HC Deb 01 August 1918 vol 109 cc608-9
48. Mr. CLOUGH

asked the Prime Minister whether, at the conclusion of four years of war, he will advise His Majesty to open the prison doors for all conscientious objectors, but especially for those who have been wrongfully persecuted for conscience sake under Section 2 (1) (d) of the Military Service Act, 1916?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. I cannot accept the suggestion of the hon. Member that any of the men now in prison and claiming to be conscientious objectors have been wrongfully persecuted. All of them have had the opportunity, first, of going before a local tribunal and claiming exemption from military service, and, secondly, of going before the Central Tribunal and asking to be released from prison for civil work of national importance; and those who remain in prison are there either because their claim to be conscientious objectors has been negatived by the tribunals or because they refuse to perform any work of any kind for their country in time of war. Out of mercy to these men the prison rules have been somewhat relaxed in their favour, but I see no reason why they should be wholly released.

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