks forward to it with a certain amount of excitement, and does not want to postpone it. There will be no sort of conspiracy with the object of dodging it altogether. He and his parents would like to be quite certain, so that they can form their plans for the future. I am thinking of the ordinary apprentice, and I would like to hear the Minister say that he can take steps to make the future absolutely clear, without any suggestion that at a later date it will be settled by some administrative action and that the boy will not know until the last minute what is to happen.

    It has been mentioned that in the previous Debate I gave an undertaking. I gave an undertaking, and I will read the words:

    "We want to see that nobody escapes their military service. That is the first thing. We will certainly look at the Clause, and, if we are satisfied that anything more can be done

    Division No. 219.



    Adams, Richard (Balham)Cunningham, P.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R
    Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. VDavies, Edward (Burslem)Hannan, W (Maryhill)
    Allen, A. C (Bosworth)Davies, Harold (Leek)Hardy, E. A
    Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Harrison, J.
    Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Deer, G.Hastings, Dr. Somerville
    Attewell, H. Cde Freitas, GeoffreyHicks, G.
    Austin, H. LewisDelargy, H. JHobson, C. R
    Awbery, S. S.Diamond, JHolman, P.
    Ayrton Gould, Mrs B.Dodds, N. NHolmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)
    Bacon, Miss ADonovan, T.House, G
    Balfour, A.Driberg, T. E NHoy, J.
    Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. JDugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Hubbard, T.
    Barton, CDurbin, E. F. MHudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)
    Bechervaise, A. E.Dye, S.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)
    Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F JEdelman, M.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)
    Berry, H.Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Irving, W. J.
    Beswick, F.Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A
    Bevan, Rt. Hon A. (Ebbw Vale)Evans, John (Ogmore)Janner, B.
    Bing, G. H. C.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Jay, D. P. T
    Binns, J.Ewart, R.Jeger, G. (Winchester)
    Blackburn, A. RFairhurst, F.Jager, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)
    Blenkinsop, A.Farthing, W JJohn, W.
    Blyton, W. RFollick, M.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)
    Boardman, H.Foot, M. MJones, Elwyn (Plaistow)
    Brook, D. (Halifax)Forman, J. C.Jones, P. Aslerley (Hitchin)
    Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Foster, W. (Wigan)Keenan, W
    Brown, George (Belper)Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Kenyon, C.
    Bruce, Maj. D. W. TFreeman, Maj. J. (Watford)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr E
    Burke, W. A.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Kinley, J.
    Castle, Mrs B. A.Gibbins, J.Kirby, B. V
    Chamberlain, R. AGibson, C. WLavers, S.
    Champion, A. J.Gilzean, A.Lee, F. (Hulme)
    Chater, D.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)
    Chetwynd, G. R.Gooch, E. G.Leonard, W.
    Clitherow, Dr. RGordon-Walker, P. C.Leslie, J. R.
    Coldrick, W.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Levy, B. W.
    Collindridge, F.Grey, C. F.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
    Collins, V. JGriffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Lindgren, G. S.
    Colman, Miss G. MGriffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Lindsay, K. M. (Comb'd Eng Univ.)
    Comyns, Dr. LGuest, Dr. L. HadenLipton, Lt.-Col. M.
    Cook, T. F.Gunter, R. J.Logan, D. G.
    Corvedale, ViscountGuy, W. HMcAdam, W.
    Cove, W. G.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)McAllister, G.
    Crawley, AHall, W GMcEntee, V La T

    with it, we will try to do it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th May, 1947; Vol. 437, c. 860.]

    We are satisfied that nothing more can be done. We are-satisfied that if we start statutory deferments for one section as against another we shall only land ourselves into further difficulties. It is quite true there will not always be the same Minister at the head of the Department, but the Minister has to lay it down that we shall follow the intention of the House. This has worked with the greatest smoothness in the period just passed, and we feel that to make a change now, to swop horses while crossing the stream, would lead to a great deal of confusion. We cannot accept the Clause, nor undertake to make any further proposals.

    rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

    Question put, "That the Question be now put."

    The House divided: Ayes, 239; Noes, 128.

    McGhee, H. GProctor, W. T.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
    Mack, J. D.Pursey, Cmdr. HThomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
    McKay, J. (Wallsend)Randall, H. E.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
    Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)Ranger, J.Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
    McKinlay, A. S.Rees-Williams, D. R.Thurtle, Ernest
    Maclean, N. (Govan)Reid, T. (Swindon)Timmons, J.
    McLeavy, F.Richards, R.Titterington, M. F.
    Macpherson, T. (Romford)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Tolley, L.
    Mallalieu, J. P. WRogers, G. H. R.Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
    Marquand, H. A.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Turner-Samuels, M.
    Medland, H. M.Royle, C.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
    Mellish, R. J.Sargood, R.Viant, S. P.
    Messer, F.Scott-Elliot, W.Walkden, E.
    Mitchison, G. R.Segal, Dr. S.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
    Montague, F.Shackleton, E. A. A.Warbey, W. N.
    Moody, A. S.Sharp, GranvilleWatson, W. M.
    Morgan, Dr. H. B.Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
    Morris, P (Swansea, W.)Shurmer, P.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
    Mort, D. LSilverman, J. (Erdington)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
    Moyle, A.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)Wigg, Col. G. E.
    Mulvey, A.Simmons, C. J.Wilkes, L.
    Murray, J. DSkeffington-Lodge, T. C.Wilkins, W. A.
    Nally, W.Skinnard, F. W.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
    Naylor, T. E.Smith, Ellis (Stoke)Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
    Neal, H. (Claycross)Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)Williams, W. R. (Heston)
    Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Snow, Capt. J. W.Williamson, T.
    Noel-Baker, Capt. F E. (Brentford)Sorensen, R. W.Willis, E.
    Noel-Buxton, LadySoskice, Maj. Sir FWoodburn, A.
    Oldfield, W. H.Sparks, J. A.Woods, G. S.
    Orbach, M.Steele, T.Yates, V. F.
    Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
    Pargiter, G. A.Stross, Dr. B.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
    Paton, J. (Norwich)Stubbs, A. E.Zilliacus, K.
    Pearson, A.Summerskill, Dr. Edith
    Peart, Capt. T. F.Swingler, S.TELLERS FOR THE AYES
    Porter, E. (Warrington)Sylvester, G. O.Mr. Joseph Henderson and
    Porter, G. (Leeds)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Mr. Popplewell.


    Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Armagh)Harris, A. WilsonPickthorn, K.
    Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Scot. Univ.)Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Pitman, I. J.
    Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.Head, Brig. A. H.Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
    Baldwin, A. E.Headlam, Lieut.-Col Rt. Hon. Sir C.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
    Beamish, Maj. T. V. HHerbert, Sir A. P.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
    Beechman, N. A.Hollis, M. C.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
    Bennett, Sir P.Howard, Hon. A.Raikes, H. V.
    Birch, NigelHurd, A.Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
    Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'gh, W.)Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
    Bowen, R.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
    Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Jennings, R.Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)
    Bracken, Rt. Hon. BrendanLambert, Hon. G.Ropner, Col. L.
    Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. TLangford-Holt, J.Ross, Sir R. O (Londonderry)
    Butcher, H. W.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Sanderson, Sir F.
    Byers, FrankLegge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Savory, Prof. D. L.
    Challen, C.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Scott, Lord W.
    Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.Linstead, H. N.Shepherd, S. (Newark)
    Clarke, Col. R. S.Lipson, D. L.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
    Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Low, Brig. A. R. W.Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W
    Crowder, Capt. John E.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Snadden, W. M.
    Cuthbert, W. N.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. OSpearman, A. C. M.
    Darling, Sir W. Y.McCallum, Maj. D.Spence, H. R.
    Davidson, ViscountessMacdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
    Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
    De la Bère, R.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
    Dodds-Parker, A. D.MacLeod, J.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
    Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W.Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
    Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Studholme, H. G.
    Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Sutcliffe, H.
    Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterManningham-Buller, R. E.Teeling, William
    Fletcher, W. (Bury)Marlowe, A. A. H.Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
    Fraser, Sir I (Lonsdale)Marples, A. E.Touche, G. C.
    Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Marsden, Capt. A.Wadsworth, G.
    Gage, C.Marshall, D (Bodmin)Walker-Smith, D.
    Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Ward, Hon. G. R
    Gammans, L. D.Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
    Gates, Maj. E. E.Morris-Jones, Sir H.White, J. B. (Canterbury)
    George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)Neill, W. F (Belfast, N.)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
    Glyn, Sir R.Nicholson, G.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
    Grant, LadyNield, B. (Chester)York, C.
    Gridley, Sir A.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
    Grimston, R. V.Nutting, AnthonyTELLERS FOR THE NOES
    Gruffydd, Prof. W. J.O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.Mr. Drewe and
    Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Commander Agnew.

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

    Division No. 220.]


    [6.58 p.m

    Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Armagh)Gruffydd, Prof. W. J.Nield, B. (Chester)
    Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Scot. Univ.)Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P
    Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.Harris, H. WilsonNutting, Anthony
    Baldwin, A. E.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H
    Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Head, Brig. A. H.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
    Beechman, N. A.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon Sir C.Pickthorn, K.
    Bennett, Sir P.Herbert, Sir A. P.Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
    Birch, NigelHollis, M. CPoole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
    Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)Howard, Hon. A.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
    Bowen, R.Hudson, Rt. Hon R. S. (Southport)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
    Boyd-Carpenter, J. AHurd, A.Raikes, H. V.
    Bracken, Rt. Hon. BrendanHutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
    Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
    Butcher, H. W.Lambert, Hon. G.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
    Byers, FrankLangford-Holt, J.Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)
    Challen, C.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
    Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A H.Sanderson, Sir F.
    Clarke, Col. R. S.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Savory, Prof. D. L.
    Crowder, Capt. John E.Linstead, H. N.Scott, Lord W.
    Cuthbert, W. N.Lipson, D. L.Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W
    Darling, Sir W. YLow, Brig. A. R. WSnadden, W. M.
    Davidson, ViscountessLucas-Tooth, Sir H.Spearman, A. C. M.
    Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. OStanley, Rt. Hon. O.
    De la Bère, R.McCallum, Maj. D.Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
    Dodds-Parker, A. D.Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
    Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W.Mackeson, Brig. H. RStuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
    Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)Maclay, Hon. J. S.Studholme, H. G.
    Drewe, C.MacLeod, J.Sutcliffe, H.
    Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Teeling, William
    Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterMacpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)Thorp, Lt.-Col. R A. F.
    Fletcher, W. (Bury)Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Touche, G. C.
    Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Manningham-Buller, R. E.Wadsworth, G.
    Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. MMarlowe, A. A. H.Walker-Smith, D.
    Gage, C.Marples, A. E.Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
    Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.Marsden, Capt. A.White, J. B. (Canterbury)
    Gammans, L. D.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
    Gates, Maj. E. E.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
    George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)York, C.
    Glyn, Sir R.Morris-Jones, Sir H.
    Gridley, Sir A.Neill, W F (Belfast, N.)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
    Grimston, R. V.Nicholson, G.Commander Agnew and
    Major Conant.


    Adams, Richard (Balham)Chater, D.Foot, M. M.
    Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Chetwynd, G. R.Foster, W. (Wigan)
    Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Clitherow, Dr. R.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)
    Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Coldrick, W.Freeman, Maj. J. (Walford)
    Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Collindridge, F.Freeman, Peter (Newport)
    Attewell, H. C.Collins, V. J.Gibbins, J.
    Austin, H. LewisColman, Miss G. M.Gibson, C. W.
    Awbery, S. S.Comyns, Dr. L.Gilzean, A.
    Ayrton Gould, Mrs B.Cook, T. F.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)
    Bacon, Miss A.Corvedale, ViscountGooch, E. G
    Baird J.Crawley, A.Goodrich, H. E.
    Balfour, A.Cunningham, P.Gordon-Walker, P. C.
    Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.Davies, Edward (Burslem)Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)
    Barton, C.Davies, Harold (Leek)Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)
    Bechervaise, A. E.Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Grey, C. F.
    Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Deer, G.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)
    Berry, Freitas, GeoffreyGriffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)
    Beswick, F.Delargy, H. J.Guest, Dr. L. Haden
    Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Diamond, J.Gunter, R. J.
    Bing, G. H. C.Dodds, N. N.Guy, W. H.
    Binns, J.Donovan, T.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)
    Blackburn, A. R.Driberg, T. E. N.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.
    Blenkinsop, A.Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)
    Blyton, W. R.Durbin, E. F. MHardy, E. A.
    Boardman, H.Dye, S.Harrison, J.
    Brook, D. (Halifax)Edelman, M.Hastings, Dr. Somerville
    Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Hicks, G.
    Brown, George (Belper)Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Hobson, C. R.
    Brown, T. J. (Ince)Evans, John (Ogmore)Holman, P.
    Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)
    Burke, W. A.Ewart, R.House, G.
    Castle, Mrs. B. A.Fairhurst, F.Hoy, J
    Chamberlain, R. A.Farthing, W. J.Hubbard, T.
    Champion, A. J.Follick, M.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)

    The House divided: Ayes, 120; Noes, 234.

    Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Morgan, Dr. H. BSoskice, Maj Sir F
    Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Mort, D LSparks, J. A.
    Irving, W. J.Moyle, ASteele, T.
    Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. AMulvey, AStewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
    Janner, BNally, WStross, Dr. B.
    Jay, D. P. T.Naylor, T. EStubbs, A. E.
    Jeger, G. (Winchester)Neal, H. (Claycross)Summerskill, Dr. Edit
    Jeger, Dr. S. W (St Pancras, S.E.)Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Swingler, S
    John, W.Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E (Brentford)Sylvester, G. O.
    Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Noel-Buxton, LadyTaylor, R. J (Morpeth)
    Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Oldfield, W. H.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
    Jones, P. Asterley (HitchinOrbach, M.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
    Keenan, WPaling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
    Kenyon, CPargiter, G. AThurtle, Ernest
    Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr E.Parkin, B TTitterington, M. F
    Kinley, J.Paton, J. (Norwich)Tolley, L.
    Kirby, B. VPearson, A.Tomlinson, Rt Hon G
    Lavers, S.Peart, Capt. T. F.Turner-Samuels, M
    Lee, F. (Hulme)Porter, E. (Warrington)Ungoed-Thomas, L
    Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Porter, G. (Leeds)Vernon, Maj. W. F
    Leonard, W.Proctor, W. TViant, S. P
    Leslie, J. RPursey, Cmdr. HWalkden, E.
    Levy, B WRandall, H. EWallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
    Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Ranger, JWarbey, W. N.
    Lindgren, G. SRees-Williams, D RWatson, W M.
    Lindsay, K. M. (Comb'd Eng Univ.)Reid, T (Swindon)Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
    Lipton, Lt.-Col MRichards, RWells, W. T. (Walsall)
    Logan, D. G.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Whiteley, Rt. Hon W
    McAdam, WRogers, G. H. R.Wigg, Col. G. E
    McAllister, G.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Wilkes, L.
    McEntee, V La TRoyle, C.Wilkins, W A.
    Mack, J. DSargood, RWilley, F T. (Sunderland)
    McKay, J. (Wallsend)Scott-Elliot, WWilliams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
    Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)Segal, Dr. SWilliams, W. R (Heston)
    McKinley, A. S.Shackleton, E. A. AWilliamson, T
    Maclean, N. (GovSharp, GranvilleWillis, E.
    McLeavy, FShawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St Helens)Woodburn, A
    Macpherson, T. (Romford)Silverman, J. (Erdington)Woods, G. S.
    Mallalieu, J. P. WSilverman, S. S. (Nelson)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
    Marquand, H. ASimmons, C J.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
    Modland, H. MSkeffington, A M.Zilliacus, K
    Mellish, R. JSkeffington-Lodge,
    Messer, FSkinnard, F. W.TELLERS FOR THE NOES
    Mitchison, G. RSmith, Ellis (Stoke)Mr. Joseph Henderson and
    Montague, F.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S W)Mr. Popplewell
    Moody, A SSnow, Capt J W

    New Clause—(Regular Engagements)

    If during his whole-time or part-time service under this Act any person is entered in the regular navy under the Naval Discipline Act or enlisted in the regular army or regular air force under the Army and Air Force Acts, then, for the purpose of any enactment, regulation or order relating to terms or conditions of service, his whole-time service under this Act shall be reckoned as being service after such entry or enlistment as aforesaid.—[ Brigadier Prior-Palmer.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    7.0 p.m.

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

    It is fully realised on all sides of the House that we wish to give the maximum possible inducement to men to volunteer for the Regular Services. During the course of their full-time service, and even during the course of their part-time service, they may suddenly feel that there is an urge to enlist in the Regular Forces. It may be that they will be anxious in regard to pension, pay and so forth, respecting the service which they have already given under this Bill. We feel very strongly that in order to encourage people to enlist in the Regular Army, the service which they have already rendered, especially the whole-time service, should count as part of their Regular engagement and should be reckoned as service for purposes of pension and pay, etc. We make this suggestion purely with the idea of making this abundantly clear so that there will be no doubt in the minds of the men. It is not a very difficult point. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see the force of it and will accept our new Clause.

    I beg to second the Motion.

    The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) has made all the necessary points. I hope the Minister will consider our suggestion sympathetically. I am sure that he will agree that the one thing we want to do is to encourage voluntary recruitment to the Regular Forces.

    I fully agree with the purpose behind this new Clause, but I do not think it will be necessary for the purpose which the hon. and gallant Members wish to achieve. Actually, the whole-time service will count towards pension, and it is covered under the Royal Warrant. There is only one thing which is not covered, and I do not think the mover and seconder wanted this, and that is that it will not count towards reducing the period of colour service under the regular engagement into which the National Service man might enter. I hope that, with this assurance that the object which the hon. and gallant Members had in mind will be achieved. they will withdraw the new Clause.

    :I want to be absolutely clear. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if the service will count for pension?

    Part of the reason for this new Clause was to encourage volunteering for the Army. It is well known that, if sufficient inducements are offered, there will be an adequate number of volunteers who will be available. In the past, the numbers have sometimes been four and five times more than was necessary, but, in the Navy today, it is regretted that, under the present conditions, it is necessary to bring in conscripts. It is unfortunate, but we accept the position. It will appear that the training the men will undergo will count for pension, but, at the same time, the men will have to do the full period, and I want to ask whether they are going to get added pension for the extra service. I think that is something which ought to be reconsidered.

    May I ask the right hon. Gentleman why, if the Royal Warrant covers the point which has been mentioned, it is not possible, and even advisable, to put it into the Bill? I am not clear what objection the Minister has to that course being adopted.

    If I might answer that question, this new Clause, if accepted, would not only achieve that object—to ensure that colour service under the Bill would count for pension in a Regular engagement—hut would have the effect of reducing, for example, the period of five years' colour service in the Army, which would be uneconomical for the Army.

    May I ask one further question? The Minister mentioned whole-time service, but if he looks at the new Clause, he will see that part-time service is included. Does it not include part-time service?

    In view of the assurance given by the right hon. Gentleman, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

    Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

    New Clause—(Service Of Notices)

    (1) Any notice required or authorised by or under this Act or the National Service Acts, 1939 to 1946, to be served on any person may be served either—

  • (a) by delivering it to that person; or
  • (b) by leaving it at his proper address; or
  • (c) by post;
  • so, however, that where a notice is served by post otherwise than in a registered letter service shall not be deemed to have been effected if it is proved that the notice was not received by the person to whom it was addressed.

    (2) The proper address 01 any person on whom such a notice as aforesaid is to be served shall he the last known address of the person to be served.—[ Brigadier Prior-Palmer.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

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

    As the Bill stands, the service of notices is still governed by Section 18 of the old Act. We consider that, in the past, this provision has given rise to opportunities for hardship, and there have been cases of hardship. We had a certain amount of discussion on this matter during the Committee stage in the early hours of the morning, when I do not think any of us were really very clear about it, and we now wish to advance arguments in favour of the inclusion of the new Clause in the Bill so as to give added security to the person on whom notice for service is served.

    In the past, all that has been necessary has been proof of posting of the letter or notice of service. We suggest that the non-receipt of that notice, in many cases, has been through no fault whatever of the individual concerned, but it has led to military and civil lapses, and we think that is wrong. We are not asking the Government to do anything out of the way or anything which has not been done before, because, if the right hon. Gentleman will look at the Government's own Bill—the Statistics of Trade Bill—he will see that, in Clause II, these very conditions for the serving of notices, as we have tabled them in this new Clause, are there included.

    I beg to second the Motion.

    It seems both a rational and a helpful new Clause, and I cannot see that there is any objection to it.

    I appreciate the way in which the hon. and gallant Gentlemen have put their case, but we cannot accept this new Clause as it stands, and I will give the reasons. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved the new Clause said it would give added security, but we are afraid that it would give added opportunities of evasion. I will give the reasons for that. The Clause provides that

    "where notice is served by post otherwise than in a registered letter service shall not be deemed to have been effected if it is proved that the notice was not received by the person to whom it was addressed."
    There is a lovely opportunity there for chasing this thing around. Somebody has to prove that it was not received. It is clear that the obligation is not upon the Post Office to prove that it was received. There are lots of ways in which it can be done. It would be possible, and I could give as an example, knowing of similar things that have happened in the past, the case of serving a summons for a breach of the peace. The person concerned might be out in the backyard when he sees the policeman coming and he does not want the notice served upon him. In this case, however, there has to be evidence that it was not received by the person concerned. The person expecting to receive the call-up notice might be one of the small minority that we have in this country and might want to evade being called up. All that he has to do is to keep out of the way.

    There are certain alternatives here—by delivering it to that person, or by leaving it at his proper address.

    I know. The hon. and gallant Member says "by leaving it at his proper address." We should then have to decide his proper address. Is it a permanent address?

    I know, and that is why I do not want to anticipate the discussion on it. I believe myself that, if we were to accept this proposal, we should run into any amount of trouble. Let us suppose that the man is a lodger, and that he is out when the notice arrives, and that the landlady does not give it to him, but, instead, puts it behind one of the ornaments on the mantelpiece, and forgets. The notice has been delivered, and, therefore, in ordinary circumstances, the evidence of posting is considered as evidence of delivery. There might be another case where the boy's mother wants him to be tied to her apron strings. The notice may arrive, and she may destroy it. I can assure the House that millions of notices have been sent out under the existing Act with very little disagreement at all. Each of those notices goes through the hands of two persons. They are checked twice, first in the checking department and then in the issuing enlistment notice department. In each case there are two officials whose only job is to do that, and to see that everything is properly done. In the very small number of cases where there has been any difficulty, it has been traced, in the main, to the fact that the person has not registered his change of address as required by the Act. We feel that a great deal of trouble might be caused and evasions made possible if this method was adopted. I have no legal knowledge, but I am sure that anybody with such knowledge would agree that a person to whom a notice was addressed could come along and say he had not received it Therefore, we ask the House not to tie us down to such a system.

    I have listened with interest to the right hon. Gentleman's arguments, although I am sorry that I did not hear the speeches of those who moved the new Clause. I shall also read the right hon. Gentleman's argument with great interest, because it seems to me that I may be able to use it against his right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade. Indeed, I am a little surprised to find the right hon. Gentleman attacking so vigorously a new Clause which is almost precisely similar to a Clause contained in a Bill which bears his own name. I refer to Clause II of the Statistics of Trade Bill, which provides this excellent code for service of notice upon business men, firms and everyone carrying on undertakings throughout the country. In that Bill, the right hon. Gentleman thinks this the right way of serving notice. He has backed the proposal. I must say that it occurred to me that it was an extremely good way, and it was, therefore, with some interest that I heard his speech attacking and trying to make holes in a similar Clause to that which the Government themselves have put forward. If this particular code with regard to the service of notices is right in the case of business men, firms, undertakings and shops—notices calling upon them to furnish all kinds of information, for failing to do which heavy penalties can be imposed—why is not the same provision right in the case of the enlistment of men who are going to be called up for a period of 12 months' whole-time service? That is a question which has not been answered. I do not believe that there is any substance in the right hon. Gentleman's case against this new Clause. What happens now is that a letter is sent through the ordinary post and the man is deemed to be enlisted when that letter is received. I agree that an ordinary letter might be put anywhere. It might be put behind the ornament on the mantelpiece, but if the right hon. Gentleman and his Ministry send a registered letter, which, surely, they can do quite simply, it is not likely that a landlady will put that behind the ornament on the mantelpiece and forget all about it.

    As the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) says, it will not really matter if she does. Surely, what is right in respect of notices under the Statistics of Trade Bill is also right under this Bill. I agree that, in wartime, there is something to be said for service through the ordinary post, but there is nothing to be said in peacetime against the serving of enlistment notices by registered post, in order to ensure, as far as possible, that the recipient gets it and to avoid, as far as possible, the disputes that have occurred and may occur again when a man says, on being charged with being a deserter, "I never received the notice," and when, on the other side, there is the evidence that the notice was sent by the ordinary post. It is not really very satisfactory, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind the good precedent he has set in the Statistics of Trade Bill, and to look at this matter again.

    I hope that we shall have the benefit of the right hon. and learned Attorney-General's opinion on this matter. It seems rather strange that in two Bills, one of them being considered by the House today, and the other to be considered by the House tomorrow, there should be two different codes regarding service, and that the Minister of Labour should back both Bills, and say tomorrow that the thing is sense and today that it is nonsense. I should have thought that on general lines of propriety one would not want, in two different Bills brought before the House in the same week, two quite different codes governing service.

    As my hon. and learned Friend has just pointed out, the arguments, such as they were, in the right hon. Gentleman's speech, in which he savagely attacked the actual proposal of the Board of Trade in the Statistics of Trade Bill, are all arguments directed to the difficulties which would be caused under this Clause by sending the document by ordinary post, and not in a registered letter. All the difficulties could be avoided by a registered letter. It is really useless for the Government to assert that this new Clause, which is in the very terms of the Clause included in another Bill, is unworkable or nonsense. It is perfectly workable, and perfectly good sense. I think that, unless the right hon. and learned Attorney-General can give some good reasons against it, it should be accepted. In any event, we are, surely, entitled to some further explanation from the Government.

    I am at a loss to understand why the Minister is not able to accept this new Clause. If an ordinary letter is posted, which is to carry liability against a person, and that person does not know anything about it, it would appear that he is liable to be brought before the court, but if a letter is sent to a person and he has to attend at court, unless it can be proved that that letter has been delivered to the individual by a policeman, or some accredited person, it will not be considered as having been delivered. To obviate the difficulty, the registered letter should be used, since that, to my mind, carries with it something tantamount to delivery. As we are going to ask the men to go into the Forces, I do not see what is wrong in sending them registered letters. It would obviate a lot of difficulty, and I should have thought that a new Clause of this description would have been acceptable.

    7.30 p.m.

    I desire to say a few words in the same sense as my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan). I cannot see why this new Clause should not be accepted. It is all very well to say that the old system has worked well, and to talk about the majority of cases, but it is not always the majority of cases that count. Obviously, there are cases where things go wrong. I myself have been professionally concerned more than once during the war in cases where the military police have arrived at a man's house, arrested him in bed, carted him off to the other end of the country, put him in the guardroom and court-martialled him, only to find that the arrest was wrong, because no proper notice had been served on the man. If this kind of service is to be permanent or semi-permanent in peacetime, it would not put a great burden upon the Executive to require them to send notices by registered post instead of by ordinary post. As I understand it, this new Clause requires no more than that. Every one of the dangers and iniquities which my right hon. Friend put forward as reasonable grounds for resisting the new Clause would be obviated completely by the simple device of sending the notices by registered post, and that is what the new Clause provides for. Why the right hon. Gentleman should resist so convenient and sensible a course, I cannot imagine.

    I rise because I observe no inclination on the part of the Attorney-General to do so. I hope we may hear again from the Government Front Bench on this matter, and that hon. Members on this side of the House will continue to press this point until the Attorney-General has given a fuller explanation. Attention has already been drawn to the fact that in two Bills, the Government are taking two diametrically opposed courses of action. I would remind the Government that in the Agriculture Bill the same sort of question arose. In fact, in a large number of Bills questions very similar to this have arisen and will arise in the future. The Government should make up their minds on what is the right course to pursue and, having made up their minds, that course should be followed in successive Bills in future. I hope the right hon. and learned Gentleman will tell us what distinction he draws between this and other Bills.

    I must admit that I am very much shaken by the arguments that have been adduced. I know I am on a sticky wicket, and that a fast ball has been bowled at me. I cannot promise to accept this new Clause as it stands, but I do promise that we will look at it, and at the next opportunity bring in something to put that point right. I was very much swayed in my own mind at the beginning by the fact that it would mean 400,000 notices a year in respect of the summonses for medical examination and he enlistment notices alone. It would make a great deal more work; it would not be a question of cost, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer would get nothing out of it as the notices would be sent "On His Majesty's Service." To be quite frank, when speaking earlier, I omitted to mention the point of the extra work, but it is a very important point. On the other hand, we are dealing with the liberty of the individual, and I admit the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). Time and again, as a magistrate, I have had to insist on a policeman going into the witness box to prove that he delivered the summons. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Therefore, if the hon. and gallant Member will withdraw the proposed Clause, I will undertake to do something to cover the point.

    In view of that assurance, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

    Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

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

    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

    Clause 1—(Liability To Be Called Up For Service)

    Before calling upon the right hon. Baronet the Member for Antrim (Sir H. O'Neill) to move the Amendment, after "Britain," to insert "or Northern Ireland," I have been instructed by Mr. Speaker to say that this Amendment has been selected, in spite of the long discussion in Committee, solely on the ground that hon. Members, by mischance, failed to record their votes in the Lobby, and it is, therefore, called for a Division only.

    Division No. 222.]


    [8.40 p.m.

    Aitken, Hon. MaxDower, E. L G. (Caithness)Maitland, Comdr. J W
    Baldwin, A. E.Gage, C.Marlowe, A. A H
    Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C (Wells)Harvey, Air-Comdre, A. VMarsden, Capt A
    Bowen, R.Headlam, Lieut.-Col Rt. Hon. Sir C.Maude, J. C.
    Boyd-Carpenter, J AHutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'gh, W.)Neill, W F (Belfast, N.)
    Cuthbert, W. N.Hutchison, Col. J. R (Glasgow, C.)O'Neill, Rt. Hon Sir H
    De la Bère, R.McCallum, Maj. DPickthorn, K
    Donner, Sqn.-Ldr P WMacley, Hon J SPonsonby, Col. C E

    I beg to move, in page r, line II, after "Britain," to insert "or Northern Ireland."

    May I ask hon. Members to leave this to the Chair? In this case I happen to be right.

    Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

    The House divided: Ayes, 33; Noes, 230.

    Price-White, Lt.-Col. DSavory, Prof. D. LWheatley, Colonel M. J.
    Raikes, H. V.Shepherd, W S. (Bucklow)
    Ropner, Col. L.Sutcliffe, H.


    Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)Touche, G. C.Lieut.-Colonel Sir William Allen
    and Sir Walter Smiles


    Adams, Richard (Balham)Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Paget, R. T.
    Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Guest, Dr. L. HadenPaling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
    Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Gunter, R. J.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
    Alexander, Rt. Hon A. V.Guy, W. H.Pargiter, G. A.
    Allen, A. C (Bosworth)Hall, W. G.Parkin, B. T.
    Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Paton, J. (Norwich)
    Anderson, P. (Whitehaven)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Pearson, A.
    Attewell, H. C.Hardy, E. A.Peart, Capt. T. F.
    Austin, H. LewisHarrison, J.Porter, E (Warrington)
    Awbery, S. SHastings, Dr. SomervillePorter, G. (Leeds)
    Ayles, W H.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Pritt, D. N.
    Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.Hicks, G.Proctor, W. T.
    Bacon, Miss A.Holman, P.Pursey, Cmdr. H
    Baird, J.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Randall, H. E.
    Balfour, AHouse, G.Ranger, J.
    Barton, CHoy, J.Rankin, J.
    Bechervaise, A. E.Hubbard, T.Rees-Williams, D. R.
    Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Reid, T. (Swindon)
    Berry, H.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Rhodes, H.
    Bing, G. H. C.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton. W.)Richards, R.
    Binns, J.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
    Blackburn, A. R.Jay, D. P. T.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
    Blyton, W. R.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Scott-Elliot, W.
    Boardman, H.Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Segal, Dr. S.
    Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.John, W.Shackleton, E. A. A.
    Bramall, E. A.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Sharp, Granville
    Brook, D. (Halifax)Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
    Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Shurmer, P.
    Brown, George (Belper)Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Silverman, J. (Erdington)
    Buchanan, G.Keenan, WSilverman, S. S. (Nelson)
    Burke, W. A.Kendall, W. D.Simmons, C. J.
    Carmichael, JamesKenyon, C.Skeffington, A. M.
    Champion, A. J.Kerr, Sir J. GrahamSkeffington-Lodge, T. C
    Chetwynd, G. R.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Skinnard, F. W
    Clitherow, Dr. R.Kinley, J.Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
    Coldrick, W.Kirby, B. V.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
    Collindridge, F.Lavers, S.Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
    Colman, Miss G. MLee, F. (Hulme)Sparks, J. A.
    Comyns, Dr. L.Leonard, W.Steele, T.
    Cook, T. F.Leslie, J. R.Stephen, C.
    Corvedale, ViscountLevy, B. WStewart, Michael (Fulham, E)
    Cove, W. G.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Summerskill, Dr. Edith
    Cunningham, P.Lewis, T. (Southampton)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
    Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Lindgren, G. S.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
    Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Lipson, D. L.Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
    Delargy, H. J.Logan, D. G.Thurtle, Ernest
    Diamond, J.McAdam, W.Titterington, M. F.
    Dobbie, W.McEntee, V La TTolley, L.
    Dodds, N. N.McGhee, H. GTomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
    Donovan, T.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Turner-Samuels, M.
    Driherg, T. E. N.Mackay, R. W. C (Hull, N.W.)Ungoed-Thomas, L.
    Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)McKinlay, A. SVernon, Maj. W. F.
    Durbin, E. F. M.McLeavy, F.Viant, S. P.
    Dye, S.MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)Walkden, E.
    Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Macpherson, T. (Romford)Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
    Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Mallalieu, J. P. W.Warbey, W. N.
    Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Marples, A. E.Watson, W. M.
    Evans, John (Ogmore)Marquand, H. A.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
    Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Mayhew, C. P.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
    Ewart, R.Medland, H. MWestwood, Rt. Hon. J.
    Fairhurst, F.Mellish, R. J.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
    Farthing, W. J.Messer, F.Wigg, Col. G. E.
    Fletcher, E. G. M (Islington, E.)Mitchison, G R.Wilkes, L.
    Foot, M. M.Monslow, W.Wilkins, W. A.
    Forman, J. C.Moody, A. S.Willey, P T. (Sunderland)
    Foster, W. (Wigan)Morgan, Dr. H. BWilliams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
    Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Morley, R.Williamson, T.
    Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Willis, E.
    Freeman, Peter (Newport)Mort, D. L.Woodburn, A
    Gibbins, J.Mulvey, A.Woods, G. S.
    Gilzean, A.Nally, W.Wyatt, W.
    Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Naylor, T. E.Yates, V. F.
    Gooch, E. G.Neal, H. (Claycross)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
    Gordon-Walker, P. C.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
    Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Noel-Buxton, LadyZilliacus, K.
    Grey, C. F.Oldfield, W. H.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
    Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Orbach, M.Mr. Snow and Mr. Popplewell.

    Clause 2—(Whole-Time And Part-Time Service)

    8.45 p.m.

    I beg to move, in page 2, line 14, to leave out from "deemed," to the end of line 22, and to insert:

  • "(a) if his last service during that term was in the Royal Navy or the Royal Marines, to be entered for service in a Royal Naval Special Reserve which the Admiralty shall raise and maintain for the purposes of this Act; or
  • (b) if that last service was in the Regular Army, to be enlisted for service in the Territorial Army or the Army Reserve, as the Army Council may direct; or
  • (c) if that last service was in the Regular Air Force, to be enlisted for service in the Air Force Reserve."
  • The hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss) will remember that he submitted a case, especially about the words "according as." I promised to look into the matter. I have considered it carefully, and as the hon. and learned Member was perhaps a little upset with me earlier in this evening, I hope that he will now be gratified that I have adopted the entire wording which he put upon the Order Paper.

    I thank the right hon. Gentleman for accepting this Amendment, which was designed, like all my Amendments, to improve the Bill. The other Amendment which I moved on the same occasion was accepted at once by the right hon. Gentleman, and in those circumstances I was the more astonished that he moved the Closure earlier this evening in order to stop me from making a two minutes' speech.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 5—(Liability To Complete Interrupted Service)

    I beg to move, in page 3, line 41, to leave out Subsection (2).

    This Amendment is being moved again with a view to trying to obtain a satisfactory explanation. It was moved in Committee by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Blackpool (Brigadier Low), and I do not think that on that occasion we received a very satisfactory answer to the points which were raised. The Government have now had time to reflect upon the issues raised, and I hope that we shall get more satisfaction. This Subsection covers two points. The first is, as I understand it, that it is to be left to each Service authority to define by regulations what term of service in an auxiliary Force shall be deemed to be equivalent to whole-time service or part-time service under this Bill. It is desirable that there should be some co-ordination between the Service authorities on this issue, and also that people who volunteer for service in the auxiliary Forces in lieu of part-time service should be informed, and be able to inform themselves, at the time they volunteer, of the extent to which such service in the auxiliary Services will count in lieu of part-time service. That covers the first point on which we should like some information. We should much prefer if, instead of leaving this to the Service authorities, the definition were incorporated in the Bill.

    Under the second part of the Clause, anyone who has served in an auxiliary Force and is then transferred back to complete part-time service, is only allowed to count a maximum of 15 days of his auxiliary service in any one year towards his part-time service. I should like to know what justification there is for that. It seems to me in one way to impose a penalty upon those who volunteer for service in the auxiliary Forces, though I recognise the difficulty with which one has to contend. It is that of avoiding the possibility of someone in the auxiliary Forces doing so much service in one year, and then leaving those Forces and saying, "I have done enough. I need not do any more in the next five years for which I should otherwise have been liable for part-time service." It ought to be possible to make a fairer adjustment between service in the auxiliary Forces, and service under this Measure.

    I beg to second the Amendment.

    I wish to make a few remarks on the number of days' training which a volunteer is allowed to count. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War may think he need not listen to me because, for a reason which he may remember, I have had to make my argument twice already. It was in the middle of the night when I first made my point on This matter, and then for some reason the right hon. Gentleman was not present. I would like him now to explain why it is that he appears to injure the volunteer under this Subsection. As my hon. and learned Friend has said, he is allowing the volunteer to count only 15 days in each year, whereas the National Service man is allowed to count 21 days. If the volunteer is in the Territorial Army, and is to be considered efficient and earn his bounty in any one year, he has to do the equivalent of 22½ days' training. The right hon. Gentleman agreed with me when I last put that point and I think he will agree again. If the right hon. Gentleman really wants to encourage volunteers, why allow them to count only 15 days? The House is entitled to an explanation.

    I understand that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to be put in the position, from the point of view of the Army, whereby men who volunteer can get rid of their 60 days' training liability, in the course of the first two years. Surely, there has been time, between the Committee stage, when the same arguments were put forward, and now, in which to think out some Amendment to this Subsection, or a new Clause if necessary, which would have the effect of allowing them to count at least that period which is required by the Territorial Army Regulations? The right hon. Gentleman may say that he wants men who are volunteering for the Territorial Army to stay in it for four years, and he may go on to say that 60 days divided by four comes to 15. That seems to be good mathematics, and it may be the explanation of the choice of 15 days for this Subsection, but I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is a good argument for distinguishing between the volunteer and the National Service man to the detriment of the volunteer, as in this Subsection. I think that, on the points made by my hon. and learned Friend and the point which I have put now, the right hon. Gentleman has a certain case to answer.

    The real reason why we want Subsection (2) is to avoid the possibility of those men who do not complete their full-time service under this Bill, but who for various reasons go on to one of the reserves—particularly in the Royal Air Force—being able, as it were, to compress their reserve liability, which is now spread over six years under this Bill, into two years, thereby escaping their obliga- tion to serve in the reserve for six years. The point made by the hon. and gallant Member about the association between the voluntary Territorial Force and those who have to give their services under this Bill, does not arise, because volunteers are not covered by this Bill at all. It is only those called up under this Bill, who have to do this 60 days' period of reserve service spread over six years.

    Surely, we are dealing here with a man who, for some reason or other, has accepted the obligation of a volunteer in an auxiliary Force; and, surely, that man has accepted greater obligations than those imposed by this Subsection.

    9.0 p.m.

    I think that Subsection (2) has to be read in conjunction with the whole of Clause 5, which deals with liability to complete interrupted service. It may well be that a National Service man, with a liability under this Bill for 12 months whole-time service, will go on reserve, for one reason or another, and escape a certain amount of whole-time and part-time service, for various reasons. For instance, in the R.A.F., it may not be necessary to keep a man for the full 12 months, and we may let him go to the Air Force Reserve, when he will volunteer to do more than he would ordinarily be liable for under this Bill. We do not want him to be able to claim that part-time service in the first year or two. The whole purpose of this Bill is to make sure that the National Service man after his full-time service shall be kept up to date for six years with the reserve training. There is also the question of the bounty for those who volunteer. It might be that not only would the National Service man be volunteering for the Reserve, but he would be able to get the whole of the 60 days concentrated into the first two years. That might make him eligible for the bounty which is given to the volunteer Territorials who complete more than the number of drills which the National Service reservist will be obliged to do. For that reason we cannot accept the Amendment to omit Subsection (2). There was another Amendment advanced in Committee relating to the "cat and mouse" suggestion that it would be possible to call a man back if he had been discharged. That is governed by the next Amendment to be moved by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour. I hope that explanation will satisfy hon. Members opposite, and will enable them to withdraw the Amendment.

    May 1, with the leave of the House, put a question to the right hon. Gentleman which might crystallise the position and enable us to be satisfied on the point? Supposing a man, having volunteered for the auxiliary service, does 21 days' service in the year, why should he not be allowed to count more than 15 of those days against his liability of 21 days' service in a year under Clause 2?

    The reason why a person who has taken alternative part-time service on that basis is not to be allowed to reckon more than 15 days' training in one year towards the 60 days is because, on a volunteer footing, he can earn a bounty for attending hourly training periods and week-end camps outside the annual camp periods. That would make a distinction between the member of the Territorial Army who volunteers to do that, and a National Service man who has an obligation under this Bill.

    Amendment negatived.

    I beg to move, in page 4, line 7, to leave out Subsection (3), and to insert:

    "(3) The Minister may cause to be served on any person liable under this Section to be called upon to undertake part-time service a written notice specifying the term of part-time service which he is liable to perform, and, subject as hereinafter provided, that person shall after the expiration of the period of fourteen days after the service of the notice be deemed to be entered or enlisted for service in such force as may be specified in the notice:
    Provided that if within the said period of fourteen days that person disputes his liability to be called upon to undertake part-time service, or the term of part-time service which he is shown by the notice to be liable to perform, and requires the Minister to refer the question in dispute to a referee, the notice shall not become operative to enter or enlist that person unless a referee selected by the Minister from a panel of persons nominated by the Lord Chancellor, after inquiring into and determining the question in dispute, directs that the notice shall become operative so to do on such date and for such term of part-time service as may be specified in the direction."
    In the Committee stage we undertook to examine this matter and we put this Amendment down in the belief that it would meet all the points which hon. Gentlemen on both sides asked us to consider. At this stage in dealing with this Amendment I think it would be for the convenience of the House if I also referred to the four Amendments to this Amendment which are down on the Order Paper. This proposed new Subsection has two points in it. The first is that the Minister of Labour and not the Service authority will issue the written notice. This means that if a man disputes his liability he can raise the matter with the Ministry, and in any event that is considered more appropriate since he is not in the Forces and he will be treated as a civilian and not as a man in the Forces.

    The second point is that the written notice will not take effect until after a period of 14 days. If a man disputes his liability, and, what is more likely, disputes the amount of part-time service he is called upon to do within the 14 days, he may require the Minister to refer the question to arbitration. If he goes to arbitration the notice will not take effect until the referee has determined the question and the notice then shall specify the period of service and the date.

    One of the Amendments provides that the matter shall automatically go to the referee if the man concerned raises any objection. We ask the House not to accept that proposal, because there will be many cases where the man will say, "I object to this"; he will have to fill up a form if he is going to appeal, we will look at it and say, "A mistake has been made here, there is no need for the matter to go any further," and we shall cancel the notice. But if, under the regulation, because a man raises an objection the case is automatically referred to a referee, it will waste the time of the man concerned and of everybody else. We want to leave an open course to the man, so that if we cannot settle the matter he can go to the referee if he wishes. It is obvious that if the Minister settles the case to the man's satisfaction, he will not want to go to the referee. It is only where we think we cannot settle it to the man's satisfaction that he will want to take the matter there.

    It was suggested last time that the ordinary courts should be used. We are advised that we can hardly send these cases to a court of summary jurisdiction. because at that point neither an offence nor a civil claim is involved summary courts usually deal with complaints or offences of some kind. We have provided here for another method. We suggest that there shall be a referee who will be selected by the Minister from a panel of persons nominated by the Lord Chancellor. That will take the matter out of any influence of the Ministry of Labour. All the Ministry will do will be to select somebody appropriate. by which I mean somebody appropriate in the locality. and so on. Therefore, disputed cases will be settled by an impartial referee, which is what was pressed for by hon. Members who raised this matter in Committee. I submit that this proposed new Subsection meets the points which have been raised. It would not be an advantage to accept the proposed Amendments to this Subsection, because we think a great deal of confusion and trouble would be created, and the new form of reference for settling these cases takes the matter out of the realm of any kind of suspicion

    I would like to thank the right hon. Gentleman, who has met our arguments which we adduced on the Committee stage with regard to this point. We then put forward the argument that a man who disputed his liability to service under this Measure should have the matter determined not by a court-martial but by some other civil tribunal. We did not attach any particular importance to the adjudication being by a court of summary jurisdiction. We accept, and welcome, the two main points that the notice shall be served by the Minister, and that in the event of dispute the matter shall be adjudicated upon by the referee. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not think that we are in any way unappreciative of the manner in which he has met our main argument, by reason of the fact that we have put down Amendments to the right hon. Gentleman's proposal. Although I do not want to press them, I would like the right hon. Gentleman to bear these arguments in mind. Under the proviso as it now stands if a person "disputes his liability"—those are the actual words in the proviso—the dispute may be oral or in writing. There is nothing in the proviso to say in what form it should be. Therefore, it appears to me that by leaving the words in this particular form, there might arise the difficulty that when trying to call up a man, the Ministry would say "We have served you with a notice and you have not disputed it." The man would say, "I went to the Ministry of Labour Exchange, I found a clerk there and disputed it." He would find great difficulty in disproving that fact. Therefore I suggest there is some force in saying it should be a written notice, and probably stating the grounds for disputing that written notice. I think the right hon. Gentleman meant that when he said they would be required to fill up a form, but in fact that is not provided in the proviso, and strictly and legally the man affected could comply with this Clause by merely going along to the employment exchange and saying, "I dispute my liability."

    When any person goes into an employment exchange it is the practice, when he goes to the counter, for a note to be made immediately of his name, address and the purpose of his visit. A note would be made, and quite definitely he would be asked for his particulars, so the matter would be recorded.

    That may well be a matter of good administration in the Ministry's employment exchanges, but I ask the Minister to look at it from the purely legal point of view. He will find, whether or not the form is filled in, that under the proviso as it now stands a man can bring himself within its terms by merely saying, "I dispute my liability." I do not press that, but I do ask him to consider it. I think it will improve the Bill, which is what we are all out for.

    With regard to the other Amendments, the Minister will appreciate that the Clause as now drafted puts the burden upon the person disputing his liability to do two things. First of all, he must say, "I dispute my liability," either to serve or to serve to the extent required. He has then to fulfil the requirements of saying to the Minister "Refer it to the referee," and strictly, and in law, a man would not bring himself within this Clause, as amended, by merely saying, "I dispute my liability." Under the Clause as now drawn, with this new Subsection, it would be possible to have the case adjudicated upon and for his claim not to be regarded as liable for service to be rejected on the ground that he had not coupled with that claim a requirement that the matter should be referred to the referee. That is the point of our Amendment. I quite agree that the Minister should have power, where he is satisfied that the man who is disputing liability is right, to admit that he is right without the matter going to a referee. I should have thought it was open to him to do that at any time without a statutory provision. As the proviso now stands, I emphasise that it puts the burden on the man disputing liability to say to the Minister, "Refer this to the referee," and if he does not say that to the Minister he does not bring himself within this Clause. They are two minor points. I merely ask the Minister to look at them and consider them, because I think they have some substance. I conclude by repeating my thanks to him for the way in which he has met us on these most important points.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 6—(Calling Up For Training During Part-Time Service)

    I beg to move, in page 4, line 25, to leave out from "himself," to "cause," in line 26.

    During the Committee stage my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd) moved an Amendment which would have limited to a minimum of 14 days the period in which a notice could be cancelled with regard to the full-time Reserve training for which a man was called up. There was a very long and interesting Debate, and there was considerable support from all sides of the House for the general principle put forward by my hon. Friend, and I promised to look into the whole matter. The purpose of this Amendment and the following Amendment—in page 4, line 28, after "which," to insert "but not the date on which"—is to implement the decision of the Government after considering the Debate in Committee; that is to say, we shall not take power to cancel a notice as regards the day on which a man is called up for training, but we shall retain the power to vary the notice with regard to the place or time of day. In is argued that we shall be required to retain this—

    9.15 p.m.

    On a point of Order. Are we taking the two Amendments together, this and the next in the name of the right hon. Gentleman—in page 4, line 28, after "which," to insert "but not the date on which"?

    I have no objection, if the House wishes to take the two together.

    I am moving the first, as I said, but this and the other are both designed to meet the points put from all sides of the Committee during the Committee stage of the Bill.

    The right hon. Gentleman seems to be addressing himself to the second Amendment. I do want the House to be clear whether we are taking the Amendments together or not Could the Chair tell us?