HC Deb 14 August 1916 vol 85 cc1394-5

asked the President of the Local Government Board if, in the circular issued by him for the information of the military service tribunals, giving particulars of some fifty cases which have been decided by the Central Tribunal, there is no instance of two common types of cases which the tribunals have to decide, namely, what constitutes a moral conscientious objection as distinct from a religious or political objection, and there is no decision on the point as to whether the work of a professional school teacher is work of national importance and if such work might, in connection with a conscientious objection to military service, be regarded as fulfilling the conditions of the Act; and will he, therefore, have two cases of these classes submitted to the Central Tribunal for their determination?


It is for the Central Tribunal to decide cases which come before them in the ordinary course. They also determine of which of their decisions it is desirable to circulate particulars. I understand that a decision will shortly be circulated with regard to a claim for exemption on conscientious objection based on moral grounds. It is for the tribunal granting an exemption to determine on what work of national importance a man shall be engaged as a condition of exemption.


asked the Home Secretary if he is aware of the conditions under which prisoners are confined in the detention cells at Great Scotland Yard, where, on a recent occasion, some conscientious objectors were detained all night in a cell about 20 ft. by 10 ft., in which about twenty persons were assembled; that there were no sanitary arrangements beyond an open pail for these twenty persons; and will he take immediate steps to have such a state of things altered?


As a result of the inquiries made up to the present in regard to this matter, it has not been found possible to obtain confirmation of the facts as stated in the question. I should be obliged if the hon. Member would furnish me with further particulars as to the date of the occurrence he mentions, and as to the names of any men who were concerned.