HC Deb 30 October 1956 vol 558 cc1242-3
36. Miss Bacon

asked the Minister of Labour on what grounds his Department refused to defer the call-up of an 18-year-old boy, of whom he has been informed, for National Service, having regard to the fact the boy's household consists of an invalid war-widowed mother, her invalid daughter of 17, an invalid son of 16, an epileptic son of 15 and three other children of school age and that another son of 21 is a Regular soldier.

Mr. Iain Macleod

This man's application for postponement was refused by a Military Service (Hardship) Committee. The Committee was fully constituted and there were no grounds for an appeal against its unanimous decision. Nevertheless, in view of the unusual circumstances of the case I am arranging for action to be suspended pending further examination.

Miss Bacon

Is the Minister aware that, while I thank him for the reply which he has now given, I had hoped that he could have given me a similar reply when I saw him at the end of July? Is he aware that if this is not a hardship it is difficult to understand what is a hardship?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, Sir, but, with respect, this matter was most carefully considered by a duly constituted committee. Its decision was unanimous and I have no statutory authority to intervene, as I said to the hon. Lady at the end of July, and as she will remember. At the same time, what I am really saying now in my Answer is that although everybody carried out their duty faithfully and accurately yet—and this sometimes happens—the end result was completely unfair. That is why I have intervened as I have indicated.

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