HC Deb 12 October 1916 vol 86 cc185-6
77. Colonel GRIFFITHS

asked what steps are being taken to prevent men who have been debadged with a view to their enrolment in the Army from being taken and again badged at another controlled works before the military representative can collect them; whether he is aware of the number of such cases constantly occurring; and whether he will arrange for better co-ordination by his Department in this matter?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the direction on this subject contained in the Memorandum of the Man-Power Distribution Board published on 3rd October. Arrangements are being put into force by which every applicant for a badge certificate will be required to sign a declaration covering this point; and badge certificates now being issued bear a statement to the effect that they are invalid as certificates of exemption if issued to a man from whom a badge certificate has already been withdrawn.


Is it not a fact that the Labour Exchanges are working in opposition to the military authorities by offering and finding employment for these very men?


No, Sir; that is not a fact. I was referring in my answer to the new procedure which has been adopted since the 3rd of October. Perhaps my hon. Friend is referring to events which occurred before that time.


If the right hon. Gentleman will make inquiries he will see that what I am referring to is happening to-day. Can he make arrangements so that the Labour Exchanges will not find employment for men of military age without the consent of the military authority?

45 and 46. Colonel NORTON GRIFFITHS

asked the Prime Minister (1) what steps he proposes to take to check the growing evil of the policy whereby numbers of young able-bodied men are sheltered from the operation of the Military Service Act; and whether he will take the necessary steps to debadge all men up to the age of twenty-five, including Irishmen, so that no men up to that age can avoid serving their country, no matter who or what they are; and (2) what steps he proposes to take to meet the demand for additional men for the Army, with a view to preventing any shortage at a critical period similar to that which existed at the time the Military Service Act was brought into force?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

All aspects of this problem are engaging: the constant attention of His Majesty's Government, who have set up the Man-Power Distribution Board to assist them. The Board have already made public certain important recommendations, and are proceeding with their work.