§ 45. Sir John Mellor
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the hon. Member for the Sutton Coldfield division wrote on 25th February to the Ministry of Agriculture about the release of a knackerman; that his letter was passed to the Ministry of Food, thence to the Ministry of Supply and thence to the Board of Trade; that no Department has yet accepted any responsibility in this 369 matter; and whether, to prevent further delay, he will direct the War Office to release this knackerman.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)
Yes, Sir. I regret that there has been some delay in replying to the hon. Member. The House will be aware that there has-recently been a considerable transfer of responsibilities between Departments, and it is perhaps understandable that there should have been some doubt about a borderline case of this kind. The hon. Member will by now have had a letter from my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. In reply to the last part of the Question, the release of men ahead of their turn must depend on Service requirements. But I have asked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to look into the case and see whether compassionate release would be justified.