HC Deb 22 March 1917 vol 91 cc2040-2
24. Major NEWMAN

asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether the transference of conscientious objectors employed on work of national importance from Warwick and other places to Dartmoor has been completed; can he give the number of such men now at Dartmoor and the general nature of the work on which they are engaged; and what is the rate of their pay per day or week, and who is responsible for their discipline?


Before this question is answered, may I ask what right the hon. Member (Major Newman) has to pry into the work conscientious objectors are forced to do when the hon. Member is drawing two salaries, and refuses to go to the front although posing as a soldier?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. The number of men now at Dartmoor is 407, and I understand that the Committee propose shortly to transfer to Dartmoor the majority of the men now at Wakefield and the whole of the men now employed at Warwick, except a few who will be employed on cultivating the land adjoining Warwick Prison. The men at Dartmoor will be employed on the large farm adjoining the buildings, and on the reclamation of land for agricultural purposes. The men are paid 8d. a day, and the former Governor of the Prison is, subject to the Committee on the Employment of Conscientious Objectors, responsible for their discipline.


Hear, hear. They have done their bit, which he has not.

89. Colonel YATE

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he can give an estimate of the number of conscientious objectors now employed as teachers in elementary and other schools; and what steps have been taken, or are to be taken, to eliminate this class of teacher from our schools in future?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Herbert Fisher)

I am unable to form any estimate. The employment of teachers is a matter for the local education authorities, governing bodies and managers of schools, and there is no reason to believe that they are not competent to deal with the question.

Colonel YATE

Considering the examples we have had before us, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that a little recommendation to the local authorities to be more careful in future would be advisable?


I am by no means convinced that in present circumstances an inquisition by the State in a matter which the law recognises as one of conscience would be right or wise.