HC Deb 28 February 1918 vol 103 c1571W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether the statement made by Earl Curzon on 4th December that tribunals would be asked to send in the names of men to whom absolute exemption would have been granted on conscientious grounds applies equally to men who have been before Appeal Tribunals?


I have been asked to answer this question. Doubtless the hon. Member's question relates to cases in which absolute exemption would have been granted had the tribunal concerned been aware that it had power to grant absolute exemption on conscientious grounds. If so, the answer is in the affirmative.


asked the Home Secretary what steps have been taken to give effect to the policy recently announced by Lord Curzon of releasing conscientious objectors unfit for military service by reason of ill-health?


The prison officers have been specially instructed to report the cases of all prisoners of this class whose health appears likely to be prejudiced by further imprisonment and who are physically unfit for military service. Upon the receipt of any such report or of corresponding information from any source, a special medical report is obtained, and if the case appears to be a proper one the prisoner is at once released from prison and is not again called up for military service. The number of prisoners released under these provisions down to this date is twenty-eight. As the action of the Home Office in this matter is being deliberately and persistently misrepresented by persons outside this House, I may perhaps be allowed to add that the arrangement announced by Lord Curzon, under which the power of releasing from prison persons condemned by court-martial and claiming to be conscientious objectors was transferred from the War Office to the Home Office, was adopted on my recommendation, and indeed at my urgent request, and it is wholly untrue to say that full effect has not been given to it.