§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether it is true that the late Chief Constructor, Sir Nathaniel Barnaby, presented a Report to the late Board of Admiralty, on behalf of himself and the other Constructors of the Admiralty, disapproving the designs for the two ironclads, the Nile and the Trafalgar; whether, subsequently, the late Chief Constructor and the present Chief Constructor presented a Memorandum to the late Board adverse to the adoption of the designs for these two vessels, disclaiming responsibility for them, and recommending that a Committee similar to that of 1871 should be appointed to consider and advise what should be types of large vessels of war before embarking on further construction of them; 672 and, whether he will lay these Reports upon the Table of the House, and will state on whose responsibility the designs for these vessels were approved by the late Board of Admiralty?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. HIBBERT) (Oldham)
It is a fact that the late Chief Constructor of the Navy presented a confidential Report to the late Board of Admiralty on behalf of himsef and the other constructors criticizing the designs of the iron-clads Nile and Trafalgar. Subsequently the late Chief Constructor and the present Chief Constructor sent a Memorandum to the late First Lord of the Admiralty on the subject of these two ships. The communication, however, was not of an official character, and did not, so far as I am aware, pass through any of the Departments of the Office. The designs of these two vessels were approved by the late Board of Admiralty on the responsibility of the late Controller of the Navy. As my right hon. Friend has himself held high Office at the Admiralty, I feel sure he will understand that it is quite impossible to present to Parliament Reports of the nature referred to.