HC Deb 28 November 1917 vol 99 cc2044-5W

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that Mr. J. Theodore Harris, the secretary of the Hackney Advisory Committee for Juvenile Employment, who is an established Civil servant, has been suspended on the ground that he refused to carry out the circular instructions of the Department for the recruiting of boys between fifteen and seventeen and a half years of age for the Royal Flying Corps, such boys to enlist for the duration of the War or in the ordinary way serving four years with the Colours and four years in the Reserve; whether it is part of the duties of his Department to act as a recruiting agency for military service; whether the officers of the Department are to be punished for refusing to carry out work quite alien to the duties for which they were engaged and against which Mr. Harris, as a Quaker, has a conscientious objection; and what further action it is proposed to take in the case?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The work in question is most important, and is of such nature that it can appropriately be carried out by the juvenile departments of the Employment Exchanges. If Mr. Harris persists in his refusal to carry out the instructions of the Department with regard to this matter, my right hon. Friend regrets that he will have no alternative but to terminate his appointment.