HC Deb 18 March 1897 vol 47 cc1005-6

On the Motion "That this Bill be now read a Second time,"


objected to the Bill being proceeded with at that hour. It was an important Measure, dealing with the whole of Her Majesty's Forces on land and sea, at home and abroad, and it was entitled to a proper discussion. The Bill dealt with soldiers, sailors and marines, and as a large portion of his constituents were members of one or other of the Services he naturally was interested in the Measure. When he mentioned that such an important subject as courts martial was raised it would be recognised that this was not an occasion when they could adequately discuss the matter. Dealing with the question of courts martial there had been a great amount of evidence—


The hon. Gentleman can deal with that particular question when the Bill is in Committee. He cannot go into questions of detail now.


said that he merely wanted to mention generally the question of courts martial.


That is a matter of detail and not the general question.


desired to point out that the Judge Advocate General no longer existed and the responsibility of re-hearing the judgments of the courts martial was to be committed now to a Judge, over whose action the House had no control.


Order, order! The question before the House is whether there shall be a general Code governing the Army. A discussion of the details of the Measure would be more properly discussed in Committee.


said he understood that on a Second Reading Motion he was at liberty to discuss the whole area of the Bill. His constituents were much interested in the matter, and he thought hon. Members were entitled to ask that the Second Reading should be deferred until they had had an opportunity of studying a Measure of this importance. The hon. Member moved, "That the Debate be now adjourned," but Mr. Speaker, being of opinion that the Motion was an abuse of the Rules of the House, declined to propose the Question thereupon to the House.


appealed to the Government to postpone the Second Reading.


said the request was most unreasonable. This was the annual Bill brought in maintaining the discipline of the Army and Navy. There was no change in it last year and there was no change this year, and no question arose upon it that the House need discuss.

MR. W. WOODALL (Hanley)

said that, having had that assurance, he hoped his hon. Friends would not oppose the Second Reading, notwithstanding the bad example set in regard to a similar Measure by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite when the position of Parties was reversed.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a Second time, and committed for To-morrow.