HC Deb 14 March 1917 vol 91 cc1060-1

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he will consider the advisability of advising the Central Tribunal to consider as an alternative to prison for conscientious objectors deemed to be genuine those who express willingness to serve with the Friends' Ambulance Unit and who are acceptable to that organisation; and whether he will take steps to make use of the willing services of these men rather than send them to prison when not prepared to undertake work under the Home Office scheme?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Macpherson)

My hon. Friend doubtless realises that the function of the Central Tribunal in these cases, which they are kind enough to investigate on behalf of the War Office, is limited to reporting as to the conscientious objection of the men; they do not decide the work on which men may be employed. In the course of their investigations, however, they make representations to the War Office, giving their opinion as to whether particular cases could suitably be met by transfer to the Non-Combatant Corps or the Friends' Ambulance Unit. These representations are very carefully considered by the Army Council, and I think that I can say that in every case they have been met,


asked whether Emanuel Ribeiro is still confined to Lord Derby's war hospital near Warrington for conscience sake; whether he is still being forcibly fed; whether he is in solitary confinement in a very cold bedroom and has to stay in bed all day to keep warm; is he denied the visits of friends and not allowed to leave his room even to go to the lavatory; whether he is aware that he has a wife and five young children at home; and whether, under the Military Service Act, he is entitled to complete exemption?


I am sorry that I am not yet in a position to answer my hon. Friend, but I will let him know as soon as possible.