§ 45. Mr. SNOWDEN
asked the Prime Minister if the cases of men in prison for refusal to obey military orders on conscientious grounds are now being considered under the scheme recently announced by him; if any decisions have already been arrived at; if any men have been released from prison under this scheme; and if the cases are being considered in the order of the commitment of the men to prison?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; to the second and, consequently, to the third parts in the negative. With regard to the last part of the question, I understand that the order is not yet definitely fixed, but that the cases will be dealt with in the way most convenient to everybody concerned.
§ 46. Mr. SNOWDEN
asked, in view of the contradictory statements which have recently been given, what it is intended to do with conscientious objectors at the end of their terms of imprisonment in cases where the War Office and the advistory tribunal have not accepted the genuineness of the claim of conscientious objection, and in cases where the man has refused to accept alternative civil employment where such has been offered to him; and will the men in both cases be sent back to the Army to repeat past experiences, or will they both be discharged from the Army, or will the two cases be treated differently?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Men whose claims are rejected by the Central Appeal Tribunal will be held to serve in the Army and, on the termination of their terms of imprisonment, will be sent back to their unit. As regards men who refuse to undertake civil employment under the Home Secretary's scheme, I can add nothing to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend on the 17th July.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the statement made on behalf of the Government recently in the House of Lords that these men who refuse to obey military orders will be altogether discharged?
§ 59. Mr. SNOWDEN
asked the Home Secretary if the Committee appointed to prepare a scheme of alternative civil work for conscientious objectors committed to prison has yet formulated such a scheme; and, if so, can he announce the details of the scheme, particularly in regard to the rate of pay, the system of control, whether the conditions will be penal, and if the contract will terminate at the end of the War?
The Committee has submitted proposals which are now the subject of correspondence with the Treasury. As soon as sanction has been obtained for the necessary expenditure, I shall be glad to give the hon. Member further particulars. I can, however, say at once that all conscientious objectors employed by the Committee will be under civilian direction; they will necessarily live and work under control but not under penal conditions, and their employment will expire at the end of the War. I would add that the correspondence with the Treasury is not causing any delay in the application of the scheme, as the Central Tribunal which is investigating the individual cases has not yet forwarded any recommendations.