§ Mr. Silverman
On a point of Order. I admit I was not in the Chamber a little while ago when the then occupant of the Chair indicated that certain Amendments would not be called as being out of Order. Do I understand that among those held not to be in Order is the one in my name, in page 5, line 32? I wondered, Mr. Williams, if you would give me some guidance as to the reason why the Amendment has been held to be out of Order?
§ Mr. Silverman
I thought that might have been in the mind of the Chair and I ask your indulgence, Mr. Williams, to advance reasons why it should be—
At any rate, we cannot take it before the previous Amendment which I have selected.
§ Mr. Burke (Burnley)
On a point of Order. There is an Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. E. Smith) and myself to this Clause, in page 5, line 26. I take it, Mr. Williams, that anything that could relevantly be said on that Amendment could be said on the Amendment you are proposing to call?
§ Mr. Harry Thorneycroft (Manchester, Clayton)
I beg to move, in page 5, line 27, to leave out paragraph (c) and to insert:(c) persons (whether male or female) who, on or after the thirty-first day of August, nineteen hundred and thirty-nine, enter upon a period of whole-time service in civil defence service.433 The purpose of this Amendment is to extend to persons engaged in full-time Civil Defence service the right of reinstatement in their pre-service jobs after they have finished their jobs in the Civil Defence Service. This Bill has caused a great deal of surprise, particularly among the local authorities of this country, in that these people have been omitted from its provisions. The majority of the persons concerned were volunteers in the early days of 1938, when the country was calling upon local authorities to set up schemes for the purpose of meeting the menace from the air. In those days we had a ready response, particularly from men who fought in the last war and who were too old to take their places in this war. Many of these people went into the rescue, ambulance, decontamination and warden's services at a much lower rate of pay than they would have obtained had they remained in industry. Later they were "frozen" in their jobs and were unable to transfer to more remunerative forms of employment. It is this section of the community that is not included in the provisions of this Bill. They have given loyal service to the country and have taken part in raids, the heaviest of which took place before 10th April, 1941, particularly in the provinces. At a later stage younger men who were of military age took their places in the Forces. Generally speaking, it is the men over 50 years of age who are now manning our Civil Defence services and who will be in a disadvantageous position in the labour market at the end of the war.
On the other hand, this Bill has been very generous to those who made no effort at all before they were compelled to do so. From experience as a Civil Defence Divisional Commander in the city of Manchester for three years I know the feeling of these men and women towards the attitude the Government have taken up in this Measure. We have, in the city of Manchester, 1,300 people employed in the Civil Defence general services. Since the coming into being of right to direct persons who are conscientious objectors, or who have done no Civil Defence work at all, 25 people have been directed to full time Civil Defence service in Manchester. It is a shameful thing to say in this House that those 25 people—the majority of whom are conscientious objectors—are the only ones who are guaranteed a job after their Civil Defence 434 work is finished. I hope the Minister will take a generous view of the appeal on behalf of those who unselfishly went into voluntary service before the war, who gave up their spare time to train, who met the raids which took place in the early days of the war and who are now turned down by a country which says, "Your place is in the queue, outside the employment exchange, after the war."
§ Mr. Burke
I would like to support the Amendment. Members will recall that long before the war started men were recruited for the Auxiliary Fire Service and that they had an unenviable task at a time when people regarded the war as being a "phoney" war, when there was little danger to our cities and towns. At that time these men were training, often in their spare time, but people regarded them as being rather useless. Fortunately for us they became necessary when, after Dunkirk, it became obvious that our fire services were not sufficient. A Regulation was passed compelling those people who were inside to remain inside. In order to improve upon the needs of the fire service, men who were called up for the Armed Forces were given the right of going into the fire service, but so many men preferred the Services that it became necessary for the Minister to direct them from 10th April into this service.
There may be in the mind of the Minister an idea that, if you bring into the Bill members of the Fire Service, he will be asked to bring in quite a number of others as well, but I think there is a distinct difference between men in ordinary industry and these men who are in the Fire Service. They are a disciplined, trained body of men, in uniform, mobile, doing a service which is quite different from that which the man in ordinary industry does. All along the line their rates of pay have been made comparable with those of men in the Services. Everyone agrees that the men who went through the blitz period, between the summers of 1940 and 1941, did a most remarkable piece of work. The Minister intends to include only those people who were in for the last month of the blitz. From 10th April to 10th May, 1941, was the period when the blitzes were becoming less and less difficult. I think the last heavy raid on London was somewhere about 10th May. The people who went 435 through the difficult period of the winter of 1940–41 are the very people who are being excluded, and the only ones brought in are those who came in for only a month's severe work.
The Amendment has the backing of the trade union movement and I ask my right hon. Friend to consider it sympathetically and see if he cannot take the date back a little so as to include those who rendered very valuable service. On the Second Reading the Parliamentary Secretary said that volunteers were not to be penalised. These people volunteered in 1938 and went through a good deal of training. Their good work is generally acknowledged by the whole community and there is a real comparison between their service and that of the Armed Forces, which I think makes it possible to open the door and let them in.
§ Mr. Bevin
I think it is as well that the Committee should be reminded what is the purpose of the Bill. It is to put down machinery to give effect to a Clause carried in 1939. It does not pretend at all to deal with demobilisation, Civil Defence or anything else. I am left with an Act of Parliament, carried on a Sunday morning, which is totally unworkable. The Government decided that under this Bill they would not attempt to broaden the scope of reinstatement beyond the Act of 1939 and the Act of 1941. That does not relieve them of the obligation of dealing with the whole problem which demobilisation will create, including the thousands of troops who will have no job to go back to. I beg my hon. Friends not to try to complicate this Measure and to initiate now a Debate which ought to take place when the Government makes its proposals for the general rehabilitation of the Services and demobilisation, which is a far wider subject than this and which can only be dealt with, as I have said so often, by the State undertaking very wide social obligations. You cannot settle that wider problem by trying to impose obligations on A, B and C. Therefore, I think the attempt to deal with it in this Bill is a mistake.
No one in this Committee or in the country would depreciate the Civil Defence services but I appeal to the Committee not to draw too wide distinctions between the services that have been 436 rendered by our citizens. I should be the last person to try to evaluate them in one way or the other. I could go on quoting cases of men in docks and factories and on the railways just as valuable and courageous. I shall never forget on Clapham Common one night seeing the signalmen at work. I forgot the bombs that were dropping all round us looking at them going on with their work. Do not imagine that, because they are not included in this Bill, the Government under-values or depreciates any body of people who have rendered service in the war. I hope it will not be taken on that footing. What we have to consider is whether it should go in this Bill. If you begin, you cannot draw the line at all. I have tried. This has been debated by the Cabinet over and over again and we came to the conclusion that we ought to do what the Bill is trying to do and no more. I have had tremendous pressure put on me to include the Land Army and other Services. I have had to say, "You will have to take your place in the general demobilisation of the country."
If I had to mention one advantage the Civil Defence service will have over the Forces it is this. Immediately we invade the Continent and destroy the enemy's air force a very high priority of release and return to the labour market will come for the Civil Defence services, long before you can begin releasing any troops, at a moment when the labour market will be just hungry for people. A high priority of release is inevitable. If I may refer to a previous Amendment and the applications of three or four men for one job, the senior man might well be in Japan or India before his time for release comes. The object of the Bill to a very large extent is to see that the man who has to go on fighting in the Far East until the whole war is finished is not prejudiced. The object of the Bill is not so much to secure jobs for applicants as to protect the rights of those who must go on fighting and see that their employment is not prejudiced when the final shot is fired and to lay down what I hope will be reasonable machinery to ensure that protection. I beg my hon. Friends to wait until the Government are in a position, as they will be at the proper moment, to deal with these wider questions, first of the Services, then of Civil Defence, and then of the factories, all of which will be unfolded. 437 It is bound up to a very large extent with wider problems of social security and the rest of it, all of which have to be dealt with. I would ask my hon. Friends not to press this matter on this Bill but to keep their powder dry for the time when the problem has really to be dealt with in a wider and more comprehensive way.
§ Mr. McEntee (Walthamstow, West)
I am very disappointed with the answer of my right hon. Friend. I could have understood all his arguments if other Civil Defence workers had not been included in the Bill.
§ Mr. McEntee
The fact remains that in paragraph (c) of this Clause certain Civil Defence workers are brought within the Bill. My case is that the people who have been brought within the Bill have not so reasonable a case for being in as those who have been left out. Can the Minister give any reason why a person who volunteered for Civil Defence, including the Fire Service, in 1938, and gave his services voluntarily and then became efficient at his own expense and in his own time, is not in the Bill, whereas a person who had to be dragged into the Civil Defence Service, who had refused to do any service and was a conscientious objector and perhaps had been in prison, and was then directed to the Service, is to have his job guaranteed? If the Minister had moved an Amendment to leave out paragraph (c), I could have understood his arguments. He told us that these people accepted very low pay, and he spoke about somebody on the railway at Clapham Common who carried on in the signal box in difficult circumstances. I have personally known Civil Defence people to carry on in far more difficult circumstances, and at that time they were getting extremely low pay. After all, the railway men were in their regular permanent jobs, but many of the men and women in Civil Defence gave up jobs with a wage in some cases twice that which they accepted in Civil Defence. They are apparently not to be considered at all, but the men and women who were forced into the Service and did everything possible to resist being forced into it, are 438 to come under the Bill and will have their former jobs guaranteed.
If the Minister had promised that at some future time these people would be brought within another Bill, we might have been willing to withdraw the Amendment, but he has given no such promise. All he can say is that they will have an advantage on demobilisation, but they will have no advantage over those who come within the Bill, such as conscientious objectors and others. He also asks us not to make distinctions between one set of workers and another. Is not the Minister himself making a distinction? There may be two men working side by side. One of them volunteered in 1938, trained himself to become efficient and worked regularly, and perhaps gave up a good job to take a wage of £3 a week. Beside him is a man who was forced into Service by the court. This man will have his job guaranteed when the war is over. The man who gave free service for a long period and who gave up a good job and accepted a low wage is to get no consideration. The whole thing is grossly unfair, and I must express my great disappointment with the Minister's reply.
§ Mr. Vernon Bartlett (Bridgwater)
I am sorry that my right hon. Friend could not go further. His argument comparing Civil Defence Services with the Fighting Services is an effective one, but it does not get over the fact that there is a distinction between conscripts and volunteers in Civil Defence. I do not think that anything that has been said by the right hon. Gentleman will remove the feeling of discontent throughout the country that the people who came into Civil Defence of their own accord and defended the country at the time of its great trial should be penalised, whereas people who were directed into the Service should benefit under the Bill. There is not the same discrimination between conscripts and volunteers in the other Fighting Services. I would draw the Committee's attention to the all-important date April, 1941, and ask whether there is any Member who has not been considerably frightened during air-raids and whether his moments of fear did not happen mainly before April, 1941. It was during this period, when the whole country was subjected to its greatest trial, that these people came into the Civil Defence Service. I appreciate that it will be much easier for people in Civil Defence 439 to get jobs than for men in the Army who may be sent to the Far East, but unless the right hon. Gentleman can give some assurance that the discrepancy between volunteers and conscripts will be removed, I hope that the Amendment will be carried.
§ Mr. Henry Brooke (Lewisham, West)
I think we appreciate the Minister's difficulties, but I want to support what my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Bartlett) has been saying. My constituency in South-East London is markedly affected. I know many people there who, out of sheer patriotism, volunteered to train for A.R.P. duties a year or more before the war, and found themselves called up for full-time service at the beginning of September, 1939. They gave up jobs with a much higher rate of pay, many of them, but they did not mind that because they wanted to serve their country. In London we were all preparing ourselves for immediate heavy air-raids.
For 12 months they spent their time training, being derided often by cartoonists and other people. They were everybody's butt, and they took it in good part. From September, 1940, onwards they were everybody's heroes. The various Civil Defence services, certainly in my constituency, won the respect of everybody. Naturally it burst on them with a shock when they saw this Bill, and discovered that protection was being given only to those called up to the Service after 10th April, 1941. They know perfectly well that the heavy war strain on the Civil Defence services fell on the volunteers, who were in the service before that date. I do not know how the Minister will manage to handle this. What I am concerned about is that he should appreciate this feeling, and understand that he must in some way allay the disquiet and anxiety felt at the terms of this Bill. We all want to help him, and to find the right solution for this difficult problem.
§ Mr. Bevin
If it would help the Committee I would be quite willing to accept the point of view of the hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee) and drop the Civil Defence, 1941, conscript class out of the Bill altogether. [Interruption.] I ask hon. Members to wait a moment, and to let me tell the reason why 440 it is in. I have discovered this is a very peculiar House. Hon. Members now take that view, but if I had come as Minister to deprive men of rights which had been given prior to the war, the argument might have gone entirely the other way. Therefore, I took the view that I could not very well deprive men of rights given under the short Bill of 1941, because by the accident of fate they came under the National Service Act. That is the only reason. I appreciate that Civil Defence ought to be dealt with as a whole. It has been a great bugbear to me. I never wanted them in the National Service Acts, and I would have preferred to deal with this compulsion in another way, but everybody felt, and pressure was brought from local authorities everywhere, that I must get these men. Accordingly, I came to the House in the emergency and asked for the short Bill of 1941.
When that Bill came before the House I well remember that I was pressed by everybody to give anyone who was conscripted under that Bill the same rights as under the main Act, and I yielded. Now, hon. Members see the result of my weakness. I am hoist with my own petard. That is the difficulty you get in when you compromise too easily. I tried to keep them out then so as not to have this complication now. If it would help the Committee I would prefer to drop this small 1941 section out of this Bill, keeping it entirely for the Services, and dealing when the time comes with the other wider problems. No one would be happier than myself to be able to deal with these categories of people who have served the country in their proper order and to deal with them uniformly, service by service.
I suppose I would be right in saying, in answer to the hon. Member for West Lewisham (Mr. Brooke) that while a good many men gave up jobs, a very large number of men who left work to join Civil Defence really jeopardised some essential work by their willingness to join. On the other hand, a large number who were unemployed at the time went into Civil Defence. I do not want to get this mixed up. I will make this offer. If hon. Members would like me to drop them from this Bill—[Interruption.] I am trying to meet the Committee. Let me make it clear. The number affected by this one Clause out of the total Civil 441 Defence personnel, I am told, is roughly 30,000. If you would like me to take away rights from these 30,000 and leave them to be dealt with when the whole question is dealt with I am perfectly willing. If hon. Members would like to leave out these 30,000 and then deal with Civil Defence when we come to the general problem, I would prefer that. I do not like taking away rights from men, but I make that offer.
§ Mr. McEntee
I would like to ask the Minister a question. Can he tell me why he cannot insert the same date for the one class as for the other? I did not make it as a suggestion. I simply said I could have understood it if the Minister did it, but I cannot understand him putting it in two ways, that the Service man should have the date 1939 and the Civil Defence man must have the date 1941. If it was possible in the one case I suggest it is possible in the other. Unless the Committee gets a promise that he will deal in a similar way with Civil Defence as with the Forces I hope the Committee will not agree to this Clause or the Amendment.
§ Mr. Bevin
Let me try to get this clear. I cannot put in different dates. I cannot make 1941 retrospective to 1939. They came in under compulsion and there were men who took the job voluntarily just as others took a job in a factory or anywhere else. I cannot date back the Act of 1941 to 1939. If you do date this back to 1939, you will lower the value of the soldier's right of reinstatement. If you bring all these people into the Bill you will lower the value of his right. Suppose you had ten men employed at a factory, six of whom went to Civil Defence and four went as soldiers. It means that the job has to be cut up between ten men and not four. That is the effect of it. You will have competition against the soldier. I do not think dating it back is the way to do it. The pledge I have given is that the Government is dealing with demobilisation of all these Services, both military and civilian, on a comprehensive scale, but I am not going to lead hon. Members to think it will be dealt with in this manner because it would not do any good. I am quite willing to strike out these people, but I warn you it is a dangerous principle. I prefer to let the small body of 30,000 be tied together with the military forces for the 442 time being until we deal with the general problem.
§ Sir Percy Harris (Bethnal Green, South West)
I must confess I am rather surprised at the undue importance attached to this particular piece of legislation. This is not a Bill, as I think the right hon. Gentleman made clear, to provide large scale employment for those in the Services. It is merely to make operative the arrangement made at the beginning of the war to reinstate people. Reinstatement presents an extraordinary number of difficulties. What we want to do is to allay the fears of all those people who are looking forward to the time when the war is over. They are worried as to what is going to happen when the war is over. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the Government are working out a constructive demobilisation policy. If the men and women who served the State in its hour of crisis are included we shall be satisfied and we should not worry about the particular wording of the Clause.
§ Major Thorneycroft (Stafford)
I think that the Minister is right on this occasion. I find myself in a position of some embarrassment in opposing the Amendment so ably and eloquently moved, which I regard as almost a family affair. I would, however, urge the hon. Member for Clayton (Mr. H. Thorneycroft) not to press his Amendment very much further. I fully sympathise with the views which he has expressed and his desire to help the Civil Defence workers, but I do not believe that this is the way to do it. The Clause sets out to meet a pledge. In point of fact the pledge was given to that small number of Civil Defence workers who were included in the Act of 1941, and that was why they were included. If we extended the scope of what is already an extremely complicated Measure and took it out of the sphere of an attempt to meet a rather difficult pledge, and so raised it into a serious reconstruction Measure, I am certain that we should fail. In his speech to-day the Minister—and I did not agree with all of his speech the other day—
§ Major Thorneycroft
His speech to-day properly laid emphasis on the wider issues and the enormous problems of demobilisation and resettlement. I think that the problem of the Civil Defence workers would be better left to them, otherwise, some of the Service men coming back and attempting to get jobs under the Bill would find themselves in a rather difficult position. A certain amount of ill-feeling would be created as between one man and another. If we were to introduce the Civil Defence worker, who has been at home all the time—doing a valuable job, but still at home all the time—a Service man who thought he was going to get his job back and applied for it might be told by the employer: "No, I think Jones, who has been in Civil Defence in this town all the time, has a higher priority than you." That would not be a very pleasant situation. I hope that we shall once more find ourselves in agreement, and that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw his Amendment.
§ Mr. Bellenger (Bassetlaw)
I am rather surprised at the mental gyrations of the hon. and gallant Member opposite. I wonder how he would apply his argument to the issuing of medals to Civil Defence workers, for which he and some of his colleagues are pressing. If those who have done service at home in Civil Defence, battling for the country against the enemy overhead, are entitled to medals, can we not ask that they should also be entitled to be included in the Bill, for what it is worth? I do not think this is a very valuable safeguard or consideration that my right hon. Friend is proposing. I do not want to emulate the hon. and gallant Member and try to debunk the whole thing but I would say that it would be much more suitable for us if the Government would only disclose their comprehensive plans for reconstruction. They do not disclose them, so what have we got? We have to accept a quarter of a loaf, instead of a whole loaf that we want. My right hon. Friend says: "I will give you a quarter of the loaf," namely, a promise of being reinstated in the job which the man held before he was called up, to 30,000 Civil Defence workers who happened to be directed under Ministry of Labour Orders. I wonder how many thousands of volunteers there are. Working on the figures which the Parliamentary Secretary gave the other day when he said 444 that a fifth of the Armed Forces were volunteers, are we to assume that the 30,000 are the conscripts and that 6,000 are the volunteers? If those are the proportions roughly, I would urge my right hon. Friend to include them in the Amendment. He would not be conceding much or resisting much if he were to do so.
§ Mr. Silverman
I think this is a suitable moment to ask the Minister of Labour a question in view of the argument which has developed. I am not seeking to try to move the Amendment on the Clause which, as has already been indicated, was not to be called, but I think that the point I wish to raise is relevant to the Minister's argument. I do not think that the Minister ought to withdraw protection from the people conscripted into Civil Defence. I see why he made the promise and I see its attractiveness from one point of view. I am sure he is right. Once this House has put a promise and a pledge into a piece of legislation, and people have acted on the faith of it, it would be wrong to withdraw it in order to meet a political situation which developed at a later time. I feel sure that the Minister would be right in not doing it. I want to ask him about the boys whom he has directed into the mines.
The hon. Member cannot ask a question which is out of Order, because it could not be answered.
§ Mr. Silverman
Perhaps if I might be allowed to put the question, Mr. Williams, you would be in a better position to give a Ruling.
The hon. Member said he was asking a question about boys in the mines, a subject which is outside the scope of the Bill. If he wants to put such a question he can do so any day, at Question time.
§ Mr. Silverman
If you say that, Mr. Williams, I am wrong, I shall not persist, but I was merely trying to apply the military argument to another class of persons 445 and to ask how the argument affected them. I am seeking to test the validity of an argument by reference to other people to whom, logically, the argument ought to apply. The suggestion that I am making—
No, I really think I must take up the position that the type of worker which the hon. Member mentions, is outside the scope of the Bill and that therefore he cannot talk about them here.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am going to submit to you, Mr. Williams, that they are not outside the scope of the Bill at all. The scope of the Bill is defined in the Title and also in Clause 12 (2). If you will look at that Mr. Williams, I think I shall be able to persuade you that they are not outside the scope of the Bill. That at any rate is my argument. Its says, in Clause 12 (2):Where (whether before or after the commencement of this Act) a person to whom this Act whose war service has ended performs whole-time services in consequence of a direction or written request made by or on behalf of the Minister or Ministry of Labour for Northern Ireland …Certain persons were called up under the National Service Acts. When they were so called up they were in the service of the Crown and the Title of the Bill shows that it applies to people in the service of the Crown. When a person has been called up under the National Service Act he is at the service and disposal of the Crown.
§ Mr. Silverman
Of course not, but they were. That is why I am inviting your attention to the Clause because it refers to:a person … whose war service has ended and is under the direction of the Minister.What has happened in this case is that a whole group of persons are called up under the National Service Acts. They are then in the service of the Crown. Some of them—
That is the point, they are not in the service of the Crown when they are called up, as I understand it.
§ Mr. Silverman
They are called up under the National Service Act. They are then directed by the Minister into this kind or that kind of work depending not on any Act of Parliament but merely on a ballot.
The hon. Member has given his case away by saying "this kind or that kind of work." One kind of work is into the service of the Crown. The other kind is not in the service of the Crown.
§ Mr. Silverman
That is precisely what this Sub-section says. If you will be good enough to look at the Sub-section, Mr. Williams, you will see exactly what my point is. It bears directly on what you have said. Where a person is not in the service of the Crown at all because he has been directed into other services by the Minister of Labour he is still under the Bill. That is the point I am making, that these persons still come under this Bill though not in the service of the Crown at all because they have been directed by the Minister elsewhere. These boys are not in the service of the Crown because as a result of a ballot they have been directed by the Minister elsewhere and are therefore, I submit, well within the scope and Title of this Bill. I am not at all sure that the Amendment I have put down was really necessary because it may very well be that these boys are in any event covered by Clause 12, Subsection (2). It is perfectly clear, I submit with respect, that they cannot be outside.
I must stick to the Ruling that they are not in the service of the Crown, and that, therefore, they cannot be discussed here.
§ Mr. Silverman
On a point of Order. I am afraid I have not succeeded in making myself very clear. What I am suggesting is that the fact that a man is not in the service of the Crown is not conclusive of this point and that this Subsection shows it is not conclusive of this point because this Sub-section specifically brings into the protection of this Bill persons who are not in the service of the Crown. If the point is out of Order then this Sub-section is out of Order.
§ Mr. Silverman
Certainly. I am much obliged to the hon. and gallant Member. That is so. I do not think there can be any doubt that once a man has had a calling up notice served upon him he is at that moment in the service of the Crown.
I must direct the hon. Member to page 10, Sub-section (2), which says:.… as if it were a further period of service such as is mentioned in Sub-section (1) of Section six of this Act, and Sub-section (1) of this Section shall have effect accordingly.I think that this discussion has gone into the argument in great detail. All my advice is that these people are not in the service of the Crown. Whether they have been for one second has been ruled out. It is my Ruling, and I stick to my Ruling.
All the time we are perpetually dealing with small points instead of getting on. I ask the hon. Member, now he has put a great many points, to accept my Ruling.
§ Mr. H. Thorneycroft
In view of the assurance given by the Minister that those people who joined as volunteers will be properly protected, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Mander (Wolverhampton, East)
I beg to move, in page 5, line 32, at the end, to insert:(d) pilots who have served in the Air Transport Auxiliary.I do this because I think this small class of persons is apt to be overlooked and omitted from legislation that is brought forward from time to time. They come in a special category in the sense that they are not eligible for service in the R.A.F. They come under the Ministry of Aircraft Production. They consist of a quite limited number, hundreds not thousands, of men and women who have been ferrying aircraft in many cases since the beginning of the war. Quite a considerable number of them have lost their lives in doing so. They do not have to meet the enemy in combat but apart from 448 that their daily task, weather permitting of course, is to ferry aircraft, it may be single engined, two engined, or four engined, perhaps three of four times from England and Scotland and Wales and various point of the Kingdom. These are persons who I think ought to be reckoned along with the Services and should be given most sympathetic consideration. They really do not come in the same category as some of the Civil Defence services because of the special nature of the task in which they are engaged. I hope my right hon. Friend is prepared to give sympathetic consideration to these pilots and include them within the terms of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Mander
These pilots have nothing do with the Secretary of State for Air. That is the whole point. They come under the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
§ Mr. Bevin
I am not concerned whether they do, but they are part of the civil air services of the country and I am sure that the Minister when the time comes for the re-arrangement of Services, will look after them. I am sorry that I cannot attach them to this Bill. I attach no value to this Bill so far as that particular type of man is concerned. The bulk of them were in the Air Force before they went into this service, and, in so far as they were in the Air Force and in civil employment before that, they are covered by the Bill. If I open the door to, first, this section, and, then, that section, I nullify the effect of the Bill.
The Government are not going to neglect these people any more than they are going to neglect others, but this is not the way to deal with people who have, I will not say a short life, but a strain connected with their employment which makes that employment a short one in comparison with their total life. I am surprised at my hon. Friend, who has had close association with the Air Ministry and knows very well that the period for which persons can serve on duties like this is comparatively short. Surely, reinstatement is not the way to deal with these people. It is more a matter for a 449 pensions Measure, or something of a concrete nature like that. Such a proposal as this would mislead the men into thinking that they were getting something they were not getting. It is no solution to put them back into the Service when they come out of it. I shall be found to be a friend, who will deal with these people properly, but not through this Bill. I beg my hon. Friend not to press the Amendment.
§ Mr. Mander
I quite appreciate that the provisions of this Measure are not going to be of enormous value to these persons, but I want to obtain for them anything that can be got, however small it may be, from any Bill before this House. That is why I have drawn attention to the services of this small number of people, who are often overlooked. However, in view of what my right hon. Friend says, and the suggestions—almost promises—that he has made, that they will be properly looked after, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. Gallacher
I wanted to say a few words on the Amendment which was moved just now, but I did not have a chance, because it was withdrawn. The Minister took on certain tasks, and, with those tasks, he took on certain obligations. It should be noted by Members opposite and, it may be, by Members on this side, that in taking on those tasks he took on a burden that no other Member of this House would have carried through. That is correct, but it is often forgotten. He took on a responsibility to put back into their jobs those whom he took out of their jobs. It is with that that this Clause is concerned. Why there should be any criticism of that, or any attempt to spread it out into something entirely different, I do not understand. I cannot understand why a Member on the other side, with a legal mind, should try to assist this side against the Minister, by saying that when men are called up they are in the Army. When they are called up they are put through a process before they are actually in the services of the Crown; they have the right of appeal, and may not go into the Services at all. The hon. and gallant Member 450 would never dream of saying that the lads in the pits are soldiers.
§ Major Manningham-Buller
Has the hon. Member read Section 10 of the National Service Act, 1939, which says a man is deemed to be enlisted when he is called up?
§ Mr. Gallacher
The Clause says "deemed to be enlisted," but they have to go through a process before they are actually in the service of the Crown. I say again that the Clause quite clearly does what the Minister promised to do, that is, that he will endeavour to put back into jobs those whom he takes out of their jobs. That is what the Bill is for, and the Minister should have the support, not only of this side but of that side of the House in his heavy task of trying to carry this through.
§ Mr. Astor (Fulham, East)
There is one point on which I am not quite clear. Are there any limits to the type of jobs to which the Act applies? Could, for instance, my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Bristol (Captain Bernays) come into the Ministry of Health after the war and demand to be reinstated as Parliamentary Under-Secretary? Could we be told which employers come under the Bill and which do not? There is a real point in that.
§ Mr. McCorquodale
I did give, on Second Reading, a specific assurance that the State was prepared to accept the obligations of private employers. With regard to reinstatement in Government service after the war, I think we had better wait and see.
§ Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.