HC Deb 20 December 1945 vol 417 cc1690-1W
Major Digby

asked the Minister of Labour why those who served in the Merchant Navy during the war have not the same reinstatement rights, on return to normal civilian life, as those who served in the Armed Forces, in view of the heavy casualties they sustained and the fact that they were prevented from transferring to the Armed Forces when they volunteered.

Mr. Isaacs

The Reinstatement in Civil Employment Act, 1944, was passed in - order to put on to a workable basis the rights of reinstatement granted to members of the Armed Forces under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act, 1939, and applies only to those who served in the Armed Forces and those who were enrolled in a Civil Defence Force under the National Service Acts. The Merchant Navy has remained a civilian service throughout the war and although its members, like a great many other classes of persons, have rendered most valuable war service in a civilian capacity, it has not been considered practicable to bring them within the scope of the Reinstatement Act. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a joint statement on this question which was issued by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary when he was Minister of Labour and the former Minister of War Transport on 8th November, 1944.