HC Deb 29 June 1893 vol 14 cc363-4
MR. C. WILSON (Hull, W.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in consequence of the numerous casualties to the battleships of Her Majesty's Navy, the Government will consider the advisability of discontinuing their construction, and the desirability of ascertaining whether the conditions necessary for offence and defence are obtainable in a much smaller class of vessel and of less complicated construction?

MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in consequence of the unfortunate loss of H.M.S. Victoria, in collision with H.M.S. Camperdown, he will consent to the appointment of a Committee of both Houses of Parliament, or a Royal Commission, to inquire into the designs under which ships are constructed for the Navy?


Although one of the largest of Her Majesty's ships has recently sunk under most painful circumstances, we have not at present any information which explains with authority or certainty the cause of that accident. A searching inquiry will at once be ordered by the Admiralty, and until the Admiralty are in possession of information fully explaining the causes of the collision it is quite obvious, as my hon. Friend will see, that no definitive reply—indeed, no reply at all—can be properly made to any question which suggests that the disaster may be owing to any specific cause, such as the size of the ships or their complicated construction. It is more than possible that an inquiry may throw light upon these very important subjects, and it is, I think, obviously the duty of the Government to wait and avail themselves of that light. I think the answer I have given will also serve as a reply to the hon. Member for Sunderland. I must say that I cannot help expressing the hope, which may be also the sentiment of the House, that for the present all questions of this kind may be postponed until the Government are in full possession of information.