MR. GATHORNE HARDY
, in rising to move for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the Law relating to Regimental Exchanges said, the measure was one which he had introduced late last Session, and which there was not then time to go on with. He had explained the nature of the Bill last year, and had been very anxious that it should come on for discussion. He did not however propose on the present occasion to enter on that discussion, which would not be advantageous to the House; and he know that hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were anxious to take part in discussing the Bill, and who were opposed to it, would not offer any opposition to its introduction. Those hon. Gentlemen had asked him not to fix the second reading for an early day, and in deference to their 123 wishes he would fix it for that day fortnight, instead of for Monday next, as he had originally intended.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, that although the Bill was drawn in few and simple words, he believed its consequences would be neither few nor simple. He was glad therefore the right hon. Gentleman had named a somewhat distant day for the second reading, because it was most important that hon. Members should have an opportunity of studying the bearings of the question, which was most complicated in its nature, and the details of a proposition which was of a distinctly retrograde character as concerned the legislation of this country, and would have a very deep effect not only upon the Army, but upon the whole circle of our public services. When the day fixed for the second reading arrived, if no more qualified person stopped in to undertake the task, he should move that the Bill be read upon that day six months, and he earnestly hoped that he should be able to make good the few words he had now spoken to the satisfaction of the many and perhaps a majority of hon. Members.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, that when at the close of the last Session the right hon. Gentleman withdrew the Bill, and intimated his intention to re-introduce it, he himself announced that he would again oppose it, Her Majesty's Opposition was then nowhere. He (Mr. Anderson) had to complain of considerable apathy on their part; but he hoped that on this occasion the announcement that they had just heard from the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Border Burghs meant that Her Majesty's Opposition under their new Loader really intended to take up that most objectionable Bill and give it some-tiling like a strenuous opposition. It was undoubtedly the most retrograde and reactionary measure that the Government had yet attempted, with the solitary exception of the Endowed Schools Bill, and on the second reading he should be most happy to join with the hon. Member for the Border Burghs in opposing it.
§ MR. HAYTER
said, he did not rise to give the Notice of Motion which he had intended to give—namely, to read the Bill a second time that day six months—because his hon. Friend the Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. 124 Trevelyan) had already done so. But he would remind the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War that that Bill applied to all regimental ranks, and that under the Army Regulation Act the ranks of major and lieutenant-colonel were to be filled by selection. Surely it could not be intended that when an officer had been selected to fill a special post he should then be permitted to accept a bonus in order to exchange into a regiment which might be more convenient for him? He had to thank his right hon. Friend for postponing the second reading till Monday week, because he must remind him that that Bill introduced a totally novel principle—namely, that of giving a Parliamentary sanction to payment for exchanges—a principle altogether unknown in every other service of the Crown.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill to amend the Law relating to Regimental Exchanges, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Secretary HARDY and Mr. STANLEY.
§ Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 3.]