§ 10. Mr. Dodds
asked the Minister of Labour if he can yet make a statement explaining why Mr. Roy Robert Houghton 821 was detailed to the Army despite an accident in which he sustained three fractures of the right ankle, necessitating the fixture of a screw to hold the ankle bone together, causing a permanent disability with pain and swelling from undue pressure on his right foot.
§ Mr. Watkinson
The medical assessment of this young man took into account the physical condition and functional capacity of his right ankle. Because of the fractures he was placed in medical grade II (a) feet. He first expressed a preference for the Royal Navy and later volunteered for Regular engagement in the Army. Perhaps for this reason he did not exercise is right of appeal against the decision of the medical board and he was then correctly called up for restricted service. I understand that at the request of the hon. Member the Army is looking into the case of this man again, and I note that the hon. Member has put a Question down to the Secretary of State for War.
§ Mr. Dodds
Is the Parliamentary Secretary not surprised to know that this young man, who was sent into the Army by the Parliamentary Secretary's Department, has been excused almost every duty expected of a soldier, wears canvas shoes and at present is home on sick leave? When will the hon. Gentleman stop defending this farce of sending into the Forces young men who ought never to be in the Forces?
§ Mr. Watkinson
What I hope that the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Dodds) and, indeed, any other hon. Member will do, is to remind more young men who go for National Service that if they are not satisfied with the decision of the medical board, they are clearly informed in writing that they have a constitutional right to appeal to my Ministry against the gradings. If more young men would do that, these cases would not arise.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I have sent a case to the Parliamentary Secretary. Does he not agree that if it is Government policy to reduce the Armed Forces, a beginning might be made by not taking into the Army people of obviously inferior qualifications and partly-crippled people? Is it not a waste of Government money to take them into the Army?