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National Service

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 15 July 1954

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Youths (Emigration To Australia)


asked the Minister of Labour if he will alter the terms of National Service so that, in the interests of family unity, youths liable for National Service may take advantage of assisted passages to Australia.

I recognise that special considerations apply when a family wishing to emigrate to Australia under the Assisted Passages Scheme includes a young man who is due to be called up for National Service and I am looking into the existing practice.

While I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that answer, may I ask him whether he is aware that in the case which I wished to draw to his attention the young man scotched the regulations or the present policy of his Department by paying for his full passage and going to Australia? May I urge him to recognise that when a family has gone through all the rigmarole of getting assisted passages like this and all the difficulties of keeping a little family together for a very long journey, it is very unsatisfactory when it is then confronted with the possibility of having to lose its youngest member for a long period?

It is the case which the hon. Member has put before me and the considerations which he advanced which make me want to have a look at the whole of this practice. I am sure he will appreciate that different considerations apply to a man who has had a considerable period of deferment and then, instead of serving, wants to go with his family. I therefore want to look at it and to try to find a logical answer.

How soon does the right hon. and learned Gentleman hope to come to a decision on this matter? Many of us have heard of similar cases, and it would be well if the Minister could reach an early decision.

I hope to reach a decision before the House rises and to announce it.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will reconsider his refusal to allow Thomas Jameson, of Palmerston Avenue, Walkergate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to emigrate to Australia with the rest of his family before doing his National Service.

There appear to be no valid reasons why this young man should not carry out his obligations. I am, however, looking into the existing practice in this class of case.

I agree that there are particular difficulties where there has been deferment, but will the Minister look into this case, together with others to which he has referred, because it seems quite clear that men in this category will not be available as trained reserves in this country; and if they are going out with their families there does seem special reason for exemption?

This case certainly does fall into the class of those which I have to examine.

Students, Camborne


asked the Minister of Labour why students of the Camborne School of Metalliferous Mining have received call-up notices on the day following the completion of their final examination; and how many were affected.

Notices were issued on 15th June to 16 students requiring them to report for service on 1st July. This action was taken because of the position revealed in the answer given to the hon. Member's Question on Tuesday, 13th July.

Can the Minister say whether any of these 16 young men left the country before reporting for National Service, and whether the authorities of the school have been informed in recent years of this particular difficulty? Will he bear in mind that in another part of my constituency I had a case of a young man who had been refused compassionate leave from decorative service in Bermuda, although his father is seriously ill?

As to the first part of the question as to what action I took, there are, I am informed, two men who, at the end of June, went to take, as was explained, a year's post-graduate course in Canada. Their application for deferment to take the course had already been rejected. I think the House will see that it was necessary to do something of this kind, and I am trying to tighten up the procedure to avoid the unfairness which appeared to arise in the third part of the hon. Member's Question.