HC Deb 02 September 1939 vol 351 cc221-41

2.51 p.m.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision for securing and controlling the enlistment of men for service in the armed forces of the Crown; and for purposes connected with the matter aforesaid. The object of the Bill to which the Motion refers is to render all fit male British subjects of the ages of 18 to 40 inclusive liable to be called up for service in the armed forces of the Crown during the war emergency. The Bill itself does not in general directly place a liability on these our fellow-citizens to be called up for service, but it provides for a Pro- clamation to be issued from time to time. By this means it will be possible to issue Proclamations as and when required making the various age groups liable to be called up for service. It is not intended at the outset that any considerable number of men other than those already liable shall be called up. Steps will be taken to ensure that the man-power essentially required by industry shall not be taken away. I do not propose to discuss at large the issues underlying the Bill. They were discussed at great length when we discussed the Military Training Act earlier in the year, and I think I shall be best serving the interests of the House and the country if I point out two things.

The first is that this Bill follows very closely the provisions of the Military Training Act, and where there are differences I propose to point out where they are. I should like to add that they arise, of course, from the fact that this is not a Bill to deal with one group of citizens for training but is a Bill to deal with the enlistment for service of all those from 18 to 40. Therefore, there are arrangements in the Military Training Act which are inappropriate to the Bill which is the subject of this Motion. Will the House, therefore, allow me to make an observation or two about the structure of the Bill? Men liable to be called up for service will be required to register. They will be medically examined; they will receive their enlistment notice. The procedure for these purposes will be similar to that which has been applied in respect of militiamen under the Military Training Act. I believe that whatever arguments there may have been about that Act, it is agreed that the machinery of it has worked wonderfully well. The classes exempted from liability are similar to those under the Military Training Act, except that a new class has been added; namely, any citizen who is in Holy Orders or a regular minister of any religious denomination is also exempt. The Bill, like the Act, does not apply to Northern Ireland or to the Isle of Man, but there is power in it to extend it to the Isle of Man by Order-in-Council.

The provisions of the Military Training Act regarding anticipation and postponement of liability to register are not wholly applicable to men liable to be called up for service under this Bill. There is, however, provision for the postponement of liability to serve in the Forces on the ground of exceptional hardship, and the provisions of the Military Training Act with regard to hardship committees and appeals to the umpire have been maintained in the present Bill. Similarly, in respect of conscientious objectors, the Clause in the Bill is almost identical with the corresponding Section of the Military Training Act. Under the Bill, as under the Military Training Act, a person with conscientious scruples may either finally be registered on the register of conscientious objectors, conditionally registered on that register, or registered as a person liable to be employed only on non-combatant duties. The only alteration from the provisions of the Military Training Act is in respect of those who are conditionally registered, and that arises from the fact that it would be quite inappropriate when we are discussing a Bill for the duration of a war merely to have proposals for training. It is proposed, therefore, to add to that a proposal which will be found in the Bill about civilian work. There is another proposal which is not in the original Bill. It has been found that there are a very few conscientious objectors — at the moment I know of only three — who have refused to register for conscience, and the Bill provides in cases of this kind that the Minister may, if he has grounds for believing that the man has a conscientious objection, provisionally register him on the register of conscientious objectors and refer his case to the appropriate tribunal. This will avoid the present difficulty of such men being placed on the military training register.

I have one word to say about a Clause similar to Section 14 of the Military Training Act which is included in the Bill in order to deal with what is known as the "cat and mouse procedure," which is known to the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones). That, of course, is inappropriate in the circumstances, where we are dealing with service overseas and not with training in Great Britain, and it has been altered accordingly. The safeguard required by the House at that time is, of course, retained. The provisions of the Military Training Act with regard to reinstatement in civilian employment have been included in the Bill. Under the Military Training Act employers are required to take a man back if they can. It is recognised that in the circumstances envisaged by this Bill, which are entirely different from those under the Act, it may be much more difficult to include such a, provision. Nevertheless, it is felt that what has always been the practice of the good employer should continue to receive the sanction of this House, and, therefore, it is included in the Bill.

The Military Training Act gives power by Order in Council to make provision for consequential matters. This power was used exceptionally for the particular group of persons called up under the Military Training Act, but, of course, the situation now is quite different. A power of this kind for war time purposes is necessary, and the requisite provision has been made in a number of emergency Acts passed last night, such as the Courts (Emergency Powers) Act and the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restriction Act. It is felt that these and other Acts ought to be sufficient for all the purposes we envisage, but if experience should show that that is not the case it is proposed in this Bill to give His Majesty power by Order in Council to make provision for such matters. I think I have explained every major difference between the Act and the Bill, and as the need now is for action I do not propose to add anything more to this explanation of the Bill, which does mark a major departure in our national policy and, backed as it will be by this House, will show the world what we mean in this emergency.

3.0 p.m.

Mr. Greenwood

On the occasion when a similar Bill was before the House I spoke and voted against it. I am still an anti-conscriptionist at heart and I do not suppose that my attitude will ever change; but, since that last Act was passed, an entirely new situation has been created for us. We have agreed, therefore, in the event of a Division being challenged on the Second Reading — subject to those who are entitled to exercise their conscience rights — to support the Second Reading of the Bill in the Division Lobby. We are somewhat disturbed at the extension of the Bill to youths from 18 to 20 years of age. We should have preferred the Government to keep their original conscription age of 20 and work up, if need be, above the 41. From now, and on the Committee stage to-morrow, I hope that the Government will give earnest consideration to this point.

On these benches, I think we know more than hon. Members on the other side what a dictatorship victory would mean. I had many friends in the old Germany, up to 1933. I had many friends in Austria later than that. I had many friends in Czecho-Slovakia up to the middle of March this year. I know that the people who will feel to the fullest degree all that Nazism means here are the people for whom we speak, and we are clear, as I think has been shown to this House, that we must take all appropriate means to bring this war to a speedy and successful conclusion. My further reason for support of the Bill is that I believe it must be made clear to our allies, and more especially to Poland on whom the blow has fallen, and to all nations friendly and unfriendly, that the whole of our human and material resources will be thrown behind those who are the victims of aggression. This is not the time for cheap heroics and for talking about fighting to the last man and the last penny, but it must be made known to the world that we do not enter lightly upon great undertakings of this kind, and that when we do, we must do it fully and completely. It may be that we shall not need all the men who might be brought under the Bill; the essential thing is that our resources in men and material should be properly organised to secure the maximum effect. There may be — there will be — work at home as vital as there may be overseas. Work in dungarees will be as vital as in uniform.

That brings me to a further point of great importance and I take this, the first opportunity, of making it. Men are to be taken into the Army. At the moment large numbers are already under arms and at their stations, prepared to make the supreme sacrifice. In our view — and this is no new view, because it was expressed in the last great War — that spirit must be applied to all our activities and to all our people. I ask that profiteering should be stopped. He who seeks personal gain in these times is a traitor to his country. I speak strongly on this matter, but not in any controversial spirit when I say that on this side we will not tolerate the creation of war fortunes this time. I would rather that rot was stopped now than try to filch part of their ill-earned wealth. I know that it is not the Minister's province to reply to this point which I am making merely, as I say, in order to make our position clear, but I would go further and ask that as much as possible of the burden of expenditure should be borne now, and that we should, as far as practicable — it is not completely practicable — pay as we go, rather than leave a crushing and intolerable burden of debt to be borne by an impoverished people facing the biggest problems of reconstruction we have ever had to face in our history.

I have said hard and vindictive words in the past about the rich, but I am not being vindictive about the rich now. Nevertheless, we must conserve our resources as far as possible. We must, if need be, go short of many things now, in order that we may, when this dreadful catastrophe is over, grapple with economic and social problems the magnitude of which, at this time, we can hardly understand. It is important that our resources should be as strong as possible. I ask, also, in order that we should conserve our resources now, that every effort should be made to control the prices of the essential supplies. Any profiteering in the necessities of life falls most heavily upon the poor. There are many to-day wishful to evacuate themselves, but they have no resources. The well-to-do have already evacuated themselves in large numbers — and I am not complaining about that, because the fewer people in London who are not wanted the better, in these difficult times. I am merely saying that on the backs of the poor the heaviest burdens really fall. It would be unforgiveable, I think, if early and most effective steps were not taken to keep the cost of the necessaries of life at a reasonable level. I have said — and I said it with a very sad heart — that we shall support the Second Reading of this Bill, in the conviction not merely that it may be needed at some future date, but that it may give great encouragement and new spirit to those who to-day are facing the bombs of the dictators.

3.11 p.m.

Sir Percy Harris

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that at a time when life is being conscripted, private individuals should not be allowed to exploit the national need. This is a very important Bill — one of the most important that we have considered during the last 20 years — but, with the enemy almost at our gates and the national safety threatened, normal procedure must be suspended, and this Bill must go through all its stages as rapidly as possible. I am glad that the Government are not demanding that the procedure adopted yesterday should be applied to this Bill. This Bill is far too important in its effect on the lives of the people not to be subjected to the closest scrutiny of the House of Commons. Most hon. Members had not seen the provisions of the Bill until the last few minutes. I have had it in my hands — and the fact that I had it then is largely why I am speaking for my party — only since one o'clock. This is not merely a Measure of the character of the Military Training Act. It goes far beyond that in its magnitude and aims. That is why I am glad that we are following this procedure, in order that the Bill may have a proper Committee stage and Report stage tomorrow, and that the Third Reading may be taken, if necessary, on Monday, although it may be found possible to take it to-morrow.

There is a fundamental difference between this Bill and the Military Training Act. This is a Military Service Bill. As I understand it, it makes people liable for military service not merely at home but abroad; liable not merely to be trained, but to take up arms wherever the Government may think fit. I have a very vivid recollection of the Act of 1916, which first introduced compulsory service into this country. It caused very bitter controversy, and, even in those exceptional times, prolonged debates and a number of divisions. I think the danger to-day is very much greater than it was then. It may be that we are more accustomed, perhaps owing to war conditions, to departures from the fundamental principles of the British people, but we have an instinctive antipathy to any form of compulsion. Yet we have to accept these provisions, in the abnormal circumstances which exist.

The fundamental difference between this Bill and the Act of 1916 is that in that Act provision was made for the calling up of categories in rotation. In this Measure all the power is concentrated in the Government to make regulations, though it is true that those regulations are to be subject to the approval of the House of Commons. In the 1916 Act provision was made that unmarried men and widowers should first become liable to service. I think we should have some indication as to the kind of regulations it is proposed to draw up under this Measure. Will there be distinctions of that kind? Will single men without dependants be a priority class under these regulations, or will all the sections be called up, according to age, as the needs of the country become clear?

Reference has been made to the important question of the lower age limit being fixed at 18 instead of 20. I remember that during the last War that was a point of considerable controversy. There was a strong feeling that, if possible, the age limit should be higher. The age suggested was 19. But if the right hon. Gentleman will make it clear that this lower age is an emergency age, and that Regulations will be made on the principle that, unless it is necessary, that younger age group will not be called up, and, on the other hand, that the Regulations will give priority to single men over married men, that will do much, I think, to alay controversy. Parliament has a grave responsibility. Yesterday reference was made to the extraordinary calm, patience and good temper of the nation in the face of the tragic problems which confront us; but the people are looking to the House of Commons to discharge its historic duty of scrutinising all legislation, and we should be failing in our duty if, when we came to the Committee stage to-morrow, we did not put this Bill under the miscroscope. While it will be approached in a non-party spirit, with a desire to ease the task of the Government, I hope that every hon. Member, irrespective of where he sits, will endeavour to see that when this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament it will not unfairly distribute the responsibility which it places on every household in the country.

3.19 p.m.

Mr. Maxton

My hon. Friends and I still believe that the principles that justified us in opposing the Bill for compulsory military service a month or so ago and the reasons postulated in 1916 for the opposition to compulsory military service are still as cogent as they were at those times. There is no change in the principle, and, therefore, I have to inti- mate my opposition to this Measure. I am not quite clear about the procedure that the House proposes to adopt: whether the House is going to take all these First Reading Notices of Motion and then to take the Second Readings, or whether it is proposed to proceed with the Second Reading of this Bill immediately after the First Reading is passed. [Interruption.] We are not on the Second Reading now.

Mr. E. Brown

The procedure that has been adopted is to discuss the principles of the Bill on the terms of the Motion, and to take the Second Reading formally.

Mr. Maxton

I am only trying to find this out, because I do not want to put the House to any more inconvenience than is absolutely necessary, or to delay the proceedings. Therefore, we will record our vote against this Notice of Motion and will consider that that vote covers the Second Reading. On the details of the Measure, I want to associate myself with what has been said by the Leader of the Opposition and the spokesman of the Liberal party about the very young men, and to press the Government very strongly to give that their most earnest consideration between now and the Committee stage.

I want to associate myself, also, with the remarks which have been made about some corresponding provision dealing with private profit. I do not know that that is really within the scope of this Measure, but the Government would not be doing the right thing by the people of this country as a whole unless some corresponding Measure is very speedily introduced which will deal with property along parallel lines to the way in which it is proposed to deal with human life here. Further, if the House, as I hope, is going to remain in constant session, I do not see why there should be this demand for all these age groups from 18 to 41. If we are going to be engaged there is no difficulty in the way of the Government coming to the House and asking for further age groups as they are required. This seems to me to be asking for a very sweeping power.

I cannot blind my eyes to the fact that this is not merely military conscription, but is in essence industrial conscription also for every man from 18 to 41. This decides where he is to be and where he is to serve in a much more definite way than did the Military Training Act that we previously opposed. I am not here going into my basic reasons for opposing this Bill, but I enter my protest against the belief that war can achieve things. We are particularly against the view that any good can come to working class people in any of the countries in Europe as a result of armed force either in this country or any other. I have in my own feeble way had to propound that philosophy in this House on other occasions, and I am not going to repeat it now in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, but simply intimate that our opposition to this Measure is maintained in keeping with our general political approach.

3.25 p.m.

Colonel Wedgwood

I hope the House will forgive me if I am a little old-fashioned, but I still believe that every country is best defended by the free spirit of its citizens, and I cannot welcome this Measure as wholeheartedly as some others do. But I was one of those who cheered the right hon. Gentleman the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition when he said that his party would stand behind the Government on this Bill. I shall certainly do so myself because, after all, inter arma silent leges when war is on we cannot tie ourselves closely to high principles and sincerely held doctrines. I would say to right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench who are now engaged seeing this country through a long war which we must win, that there is another thing upon which they may reflect. This war is likely to last a long time, it may be a decade. [Hon. Members: "Cheer up."] We cannot get at them nor they at us. So it will, perhaps, last a long time. Success will depend not solely on the organisation of force now, but upon the continuation of our financial soundness, of our export trade, and of our carrying trade and manufactures. These, in difficult circumstances must not be unduly hampered by Government interference. Remember the ordinary trade of the country. In the long run, our one advantage over the Germans is that we can, thanks to the British Fleet, carry on as usual. We can do, as we did in the Napoleonic wars, build up overseas trade in spite of the war; but if we are to do that, we must not have too much interference with normal production, and, just as at the beginning of the last War we were urged by the Government of that day to keep our heads up and carry on business as usual, it is far more important now, when we have not got a sudden call, but a prolonged struggle of endurance before us. We should be advised by the statesmen of Great Britain to carry on our business as usual with a firm upper lip and without too much sandbagging and A.R.P.

I agreed wholeheartedly with what the right hon. Gentleman the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition said when he demanded that there should not be sacrifices by one class of the community only. During these last few days we have seen the working-class kept in London at their jobs in the shops and in the market place, while the better-class people have fled to the country. I would here and now urge the better-class people of this country to remember that they occupy that position by setting a good example. The example that has to be shown now is to teach people courage and endurance and coolness; that it is not desirable to think only of themselves, but of all the vast mass of people who cannot, and who do not intend to, escape from London. War makes us all one family, and if we keep before us the fact that we must carry on business as usual we shall do a great deal to help those people who are undergoing great risks in trying to keep business going. It is pathetic now to go through the shops of London, even the banks, and to find them empty. Many businesses are being ruined to-day unnecessarily.

The situation, the crisis, is not really so dangerous as it has been painted. A week ago I betted the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) that there will not be a bomb dropped on London in the next six months. Even now I do not wish to hedge that bet. It is desirable to remember that this Bill. and other Bills like it which will be introduced by the Government, must not be espoused solely with the desire to put everybody in their proper place. We must recollect the main thing, and that is to allow people to carry on their occupations, and support the prosperity of the country during the next six months as during the last six years. In that way we shall best face up to Hitler and to cure the people in this country who are unduly terrified of Hitler.

3.32 p.m.

Captain Sir Derrick Gunston

I hope the House will bear with me for a moment while I raise one specific point on the Bill. I should like to ask the Secretary of State for War how this Measure will affect those whose service was postponed under the Military Training Act. He will remember that undergraduates at the universities were allowed to postpone their service. In fact, they were compelled to postpone their service. Now, those undergraduates who have had their service postponed until next year are unable to serve, although many of them are very anxious to serve. Can my right hon. Friend tell us whether this new Act will abolish the postponement of the service which was granted under the Military Training Act?

3.33 p.m.

Major Milner

This Bill at the present juncture, as the whole House must feel, is essential, first, for the successful prosecution of the conflict upon which we are about to embark, secondly, in order to ensure fairness between man and man; and, thirdly, as a gesture to our friends in other countries, a warning to our enemies, and a concrete indication of our determination to see this matter through. I do, however, want to make a very strong plea to the Government to take heed of what was said by my right hon. Friend the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition in regard to the question of age. There are three reasons which, I hope, may cause the Government to raise the age limit from 18 to 20. In the first place, it must be distasteful to the older men, as it is to me, that boys of 18 should be called up and have to fight and endure hardships and secrifices which we older ones know will be necessary. In the second place, I think that in the national interest, having in mind the great inroads that war must of necessity make on the youth of our nation, we should see to it that some of our youth are left to carry on in the future. The nation has suffered in the last 20 years through sending so many of its youth into the last War. Thirdly, there is no real utility in sending youths of from 18 to 20 into the armed Forces.

I speak from practical experience, as I am sure many others are able to do, in regard to this particular matter. I speak particularly of youths in the infantry. Many who were sent out in the dark days of March, April and May of 1918 were not, we must admit, fully trained. Their courage and determination, indeed their recklessness, was unexceptional, and none of us would for a moment cast .1 single stone at those who served at that age, but from practical experience we must know that these youths have not the strength and the experience which are really necessary. Particularly, may I say I do not think that man-power is going to count to the extent that it did in the last conflict. It will be a matter more of mechanics than of man-power. Therefore, I hope the right hon. Gentleman and the Government will consider raising the age at the other end, from 40 or 41. I am not sure what the age was that we reached in the last War, but I am sure that the older men would prefer that the age was raised at their end rather than youths of 18 to 20 should be taken in this way. If the Government could see their way to make that alteration it would not only lighten many a mother's heart, but I am certain that they could do so without any real loss to our fighting efficiency.

3.38 p.m.

Mr. Gallacher

I should like to say a few words in connection with this very important and far-reaching Measure. It is necessary that a few general observations should be made. Just as I was ready to make any sacrifice to save the peace of Europe and to save the people of this country from the horrors of war, so I will stick at no sacrifice to ensure the defeat of Nazi aggression, and to restore lasting peace to the world. In considering this Bill, however, we have not only to take into account the armed forces. The most important factor in the trial that lies before us is the unity of the working classes and the people of this country. That is the determining factor, and it is in the light of that factor that we must consider this Bill. I am certain that the working classes and the people of the country, faced with the situation that has been forced upon them, will be prepared to take what measures are necessary in order to ensure the end of the horror at the earliest possible moment. But if we are to have a Bill of this kind, and if we are going to have the man-power of this country placed at the disposal of the Government, then that Government must represent the truest and best interests of the people of the country.

Unless you have such a Government it is dangerous to the unity of the people to introduce such a Bill as this. It should be a Government composed of men of vision who are looking to the creation of a new and better world out of the shame and horror which have come upon us, and I say that if this Bill is to be applied to the people of this country, the Government must be drawn from the best forces in this House, and that the men of Munich must be excluded from that Government. I support the suggestion made by the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition regarding Amendments to the Bill, but I cannot support a Government which has been responsible for so many tragic blunders carrying out the responsibilities which the Bill entails. Let us have a Government which will inspire confidence in the people at home. In that case the men who betrayed democracy a year ago will have to go.

3.43 p.m.

Viscountess Astor

I am aware that the House does not want to listen to speeches, but I should like to support the plea made by the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner) and ask the Government if it is possible to hold back boys under 20 and not send them to the front. I do not say that from any point of view of my own, because my sons are all over 20, but war service has a psychological effect on boys which affects them for life. I remember the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) talking about the matter to me. Really we cannot afford it. I am leaving out the question of mothers. No matter what age your son is, it is the same. I am thinking about the good of the country, and I hope it will be possible to keep boys under 20 at home. I am sure that that is the wish of the House and of the country.

3.44 p.m.

Mr. Bellenger

I hope the House will grant me a little indulgence. I am not one who makes long speeches although it may be that I speak quite often. I rise to correct the impression which was left on my mind by the speech of the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). If at this time, when the Poles are facing their aggressors with determination and bravery, we are going to enter into war in the spirit which the right hon. and gallant Member showed, then we have partly lost the war before we enter it. This is not a time for speeches like that which the right hon. and gallant Member made. I suggest that the spirit of the people of this country is that they will see the matter through whatever it costs. When the right hon. and gallant Member talks about a 10 years' war he may be right. I do not know, although I do not think it will last as long as that. If the people of this country go into it with the right spirit it will not last as long as that. At any rate, we do not want our people to listen to mournful speeches like that of the right hon. and gallant Member. Although we cannot hide from them for one moment the effect of war — they will know it without any attempt on our part to hide it — we must endeavour to elevate their spirit. The right hon. and gallant Member is old-fashioned in his outlook. I admire it sometimes, and I hope he will still display the old spirit and courage he showed in the last War:

Colonel Wedgwood

The hon. Member knows perfectly well that I believe that this war has got to be won, and it will be won by the free spirit of our people. I want them to understand that they are not going to be killed by imaginary bombs from imaginary aeroplanes.

Mr. Bellenger

I much prefer that speech to the one which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman made. That is all I want to say. As far as the 18– 20 men are concerned, whether we are going to have large masses of men engaged or not I do not know, but it might be a gesture which, I think, it can well afford at this time.

3.46 p.m.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Hore-Belisha)

Very few words are called for by way of reply, but I will try to answer the three questions which have been put to the Government. The first was whether we intend to proceed by calling up classes in age groups; it was a question put by the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris): It is the intention of the Government to call up the classes of age groups in an orderly manner. The next question was whether we intended to begin with the 18 age group, and some apprehensions were expressed upon the point. We have taken note of the observations which have fallen from hon. Members. We have selected the range of ages between 18 and 41 as representing the most vigorous manhood of the nation, but it does not in the least follow from the fact that we have begun at the age of 18 for the purposes of the Bill, that we intend to call up that class as the initial class. I think that matter can be safely left in the hands of the Government. [Hon. Members: "No."] At any rate, I can say that the Government have been impressed by what has been said, and there is nothing in the Bill to compel us to take the 18 age group first.

Mr. McGovern

There is nothing in the Bill to prevent it.

Mr. Hore-Belisha

We do not know how long the struggle will last.

Mr. Sorensen

The right hon. Gentleman will realise that boys of 18 and 20 are not yet citizens, and that they are, therefore, in a somewhat different category altogether from other people. Would it not be an excellent gesture to say that that category should not be the first called upon to serve?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I do not think there is any need for the hon. Member to impress the point upon the Government and I think I have gathered the feeling of those who have made the point. The hon. and gallant Member for Thornbury (Sir D. Gunston) asked a question about young men who had obtained postponement under the Military Training Act, whether they would come within the ambit of this Bill. Most certainly. For all intents and purposes the Military Training Act falls to the ground and is replaced by this Bill, and they will fall within their age groups. They will be entitled to seek postponement in the way provided in the Bill.

Sir D. Gunston

The postponement allowed under the Act automatically ceases?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

If his age group is proclaimed he will have to make another application, but he can be exempted from the necessity of re-registering. It is a matter of machinery. I think I have answered the points that have been made —

Mr. Mander

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the point put by my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris)?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

That is exactly what I began by doing.

Mr. Mander

I am referring to my hon. Friend's question as to whether there would be any differentiation between married and single men?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

No, Sir; unless exceptional hardship would occur, it is intended to proceed by age groups, as in all other countries. We all share the

opinion expressed by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) that no good can come, not only to the working classes, but to any other section of the people, from war. It is not by our choice that we introduce a Measure of this kind, to meet the present emergency. The Debate began with an offer from the right hon. Gentleman opposite, made with some emphasis, to give the Government support, and one must acknowledge the spirit of the speeches which the right hon. Gentleman has made throughout our proceedings. One can only express the hope that that attitude of co-operation will continue to unite us throughout the struggle that is before us.

Question put,

" That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision for securing and controlling the enlistment of men for service in the armed forces of the Crown; and for purposes connected with the matter aforesaid."

The House divided: Ayes, 340; Noes, 7.

Division No. 297.] AYES. [3.54 p.m.
Acland, Sir R. T. D. Bullock, Capt. M. Dorman-Smith, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir R. H.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G J. Burghley, Lord Drewe, C.
Adams, D. (Consett) Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L. Dugdale, Captain T. L.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Burke, W. A. Ede, J. C.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Burton, Col. H. W. Eden, Rt. Hon. A.
Albery, Sir Irving Butcher, H. W. Edmondson, Major Sir J.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'Isbr.) Campbell, Sir E. T. Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Carver, Major W. H. Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.
Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead) Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Elliston, Capt. G. S.
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S. Channon, H. Emmott, C. E. G. C.
Ammon, C. G. Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (So'h Univ's) Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.) Entwistle, Sir C. F.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Charleton, H. C. Erskine-Hill, A. G.
Assheton, R. Chater, D. Evans, Colonel A. (Cardiff, S.)
Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover) Chorlton, A. E L. Everard, Sir William Lindsay
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Fildes, Sir H.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Clarry, Sir Reginald Findlay, Sir E.
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Cluse, W. S. Fleming, E. L.
Balniel, Lord Clydesdale, Marquess of Foot, D. M.
Banfield, J. W. Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Fox, Sir G. W. G.
Barnes, A. J. Cocks, F. S. Furness, S. N.
Baxter, A. Beverley Collindridge, F. Fyfe, D. P. M.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Colman, N. C. D. Gardner, B. W.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Colville, Rt. Hon. John Garro Jones, G. M.
Beaumont, H. (Batley) Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Gibbins, J.
Beechman, N. A. Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs) Gibson, R. (Greenock)
Beit, Sir A. L. Cox, H. B. Trevor Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J
Bellenger, F. J. Craven-Ellis, W. Gluckstein, L. H.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.
Bernays, R. H. Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Goldie, N. B.
Blair, Sir R. Crooke, Sir J. Smedley Gower, Sir R. V.
Boothby, R. J. G. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)
Bossom, A. C. Cross. R. H. Granville, E. L.
Boulton, W. W. Crowder, J. F. E. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Cruddas, Col. B. Grenfell, D. R.
Boyce, H. Leslie Culverwell, C. T. Gridley, Sir A. B.
Brabner, R. A. Dalton, H. Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbre, W.)
Bracken, B. Davies, C. (Montgomery) Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose) Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)
Brass, Sir W. De Chair, S. S. Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.
Broad, F. A. De la B ère, R. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.
Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Denville, Alfred Hannah, I. C.
Brooks, H. (Lewisham, W.) Dobbie, W. Hannon, Sir P. J. H.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Doland, G. F. Harris, Sir P. A.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Donner, P. W. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Milner, Major J. Simpson, F. B.
Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Smith, Ben (Retherhithe)
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Mitcheson, Sir G. G. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Montague, F. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. G. R. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Hepworth, J Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster) Smithers, Sir W.
Hicks, E. G. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.) Snadden, W. McN.
Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald
Hogg, Hon. Q. McG. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)
Holdsworth, H. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.) Southby, Commander Sir A. R J.
Hollins, A. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Holmes, J. S. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S (Cirencester) Spens. W. P.
Hopkin, D. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)
Hopkinson, A. Munro, P. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Horabin, T. L. Nathan, Colonel H. L. Storey, S.
Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Naylor, T. E. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Horsbrugh, Florence Nicholson, G. (Farnham) Strickland, Captain W. F
Howitt, Dr. A. B. Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Noel-Baker, P. J. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Hume, Sir G. H. Oliver, G. H. Sutcliffe, H.
Hurd, Sir P. A. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Tasker, Sir R. I.
Isaacs, G. A. Palmer, G. E. H. Tate, Mavis C.
Jackson, W. F. Parkinson, J. A. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Jagger, J. Peake, O Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Jarvis, Sir J. J. Petherick, M. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n) Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W. Thomas, J. P. L.
Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Keeling, E. H. Pilkington, R. Thorne, W.
Kerr, Sir John Graham (Sco'sh Univs. Plugge, Capt. L. F. Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Kirby, B. V. Poole, C. C. Thurtle, E.
Lamb, Sir J. Q. Power, Sir J. C. Tinker, J. J.
Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton Tomlinson, G.
Lathan, G. Price, M. P. Train, Sir J.
Leech, Sir J. W. Procter, Major H. A. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Leigh, Sir J. Purbrick, R. Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L. Pym, L. R. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Lewis, O. Quibell, D. J. K. Turton, R. H.
Liddall, W. S. Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H. Wakefield, W. W.
Lindsay, K. M. Rankin, Sir R. Walkden, A. G.
Little, Sir E. Graham. Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.) Walker, J.
Lloyd, G. W. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Locker-Lampson, Comdr. o. S. Rawson, Sir Cooper Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Loftus, P. C. Reed, A. C. (Exeter) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Lucas, Major Sir J M. Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury) Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Lyons, A. M. Remer, J R. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Ridley, G. Warrender, Sir V.
McCorquodale, M. S. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.) Waterhouse, Captain C.
Macdonald, G. (Ince) Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool) Watkins, F. C.
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Rosbotham, Sir T. Webbe, Sir W. Harold
Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Rothschild, J. A. de Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C
McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R. Wells, Sir Sydney
McKie, J. H. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A. White, H. Graham
Maclay, Hon. J. P. Russell, Sir Alexander Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Mainwaring, W. H. Salmon, Sir I. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Maitland, Sir Adam Salt, E. W. Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon. S.)
Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Salter, Sir J. Arthur (Oxford U.) Wilmot, John
Mander, G. le M. Samuel, M. R. A. Windsor, W. (Hull, C)
Manningham-Buller, Sir M Sanderson, Sir F. B. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Sandys, E. D. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Schuster, Sir G. E. Wise, A. R.
Maxwell, Hon. S. A. Scott, Lord William Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Shakespeare, G. H. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Medlicott, F. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham) Shinwell, E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Silkin, L. Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr.
Buchanan, G. Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)
Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Sloan, A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe) Mr. Stephen and Mr. McGovern.
Maxton, J.

Bill read a Second time.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Ernest Brown, Mr. Hore-Belisha, Sir Kingsley Wood, and Mr. Shakespeare.


" to make provision for securing and controlling the enlistment of men for services in the armed forces of the Crown; and for purposes connected with the matter aforesaid," presented accordingly, read the First time; and ordered to be printed. [Bill 249.]

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House for To-morrow." —[Mr. Grimston.]