HC Deb 18 May 1905 vol 146 cc773-4

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will consider the expediency of proposing some method by which the House shall be put in possession of conclusions upon broad principles of policy, controlling expenditure and arrangements for Imperial defence, arrived at by the Committee of Imperial Defence, before and not after Vote A and Vote 1 of the Navy and Army Estimates are discussed in Committee of Supply.


I agree with my hon. friend in thinking that as far as this year is concerned there might have been a distinct convenience in having a discussion on item E of the Treasury Vote, but it was absolutely impossible to carry the arrangement out this year. Nor do I see how it can be carried out in another year without a drastic change in our procedure. I should rather deprecate having annual discussions on these large questions of Imperial defence and strategy. I deferred my statement as long as I could, but it was clear from the debates on the Votes for the Army and the Navy that it was necessary to make a statement this year.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility, in case decisions of importance are arrived at by the Committee, of issuing to Parliament a statement of the broad conclusions by means of a Memorandum similar to the Memorandum issued on the Navy and Army Estimates.


I think that suggestion is well worth consideration.