HC Deb 04 July 1918 vol 107 cc1829-30

asked the Home Secretary if an application has been received from six men employed by the Tudor Lewis Company, Llangadock, South Wales, for release to take up exceptional employment; and, seeing that all these men have had at least sixteen months' service under the Home Office scheme, will he see that they are put on the exceptional employment scheme at once?


I would remind the hon. Member that length of service is not the only qualification for exceptional employment; the industry and conduct of the men concerned have also to be taken into consideration. Of the six men, referred to one has already been authorised to take up the employment proposed by him and another has been informed that he may submit a proposal to the committee. A third was informed in March last that consideration of his case was postponed for four months. The cases of the remaining three men will shortly be considered.


asked the Home Secretary why Thomas Phillips, a conscientious objector, now in Northallerton Prison undergoing his second sentence of two years' imprisonment, has not been allowed to undertake work under the Home Office scheme which he is willing to do; and whether, in view of the mistake of keeping men in prison who are willing to do useful work, he will see that this man's release for some work of national utility is granted?


The report of the Central Tribunal in this case was not such as to enable me to advise Phillips' release for the purpose of employment under the Committee on Employment of Conscientious Objectors. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.


asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the pressing need of men for the Army, he will appoint a Committee or Committees to examine the claims of the conscientious objectors at Princetown and similar camps for exemption from military service; and will he arrange that continued exemption be granted only in the case of those men who can prove by their antecedents and associations prior to the War that their objection to military service is based on religious principle and not on expediency?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. All the men referred to in the question have already been before a committee of the Central Appeal Tribunal, who have reported that they should be treated as conscientious objectors to military service. I doubt whether a second investigation would produce results of any military value.