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Cricketer (Leave Of Absence)

Volume 443: debated on Thursday 30 October 1947

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asked the Minister of Labour if he will assure the release from the mining industry of Mr. Gerald Smith-son, the Yorkshire cricketer, so that he may take part in the M.C.C. tour in the West Indies this winter.

In view of the paramount importance of coal production and the fact that the release of Mr. Smithson would not be fair to other men who are fulfilling their National Service obligations in coalmining, the National Coal Board feel that they would be failing in their duty if they recommended Mr. Smithson's release from his National Ser-vice obligations in the coalmining industry on the ground suggested. The Board, however, are prepared to give Mr. Smith-son leave of absence to enable him to go to the West Indies on condition that he completes his National Service obligation immediately on his return to this country. I understand that Mr. Smithson has applied for release on medical grounds, and a medical examination is being arranged. That, however, is a separate matter. Contrary to statements that have appeared in the Press, Mr. Smithson is not due for release until some time after the end of the year.

asked the Minister of Labour on what grounds the release from the mines of Gerald Smithson, member of the British cricket team visiting the West Indies, has been refused.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply today to a similar Question by the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. M. Astor).