HC Deb 26 July 1916 vol 84 cc1699-700W

asked the President of the Local Government Board if he will inquire into the complaint of Mr. A. Leach, an applicant for exemption from the Military Service Act before the Bootle Tribunal, the complaint being that the chairman refused a proper hearing of the case, that the appeal was summarily dismissed without consideration, that the other members of the tribunal did not see the answers to the questions given by the applicant, that the clerk to the tribunal told Mr. Leach that his case was not read to the tribunal because public men cannot spare time to sift these cases or they would not get through six a night; and if he will order the tribunal to properly rehear the case?


I have made inquiries the result of which puts a different complexion on the case. I am informed that two applications were made, one by the employers on business grounds, the other by the man on conscientious grounds; that from fifteen to twenty minutes were given to the hearing of the application; that a long statement by the man on his personal application was read to the tribunal, with the exception of the last two paragraphs, the gist of which was conveyed to them; that the man was then asked by the clerk and the chairman whether he had anything further to add and replied in the negative. The clerk states that the part of the question which relates to himself is absolutely untrue.


asked the President of the Local Government Board if he is aware that on Thursday, 20th July, in the hearing of the appeal of a conscientious objector, Mr. H. R. Cudbird, the assistant military representative, a person named Longcroft stated, and the chairman decided, that the tribunal had no power to grant more than exemption from combatant service; whether, in view of this violation of the Military Service Act, 1916, and of his own repeated assurances, he will direct the tribunal to rehear this case; and whether, to prevent the frequent miscarriages of justice due either to the ignorance or to the wilful misunderstanding of this part of the Act, he will have Longcroft dismissed, and issue a warning to all other military representatives that future misrepresentations of the kind will result in the dismissal of those guilty of it.?


I am in communication with the local tribunal regarding this case.