HC Deb 22 January 1942 vol 377 cc423-4
81. Mr. Simmonds

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the announcement to withdraw the right of members of the Home Guard to resign, it is proposed to adopt similar measures as regards part-time members of the Civil Defence services?

Mr. H. Morrison

Yes, Sir. In view of the importance of maintaining part-time Civil Defence and police strengths at an adequate level and in view of the liability of every citizen to perform part-time National Service action will be taken at once by the Ministers responsible for the Civil Defence services, special constables, and other part-time police auxiliaries which will restrict the right of resignation of part-time members of the various services. The part-time members in such services will be entitled to tender their resignations within the next fortnight, but the date of their release must depend on the state of the service in the particular locality. Wherever practicable release will be immediate. In other cases their release will take place as soon as suitable arrangements can be made for filling the vacancies by means of trained substitutes.

The necessary instructions to this effect have been issued to the authorities responsible for the services. I feel sure, however, that very few men and women affected will wish to withdraw, and I hope that no hasty resignations will take place or pressure be put by employers on their employees to leave these services. After the free period for resignations has ended it will be open to part-time members of such services who wish to resign' on specific grounds to make application to the local or other authority concerned that their services may be dispensed with. The responsible Ministers will keep a watch over the working of the arrangements for release in order to ensure that they are neither too rigidly nor too loosely administered.

The part-time vacancies which arise may be filled by powers of compulsory enrolment, and I should therefore point out that resignation will not exempt persons who resign from their obligation to perform part-time service, whether in Civil Defence or otherwise if directed to do so by the Minister of Labour and National Service, subject to the usual right of appeal to appropriate civil tribunals.

Mr. Simmonds

Do the proposals the right hon. Gentleman has now outlined cover only males, or do they in the same way refer to females?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir.