HC Deb 25 May 1880 vol 252 cc431-2

asked the Secretary of State for War, If it is the intention of the Government to give effect to the Resolution respecting flogging in the Army that was moved in the last Parliament by the noble Lord the late Leader of the Opposition, declaring that all corporal punishment for military offences ought to be abolished?


In reply to the hon. Member, I have to say that Her Majesty's Government adhere without reserve to the views expressed by my noble Friend the present Secretary of State for India in the speech which he made on the 17th of July, 1879, in moving a Resolution relative to flogging. But, before giving effect to those views, we are bound, to make the most careful inquiries as to what punishments can be substituted for flogging, which the House will remember can only be inflicted for offences committed on active service, and punishable with death. On the result of those inquiries the discipline of the Army at a grave crisis may depend; and those who are responsible for that discipline should have sufficient time to complete the investigations which, in fact, I had commenced some time before the hon. Member gave Notice of his Question. There is no possibility of this being done in time to carry through Parliament a new Army Discipline Act during the present short Session; but if the House will place its confidence in us—[Laughter]—I am not surprised at the laugh from one particular Member opposite—I undertake to bring before it, early next Session, proposals which will be, I hope, acceptable to Parliament and the country. Under these circumstances, I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester (Mr. Otway), who has privately communicated with me on this subject, will not think it necessary to bring the question before the House during the present Session.


said, that after the answer which had been given by the Secretary of State for War to the Question of his hon. Friend, he should not proceed this Session with the Motion of which he had given Notice with reference to the abolition of flogging.