§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that, in the interview given on his behalf by Lord Sandhurst to a deputation of officers commanding regiments of Volunteers on the 23rd ultimo, the Under Secretary of State for War undertook that the Government would not oppose the Volunteer Forces (Jury Exemption) Bill; and if he will accordingly communicate with the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Secretary to the Treasury, and the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department, so that the blocks placed by those Ministers on behalf of the Government on the 10th and 17th of July to the Committee stage of the Bill may not be renewed?
* THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. CAMPELL-BANNERMAN, Stirling, &c.)
In the interview referred to, Lord Sandhurst spoke by my authority, and after consultation with me, and the intention of what he said was to convey to the officers present the fact that, so far as the War Office was concerned, no objection would be taken to a Bill for exempting officers in the Volunteer Force from service on juries, as it was urged that this privilege would tend to increase the willingness to accept commissions. My noble Friend could, however, only speak for his own Department, and both he and I regret if what was said has been understood in any larger sense; and I must point out that the Bill now before the House is a Bill of much wider scope, extending the exemption to all Volunteers.
§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the exact words used were "The Government will not oppose the Bill"?
§ * MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
If so, they were used in the belief that the Bill referred to was the one granting the exemption to officers only.