HC Deb 19 March 1900 vol 80 cc1286-7

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


Are there any alterations in this Bill?


There are only two Amendments to the existing law in this Bill. In the first place, section 78 provides that where anyone enlists for one year they shall not be obliged, if they re-engage, to re-engage right up to twelve years. In the second place, under the old Act, the Secretary of State could not restore any service forfeited for certain offences, and he could not restore service in the case of desertion. Under this Act we provide that where a man has been a deserter, and has rejoined and served meritoriously for three years, it shall be competent for the Secretary of State to exercise the prerogative of mercy and allow that service.


I rise to protest against this Bill being proceeded with. It was said that the Report of Supply was expected to extend over 12 o'clock, and many hon. Members went away upon the understanding that Supply would take up the whole evening, and that no other Bills would be taken. I protest against the Government pushing through their Bills at ten minutes to twelve when they know that there cannot be that criticism which is absolutely necessary in the interests of the country.