HC Deb 14 June 1888 vol 327 cc121-2
SIR JOHN COLOMB (, &c.) Tower Hamlets, Bow

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the Royal Commission to be presided over by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) will inquire into the relations between the Admiralty and War Office, as regards the conflicting statements made by the First Lord of the Admiralty and Adjutant General of the Army, respecting the transport required and available in French ports for the sudden invasion of this country by 100,000 men; whether the Commissioners will inquire into the relations between the Admiralty, the War Office, and the Treasury, with a view to ascertaining the grounds upon which the Treasury sanctions an annual expenditure by the War Office of over £14,000 a-year for military intelligence, besides over £4,000 a-year for military attaches, while the annual expenditure by the Admiralty for naval intelligence is under £5,000 a-year, and under £1,000 a-year for a naval attaché, as shown by Parliamentary Returns recently presented to the House?

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

My hon. and gallant Friend is aware of the terms of the Reference to the Royal Commission on the Admiralty and War Office; and it is for the Commission, as a body, to determine what points they will or will not deal with. No Member of Her Majesty's Government can give any instructions to or interfere with the proceedings of a Royal Commission; and, under these circumstances, it is impossible for me to give my hon. and gallant Friend any definite information on the point which he has raised.