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Overseas Residence

Volume 531: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Labour what steps are taken to ensure that men who have been abroad and are liable to call-up for National Service on return to this country are, in fact, called-up.

We keep a record of all such men and when any of them return to this country action is taken to test their liability for call-up.

Will the Minister bear in mind that as long as National Service is an unfortunate necessity it is of fundamental importance to see that there is no sense of grievance between one section of the community and another?

I am very glad that the hon. Member has raised this question. I assure him that we try to apply that principle.

The Minister gave a previous answer which bears on this Question and the answer to it—an answer referring to a racing motorist whom, he said, had been examined but had been found to be unfit. Is he aware that many men are called up although they are not as fit as they would like to be and that they are not included in Category I or Category II but are included in Category III? What is the position of this man?

The right hon. Gentleman has not the complete facts, and I will now give them to him. This man has had a proper examination under the Act. At that time he was found not to be fit and his examination was deferred for three months. At the end of the three months he will be further examined and, if he is found fit, he will be called up.

Is the Minister satisfied that some of these people who go abroad do not stop abroad until just after the age of 26 and then come back having avoided National Service altogether? Should not some attention be given to catching those people who go abroad in order to dodge Service?

The right hon. Gentleman is quite right. My right hon. and learned Friend indicated some time ago that we were considering this matter.