HC Deb 14 March 1917 vol 91 cc1114-5W

asked the right hon. Member for Barnard Castle, as representing the Ministry of National Service, (1) whether it is intended that coal miners should fill up the forms issued by the Department and volunteer for National Service, seeing that there is already a shortage in the number of miners required to work the pits, that the miners are already engaged in performing work of national importance, and that men of military ago have been specially exempted from service in the Army by the mining tribunals in order that they may continue to work in the mines; (2) whether his attention has been directed to the terms of the bills issued by the Ministry of Munitions which are displayed in the munition works throughout the country, calling upon all badged and other munition workers of military age to stay at their work, as they may be serving their country better at their present job than in the trenches; and whether it is intended to require such workers to fill up the forms issued by the Department and to volunteer for work of national importance, seeing that they are already engaged in such work, and are being pressed to remain at their present jobs by the Ministry of Munitions; and (3) whether, having regard to the statement contained in the notes for speakers issued by the Director of National Service that, in the case of men who have been exempted by a tribunal from military service conditional upon their remaining in their present employment, the officials of the Department will have instructions not to call such men up as volunteers, he will see that steps are taken to inform such persons that they are not expected to volunteer, and thus save the unnecessary trouble and confusion caused in getting them to fill up the forms issued for volunteers and in sorting out their forms afterwards?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to these three questions. All these questions require and are receiving careful consideration by the Director-General of National Service in consultation with the Departments concerned, and I would ask the hon. Members to put down their questions again at an early date, when the procedure to be adopted will have been definitely settled.