§ MR. WATT (Glasgow, Camlachie)
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If it is true that, upon the recommendation of a Committee, consisting of a Vice Admiral who has had no experience at a Home Dockyard, an Admiralty Clerk, and a Constructive Officer in a subordinate position in the Admiralty Office, vital changes have been made in the administration of the Dockyards, whereby four principal Officers of great experience and ability have been "forcibly retired;" if it is true that new permanent offices were created, causing an additional expenditure of £5,300 a year; if it is true that all the Committee and their Secretaries have been appointed to lucrative offices, three of which were created on their own recommendation; and, whether it is true that the recommendations in the Report submitted by the Committee to their Lordships are at variance on material points with the evidence given by the Superintendents of the Dockyards?
§ THE SECRETARY (Mr. HIBBERT) (Oldham)
In reply to the first paragraph of the Question of the hon. Member for the Camlachie Division of Glasgow, I have to say that it is true. The Committee he refers to was composed of a Vice Admiral, who had had experience as a Superintendent at Malta Dockyard, of a principal clerk, and of a constructive officer, who was attached to the Surveyor of Dockyards. The Report of this Committee was referred to a superior Committee, consisting of the following Members:—The late Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Ritchie), Sir Reginald Welby, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, and the Permanent Secretary and the Accountant General of the Navy. The extra expense of the new Government offices created at the Dockyards is about £2,700, and not the amount stated in the Question. It is true that all the Members of the Committee and their Secretaries have been appointed to important offices; but these gentlemen have been selected by the late First Lord of the Admiralty as the most suitable persons for the vacant posts. In reply to the last clause of the hon. Member's Question, I can only say that action was taken on the 456 evidence as a whole, full consideration having been given to the views expressed by the Superintendents of the Dockyards. Although I have answered the Question, I may point out to the hon. Member that it would have been much more convenient to give an explanation in Committee of Supply than in answer to a Question.