HC Deb 06 April 1903 vol 120 cc1227-8


Order for Third Reading read.

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

MAJOR SEELY (Ise of Wight)

reminded the House that in the Committee stage a definite agreement was come to between the Financial Secretary to the War Office and the House as to what were to be put in the recruiting regulations in the future with regard to the age of recruits at the time of enlistment, in accordance with the Resolution of the House. That Resolution quite revolutionised the position of the Regular Army with reference to recruiting. The Secretary of State for War stated that the regulations would be issued as soon as possible, but he had given no indication of what the regulations would be. In view of the revolutionary change, he asked if they were to be put off from day to day as to what the regulations would be and as to the date when they would be issued. He appealed to the Secretary of State for War, in order to prevent misunderstanding, to state what the regulations were to be and when he proposed to issue them.


thought the hon. Member, who had not been long a Member of the House, was hardly justified in assuming that, after a Resolution had been passed by the House, within two or three days the Minister was bound to lay the regulations, in accordance with the Resolution on the Table. The House was always willing to give credit to the Minister in charge that he would honourably fulfil any pledges he might have given, and the hon. Member's insistence hardly showed that confidence which was usually shown to a Minister in such circumstances. He was not prepared to state the date when the Resolution would be put into the exact form the hon. and gallant Member desired. But he must tell the hon. and gallant Member that he was quite in error in supposing that the proposals were revolutionary. There was nothing revolutionary about them at all. The words to carry out the Resolution of the House would be put in the new regulations which would, he presumed, be issued in the ordinary course. They were generally issued at the beginning of a month, but he thought it might be possible in this case to accelerate the issue of them by a few days if great importance was attached to the matter.


said he did not suppose the Secretary of State for War would apply to him the remark that he was a new Member of the House. He maintained that the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight had done the proper thing in pressing for an answer on this subject. His experience of the House was that they must go on pegging away when they desired to have a matter attended to.

SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)

said it was only a week or ten days ago that attention was called to a Resolution passed ten years ago in regard to the wages of workmen in the Arsenal, which confessedly the War Office had paid no attention to.


suggested to the Secretary of State for War that he would find in the Royal Irish Constabulary a body of men who would make a fine division for the Army. Some hon. Members seemed to imagine that Army reforms could be carried out in five minutes. He knew as an old soldier that they could not. He sympathised with the right hon. Gentleman in the difficult task he had set before him.