HC Deb 04 July 1916 vol 83 cc1345-7
7. Mr. KING

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he has inquired into the case of E. F. Lawley, who was granted by' the Croydon Local Tribunal absolute exemption, but who has been nine times subsequently before the tribunals, local and Appeal; whether he is aware that this case is, after months of delays and adjournments, not yet settled and that Lawley, who is a capable clerk, has been thus thrown out of all employment; and whether, in view of Lawley being a man of slight physique and declared by medical authority to be quite unfit for any military service, he will now instruct the military authorities to close their persecution of a man who can in no case become an efficient soldier?


I have inquired into this case and I am sorry that my hon. Friend should have been misled into using the word "persecution" in connection with it. Mr. Lawley was granted exemption from cambatant service only by the Surrey Appeal Tribunal and applied to the local tribunal for a review of his certificate and declared willingness to undertake work of national importance. It is true that his case came before the tribunal on the 13th April, 16th, 22nd and 25th May, and 2nd, 8th and 16th June, and on every occasion was adjourned either at his direct request (I would ask my hon. Friend to note this) or solely with a view of giving him time to find suitable employment. At last, on the 22nd June, Mr. Lawley stated that he had an offer of educational work. The necessary inquiries were made and on the 30th June the tribunal granted Mr. Lawley a certificate of exemption conditional on his remaining in scholastic employment. I suggest that it would have been fairer if my hon. Friend had carried his researches into this case somewhat deeper. If he had done so, I venture to think he would have abstained from presenting it in a false light.

Colonel YATE

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is safe to entrust the education of our youth to men of this sort?


I do not think he will have much opportunity of inculcating our youth with these principles.


asked the Under-Secretary for War how far tribunals have been supplied with Instructions R86; and is he aware that many members of the tribunals have no knowledge of any such Instructions being issued, and that, consequently, sole proprietors of businesses are not receiving any of the considerations they are entitled to under those Instructions?


Copies of the Instructions were sent on the 8th ultimo to all tribunals. Additional copies may be obtained, if requested. There is, therefore, no reason why members of tribunals should not be acquainted with the Instructions.


asked the Under-Secretary for War whether his attention has been called to the reversal of the exemption granted by the Widnes Tribunal to Mr. James A. Hill, manager of Messrs. Bibby and Baron, Limited, by the Liverpool Appeal Tribunal; whether he is aware that the firm transferred their machinery from Bury to Widnes because of the difficulty of securing sufficient female labour; that this transfer took place after consultation with the superintendent of the Labour Exchange of Warrington and district, and after several appeals from the Widnes Exchange on account of the amount of unemployed female labour there; whether he is aware that Mr. Hill is the only eligible man employed by the firm who has not enlisted and the only man capable of managing the concern and adjusting the machinery, the only other man employed at Widnes being a disabled and discharged soldier; whether he, is aware that the military representative appealed from the decision of the Widnes Tribunal and gave the Appeal Tribunal to understand that the undertaking was a new one only open two months; whether he is aware that this statement led the Appeal Tribunal to refuse to listen to any explanation and to decline to allow any appeal, although the statement was entirely correct, no new machinery being employed; and whether, in view of the fact that Mr. Hill is indispensable if the women and girls are not to be thrown out of employment, the military representative can be instructed to assent to the rehearing of the appeal, or some other method be found of securing a hearing on appeal of the full facts of the case?


I am obtaining information about this matter, but it has not reached me yet.