HC Deb 17 September 1940 vol 365 cc107-8
39. Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in the event of an applicant being dissatisfied with the decision arrived at by the Military Service Hardships Committee, he has any right of appeal to any other body; and, if so, what should the procedure be?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

An applicant who is dissatisfied with the determination arrived at by a Military Service (Hardship) Committee has no right of appeal if the Committee was unanimous and does not give leave to appeal. He has the right to appeal to the Umpire if the Committee was not unanimous or if it gives leave to appeal. In such cases formal notice of appeal has to be completed by the applicant and returned to the local office within 21 days of the Committee's determination, unless that period is extended by the Minister for special reasons.

Mr. Stokes

Is the Minister aware that many of these investigations are most peremptory, and people are asked only two or three questions and are given no real opportunity to state their case? Even if the opinion of a Committee is unanimous, surely if it has been peremptory a man should have a right of appeal.

Mr. Bevin

I suggest that that does not arise out of the Question. If any case is conducted improperly, I should have notice and be allowed to make inquiries.

Mr. Buchanan

Is the Minister aware that a newspaper paragraph, appearing in a newspaper in which he himself was lately interested, states that all applicants had a right of appeal to the Minister of Labour? Will he take steps to see that this misleading paragraph is corrected?

Mr. Bevin

That newspaper now arrives so late every morning that I have not had time to read it.

Mr. Stokes

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.