HC Deb 07 March 1940 vol 358 cc546-7
23. Mr. McGovern

asked the Minister of Labour the total number of conscientious objectors who have claimed exemption in each class since the passing of the Military Training Act, 1939; the total number exempted and refused exemption up to the latest date and the number that have been so far arrested and handed over to the military; whether any have yet been sentenced for refusal to obey military commands; and, if so, what sentence has been imposed in each case?

Mr. E. Brown

The number of men who have claimed registration as conscientious objectors is 21,349. Statistics are, however, not available showing separately on which of the three grounds allowed by the Act the applications were made. Up to 24th February, 8,335 cases had been heard by local tribunals, of which 1,078 were registered as conscientious objectors unconditionally, 3,738 were registered on condition that they undertook civil work, 2,040 were registered for non-combatant duties in the Armed Forces, and 1,479 were removed from the register of conscientious objectors. The remaining parts of the Question should be addressed to the Secretary of State for War.

Mr. McGovern

Can the Minister state why there should be such a large percentage of people who, being genuine conscientious objectors, are refused exemption?

Mr. Brown

The hon. Member knows that I am not the judge of the tribunal.