HC Deb 14 June 1961 vol 642 c396
1. Mr. Brockway

asked the Minister of Defence if he will make arrangements by which men in the forces abroad who disobey orders on conscientious grounds shall have the same opportunity as Service men in this country to appear at a tribunal after serving three months' imprisonment.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

Yes, Sir. It has been agreed that the present arrangements under which Service men who commit offences on grounds of conscience in this country are allowed to appear before the Appellate Tribunal shall be extended, subject to Service requirements, to men serving overseas. Detailed instructions for giving effect to this decision are being worked out.

Mr. Brockway

May I express appreciation for that answer? What are the limitations of Service requirements? Does it mean technical matters of transport, or does it mean that there might be particular circumstances in an overseas territory which for other reasons would prevent men coming before a tribunal?

Mr. Watkinson

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. It means the real exigencies of the Service. I do not want to limit this. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will wait until we have worked out the details. I am naturally anxious to make this work efficiently and ensure that men who wish to appeal to a tribunal are able to do so.

Mr. Brockway

I thank the right hon. Gentleman.