HC Deb 16 March 1916 vol 80 cc2229-32
24. Mr. THOMAS

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the Goole Urban District Council has refused to elect any direct representatives of labour as members of the local tribunal, and that the tribunal has resolved that all its procedure should take place in camera; and, in view of the fact that in this both bodies are acting in direct contravention to the Military Service (Regulations) Order, 1916, whether he will at once take steps to have the law complied with?


According to the information received by me, the local tribunal contains two Labour representatives. I have already been in communication with the local tribunal with regard to the publicity of proceedings. I am communicating with them with regard to the question put by my hon. Friend.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of the tribunals are preventing the Press attending and making reports of their proceedings?


I was not aware of that.

25. Mr. HOGGE

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether the military representative on the tribunals remains with the committee when the applicant has withdrawn and the tribunal is considering its decision; whether the military representative takes any part in the discussion; and whether, in view of the fact that no jury ever takes counsel for one side with it when it retires to consider its verdict, he can see his way to issue instructions that the military representative is not allowed to take any part?


I am of opinion that, generally speaking, if one party to a case is required to withdraw, the other party should also be required to do so. The hon. Member will find the matter dealt with in Page 32 of the publication issued by the Director-General of Recruiting. I do not consider it necessary to issue instructions on the matter.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the advice he has given now is not being acted upon, and will he see that the military representatives withdraw when these cases are being considered?


I am not aware that it is a fact, but I will inquire at the War Office.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many cases the military representative arrogates to himself the right to be a member of the tribunal?

26. Mr. HOGGE

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to two cases before the Edinburgh tribunal on 1st March where one printer, the support of mother, aged sixty-eight, to the extent of 25s. per week was refused exemption, while another printer in the same circumstances, who supported his mother to the extent of 16s. per week, was granted exemption; whether this is to be taken to mean that the more a son gives the less likely is he to get off; and whether he will now take immediate steps to put an end to the lack of uniformity of decisions by which men before the same tribunals or different tribunals receive different treatment?

The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)

My attention has not been called to the cases referred to by my hon. Friend, and I am not aware of the facts proved at the hearing by the local tribunal nor of the grounds of their decisions, but I would remind my hon. Friend that Appeal Tribunals and the Central Tribunal have been appointed with a view to securing greater uniformity in the decision of applications.


Cannot this be dealt with without going to appeal?


Of course I am not able to act on brief and inadequate newspaper reports. I cannot do anything until I have the official report before me.


asked the Undersecretary of State for War whether he has had his attention called to the case which came before the London Appeal Tribunal in which Albert Wood, of Bermondsey, who has a mother and two sisters wholly dependent on him, claimed exemption; whether he is aware that this man was informed at the local tribunal that his mother could go to work and his sisters get a relative to look after them; whether he is aware that the man was told that he had no ground for appeal, and whilst the appeal was pending was enlisted and sent to Ireland; and whether he will cause investigation to be made?


As far as the procedure of the local tribunal is concerned, this is a matter for the Local Government Board, but I am inquiring regarding the statement made in the penultimate part of the question.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the case of men at Brentford who, though attested and awaiting the result of appeals against local tribunals, were arrested as absentees by the military authorities; whether he is aware that the chairman of the bench de- scribed the treatment of these men as disgraceful; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made into the circumstances of their arrest?


Yes, Sir. The case was dealt with at the sitting of the London Appeal Tribunal on Monday, and the War Office representative undertook that the matter should be properly dealt with. Communications were sent out immediately from the War Office setting the necessary investigation on foot.


(by Private Notice) asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the tribunal for the Llandilo Fawr district of Carmarthenshire conducts its proceedings in camera, and that the military representative has since the 2nd of March been actually sitting as a member of such tribunal, and whether he will take immediate steps to request the tribunal to comply with the Regulations?


I have no knowledge of the matter, but I will communicate with the local tribunal.

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