HC Deb 29 February 1944 vol 397 cc1236-7
33. Major Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is now in a position to adjudicate upon the case of Private Wilson, of the A.T.S., who had been involved in an accident while driving a lorry on duty which resulted in the death of one of her colleagues, to which his attention was first called upon by the hon. and gallant Member for East, Renfrewshire in July of last year and repeatedly since.

Sir J. Griģģ

The case of Private Wilson has been most carefully considered, but I regret that I am unable to take any action to assist her. As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware the War Department stands behind its employees in cases in which a civilian employer would be liable, but I am advised that a civilian employer would not be liable in the circumstances of the present case.

Major Lloyd

Is it not rather a shame that when a girl, driving on duty for the War Office, unfortunately gets involved in an accident through no fault of her own, and is then charged by the relatives of the person who was killed as a result of the accident, the War Office accepts no responsibility? Surely that is all wrong.

Sir J. Griģģ

That is as may be. That is a matter of opinion, and it is also a matter of practice which affects all the Departments, and not only the War Office.

Mr. Gallacher

Surely the Minister would agree that the State should give a little more consideration to its servant than the ordinary, robber capitalist employer would be expected to give? Is it not necessary for the State to give more attention?

Mr. De la Bère

Can my right hon. Friend say why an employer would not be liable?

Sir J. Griģģ

That is a legal matter so perhaps my hon. Friend will put down a question on it and I will try to answer.