HC Deb 07 November 1950 vol 480 cc766-7
41. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement as to the liability to call-up for training and in an emergency of men aged less than 26 years who were in reserved occupations during the late war.

42. Mr. J. R. Bevins

asked the Minister of Labour why the liability for military service is greater for a man who served in the last war than one who did not, when both are of military age, physically fit and not reserved.

Mr. Isaacs

Men who were reserved in the last war who are now under the age of 26 are liable to be called up under the National Service Acts. In 1946, however, it was announced in a White Paper (Cmd. 6831) that men born before 1929 who were not called up before the end of 1946 would, with certain exceptions, not be called up. Their liability is accordingly not being enforced.

These men are not trained soldiers and could not be called up for immediate use in an emergency like the Z Reservists. The intention is that in the event of an emergency they would be called up in their age groups under whatever arrangements were operating at the time.

Mr. Bevins

If the liability for service, of non-Reservists is less than that of Reservists, which I think was indicated by the right hon. Gentleman, solely because non-Reservists have not had military training, what objection is there to the right hon. Gentleman arranging for them to have military training now?

Mr. Isaacs

Because we might find that some of these men are somewhere up to the age of 50. There was a very exhaustive comb-out, and these men were told, "Stop where you are, you will not be wanted." I think they would have a legitimate grievance if they were told to do military service now after they were willing to do it earlier and were not allowed to.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Question to which he has given an answer relates solely to men under 26?

Mr. Isaacs

The answer I gave relates only to men under 26, but the general principle covers men of all ages.