§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.742
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA AND BURMA (THE EARL OF MUNSTER)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. I do not think that I need delay your Lordships for more than a very few moments in asking approval for the Second Reading of the Bill which seeks to remove an existing loophole in the law applicable to the Isle of Man, and to this country. The National Service Acts of 1939 and 1940, and the first National Service Act of 1941, have all been applied to the Isle of Man by Order in Council, thus subjecting men under the age of 41, who are resident in the island, to the same liability for military service as men under the same age who happen to be resident in this country. Women and men over the age of 41 can, under a Defence Regulation now operating in the island, be directed to perform Civil Defence duties and to undertake other work of national importance. There is, however, an absence of any power to direct persons in the Isle of Man to take up work in this country, and thus a loophole exists in cases where persons who are ordinarily resident in this country, can avoid their obligations by transferring their place of residence to the Isle of Man. So far as my information goes, I do not believe that there is any large number of persons who have avoided their duties to the State, but nevertheless a loophole does exist, and it is the intention of my right honourable friend to close that gap.
Clause 1 of the Bill, which is the only clause with which I think I need trouble the House, enables regulations to be made requiring persons in the Isle of Man to take up work of national importance in this country. Persons ordinarily resident in that island on August 24, 1939, are to be exempted from service outside the island unless the local Legislature agrees that such obligation should be imposed upon them, but there will be power, under this Bill, as soon as it becomes law, for persons who were not ordinarily resident in the Isle of Man on that date, to be directed to undertake service in this country. Your Lordships will observe that we are, therefore, ensuring that no man or woman can escape his or her obligation by transferring his or her place of residence from this country to the Isle of Man. The measure is, I think, 743 in no way whatever controversial, and I feel certain that your Lordships will approve of the action which is being taken against those people, however few in number, who have endeavoured to avoid their duties to the State in times of grave national emergency. I do not think I need say more, in view of the other Motion which is on the Paper, and I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.— (The Earl of Munster.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a committee of the Whole House.