HC Deb 29 June 1897 vol 50 cc737-9

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty how many Members of the House of Commons and how many passengers altogether were on board the steamship Campania at the Naval Review; at whose cost was the luncheon provided; was the allocation of berths to Members who stayed on board all night by ballot, if not, how was it made; did the Admiralty arrange that the Campania should remain at anchor instead of going down the line of ships during the illuminations, or bringing those on board to the quay the following morning; and whether, under the circumstances, any portion of the charge made to Members will be refunded?


I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) whether he is aware that there were 1,800 persons on board the steamship Campania on the occasion of the Naval Review, of whom only 800 were either Members of this House or their invited guests; (2) whether he can explain how tins overcrowding arose, having regard to the statement that the Campania would be reserved for the use and convenience of the House; (3) If he can inform the House whether the sum of £5. 5s. was the charge made to all who stayed on board over Saturday night; (4) into whose credit the aggregate sum so netted has been paid, and its ultimate destination; and (5) whether it is the intention of the Government to place on the Estimates any Vote for expenses of the illuminations for the Review, upon which Members of this House can express their opinions?


Invitations to the Campania issued by the Admiralty were limited to 1,600, full accommodation for which number was guaranteed by the company; 1,082 of these invitations were issued to Members and their friends. The ship was originally intended for the Lords and the Commons, but when the decision was arrived at to take the Lords in the Danube, it was necessary to redistribute the available space. The cost of the luncheon was defrayed by the Admiralty. The five guineas was the company's charge direct to the visitors for the extra accommodation provided outside the Admiralty contract. The allocation of berths was made at the Admiralty. It was stated by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary of the Admiralty that the Campania, after— landing those who desire to return to town on Saturday afternoon, will leave Southampton Dock not later than 7 o'clock p.m., and take up a position in the Solent. I am making inquiries as to the number of passengers embarked on board the Campania, and would ask hon. Members to postpone their questions on tins point until Friday.

MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether the 1,000 tickets distributed to Members were distributed on the basis of one to each Member?


They were distributed on the basis announced by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary—one to each Member, and each Member had the opportunity of having one for a friend also.


May I ask who were the 518 guests who were not Members of this House?


They were some of the Colonial and Indian guests—["hear, hear!"]—and a certain number of distinguished naval officers, including former Lords of the Admiralty; and a certain number of tickets were distributed to members of the Admiralty Office.


said no answer had been given to the last paragraph of his Question—whether the Government intended to place on the Estimates any Vote for expenses of time review illuminations upon which Members of the House could express their opinion.


Perhaps the lion. Gentleman will say at the same time why the Campania did not come back to dock on Sunday morning, instead of the passengers being put on a small tug in the rain.


If the hon. Member will be good enough to turn to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary in announcing the arrangements, he will see that the programme then announced was exactly carried out.


asked whether there would be any opportunity of criticising the arrangements in connection with the Naval Review.


I am not aware of any opportunity of discussing this question on any Vote which remains to be passed.


Is it not a fact that the Admiralty are responsible, and can there be any objection to its being raised on the Admiralty Vote?


On the Appropriation Bill?