HC Deb 20 July 1944 vol 402 cc317-8
1. Major C. S. Taylor

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider exempting from the mines ballot those who wish to volunteer for service in the commandos, parachute battalions or as glider pilots.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

No, Sir. As I indicated in the course of a reply to my right hon. Friend on 25th May, I am not prepared to extend the present list of exceptions. Moreover, I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War that it would not be practicable to earmark volunteers for these duties at the pre-enlistment stage, as the men are not selected until after they have received preliminary training in the Army, and have been specially tested.

Major Taylor

Could my right hon. Friend say why it is that fighter pilots in the Air Force are exempted? Surely they have to be specially selected and have to go through a period of training in the same way.

Mr. Bevin

I am afraid that I cannot answer that question; but I must emphasise that I cannot change this method of exemption at this late stage of the war.

Sir Granville Gibson

Are there many of these boys refusing to go to the mines now?

Mr. Bevin