HC Deb 28 January 1918 vol 101 cc1348-50

The register formed under the National Registration Act, 1915 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), shall, in addition to the persons mentioned in Section one of that Act, include the following persons:

  1. (a) All male persons who, not having been liable on the fifteenth day of 1349 August, nineteen hundred and fifteen, to register themselves under the principal Act by reason that on that day they were under the age of fifteen years or were members of some part of His Majesty's Naval Forces or of His Majesty's Regular or Territorial Forces, have, before the passing of this Act, attained the said age, or ceased to be members of any of His Majesty's Forces, or thereafter attain that age or cease to be members of His Majesty's Forces;
  2. (b) All male persons who, having been registered under the principal Act, have subsequently joined any of His Majesty's Forces, and who before the passing of this Act have ceased or thereafter ceased to be members of any such forces,
sand all such persons shall be deemed to be persons required to register themselves under the principal Act, and when registered shall be deemed to be registered under the principal Act.


I beg to move, in paragraph (a), to leave out the word passing," and to insert instead thereof the word "commencement."

The Bill, as drafted, made it the duty of every person coming within the scope of it to be registered either immediately or within a period of twenty-eight days after the passing of the Act. The Government undertook that the necessary forms should be placed at all the principal post offices, and should be there available as soon as possible for those whose duty it was to be registered. It is well known to all Members of this House that the Stationery Office and the Post Office have unusual and exceptional difficulties at the present time. There is very great difficulty in getting matter printed and in getting it delivered in large quantities after it has been printed. We are informed by the Stationery Office and the Post Office that it is improbable that they will be able to place these forms at the principal post offices at the time of the passing of this Bill into law. Therefore, I am going to move an Amendment which will bring this Bill into operation, not at its passing, but at a period of twenty-one days after its passing, in order that a longer time may elapse which will give the Post Office and the Stationery Office an opportunity of obtaining and delivering the forms so that they may be available for all those who are called upon to register themselves. It would be unfair to call upon anybody to register himself and then that he should find the forms will not be available for some considerable time. I ask the House to consent to several formal drafting Amendments, so that we may carry out the Amendment I shall move in substance at the end of the Bill.


I think this is a good idea put forward by the Local Government Board, and I consider I am entitled to say that, because it meets a point which I raised on the Second Reading, that there would be difficulty, both at the Post Office and at the Stationery Office, in obtaining the forms. I hope the right hon. Gentleman is taking sufficient time for this purpose. I understand he is taking twenty-one days after the passing of the Act.




Although the Stationery Office may say they can supply the forms in twenty-one days, my experience is that every person—every Government Department—that offers to supply a thing within a certain time most assuredly takes twice the period to do it. No doubt, in this matter, the Department will secure priority for their demand, but I think we should have a definite assurance that the forms will be available twenty-one days after the passing of the Act.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In paragraph (b) leave out the word "passing," and insert the word "commencement"—[Mr. Fisher.]