HC Deb 02 March 1944 vol 397 cc1576-7
48. Mr. Kirby

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the coal shortage, he will consider releasing from the Armed Forces serving men, irrespective of their age, who volunteer for work in the coalmines.

The Prime Minister

The procedure for the release of men from the Armed Forces was fully explained to the House in the statement made by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power on 22nd February last in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Collindridge). There is nothing to add to that statement.

Mr. Kirby

Is the Prime Minister aware that men are volunteering for this work, in some cases above the age limit laid down, and they are not allowed by the Services to be transferred to work in the mines?

The Prime Minister

I certainly am not prepared to make additional transfers from the Army at the present time.

Mr. George Griffiths

Does the Prime Minister know that there appears to be a kind of fight going on between the Minister of Fuel and Power and the War Office; is he aware that there are scores of miners who appear to be inside the scheme but we cannot get them out of the Services at all, and that it is like being in a puzzle garden?

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

Will not my right hon. Friend consider whether those miners on headquarters staffs who are not on really important military work, should be released?

The Prime Minister

I have asked for instances of miners now within the proper age limits being exclusively employed on headquarters staffs. I will certainly look into any cases of that kind. I do not think that there is the slightest friction between the Secretary of State for War and the Minister for Fuel and Power. They collaborate entirely, though, naturally, they represent different angles of approach to the pro[...].