HC Deb 05 February 1918 vol 101 cc2139-40W

asked the Minister of National Service whether, seeing that Mr. P. M'Dougall, Commissioner of Live-stock in Scotland, and three of his six Sub-commissioners are of military age, he will cancel the exemptions they obtained from local tribunals on the ground that their services were required on their farms, which cannot be pretended now that they have undertaken other duties under Government, paid at £1,000 and £500 a year, respectively, while men of greater ex- perience as farmers and in respect of livestock are available among men over military age; whether one of the Sub-commissioners is only twenty-six years old, and the exemption of another, Mr. Picken. as a farmer has been cancelled by the local tribunal; whether these Commissioners and Sub-commissioners are members of an. organisation called the Farmers' Union, which is not recognised as truly representative of Scottish farmers and the secretary of which is a lawyer of military age who obtained exemption on the ground that he looked after the farm of a relation; and whether he will, in view of the feeling which prevails in and beyond Scotland. and of the resulting detriment to the cause of recruiting in the United Kingdom. cancel the exemptions obtained by these gentlemen as soon as the Military Service Bill becomes an Act of Parliament?


If these officers are to continue to be exempted from military service it will be on the ground that their services in their present capacity as public servants are indispensable to the State, and certificates will be issued to them by the Ministry of Food under Section 2 (2), of the Military Service Act, 1918, which will supersede the exemptions previously-held by them. The issue of such certificates requires the concurrence of my right hon. Friend the Minister of National Service, and he is carefully considering all the circumstances of the case in conjunction with the Ministry of Food.