asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will make a further effort to secure compassionate leave for Leading Patrolman T. Ikin of 54, Silverdale Road, Newcastle-under Lyme, now stationed in Malta to visit his dying mother.
No, Sir. I am afraid the circumstances do not justify this rating being brought home specially.
Would it not be a more appropriate gesture for my hon. Friend to extend these regulations in this and similar cases, especially in peace-time, and does he not think that if his Department showed a little more compassion and imagination in matters of this kind it would encourage recruitment and discourage discontent in the Services?
We are looking into this question to see whether it is possible for the regulations to be modified in any way, but I cannot say definitely yet what the decision will be.
Is my hon. Friend telling the House that in a case where it is established to the satisfaction of his Department that a mother is dying, there are regulations which prohibit him from making arrangements for this man to be sent home immediately?
Yes, the usual regulations are that if the mother has another son or a daughter present in the country, the rating will not be brought back if he is required for duty. If there is no other son or daughter present, he will be brought back in any circumstances.
But in view of the fact that my hon. Friend is prepared to look into this matter, and that the mother is dying at the moment and may not last out that time, will he not take steps to try to help in this case?
No, I said I was looking into the general question. If this rating were given special treatment before the general review takes place, it would be unfair to other ratings who have not had it up till now.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.