§ 51. Mr. ROWLANDS
asked the Prime Minister what committees have been appointed in connection with the combing out of the Government Departments; and whether he is aware that some of the members of the committees are of military age?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of NATIONAL SERVICE (Mr. Beck)
My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. As already announced in the Press, a panel has been appointed from which military service committees will be selected to review exemptions held by men of military age employed in all Government Departments. A preliminary meeting of the panel will be held in the course of the next few days, at which the selection of the committees will be finally arranged. The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative.
§ Mr. ROWLANDS
Is my hon. Friend aware of the great amount of annoyance caused to men who are called up by men who themselves ought to be serving?
§ Mr. BECK
That is not the question. The military age has been extended to fifty-one. This is a policy for which the House has pressed, and the Ministry with which I have the honour to be connected has established a panel of persons who will go through the Government Departments with a view of discovering what men, I think under the age of forty-three, can be spared for the fighting force.
Is the panel composed of men who are now serving in the Army or Navy, or of civilians, or of both?
Why need men of military age be put on the panel? Is it beyond the competence of this House to discover men above military age who are fitted to be on this committee?
§ Major HUNT
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether all the members of these committees will be altogether disinterested in the sense that they will not have anything to do with the Departments?