HC Deb 21 March 1890 vol 342 cc1612-4

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


Last night my hon. Friend the Member for East Donegal remarked, as a reason for not passing the Second Reading of the Bill without being acquainted with its contents, that it might contain important alterations. The Bill was only issued this morning, and though I confess I am not well acquainted with these matters, there seem to me distinct changes in the Bill in Section 5; and upon these I think we may well ask from the right hon. Gentleman a little enlightenment.


I also wish to refer to the circumstances under which Army pensioners may forfeit their right to the receipt of pensions—


This Bill only deals with the discipline of the Army.

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

I shall be glad to offer any explanation or information that may be desired, though it seems to me the points raised could be better dealt with in a Committee discussion. Still, if desired now, I will shortly state the reasons for the changes. Three clauses have been amended in connection with administration in India. There is a provision that the Commander in Chief in Madras and Bombay may limit sentences passed on soldiers. That I think, speaks for itself. The Indian Government farther desire that the Act should be amended to enable persons holding commissions in the India Reserve to be subjected to military law whenever they are called out. Another change is made at the request of the Admiralty in reference to the service of Royal Marines. These are matters of detail, and offer no reason why the Bill should now be read a second time


One of the questions has relation to a reserve of officers in India, but, if I am not mistaken, as yet no such reserve exists. There may be in the mind of the Secretary for War a design to establish such; but are we not asked to legislate in advance on that point?


That is so.


What is the nature of the Reserve; how will it be formed? I think we ought to be in possession of the legislative proposals.


I will reserve the points I wish to raise for Committee.


One point there is that has relation to discipline in the Army—the punishment by flogging. This is not abolished in military prisons. I would ask the Secretary for War what number of men were flogged in these prisons last year, or, perhaps, he will give me the information at a later stage.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.