§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty what number of slips are usually available for the building of first-class ironclads at the various dockyards; whether several of these slips are now utilised for the commencement of ships of last year's programme which have been delayed; whether other ships 305 of this year's programme are to wait until the ships now being commenced are launched; and what is the extent of the difficulty of altering other slips so that they may be utilised for the construction of first-class battleships, or of constructing additional slips for that purpose?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
The number of slips usually available for building first-class battleships at the dockyards are one each at Portsmouth, Chatham, and Devonport, and two at Pembroke. My answer to the second Question is in the affirmative. In reply to the third Question, yes, unless it is found later in the year that other arrangements are more convenient, but the profitable and expeditious construction of a ship depends upon many other considerations besides the fact of a slip being available. Other slips could be altered if it were found necessary to do so, and it is a matter which is always under consideration.