HC Deb 26 February 1958 vol 583 c360
3. Mr. Brockway

asked the Minister of Labour what action he proposes to take regarding the practice of tribunals in placing conscientious objectors who decline conditional registration on the military register so that in the case of appeals under Section 20 (1) of the National Service Act, 1948, they lose the opportunity to have the balance of their prison sentences remitted.

Mr. Iain Macleod

None, Sir. The responsibility for deciding applications made on grounds of conscientious objection is laid by the National Service Act, 1948, on the tribunals appointed for that purpose. I have no reason to accept the assumption that it is the practice of tribunals to reject applications solely because of unwillingness to accept the obligations of conditional registration.

Mr. Brockway

This is a technical point but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that it causes great injustice and hardship. May I ask whether he is aware that, though recognising the sincerity of conscience, certain tribunals, because conditions are refused, place the objectors on the military register? The result is that after imprisonment they come again to the appeal tribunal; they are not released if it is found that they will not accept conditions and they are kept in prison as on the military register. Will the right hon. Gentleman look into this matter?

Mr. Macleod

Of course I will. I realise the implication of such a decision by the tribunal, but I am certain that the tribunals know their duties and the different courses open to them under Section 17.

Mr. Simmons

Can the Minister tell us the average age of members of the tribunals?

Mr. Macleod

Not without notice, but I have taken action recently to reduce it.

Forward to