HC Deb 28 February 1917 vol 90 cc2013-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he has now received a report regarding the police raid upon a trade union organised meeting for shop assistants in Glasgow on 9th February; whether he has investigated the allegations that, though directly inspired by the military authorities, the raid was actually instigated by certain employers in the wholesale drapery trade for the purpose of breaking up the meeting and intimidating their employés against joining the union; will he state the justification for the raid, seeing that these wholesale firms have to provide to the military authorities a list of all men of military age in their employment; will he state whether the raid resulted in the arrest of any military absentee; and what steps are to be taken to prevent the spread of such methods?


One of the difficulties of the military authorities is to maintain the accuracy of the military register, and to secure this object systematic examination of registration cards and military papers is undertaken periodically. After one series of these investigations had taken place and become known through the Press, it was the experience of the War Office that a large number of persons reported corrections to the military authorities throughout the country. The provision of lists of employed by employers is only one means of keeping the military registers in order, and by itself is of no real value without accurate registration. There was no raid on the meeting in Glasgow. After the business of the meeting was over, the purpose of the visit was explained to the officials of the meeting, and the examination proceeded without disturbance. I cannot find that there is any foundation for my hon. Friend's suggestion that the visit was instigated by the wholesale drapery trade employers. There was no intention of arresting anyone at the meeting.


I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter to-morrow on, the Army Estimates.