§ MR. GEORGE ROBERTS (Norwich)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been directed to the fact that the Warwickshire County Association, formed under the Territorial Forces Act, has issued a circular to employers asking them when engaging men to give preference to those who are willing to join the Territorial Force; and whether, with a view to preventing any restriction upon the freedom of workmen, he will discountenance the issue of circulars by County Associations in any way likely to affect the relationship of employer and employed.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. HALDANE,) Haddington
The responsibility for raising the Territorial Force rests entirely with the County Associations, and it is exceedingly difficult for the Army Council to interfere with the way in which they fulfil their responsibilities, provided only that the method they adopt does not infringe the Statute. The Army Council is not in favour of any kind of undue pressure being brought to bear to make men join the Territorial Force.
§ EARL WINTERTON (Sussex, Horsham)
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the issue of this circular was a restriction on the freedom of the workmen?
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)
I take it the right hon. Gentleman, by his answer, did not intend to imply that the Warwickshire County Association exercised undue pressure.
§ MR. HALDANE
replied that he did not think it was desirable to bring any undue pressure, and care should be taken to avoid that in sending out circulars. He did not believe that this circular was meant to bring undue pressure, but it was very important to avoid doing anything which could be misinterpreted.
§ MR. GEORGE ROBERTS
asked whether in view of the large amount of unemployment in the country the issue of a circular of this character was not very likely to influence men to do that which otherwise they would not do.
§ [No Answer was returned.]