HC Deb 10 July 1916 vol 84 cc24-5

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he will take action in the case of an applicant for exemption on conscientious grounds who was informed by the chairman of the Glasgow Tribunal that he had proved his claim, but that it must be rejected, as he could not be permitted to set his conscience against the interests of the State?


If my hon. Friend will furnish me with the name of the applicant and the date of the hearing I will inquire as to the facts.

76. Mr. E. HARVEY

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the treatment of Mr. E. Palme Dutt, a senior classical scholar of Balliol College, Oxford, and a conscientious objector to military service, who, while awaiting court-martial at Aldershot contracted a feverish chill and was ordered by the doctor to be taken to hospital; whether he is aware that Mr. Dutt was removed to hut C 7, practically all the occupants of which were Army convicts undergoing sentence and mainly suffering from venereal disease; and, seeing that the precautions against contagion were inadequate, whether he will take steps to prevent the recurrence of such treatment of conscientious objectors and to remedy the conditions which make such an occurrence possible in the case of any other soldier?


I am obliged to the hon. Member for drawing attention to this state of affairs. Steps are being taken immediately to remedy them.

88. Mr. HARVEY

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in spite of Army Order X. of 25th May conscientious objectors to military service still continue to be sentenced to detention instead of imprisonment, and are therefore sent to detention barracks instead of civil prisons; and whether he is taking any steps to secure that the intention of the Government that such men should be transferred to civil prisons should be generally carried out without the delay caused by sentences of detention?


It has been repeatedly pointed out that if soldiers are submitting to the summary award of their commanding officer, instead of claiming trial by court-martial under Section 46 (8) of the Army Act, sentences of detention are no doubt continuing to be inflicted, and it is not possible in law to prevent such procedure. I am not aware, that a single case of detention has been inflicted by a court-martial since the Army Order has had time to be fully circulated. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the intentions of the Army Order are being fully carried out, and the only "delay caused by sentences of detention"arises, if such be the case, through the fault of the men themselves.