HC Deb 05 April 1887 vol 313 c510
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, he will consent to the Order of Reference to the Committee on Navy Estimates being so framed as to invite an expression of opinion by the said Committee, after evidence had and obtained, as to the sufficiency or otherwise of our existing Naval Force for the requirements of the Empire, in view of a possible combination of Naval Powers against this country in any future war, seeing that much uneasiness prevails in the country upon the subject, and that the opinion of the most competent naval authorities is in direct conflict with official statements on this most important question?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

My hon. and gallant Friend proposes to include in a Reference to a Commission questions of policy which belong entirely to the Government of the day, and for which they must always be responsible. I am unable to consent to any such course. The Government must continue to be held solely responsible for asking from Parliament such provision as they may deem necessary for the security of the country.