§ The Army Council may make arrangements, to take effect during the continuance of the present War, for the transfer to the Reserve of any member of the Regular Forces or for the temporary demobilisation of any member of the Territorial Force, notwithstanding anything in any Act or in the terms of his enlistment, in cases where the transfer or demobilisation appears expedient in the general interests of the country and the Army Council are satisfied that it can be effected under conditions which will render the man transferred or demobilised immediately available for service in the case of military necessity. Provided that during such period of demobilisation the man shall not be subject to military discipline.
§ Amendment made: After the word "of" ["during such period of demobilisation"], insert the words "transfer or."—[Sir G. Cave.]
§ Mr. JOWETT
I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the words "but no such man shall be employed under military orders in any trade or industry."
I did not move to leave out the Clause because of the assurance given by the Government to the effect that its object and purpose is merely to put men into the Reserve in the same manner as men are now in the ordinary circumstances placed in the Reserve. If that be the effect of the Clause, it is impossible to argue against it. But the wording of the Clause is somewhat obscure and suspicious. The Clause says:The Army Council may make arrangements … for the transfer to the Reserve of any member of the Regular Forces.These arrangements may be of a kind that will allow the military authorities to retain a hold on the Reservist who has passed into general industry and limit his choice of any particular district where he might wish to work. That point is rather emphasised by the words later in the Clause: 1486under conditions which will render the men transferred or demobilised immediately available for service in the case of military necessity.I apprehend that there is nothing in the wording to prevent the Army Council making conditions which, in effect, would place such a man under military orders. My Amendment would make the position quite clear.
§ Mr. LONG
I could not possibly accept these words. It is curious that there should still be a lurking suspicion about the purposes for which these Reserves are to be used. It is really a clear-cut, straightforward way out of industrial compulsion. The supposition which is held in certain quarters—it is held by the Mover of the Amendment—that the War Office has some extraordinary power which it can exercise over workmen who are released from military service for industrial employment has no foundation whatever. If with the Colours, a man is under the absolute control of the military authorities. If he goes to the Reserve, he is as free as any other labourer in the country. No restrictions can be imposed upon him. To put in the words would be not only unnecessary but absurd.
§ Amendmet negatived.