asked the Minister of Labour whether the Proclamation of 23rd July is still in force whereby only single women between the ages of 20 and 31 are liable for military and industrial conscription and that only such women between these ages have the right to register provisionally as conscientious objectors; and why Mary Cockcroft, of Sowerby Bridge, who is not yet 20 years of age, has been twice prosecuted for failing to comply with the direction of the Ministry and is now serving two months imprisonment, although she had no opportunity of appearing before a conscientious objectors' tribunal?
The Proclamation of 23rd July, 1942, which is still in force relates only to conscription for the Forces. Directions to perform industrial work are given under Defence Regulation 58A and are not subject to any age limit, nor is there any provision for the registration of conscientious objection to such directions although in practice persons known to have conscientious objections are not directed to work closely connected with the military side of the war effort. I am having inquiries made into the individual case mentioned by my hon. Friend.