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Ex-Miners (Releases)

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for War how many miners now in the Army have applied for release to return to the mines in the past six months.

The scheme for the release of miners serving in the Army ended on 30th September, 1951. No records are, therefore, available of any applications submitted after that date.

That is not an answer to the Question. Is the Minister aware that I, as one Member on this side of the House, have sent him quite a number of cases where men have applied for release in the last few months? I should like to know what are the ranks of these men and what is the job they are doing in the Army. Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it would be infinitely better from the national point of view that a man who is doing duties of a routine character in the Army and is an unwilling soldier should be released to work in the mines?

As I said, this scheme was stopped on the 30th September, 1951. My answer is correct. As a man applying for discharge under this rule would have been informed by his commanding officer that no such rule existed, no records could be kept and no such returns were made to the War Office.

Is it not about time that we had a new policy, and that it should be a question of unconditional release for miners?