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National Service

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 8 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Labour the total number of those medically rejected for National Service after being called up, and those called up after deferment, for 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953, figures for each category being shown separately.

As the answer contains a table of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his effort to satisfy me in this matter. Do the figures indicate what I have been seeking to ascertain, namely, the numbers of those who are medically rejected after deferment? Will the Minister consider the point that medical examination might always be carried out when a person is eligible for call-up, and so avoid difficulties that emerge later?

If I may first deal with the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, it would be difficult to arrange that conveniently because deferment might cover a number of years and it would certainly be necessary to examine persons again if that was so done. In reply to the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, I would point out that it is difficult to explain, by the table of figures which I have given in answer to his Question, the fundamental point, which is that if one takes the class of a particular year, one has to go through the whole period during which that class would be liable for call-up in order to satisfy oneself whether people are really escaping, which is what the hon. Gentleman wants to know. I have written to the hon. Member explaining how that can be shown.

Following is the table:

YearNumber of men rejected on medical groundsEstimated number of men who had been deferred and were called up in year