HC Deb 13 March 1899 vol 68 cc530-1

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether any investigation has been made by him as to the breach of trust of some one in his Department, by which information respecting the Navy Estimates, intentionally withheld from the House of Commons, was supplied to a particular newspaper; and, if so, with what result?

MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

I see that the Question refers to a "par- ticular newspaper." May I ask the right honourable Gentleman whether it is not the case that one provincial newspaper, as well as a London newspaper, also had the information referred to in the Question—namely, the "Birmingham Daily Post?"


I have no personal knowledge of that. I am aware that in several newspapers guesses were made as to the Naval Estimates, some of which were much nearer than that which was given in the paragraph to which the honourable Gentleman refers. As regards the Question on the Paper, I am desired by the First Lord of the Admiralty to say that he demurs to the statement that a breach of trust necessarily occurred within the Department. The case is not one of the abstraction of documents which might be traced. The several figures given were known to scores of men, and I see no means by which any clue could be arrived at as to information which was probably verbally given.

MR. MCKENNA (Monmouth, N.)

Can the honourable Gentleman name any newspaper that contained a more accurate forecast than the "Birmingham Daily Post" except the "Times"?


Yes, the Daily Telegraph."


May I ask the honourable Gentleman whether the First Lord of the Admiralty did not speak of it as a breach of trust?


I have been asked by the First Lord of the Admiralty to ask that any further question may be deferred until he is in his place in the House.