HC Deb 01 April 1867 vol 186 cc903-4

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether, when he lately gave notice to the House that he intended to disregard the recent Resolution of a majority of the House in favour of the abolition of corporal punishmentin the Army, and to introduce the usual Clause on that subject in the Mutiny Bill, as if no such Resolution had been carried, he had consulted His Royal Highness the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief on the subject, and had the approval of his Royal Highness in making that announcement?


Sir, I must, in the first place, take exception to the terms of the Question of my hon. Friend. I cannot admit that I ever gave notice to this House that I intended to disregard the recent Resolution which it came to on this subject. I merely intimated to the House my opinion that, under all the circumstances of that majority, I thought it was desirable that the extent of that Resolution should be re-considered; but I think I have given abundant evidence to the House that I did not intend to disregard that Resolution. In answer to the Question of my hon. Friend, I have only to say that, in accordance with the Constitution of the War Department, the Communications between the Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of State for War are very frequent. The Secretary of State, however, is responsible for the Administration of the War Department. He is responsible for what he says or does in his official capacity in this House; and I cannot think that the House will expect or desire that the Secretary of State should be called upon to state the times, circumstances, and subjects of those consultations with the Commander-in-Chief, which are almost of daily occurrence.


I wish to know, whether the right hon. Gentleman declines to answer my Question? ["Order, order!"]