HC Deb 07 March 1890 vol 342 c252

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, as he has stated, that the contracts and schedules for the manufacture of the 110-ton guns of H.M.S. Victoria "did not specify either the material to be used or the tests to be applied," he can now state what did constitute the binding agreement on these points with the Elswick Company, and which the War Office consider as an adequate substitute for a formal and businesslike contract; and whether orders for other guns, and, if so, what guns, have been given to the Elswick Company without a written contract as to material and tests?


My hon. Friend is asking me as to a contract made in 1883. At that time the whole responsibility for guns rested with the Superintendent of the Royal Gun Factories, who laid down the terms and whose agent was stationed at Elswick to test material. And the contract gave him the fullest powers to prove the guns. As a matter of fact, the tests for steel since that time have become more severe, and the contracts require that the guns shall pass to the entire satisfaction of the officer appointed to pass them.


Is there anybody responsible for those guns in the Service at the present time?


I should imagine that the Director of Contracts is.


I beg to give notice that I will call attention to the proceedings of the Director of Contracts on the Special Vote.