HC Deb 07 August 1918 vol 109 cc1325-6
17. Major CHAPPLE

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the improved and promising military position of the Allies, the approach of winter when less fighting on the Western Front will be done, the demonstration by America of the numbers and fighting qualities of the troops she has sent and is sending to the Allied battle fronts, and the interference with trade, commerce, and industry that is resulting from the conscription of men who are the mainstay of great national and vital interests, he will take steps to modify the demand made by the military authorities for such men?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)

I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that all the considerations referred to in the question are being taken into account by the Government.

Colonel ASHLEY

Are we to understand that the Government still wish to continue the disastrous policy of conscripting men over forty-five?


We do not wish to continue any disastrous policy. Certainly we do not wish to take away men from essential industries if it can be avoided.

Colonel ASHLEY

Are these men of any use in the firing line?


It is obvious that these men would not be taken unless those who are more competent to judge than either my hon. Friend or I can possibly be thought they should be taken.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give any hope of a modification if conditions improve?


Yes; certainly I have that hope.


Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the position of conscientious objectors before he continues taking these men from their business?