HC Deb 08 July 1890 vol 346 cc1113-4

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been directed to the statement in the evening papers of the 7th, given on the authority of the Press Association, and if he will make inquiries as to the alleged refusal of the Guards, on Monday morning, to turn out for parade?

*THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE,) Lincolnshire, Horncastle

The reports of this occurrence given in the Press are much exaggerated. No doubt there was some dissatisfaction in the battalion at being ordered to attend a parade yesterday morning, and for a short time most of the men failed to appear on parade at the time fixed. The whole of them were afterwards paraded for duty, and were marched off in perfect order to their several guards and duties. Special inquiry is now being made into the circumstances.


Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House how it happened that the War Office yesterday seemed not to have information which was in possession of the daily Press 1 I would also ask whether he can account for the seeming discrepancy between the statement which he has now made and the statement made by the Prime Minister in another place this evening with reference to the same affair?


As to the second question of the hon. Member, I have no explanation to make, as I have not heard the statement of the Prime Minister. In reply to the first question I admit that I ought to have been informed of this occurrence yesterday. The truth of the matter is that the Military Authorities were holding an inquiry, and desired to complete it so as to give me the result. I thus came down to the House accidentally unprepared to answer the question that was put to me.


I wish to ask, with inference to the statement of the Prime Minister in the House of Lords—["Order!"] This is a very serious matter. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Prime Minister seemed to attach much greater importance to this question than he appears to do? So far from trying to explain away matters—


Order, order!


Oh, all right.