HC Deb 22 May 1940 vol 361 cc237-8

to provide that persons shall not be exempted from liability tinder the National Service (Armed Forces) Act, 1939, by reason of their being members of the Local Defence Volunteers, presented accordingly, read the First time; and ordered to be printed. [Bill 48.]

8.51 p.m.

Sir E. Grigg

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

I do not think that the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), who expressed just now some doubts about the necessity of the Bill, realised that the Local Defence Volunteers are themselves part of the Armed Forces of the Crown. What we are trying to provide in this Bill are two things. The first is that there shall be no question of reducing the strength of the classes that come under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act owing to the fact that some members of those classes have enlisted in the Local Defence Volunteers. The second is to enable the volunteers to serve for a time as part-time volunteers until their calling-up time comes. There are many of them who would like to do part-time service while they are in their civilian jobs and who would be barred from doing so unless we passed this Bill.

8.53 p.m.

Sir P. Harris (Bethnal Green, South-West)

I feel some diffidence in speaking a second time to the House to-day, but my excuse is that for 4½ years throughout the last war I was, for better or for worse, administrator of a force of a similar character to this. It may be remembered that in November, 1914, there was a rumour of a possible raid, which fortunately did not mature, but the Government, at the instigation of Lord Kitchener, charged a committee of four, of which I was a member, to organise a force something of the character of that contemplated under this Bill.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I must call the hon. Baronet's attention to the fact that this Bill does not deal with the formation of this force. I am not sure whether the hon. Baronet was here when the Minister moved the Motion that leave be given to introduce the Bill, when he explained that general remarks on the volunteers could be made at a later opportunity.

Question put, and agreed to. Bill read a Second time.

Resolved, "That this House will immediately resolve into the Committee on the Bill."—[Mr. Boulton.]

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.