HC Deb 23 August 1945 vol 413 c784
48. Sir J. Mellor

asked the Minister of Agriculture, with reference to Appendix 3, paragraph 5, to the Report from the Committee of Public Accounts 1945 and Questions 1357 to 1365 of the Minutes of Evidence, why consent of the National Service Officer was not obtained until nine months after the dismissal of three agricultural workers; what action was taken during this period; and when the Ministry of Labour was informed of the dismissals.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Thomas Williams)

It had not been considered legally necessary to obtain consent in such cases, and in only two of the particular cases concerned had a period of nine months elapsed. That part of the period which fell prior to the service of the Writ and the Petition of Right was occupied in consultations with the War Agricultural Executive Committee concerned and the Ministry of Labour, and in correspondence with the workers' solicitors. The two workers concerned ceased to work for the Committee on 10th October,1942, and 28th September, 1942, respectively. In one case, the Ministry of Labour was informed of the cessation of the employment on 28th October, 1942, and in the other on 8th December, 1942. In the third case, the period involved was one of two months.

Sir J. Mellor

Why was no other employment found for these workers during the intervening period?

Mr. Williams

I am bound to confess to the House that there was a misunderstanding in these cases, and I do not think any quite satisfactory answer could be given in reply to a question across the Floor of the House.