HC Deb 03 April 1879 vol 245 cc274-5

asked the hon. Member for Dundee, Whether, considering that he has no immediate prospect of being able to bring forward his Motion condemning the policy of Lord Chelmsford in South Africa, he intends leaving the Motion on the Paper till after Easter?


Sir, I must correct the hon. Gentleman in one respect. I do not propose to condemn the policy of Lord Chelmsford. What I propose to do is to condemn the policy of the Government in regard to the command of the troops in South Africa. The Question is very difficult to answer, because I am quite conscious of the very great inconvenience caused by keeping on the Paper a Motion reflecting on the conduct of a General Officer. On the other hand, I am animated by the usual anxiety of hon. Members on this side of the House to assist Her Majesty's Government in every possible way; and as the right hon. and, gallant Gentleman the Secretary of State for War said the other evening that he would leave his defence of the conduct of the Government with reference to Lord Chelmsford till the Motion referred to came on, the necessity is imposed upon me of bringing it on whenever I have an opportunity. I can only answer the hon. Member, therefore, by saying that I am not in a position to answer his Question.