HC Deb 15 December 1938 vol 342 cc2143-4
4. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider introducing legislation to ensure that conscientious objectors who refuse work connected with national defence should not draw unemployment benefit?

Mr. E. Brown

The Unemployment Insurance Acts contain provisions defining the circumstances in which a refusal of an offer of employment entails disqualification for the receipt of unemployment benefit. I do not contemplate amending these provisions by adding a specific disqualification such as is suggested in the question.

Sir A. Knox

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that such refusal to do work which may be of national importance ought not to be rewarded by the issue of unemployment benefit? Does he think that that is right?

Mr. Brown

I would not state it in those terms at all. The hon. and gallant Member will have the particular case in mind which he raised last week when I pointed out to him that the impartial court of appeal were employers, workers and an independent chairman, and I would point out to the House that, as regards major decisions of the umpire, we have had only one such case in 15 years.

Mr. George Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that Members of this House who do not attend here regularly have their pay stopped?

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