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Call-up

Oral Answers to Questions — National Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 1957.

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Photo of Mr William Deedes Mr William Deedes , Ashford 12:00 am, 27th November 1957

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give an estimate of the number of young men born between 1st July and 30th September, 1939, who cannot be yet informed whether or not they will be required to do National Service.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I estimate that the number is about 75,000.

Photo of Mr William Deedes Mr William Deedes , Ashford

As my right hon. Friend will be aware, a very large number of these young men are now in the position of being offered or choosing future jobs and are, therefore, uncertain as to their future. Can he say how soon he will be able to give more definite information about what is required of them?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I would hope that we would be able to do it as the White Paper prophesied: that is, we would make a further statement, although it may not be until early next year.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the Government's intention to abolish National Service, if he will introduce early legislation to amend the National Service Acts so as to exempt from National Service men who are urgently required in industry.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

No, Sir. I would refer the hon. Member to the White Paper on Call-up of Men to the Forces 1957–60.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it is time he took powers to keep in industry people who are more essential in industry than in the Army? Does he not recollect the case I submitted to him, the case of Alexander Millar of Ayrshire, whose call-up put 25 looms out of operation? Does not call-up in such circumstances create unemployment and trade difficulties? Does the right hon. Gentleman not think he should take special powers to deal with cases of this kind?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I do not think so. I think we must try to cover those special cases through the arrangements to meet hardships and others for postponements. What the hon. Member is suggesting is a form of selective service, and the Government have decided against that.