Exemption Petition.

Oral Answers to Questions — Military Service. – in the House of Commons on 12th March 1942.

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Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has considered the petition from the islanders of Bernera asking for Norman Macdonald to be exempted from service on the grounds that he has six brothers serving, and that if he is called up his mother's croft, which he cultivates, will go out of cultivation as he is the last son left; and what answer he proposes to give to the petition?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I understand that this petition has been addressed to my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, who alone has jurisdiction in the matter, since Mr. Macdonald has been enlisted into the Navy.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

Is it not within the power of the Minister of Labour to say whether this man shall be called up or not, seeing that there is a widowed mother who already has six sons in the Service and that this is her ewe lamb who has been taken from her, with the result that the farm is denuded of all male labour, a state which the island is nearly in at this moment? Will not the Minister go into the matter?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I understand that Mr. Macdonald has been enlisted in the Navy. Once the enlistment notice is issued, the matter becomes one for the Service Minister concerned. I have no doubt that if the hon. Member puts a Question to my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, he will deal with it.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

As this is a very serious matter in the Outer Hebrides

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. Member should put on the Paper a Question to the First Lord of the Admiralty.