HC Deb 02 August 1916 vol 85 cc282-4
9. Mr. KING

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Stanley Oxley, now undergoing imprisonment in Portsmouth Civil Prison, has been three times court-martialled, on 13th April at Horfield Barracks, Bristol, on 26th June at Portsmouth, and again on 5th July at Portsmouth; whether it is due to the military authorities, in spite of repeated assurances in this House, that conscientious objectors are subjected to repeated courts-martial at short intervals; and whether, in view of the expenditure of time, the unnecessary strain imposed on officers and men, and the economic waste involved, the military authorities will now be instructed to act in accordance with the avowed policy of the Government?


If the facts be as stated, Oxley is now undergoing imprisonment in Portsmouth Civil Prison, and his case will be investigated by the Central Tribunal, and, provided the latter find he is a genuine conscientious objector, he will not again come under military authority, but be put to work of a civil and national importance.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether Geoffrey Austin Lees, a conscientious objector, was arrested on 4th May and has since been court-martialled and sentenced to six months' hard labour, which he is now undergoing at Horfield Barracks, Bristol; and when will he be treated under the scheme announced by the Prime Minister?


The hon. Member may rest assured that all such cases are being dealt with under the scheme announced by the Prime Minister as quickly as possible.

39. Mr. JOWETT

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he will order an inquiry to be made into the case of Mr. W. H. Thompson, solicitor, of Longton, whose application for exemption from the provisions of the Military Service Acts on business grounds was refused consideration by the Stoke-on-Trent Local Tribunal and by the North Staffordshire Appeal Tribunal because he was a conscientious objector to military service, and was informed both by the mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, who was the chairman of the local tribunal, and by the town clerk of Stoke-on-Trent that he would have been exempted on business grounds had he been willing to withdraw his claim on conscientious grounds.


I have had a long correspondence respecting this ease, and I do not see any ground for further intervention.


asked the President of the Local Government Board whether exemption on conscientious grounds from the provisions of the Military Service Acts can be granted for reasons other than religious and to persons not belonging to any particular religious body; and whether the Beckenham Local Tribunal were in order in refusing the applicaton of A. Elliman, of 57, Wiverton Road, Sydenham, on the grounds that, the applicant not being a member of any religious body and only having attended the meetings of the Society of Friends since the outbreak of the War, the tribunal came to the conclusion that he has no very deep conscientious objection?


Exemption may be granted in respect of conscientious objection based on religious or moral grounds. I have no information of the circumstances of the case to which reference is made. The proper course for a man who is aggrieved by the decision of a Local Tribunal is to appeal to the Appeal Tribunal.

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