§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been called to the fact that a Petition against Home Rule is being circulated amongst the wives of non-commissioned officers and men at the Curragh Camp; that it has been initiated by the wife of the Lieutenant Colonel; and that it has been taken round for the women's signatures by the Colonel's orderly; and whether the War Office Authorities have any knowledge of this proceeding, and is it in accordance with the Regulations of the Service?
§ * MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The General Officer commanding at the Curragh has reported as follows:—A Petition against the Home Rule Bill was circulated among the wives of the non-commissioned officers and men of the Royal Engineers in this camp; it was not initiated by the wife of the Commanding Royal Engineer, but was a portion of one initiated in the County of Kildare by the Duchess of Leinster. The soldier who voluntarily took the Petition round was not acting as Commanding Royal Engineer's orderly, but in his private capacity when off duty.So much for the facts. If I am asked for my opinion on the general question, I would say that any agitation or propagation of Party or political views on one side or the other among soldiers in camps or barracks is to be strongly deprecated, and in this case it was indiscreet (to say the least of it) to allow the Commanding Officer's orderly, even in his leisure moments, to circulate a political Petition.