§ MR. CUNINGHAME GRAHAM (Lanarkshire, N.W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, is he aware that, on 23rd March, 1889, 12 men en- 1683 gaged in the Inspection Department at the Royal Dockyard Woolwich, received notice that their services would not be required after 30th March; that one of these men had been identified with the exposure of the appointment of contractors' men as "viewers" in place of mechanics employed by the Government; that, in spite of a printed order to the contrary posted in the workshop, permission to see Colonel Barrington, Superintendent of Inspectors, was refused on the ground that he was too busy; will he inform the House whether it is permissible for properly qualified mechanics to be discharged from the Royal Dockyard after 12 years' continuous engagement on the ground that they are "classed as agitators;" and, whether he will direct that in future all appointments as viewers shall be from among the regular employés of proved ability?
§ * MR. E. STANHOPE
The discharges referred to were not from the Inspection Department, but from the collar-makers' shop, where a reduction of civilian workmen was rendered necessary by service changes. I am informed that there is no ground for the other statements in the question. Appointments as viewers are made, and will continue to be made, from men who are considered most qualified for the purpose, but due regard is always bad to the claims of men already in the service.