§ 46. Miss Bacon
asked the Minister of Defence if he will raise the age at which young people are allowed to join the Regular Services without the permission of their parents.
§ The Minister of Defence (Mr. A. V. Alexander)
No, Sir. I have no evidence that any change in the present age limits is necessary.
§ Miss Bacon
Does my right hon. Friend really think that seventeen and a half years is an age at which young people ought to be allowed, without their parents, to make decisions which affect the whole of their lives?
§ Mr. Alexander
I have no evidence that it has led to any disability for the young people concerned. If my hon. Friend has any and will submit it to me I will consider it.
§ Mr. W. Fletcher
Will the right hon. Gentleman compare his reply with that given today to Question No. 16, in which the answer was that the Government would give special facilities for purchase out of the Navy by young people who enlisted at too early an age?
§ Mr. George Thomas
Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are many hon. Members of this House who have had appeals from the men concerned, when they have sought to buy their way out after realising that, in the years of adolescence, they made a mistake in committing themselves for so long? Will he not now raise the age?
§ Mr. Alexander
It may specially apply to some who enlisted in the war years, but I can say that out of the thousands of young men who enlisted in the Regular Services last year—1947—only three cases have led to any question on the part of the parents.