§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,954,500, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of Works, Buildings, and Repairs, at Home and Abroad, including the cost of Superintendence, Purchase of Sites, Grants in Aid, and other Charges connected therewith, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1907."
§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
said he was asked two or three Questions the other day which he would take the earliest opportunity of answering on this Vote. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer asked him whether naval medical officers were allowed to walk hospitals. He was now able to assure him that they were, and since April 1st, 1905, forty of different ranks had done so. The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent asked him whether tenderers for Admiralty work would be required to pay the trades union rate of wages current in the district where the work was done. That was a very important Question which had been fully debated upon a Motion in this House. 483 The Secretary to the Admiralty had made the statement with regard to the Admiralty policy in general that the wages required to be paid by Admiralty contractors would be those agreed upon between associations of employers and trades unions and obtaining in practice in the district in which the work was done. The decision as regarded other Admiralty work would be that given by the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty. He had been asked a Question about Rosyth. In regard to that he could give no further information than that which was conveyed by the Financial Secretary when he introduced the Navy Estimates. He had expressed the opinion of the Board of Admiralty with great clearness, and they must have further time to consider this most important matter before announcing their decision. As regarded the expenditure at Rosyth, in the 1905 Naval Works Loan Act there was £200,000 taken. The expenditure to 31st March, 1906, was expected to amount to £157,000, and there were further liabilities incurred of £6,000; therefore there was a balance of £37,000 with which to conduct those preliminary investigations which were essential at Rosyth. He had been asked a Question about the new lock at Portsmouth. That was a most considerable work and it was estimated to cost £940,000. The Board of Admiralty, with a due sense of responsibility in the matter, thought it essential that this new lock should be constructed. It was impossible for large ships such as the "Dreadnought" to enter the existing locks. All those who had knowledge of naval matters would know that to take a ship into a basin with both caissons open would be rather a serious matter should an accident occur, and the ships in the basin would run the risk of considerable damage. Therefore it was proposed by this new work to construct a lock 850 feet long, 110 feet wide and 33 feet at low water level. This would be a far more permanent work, he thought, than many of the works which had been included in past Loan Bills, and, to his mind, in putting this sum on the Estimates they would certainly hope to increase economical expenditure of public money more than they would by including the sum in loans. He wished to say two or three words upon the Vote generally, which had been greatly simplified since last year. Any hon. Member who now wished to refer 484 to Portsmouth, Chatham, or Plymouth would be able to find exactly the service performed at any of the ports under the various heads in the Estimates. That, he thought, was a great advantage, and he would give his hon. friend the late Civil Lord the full credit for having suggested that that should be done. The total increase on Vote 10 was £49,300. There were two reasons for that. One was that the annuity to be paid on these various Loan Bills amounted to £1,094,309, which was an enormous sum for the Naval Estimates to be burdened with for many years to come; but still the money had been spent, and they had to pay interest on the money borrowed during the last ten years. There was an increase of £78,400 on the annuity, and there was also a sum of £93,900 on account of dredging transferred from Loan. Had it not been for these two items the total Estimate, instead of showing an increase of £49,300 would have shown a decrease of £123,097. The memorandum circulated this evening showing the progress made in the works at the various stations where money had been spent under loan would enable hon. Members to see exactly how the money had been spent and what progress had been made. He would give a short résumé of the financial liabilities that had been incurred during the past ten years by the various Loan Bills. By the Naval Works Loan Act of 1905, Parliament authorised borrowing to the extent of £27,593,820 out of a total estimated expenditure of £32,206,933, leaving £4,613,113 to be provided by future Acts. The actual expenditure upon these works to 31st March, 1905, was £19,817,091. The approximate estimated expenditure to 31st March, 1907, was £6,700,000. Therefore, it was estimated that by the end of the next financial year there would be expended out of the large sum authorised by Parliament, £26,517,091. If the works were executed and the estimated expenditure were incurred as foreshadowed by the Act of 1905, there would have to be spent after 31st March, 1907, a sum of £5,689,842. Now if all that expenditure was incurred they would have to look forward to a very large burden in the Naval Estimates in regard to the repayment of annuities and the interest on loans. The ultimate annuity in that case would be £1,500,000. This would be a very serious sum indeed for them to burden posterity with, and 485 he only hoped posterity would be grateful for the favours that had been conferred upon it. At any rate it was hoped by exercising a strict supervision over these works to effect considerable economies.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
congratulated the Civil Lord on his accession to the post which he now held, and on the manner in which he had introduced the Vote to the House. He further congratulated him on the fact that the Vote was this year being introduced under much easier circumstances, because his experience went to show that if the late Government had been introducing it, the criticism would have been prolonged for many days. He did not think that that would be the case this year. He had no doubt that the Civil Lord had already discovered that it was easier to be a critic than to be an economist. In recent years it had been impressed on the late Government that the expenditure for naval works was excessive and often unnecessary, and that they were making unreasonable demands on the House of Commons. [Cheers.] He hoped hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who cheered that remark would take further opportunities of pressing their view on the new occupants of the Treasury Bench. He quite admitted that the right hon. Gentlemen now on the Treasury Bench had not yet had sufficient time to give the House a full test of their mettle, but judging from their professions in the past, he thought they might have effected a substantial reduction in this particular Vote this year, although he was perfectly certain that however anxious they might be to make such a reduction, they would find it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, if due regard was had to the efficiency of the Naval Service. Therefore they found that the proposals which he had put forward in the past had been inevitably adopted by His Majesty's Government to-day, and it was only natural, therefore, that the Opposition should be willing to support those proposals. With regard to loan expenditure, the hon. Gentleman had said very fairly that there was a grave objection to the system of paying for naval works by constant borrowing. He had always held that view, but had also pointed out that the present Secretary to the Admiralty was the originator of the system, and the right hon. Gentleman was wont to reply that 486 although he was the proud parent he was not prepared for such a rapid growth on the part of the child. He thought that during the debates last year both sides showed a disposition to bring this system of borrowing to an end at the earliest opportunity, and so far as he was concerned, if it were more convenient in view of the financial exigencies of the moment to provide the necessary money for these works out of the Naval Votes rather than by borrowing, he could see no objection whatever to that course. A great deal depended naturally upon borrowing advantageously, but after all the important point was not the method by which the money was to be raised but that the importance of the works should be recognised and the efficiency of the Navy not endangered by considerations of economy, because that was the very worst economy in the end. It was that short sighted system which had led to the original introduction of these Loan Bills. If Vote 10 had not been starved in the past there would have been no necessity for bringing in a system of Loan Bills at all, and he hoped that as soon as the Naval Works had been brought up to the level which the Navy required no further necessity for these Loan Bills would arise, and that in future they might have the whole of the expenditure shewn upon the Votes. He understood from the hon. Gentleman, although he did not perhaps state it in precise terms, that it was the policy of the Government in future to transfer many of these works from Loan to Votes The big item which at once came up in this connection was Rosyth. The total Estimate given to the House last year and included in the original draft of the Vote was £2,500,000. The House was then informed that this large item would be shewn in the Estimates of this year, but it was not so shown, and the explanation of the Government was that the present Board of Admiralty had found it necessary further to consider the matter. It was said that that was a full explanation, but he did not think so. The Government wished for further time to consider this project, but he wished to know whether they wished for that further time in order further to consider the design of the project, having regard to the increased dimensions of modern ships, or whether they wished further to consider the 487 matter from the point or view of its strategic necessity. That was an important point, because it was strongly felt in some quarters of the House that the strategic necessity of this naval base was of urgent importance from the point of view that it would take ten years from the time the project was started before the works would be available. That was a long time to look ahead. It was difficult to say what our international relations would be by that time, although there was no reason to suppose they would be less satisfactory than they were now. But if this project was to be adopted it should be commenced as soon as possible, because we should not have the use of it for ten years. He hoped that point would be touched upon by the right hon. Gentleman when he replied later. Then the large item in connection with Portsmouth was merely shewn as "new lock, etc." That was not a very luminous description of a work for which the Committee were asked to vote £940,000, and no doubt they would be anxious to have some further information with regard to that item. The necessity for a new lock had been well established, but the proposal originally included other works of another description consequent upon the idea of the new lock. He wished to know in what position the new lock was to be placed, as at the time he left the Admiralty that was an open question. It was with the greatest satisfaction that he heard that this great scheme was not to be given up in spite of what right hon. and hon. Gentlemen had said about economy when they were in opposition. He also asked for information as to what had been the outcome of the proposal of the late Board of Admiralty to take over from the Colonial Government the Commercial Mole at Gibraltar, in order to give the Atlantic Fleet more extensive but necessary accommodation. He desired to know on what terms that Mole had been taken over and what would be our extra financial responsibility in consequence. The last point was with regard to the employment of Marines at Bermuda upon works of a purely bricks and mortar character. He thought that the whole of their pay, including that for this work, should not be charged to this Vote. The anomaly of purely regimental pay being charged to the Works Vote was one which he had 488 attempted in the past to get rid of, and what he desired now was an assurance from the hon. Gentleman that he would take up this question and see that the Marines' pay was put on Vote 1, only the extra working pay being retained on Vote 10.
§ MR. BELLAIRS (Lynn Regis)
said he would like to know whether the amalgamation of the Works and Loans Department and the Works Department was completed, and if so whether it was working satisfactorily, whether the £1,500,000 a year, which the hon. Member had mentioned as being the interest we should have to pay on the various works, included what would have to be paid for Rosyth. When he looked down the list of the projects upon which the late Government had spent this money he could quite understand the objection of the Liberal Government to many of them, and their desire to abandon several items altogether. There was a very great objection to the amount incurred in Gibraltar, where the works were open to a bombardment from the coast of Spain. He had always failed to see the necessity for any Naval works at Gibraltar at all. At Malta nearly £1,000,000 had been spent on a breakwater, and the question was now beginning to be discussed as to whether that work had not spoilt the drainage of the harbour. The floating dock at Bermuda, which the Admiralty did not appear to have much use for, might, he suggested, be brought home to Rosyth, where it might be made of use. With regard to Wei-hai-wei the late Government, he believed, had a scheme cut and dried, but happily in that case the expenditure had been very small. He noticed that the cost with regard to Osborne College had been increased from £50,000, the original estimate, to £163,000. He agreed that the lock at Portsmouth was necessary, but he could not understand why only £10,000 was taken for it on the Estimates this year, when the estimated cost was £940,000. He pointed out that whilst it was now the custom of hon. Members opposite to talk of Rosyth's being necessary for strategical reasons, when that project was put before the House it was said its necessity arose owing to the congestion in Royal dockyards. This would be seen if hon. Members examined the terms of 489 Reference of the Commission which reported upon it. There was no question of strategy; they simply had to consider the question of congestion in the Royal dockyards, and they even went so far as to consider the question of increasing the personnel of the existing Royal dockyards. They considered the advisability of increasing the number of men in the existing yards, yet 6,776 men were dismissed from the Royal yards last year, which was equivalent to discharging the whole establishment at Chatham. He agreed with the hon. Member for Fareham that it would take at least ten years to erect Rosyth into a great Naval base. But he thought he would be borne out when he said there was very little prospect of there being any congestion in the Royal yards for many years to come.
He asserted that there was not the slightest prospective congestion in the existing dockyards. The dockyard Members were complaining of want of work a short time ago, and it was perfectly evident that with a programme of four armoured ships a year there was no prospect of congestion at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Sheerness, and Chatham. Writing of the Rosyth scheme at a time when the Press was asserting that it was a bad scheme, Lord Selborne, in a letter dated December 31st, 1904, to Mr. Maconochie said:—
Questions of policy must be influenced by financial as well as naval considerations.He thought that was a point which it was necessary to rub well into the Committee. If the Admiralty could get economy without lack of efficiency he would support them, and he was perfectly certain they could get economy under Vote 10 when considering the question of Rosyth. He hoped they would remember that portion of Lord Selborne's letter in which he referred to financial as well as naval considerations. He had before him the Dunfermline Press, a paper published in the locality, in which there was reported a speech made in April, 1903, by Lord Elgin as Chairman of the Dunfermline District Committee of the County Council, when he occupied a position of less responsibility than he did now. In that speech the noble Lord said:—
When the naval base was fully developed there would be, as he understood it, that 490 proportion of the men belonging to the Navy ('30,000 or 40,000 bluejackets') in connection with that base.The Committee could understand from that statement what sort of dockyard was contemplated by the late Government. It was to be a dockyard on the same scale as that at Portsmouth. It showed the mad way in which they were prepared to plunge into bricks and mortar when the taxpayer had got what was called a hot fit.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said the hon. Member was quite mistaken in supposing that the late Government proposed to build a dockyard at Rosyth the same as those at Portsmouth and Chatham. It was to be a small naval base which would cost £2,500,000.
§ MR. BELLAIRS
said that the Secretary of State for the Colonies, a very level-headed man, who was chosen as chairman of the War Commission by the late Government, certainly went away from an interview with the Admiralty with the impression that a great dockyard was going to be built. Lord Elgin, in the same speech, proceeded to estimate the population which the Admiralty had led him to believe would be established by 1913, and for which the local authorities should at once lay down the necessary pipes for a water supply. He said he had had a conference the previous afternoon with the officials of the Admiralty and that they said that, in their opinion, anyone who was laying pipes for a water supply to this spot at the present moment would not be wise to lay pipes for a less population than 30,000 within twenty years. He hoped the Civil Lord would take these points into consideration. The Admiralty might appoint a small Advisory Committee to consider the special circumstances in regard to Rosyth.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Croydon)
said the speech of the hon. Member for King's Lynn would have been more appropriate ten years ago, when some of the matters to which he had referred were current questions. He had referred to the considerations which affected the Berthing Committee, which sat many years ago.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
said a great deal had happened since 1902, as he would show. The hon. Member told the Committee that he had come to the same conclusion with regard to Wei-hai-Wei as the Admiralty came to some time ago; he lamented the mad ways of the Admiralty and said, speaking as a member of the Naval profession, that they were wise enough to follow his view. With regard to one question which was touched upon, and which might still be considered a current question, he thought the hon. Member had not followed the subsequent stages of the Admiralty policy in regard to Rosyth. It was quite true that a Committee was appointed to deal with the question of congestion in the dockyards. What happened after the Committee had reported? The Admiralty grappled with the problem of berthing in a way which made it unnecessary to carry out the great berthing programme which was previously in contemplation. They effected an enormous diminution in the ships to be berthed in the dockyards. The problem which the Admiralty were now called upon to deal with—and so far as he knew they had not changed their minds about it—was the strategic problem in connection with the Continent of Europe. The Admiralty had merited the eulogy of this House for having dealt with that problem, and if the hon. Member would go to the west coast of Scotland he would see how they had dealt with it. They had taken the useless and obsolete ships out of the dockyards and put them in the Kyles of Bute, where the cost of their maintenance was little or nothing. The strategic position of Rosyth remained, and it would, he believed, be dealt with by the Board of Admiralty on Naval grounds alone. That was a far less expensive problem than the berthing project which was in contemplation when the plans for Rosyth were under consideration. He understood that under Vote 10 the general principle had been adopted that in connection with all the Naval Works the trade union rate of wages was to be paid to the workmen. He asked the Civil Lord what was to be done in cases where there was no trade union organisation. He asked the Question, 492 not because he objected to the principle but because it had a very practical application. He remembered making a very careful inquiry into the rates paid in every shipbuilding yard throughout the country. He found then that a very large number, he believed a majority of the men in the skilled trades in the Admiralty dockyards were trade unionists, and that as a rule the wages paid to them were at the trade union rates. He understood that the same was the case with regard to similar classes of labour under Vote 10. But there were cases where considerable disadvantage arose from not following the exact prescription of the House of Commons' Resolution which was that the rate of wages current in the district should be paid. The Question he had asked had an important bearing on both sides of this matter. What happened in the Thames district? In that district the trade union rate of wages was higher than in any other part of the United Kingdom. A disadvantage from which the Thames shipbuilding yards suffered was that there was neither coal nor iron in the district. Some of the yards had been abandoned, and he understood that there were one or two others which would not be able to continue with the higher rates of wages. He wished to know whether central rates or trade union rates were to be fixed for the localities where no trade union now existed. Perhaps the hon. Member would tell the Committee also whether this change would or would not produce an excess in the Estimate under Vote 10. This was a very important matter, and they ought to know now, before proceeding further with the discussion, if there was to be any increment in the cost owing, to the change.
§ MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)
said he wished to say a word or two on behalf of a body of men employed in the Government dockyards who were not included in the trade union rate of wages. They had had some difficulty in connection with the dock extension at Portsmouth a few years ago. A contract was given out by the Admiralty to make a dock, and after work was commenced it was discovered that the wages paid to the navvies were at least 1d. per hour 493 under those paid in the locality. He approached the Admiralty with a complaint that the trade union rate of wages was not being paid, and the reply of the contractor was that there was no similar class of work being done in the district by which the rate of wages could be fixed. The Civil Lord of the Admiralty would see at once that many docks could not be excavated in one locality at the same time, and therefore the comparison of wages paid could only be made by taking the ordinary work of excavating for the local building trades. The Admiralty sided with the contractor, who completed the last portion of the Admiralty dock by paying to the excavators 1d. per hour under trade union rates. There should be some definite understanding as to what were trade union rates for navvies. He believed that it was proposed to spend a big sum of money in making docks at Rosyth. [Ironical MINISTERIAL Cheers.] Well, it was assumed that there might be money spent in that direction, and therefore it was necessary for him to take this opportunity of putting his case, to provide against that possibility being carried into effect. Rosyth was practically a wilderness at the present time. [An. HON. MEMBER: And will remain so.] He was not so sure that he would not second the hon. Gentleman in making that statement; but the Government were surely going to place their views in regard to that Naval base before the House shortly. However, Rosyth was at the present time practically a wilderness, and supposing the Admiralty called for tenders for the construction of a dock there, they might feel that they had satisfied their conscience by saying that there was a clause in the contract providing that the trade union rate of wages was to be paid. But what possible means would there be of deciding what was the trade union rate of wages for excavating docks in the locality? Consequently, he wanted to know whether the Admiralty could not, outside London, fix something like a minimum rate of wages for this class of work which should be recognised by Government contractors. The wages paid for excavating work in London was 7d. per hour; and the average wage outside London for similar work was 6d. per hour. He was very sorry it was so low, because the work was most laborious 494 and the service rendered by navvies to the community was most important. Could not the Admiralty say, in asking for tenders for this class of work, that the minimum wage should be 6d. per hour? He thought the representative of the Admiralty would admit that he was not asking for anything unreasonable. He hoped that more sympathy would be shown to the navvies whom he represented, and who, he admitted, were not thoroughly organised, in this application than was shown in the case of the Portsmouth dock contract. The men were a very deserving class and performed important functions to the State.
§ MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
said he understood from the statement of the right hon. the Secretary to the Admiralty that an opportunity would be given to discuss the whole Naval programme of the Government on another occasion, and therefore he did not now propose to criticise the policy which involved the enormous expenditure now being incurred for the Naval service of the country. But he could not allow this Vote to pass its final stage without registering an emphatic protest against that policy. The feeling of Members, both old and new, on the Ministerial side of the House was very strong on the subject. They had repeatedly said—
We have come here with pledges given to our constituents at the recent election that we would do our best to secure economy"—and they were quite clear that if a Liberal Government came into office and remained in power, there would be very great retrenchment on the expenditure for the services. It was a source of deep regret to him that it had been left to an hon. Member on the other side to twit the Government of the day for not having redeemed the pledges made during the election. He wanted to deal with the Government as tenderly as possible, and not to say anything very severe; but it was quite time that some one should tell them of the feeling which existed in regard to this question. What had been done during the last sixteen or seventeen years? In the Queen's Speech in the session of 1889, when a Conservative Government was in office, there was presented a Naval Defence Bill, in which it proposed to expend £21,000,000 of 495 the taxes of this country for the purpose of providing a strong Navy. On that occasion he moved an Amendment, the discussion of which occupied two days, and he divided the House upon it. Considerable feeling was shown in the lobby in regard to the matter and a large number of Members registered an emphatic protest against this shameful waste of the resources of the nation. He himself did not object to a powerful Navy.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
said that the hon Member was discussing the general question of the size of the Navy. This was Vote 10 for Works, and the hon. Member must confine his remarks to that Vote.
§ MR. CREMER
said that he tried in vain the other day, when the general question was under consideration, to raise this point; but if he was ruled out of order now he would reserve what he had to say until the proper moment arose. He wanted to take action to prevent the unnecessary waste of public money. He had never joined those who repeated the parrot cry of "We must have a strong Navy." But leaving that aspect of the question, he supposed that Members of the House, generally speaking, were appalled by the statement made the other day by the Secretary to the Admiralty that in seven years time we should be paying £2,000,000 more for the Navy than to-day. They had yet to learn whether they would be really compelled to carry out the obligations already incurred. He wanted to point out what was the attitude taken up in regard to the naval base at Rosyth. In the last Parliament, when it was proposed by the then Government to establish a naval base at Rosyth, the whole Liberal Party in the House took up an attitude of hostility to it. Some of them had lea ned with amazement that the policy of continuity in regard to Rosyth had been observed by the present Government. They had solemnly protested in the last Parliament that this project was absolutely unnecessary, and he and many others had taken a conscientious view of the subject. They had expressed that view by their votes and some of them 496 by their voice, feeble though they might have been. They had protested against such a waste of public money. Now they 1 arned with astonishment that the present Government were going to continue the policy which they had condemned when in Opposition. He should be glad to be corrected if he were wrong, because he admitted that no clear statement had been made on behalf of the Admiralty and the Government, but the impression which prevailed on the Ministerial as well as upon the Opposition side of the House was that the Government proposed to complete this naval base at Rosyth, and it was against that that he and a considerable body of Members in the House wished to enter an emphatic protest. He thought, and he was sure that hundreds of other Members on the Ministerial side of the House thought with him, that they should have some promise or hope of a promise held out to them that the Admiralty would consider the question of whether they should continue to waste the resources of the nation in this way. Not only was this expenditure useless, but it was absolutely dangerous, because it had an irritating effect in Germany with which country it was to our interest to cultivate friendly relations. He thought that they were justified in asking the Government to state their opinion very clearly in regard to this wasteful and mischievous proposal. After wasting the resources of the country in naval armaments for twenty-one years and spending money upon what the Prime Minister in his speech at the Albert Hall called "provocative institutions" and leading other nations to do the same, he thought they were justified in the protest they had made, because after all this expenditure had been incurred we were in exactly the sane position as we were twenty-on years ago.
§ DR. AMBROSE (Mayo, W.)
said he did not rise for the purpose of discussing in detail the work which had been carried on at Rosyth, but for the purpose of protesting against the enormous amount of money which was taken out of Ireland for the purposes of works of this kind. We were going to spend £2,500,000 on Rosyth, and he wanted 497 to know what equivalent sum was going to be spent in Ireland upon similar works and what was the amount which was going to be taken out of Ireland as a contribution towards the works at Rosyth. The Government were going to spend £36,000 upon Haulbowline, and that was the return which Ireland got from taxation amounting to millions a year. In comparison with what was spent in other parts of the country it was in his view but the millionth part of a farthing in the way of return. The Admiralty were going to construct a naval base at Rosyth, but surely there was enough water round Ireland to relieve the congestion from which it was said the Navy suffered. It was to protest against this policy of the Government that he begged to reduce the Vote by £100.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not ex-exceeding £1,954,400, be granted for the said Service."—(Dr. Ambrose.)
§ MR. SOARES
said he merely rose to make a remark in reply to the hon. Member for Haggerston who said that the Liberal Party had steadily opposed the policy in regard to Rosyth of which they were now voting in favour. He was present at most of the debates in the last Parliament when this question was dealt with, and so far as he remembered what they did oppose was the enormous price, representing some fifty or sixty years purchase, which the late Government paid for the land at Rosyth. That they always protested against as an extravagant mode of expenditure, but they always left the policy of whether there was or was not to be a naval base at Rosyth to the Government, and he hoped that that policy would always be left to them.
§ MAJOR SEELY (Liverpool, Abercromby)
said that he recollected that Ministerialists during the last Parliament did protest against these Estimates again and again because they considered they were bad financially, but they also protested for another reason, and that 498 was that this great expenditure should be incurred by a vacillating Government which could not makeup its mind whether Rosyth was to be a great naval base or a small naval base. When the proposal was brought forward by Mr. Pretyman he said that an officer was proceeding to Rosyth to draw up a comprehensive plan of what would be required for a great naval base on the scale of Portsmouth or Plymouth. That was in 1903, and the hon. Member for Fareham would say he did not share that view in 1904; he said it must not be supposed that the laying down of a first class naval dockyard could be settled in a few days or even in a few months. Later on, however, the scheme was modified in such a may as to justify them in saying that there had been vacillation. He thought therefore they were entitled to protest against right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite supposing that because they did not criticise these Estimates they did not continue to hold the views they did before. What they wanted was continuity of ideas and that was what they never could get from the late Government during the last few years. Against any vacillation of that sort they should again protest, but he would remind hon. Members of the Opposition that it did not lie in their mouths to call Ministerialists to account for any protest that they had made for the vacillation for which they were not responsible.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE (Hampshire, Fareham)
said the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had stumbled upon what the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War had that afternoon called a nidus equinus, or, in plain English, a mare's nest. He had quoted speeches made by the late Secretary to the Admiralty and also by himself with regard to Rosyth in order to show that he had taken up an inconsistent position that afternoon. Nothing of the sort had happened. It was quite true that according to the original suggestion made in the Berthing Committee's Report it was considered that it might be necessary, or would be necessary under conditions which no longer existed, that there should be a large increase of berthing accommodation for the Royal Navy, 499 and consequently that there might have to be a large dockyard at Rosyth.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said about £8,000,000 or £10,000,000, although no careful estimate was made, and could not have been made until the plans were further advanced. If hon. Gentlemen would do him the justice to look up his statement of last year, they would see that he said that they proposed to create at Rosyth a small self-contained naval base, but that in view of possibilities in the future they did not wish to hamper any future Board of Admiralty if they wished to extend that base should the necessities of the Navy require it. He also said that they, in the first place, had profited by past experience where dockyards had been originally laid out upon too small a scale, and it had been found impossible afterwards to extend them without great expense. He also said that they had therefore determined, in the interests of posterity, to lay out the design of the base in such a way as would give those who came after them an opportunity, if necessary, of using the site to the fullest possible extent. The plan which was laid before the House of Commons last year was merely for a small self-contained base, which they considered then, and still considered, was vitally necessary, but which could be extended at any time, without undue difficulty, if a larger base were required. They did not wish, in short, to prejudice the site, and make it impossible for posterity to increase the size of the dockyard if it was found necessary. He did not think his hon. friend had made out any case whatever as to inconsistency of his attitude.
§ MR. MADDISON (Burnley,)
said the point on which he desired to address the Civil Lord had reference to the very wise decision of the Admiralty Board, preceded by the equally wise decision of the Post Office, to recognise what were called trade union rates of wages. The contention of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who had no great sympathy with this kind of thing, seemed to him to assume that there was some 500 difficulty in the way of recognising trade union rates. But those who were associated with the Trade Union group in this House had always felt very keenly on this matter, and the hon. Member who had to reply would not be embarrassed, because by the trade union rate of wages it was not meant that any particular union rate should be paid, but that a rate should be paid according to some agreement arrived at between the employers and employed in a particular district. It had been asked how that principle could be applied to contracts in districts where there was no trade union rate and which were desert places before the docks were placed there. A particular district where a dock was about to be made would correspond with other districts where docks had previously been made and where the rate of wages had been fixed. It might be advisable for the Admiralty and all the great Departments to call to their aid, not for the purpose of deciding, but for the purpose of helping them to come to a conclusion, an advisory committee of large employers and trades union representatives, who in two or three hours would come to a conclusion as to what should be the standard rate of wages in any new district. These exceptional questions were constantly cropping up and were always dealt with. He hoped therefore the Department would not be deterred from carrying into effect their intention to carry out the spirit and the letter of the arrangement the right hon. Gentleman had recently come to. There was not the slightest difficulty in the matter. It must be clearly understood that whether it was the men who worked the guns or the men who made the ships or repaired them it was not the intention of those who desired retrenchment in these Estimates to effect that retrenchment out of the wages of the men employed. A good deal had been said as to the way in which Liberal Members had opposed the item with respect to Rosyth. One basis of their criticism was no doubt the manner in which the Estimate was presented and another was the vacillation of the late Government which knew the mind of every body but itself, but more than that there was a feeling on the Liberal side of the House 501 that the time had come when there should be reduced Estimates for both the Army and the Navy. The country had watched with the greatest interest and delight the statesmanlike foreign policy of Lord Lansdowne in his endeavours to bring about more amicable relations with foreign Powers. He himself was a simple man, and he could not help thinking that any attempt to bring about better relations with foreign countries should be connected with these War Budgets, and if the Liberal leaders did not so connect them they were either impotent or hypocrites.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
Order, Order; the hon. Member is trenching on the wider question. His remarks must be confined to Vote 10.
§ MR. MADDISON
said he bowed to the Ruling of the Chair, and desired to say in conclusion that it should be clearly understood that they did not wish to reduce the efficiency of anything needed for the defence of the country. Hon. Members opposite must recognise that he and those with him had just as much interest in the defence of the country as any Member of the House. This was a matter of large policy, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would put into operation at the earliest possible moment the sound principles he had so eloquently advocated when in opposition.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Croydon)
said he thought that he individually took even a wider view than the hon. Member for Burnley, because he was concerned about that large section of the community,—the taxpayer; and what he ventured to ask the Civil Lord was what would be the initial effect of this change. The hon. Member had not made that quite clear. What was the procedure to be adopted? In the printing trade and kindred occupations the London rate of wages regulated the whole of the wages throughout the country, not, it was true, on the London scale, but the provincial rules of wages always bore some relation to the London scale, and when the London scale was put up the provincial rates of wages all over the country went up also. What he wished to know was, supposing Admiralty works were undertaken at a place where no work of a similar kind had ever 502 been done before or was likely to be done in the future, whether the rate of wages was to be governed by the London rate or by a new rate which was to be created, and if by a new rate, by whom was that to be decided? Was the Admiralty to have anything to do with the making of the rate; was it to be left to the nearest trade union in the neighbourhood; or was it to be governed by the London rate? Those were the Questions he wished to put to the hon. Gentleman, and also what would be the net effect of this change on the portion of the Admiralty Administration which came in Vote 10?
§ MR. WEDGWOOD (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
called attention to the item for the pay of civil engineers working for the Admiralty. He said that our private shipyards did not require civil engineers to work for them, and there were no such officials at Elswick or other private establishments. They were not absolutely essential to the Admiralty, because there was a body called the Royal corps of naval constructors, an admirably trained set of men, who were quite able to deal with dockyard work. He had a very interesting recollection of a year spent by himself in that corps at Portsmouth dockyard, and, so far as he could remember, the Royal corps of naval constructors and the civil engineering branch of the Admiralty spent a good deal of time in trying to do each other's work over again. So long as there were great works going on a certain number of civil engineers must be employed, though he had seen £200,000 spent at Elswick without their assistance. Now that they were no longer going to borrow money for large works, surely this body of engineers might be reduced or a period set to their services. He did not want to see the country saddled for many years to come with this payment of £55,000 a year for these gentlemen, who were not absolutely essential to shipbuilding in this or any other country except, of course, when big works were projected; and when big works were carried out, it was then necesssry to go outside the Government engineers to the great private consulting firms. Another disadvantage in having this partially unnecessary corps in the Admiralty service was that the tendency was naturally for them 503 to create work for themselves. The Committee wanted to see this unnecessary construction and extension checked, and if possible put an end to. £940,000 was put down for a new lock, and that might be very necessary, but could they trust the civil engineers absolutely to cut down the work to a minimum? He thought not. He considered the corps of civil engineers an excellent body of men, but as they were economising they might as well reduce the number of these gentlemen.
§ CAPTAIN HERVEY
said he did not wish after the words of the last speaker to push up the expenditure on new works, but with reference to the expenditure on the new lock at Portsmouth it had been necessary, he believed, to make it, in consequence of the increase in the size of our ships. They had in addition to consider whether the locks that we had at our other dockyards were equal to taking the ships which were being built. It was no good our building big ships if only in one or two of our dockyards we could get the ships into the repairing docks. Each must be considered, so that it might be able to take the biggest ship afloat at any given time. He would like to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the question had been thought out, and whether there was a scheme on foot by means of which it would be possible at Chatham, Devonport, Portsmouth, as well as Malta and Gibraltar, to take such ships as the "Dreadnought" without any increase in the present size of the locks at these yards. If not, what proposal was there to meet the situation when that ship was ready for commission, and might have to be docked? He also desired to ask what arrangements there were at Gibraltar for the ammunition reserves of the fleets that we had in being. The fleets that we had now based on Gibraltar were very much larger than those which had been based on Gibraltar in the past. Some years ago he was gunnery lieutenant of a flagship in the Mediterranean, and he had a good deal to do with this question there. At that time a vast amount of ammunition was stored at Malta, and a large amount was also stored at Gibraltar, partly for the Mediterranean fleet and partly for the Channel squadron. Now there was 504 another fleet being based upon Gibraltar, and he should like to know whether the ammunition arrangements for the reserves had been thought out so that there were sufficient magazines and shell spaces at Gibraltar to supply the necessary ammunition for the increased fleets. It was necessary that this matter should be carefully considered before the fleets were based upon any one of these particular ports. He remembered when he was carrying out the duty of supervising the reserves, a question was put to the senior ordnance store officer at Malta with reference to the actual stores in reserve there. The question put was how long would it take to get the actual reserves of ammunition that were supposed to be in store at Malta into such a condition that they would be able to be put immediately on board the ships of the squadron. There was then only 25 per cent. of the ammunition that was supposed to be there, and the answer that they got from the senior ordnance store officer was that it would take fifteen months. That showed how necessary it was that this matter should be carefully considered, if possible before making any increase in the number of ships that were based on a given port. At any rate it ought to be done as soon as possible after having determined on an increase. Had such arrangements, he would ask, been made to increase the storage of ammunition and shell supply at Gibraltar in accordance with the increased number of ships based there?
§ MR. LAMBERT
said that with regard to the last Question he could inform the hon. and gallant Gentleman that according to the Memorandum circulated this morning there was an Estimate in the Act of 1905 of £1,325,000 for magazine accommodation, of which a considerable portion had been spent up to 31st March this year, and he could give figures by reference as to what had been spent at Gibraltar. He could assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that his suggestion would receive attention, and if he cared to put a Question the Admiralty would be glad to answer him. With regard to the general question of economy in naval expenditure, it was not his function to enter into that, 505 the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty being the Minister to announce great changes in Admiralty policy. It would be also out of order on this Vote. He had been asked one or two questions as to what the financial effect would be of giving trade union rates of wages to those employed by the Admiralty. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon asked how they were going to find out the trade union rate of wages where no trade union existed. Of course that must be a special circumstance and must be the object of special consideration. A Resolution known as the "Fair Wages Resolution" had more than once been affirmed by this House, and it was the desire of the Government, taking account of all the circumstances of such several cases, to act up to the spirit of that Resolution. Precisely the same consideration must be taken into account in assuming what was the rate of wages that were current in the district as would have to be taken into account with regard to the wages paid where no trade union existed. With regard to the question of navvies, he believed the hon. Member for Burnley suggested a joint board. All he could say at the present moment was that that should be most sympathetically considered by the officials of the Admiralty with a view of giving fair treatment to those employed on this arduous Admiralty work.
§ MR. MADDISON
asked whether this sympathetic consideration applied to the general question of wages?
§ MR. LAMBERT
said certainly it would be considered by the Admiralty. The Admiralty would be most willing to do what they could in the matter. The right hon. Member for Croydon had spoken from the taxpayer's point of view. He thought the taxpayer had given this House a mandate to be model employers, and he hoped that all that trade unionists wanted was to get a fair day's wage for a fair day's work. He was sure that that was a principle of which every Member of the House would approve, namely, that the Admiralty should pay their employees the rate of wages current in the district where the work was to be performed. The 506 question of Rosyth had come into the debate very considerably. He did not profess to be at all competent to pronounce an opinion upon the strategic advantages of Rosyth; that was a question for the naval experts of the Admiralty. He would point out, however, as showing the necessity for deliberation on the part of the present Board of Admiralty that the late Civil Lord had mentioned that this scheme originally was to cost something like £8,000,000.
§ MR. LAMBERT
said he thought the statement was that there was some idea of establishing a naval base at Rosyth, which would cost something like £10,000,000.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said the hon. Member had misunderstood him. What he said was that if a large first-class dockyard had been decided upon the cost would have been £10,000,000.
§ MR. LAMBERT
said the hon. Member admitted that there had been consideration of such a scheme, at any rate, and this proved the wisdom of the policy of the present Board of Admiralty. That sum was afterwards brought down to £2,500,000, a very considerable difference. That fact in itself would be a justification for the deliberation being pursued by the Admiralty in further considering this matter of Rosyth, which was purely a question of naval needs. If it was found necessary for the Fleet, and for the naval defence of the Empire, then Rosyth would be proceeded with, and if it was not necessary it would not be proceeded with. The hon. Member for King's Lynn asked whether the £1,500,000 a year paid for the loan included the £2,500,000 for Rosyth. By the Naval Works Act of 1905 £200,000 was provided for Rosyth, and that would be in the £1,500,000 for the annual interest upon loans. At the present time the charge upon loans was£l,094,000, but that would go on increasing, and if the expenditure foreshadowed by the Act of 1905 was carried out, and the whole of the money expended, in 1910 the annual interest to be borne by the 507 Navy Estimates would be £1,500,000 a year. With regard to the amalgamation of the Loan and the Works Departments, that had already been satisfactorily effected, and the change would come into operation on the 1st of April. The late Civil Lord had asked a question about the employment of marines at Bermuda. That was a very intricate subject, at which the hon Member had been hammering for a long time, and all he had to say was that he would endeavour to follow his example. With reference to the commercial mole at Gibraltar, that was part of the Admiralty scheme of extension at Gibraltar, which also included improving the harbour and other things, and it was thought by the Civil Government that they would like to have a commercial mole as well. That was agreed upon, and the civil authorities had one placed at their disposal, but owing to the redistribution of the Fleet that commercial mole was required by the Admiralty, and therefore the money paid by the colony of Gibraltar to the Admiralty had to be refunded in order that the Admiralty might be the absolute possessors of the mole. They were actually in possession at the present time. With regard to the position of the lock at Portsmouth it was difficult to describe, but if any hon. Member was interested in it he should be pleased to show him the plan. In regard to the Question put by the hon. Member for West Mayo, they all sympathised with the desire of Irish Members to get as much money as possible spent in Ireland. He liked to see as much money spent in Devonshire as possible, and that was only a natural desire. They did not, for a moment, wish to deprive Ireland of any work which could be executed in that country with advantage to the Navy and the naval needs of the Empire, but the Admiralty had to consider where its repairing could best be done most cheaply and where the dockyard could be most conveniently placed. The hon. Member for West Mayo would have no more sympathetic friend than himself in giving Ireland as large an amount of work as possible, and he assured him that they did not wish to deprive Ireland of any money which could be economically spent there, but 508 they must look to profitably employing money voted for the general efficiency of the Navy. With regard to enlisting Irish boys into the Navy, he should like to see a larger number of Irish sailors, because Irishmen had proved themselves so brave in the British Army. The action of the Admiralty in this matter was not due to any idea of depriving Ireland of her fair share of this money, but simply to keep up the efficiency of the Navy.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
asked if the hon. Member could tell them whether there would be any, and if so, what, extra expenditure, as the result of the change in regard to the payment of wages.
§ MR. LAMBERT
said that had not been calculated. The principle they were going upon was that of paying a fair day's wage for a fair day's work, calculated after due regard to all the circumstances of employment in the district.
§ LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)
said that in answer to the hon. Member for Burnley the Admiralty had promised something in the nature of sympathetic consideration to the proposal to appoint an Advisory Committee to determine the rate of wages to be paid.
§ MR. MADDISON
I did not say to determine, but to report. The determination, of course, would rest with the Admiralty.
§ LORD R. CECIL
asked whether, if such a Committee was appointed to report, the Government would undertake to give the House an opportunity of discussing that Report before they adopted it. This question was of a far-reaching nature, and the House ought to have a full opportunity of discussing it before it was adopted. He would also like some information with reference to the provision of dock accommodation at other ports besides Portsmouth.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
was understood to say that at the present moment vessels of the "Dreadnought" type could be docked at Portsmouth 509 and Gibraltar and at Keyham and Malta in a short time. He had promised sympathetic consideration to what was suggested by the hon. Member for Burnley, and that consideration would be given. He thought it was quite reasonable that the House should have an opportunity of discussing the matter if any change of the wages was decided upon.
§ MR. CHARLES DEVLIN (Galway)
said that the hon. Member in the course of his reply had stated that the Admiralty would be very glad to spend all the money they could in Ireland. Judging from that reply, one would imagine that a good deal of money was being spent in Ireland by the Admiralty. He thought he was correct in saying that as a matter of fact not one pound would be spent in Ireland this year on Admiralty works, though that country would have to contribute far beyond her share and even beyond her power for the maintenance of the Navy. Of course, they were accustomed to hear year after year expressions of sympathy in this matter, but when the representatives of Ireland made an appeal to be relieved of some of the taxation they never got any sympathy. He was delighted to hear from the Civil Lord that the representations of the trade unions were so well received by him and by the Department for which he spoke. The cause of labour had always received from the representatives of Ireland very earnest and sympathetic support. The statement of the Civil Lord that the workers in connection with the Government dockyards would be well treated and paid would receive their support. They were glad to hear that economies were to be effected. The economies could not begin too soon or be carried to too great an extent. In other days it was represented to them that it was necessary that this country should have a great Navy to defend its commerce, but Members from Ireland represented a country whose commerce had been diminished for many years. That was very much owing to the influence of this country in Ireland. Having no trade on the seas to defend, Ireland had no benefit whatever to draw from this expenditure on the Admiralty. No valid reason could be given why some of 510 the expenditure should not be made in Ireland. In the west of Ireland there were places where magnificent harbours could be constructed, and strategic reasons could be adduced for such expenditure. The west coast of Ireland was closer to America than any other portion of these islands. Esquimault and Halifax were to be taken over by the Canadian authorities, and consequently the expenditure ought to be diminished to a very large extent, and also the taxation to which they had been subjected in this country. He complained of the magnitude of the contribution which Ireland made towards meeting this expenditure while deriving absolutely no benefit from it.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
I am afraid the hon. Member cannot raise the question of the financial relations now.
§ MR. CHARLES DEVLIN
said he was aware he could not raise the question of the financial relations at present. He did not even mention the question of the financial relations. His complaint was that heavy expenditure was incurred for the Navy, that Ireland was obliged to contribute towards the cost in too great a proportion, and that that country which was overburdened with taxation got no benefit from this expenditure.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said that Ireland had to pay a substantial portion of the amount expended under this Vote, and it was the duty of the Irish representatives to enter a protest. He asked hon. Gentlemen opposite to remember that the position of the Irish representatives in regard to the Navy was altogether different from that of the British representatives. He had never expressed surprise at the declarations of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, for it was necessary for Great Britain to maintain a large and efficient Navy. He believed that most people would recognise that the Army, to say the least of it, was a weak reed to rely upon. Though the expenditure on the Navy was colossal, the people of this country had the consolation that a certain amount of the money expended was circulated amongst their own working classes in connection with the dockyards, harbours, ports, and workshops. 511 But the people of Ireland had to bear their full share of the taxation without getting a single penny of it returned. In connection with this particular Vote, money was expended at Gibraltar, the Cape of Good Hope, Hong-Kong, and Malta. But his constituents would say, "We don't care very much about Hong-Kong; we do not wish Hong-Kong any ill whatever; we hope things may go well with them; this may be very important for England, but it is for Great Britain to pay for these things herself and not come to the people of Ireland for large contributions towards services from which they get so little return." This was not the Vote on which to raise the question of the attitude of the great self-governing portions of the Empire toward the Navy, but he would take another opportunity for doing so. He considered it a perfectly monstrous thing that the British and Irish taxpayers should be asked to bear the whole of the expense of the Navy, and that the enormous communities in different parts of the, world—great, wealthy, and progressive—should not be asked to pay anything at all. That was a large question which would have to be considered. Everybody was glad that this year there was a decrease in the Navy Estimates. Since he came to the House the Navy Estimates had considerably more than doubled, and whatever benefit the people of this country had derived the people of Ireland had derived none. They hardly ever saw the Fleet; they were told there was a Fleet, but they found the greatest difficulty in getting a gunboat when required to prevent ships from coming in and interfering with the fishing industry of the poor people. The hon. Member for Galway represented one of the finest ports in Ireland, which did not figure in this Vote at all. He made this protest in no particularly unfriendly spirit. He believed that the present Government were alive to the gigantic proportions of the Naval Estimates, and that they would do something to reduce them, but there was no harm in giving the hon. Member a reminder now and again.
§ CAPTAIN HERVEY
said that the right hon. Gentleman had spoken about the arrangements for docking at Ports- 512 mouth, but he did not make mention of Chatham, which was the only big Naval port on the east coast. The centre of Naval activity at the present time was the North Sea, and under these circumstances it was more than ever necessary to be able to dock our biggest ships at Chatham, or it might be at Rosyth. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give the Committee some more definite information.
§ MR. JOHN O'CONNOR (Kildare, N.)
said he rose for the purpose of telling a story which he hoped would not be regarded as irrelevant to the question raised by his hon. friend. It related to an all-night sitting which occurred many years ago, when he spoke occasionally. The story was told by a highly respected Member who came from Gallant little Wales, and was a Whip of the Liberal Party. His name was Tom Ellis, and when that gentleman visited Cork, the boys chartered a steamer in order to take him a trip down the river, and they pointed out to him Haulbowline. The name appealed to the imaginative mind of Mr. Ellis, and he said he well remembered Haulbowline because it constantly occurred in the Estimates for the Navy—Not long ago,"said Mr. Ellis, "I left the House of Commons during one of these all-night sittings, when Mr. John O'Connor was talking about Haulbowline. Next morning, at seven o'clock, I was summoned back to the House, and when I arrived at half-past seven o'clock, there was John O'Connor still talking about Haulbowline.He trusted the story was relevant.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
said he would be grateful if the hon. Member would be a little quicker in giving him the means of judging of the relevancy of his reference to Haulbowline.
§ MR. JOHN O'CONNOR
said the relevancy would appear in a moment. Haulbowline was a base for Naval supplies. There was a dock there, commenced forty years ago, but still unfinished. And during all that time no vessel of any great dimension had ever entered 513 it. When he asked long long ago what was being done for the dock at Haulbowline, he was told that there were no workshops. Some years after the workshops had been erected, he asked what was being done, and was informed that no tools had arrived; and afterwards Lord Charles Beresford stated that the dock was not big enough to hold any ship in the Navy. Cork harbour had always been regarded as a refuge for His Majesty's ships in time of war. Its motto was Statio bene fide carinis. They had been spending any quantity of money all during his natural life to fortify that harbour in order to make it a safe refuge for vessels in time of war, and yet the Admiralty had allowed this dock to remain absolutely useless for the purpose for which it was originally intended! He remembered many years ago, during the first reign of Earl Spencer as Viceroy of Ireland, that the noble Lord, as a splendid personality, came down to Cork and visited Queenstown, and said that he proposed to ask His Majesty's Government to build a dock at Queenstown. It was during Lord Spencer's Viceroyalty that a dock was commenced to be built. Successive Governments had been spending money for the purpose of building up a great Navy, which was an insurance for the commerce of England, but which was not an insurance for the commerce of Ireland, because England had taken good care that that country had none. At the same time, however, this money was being spent in a wasteful manner, and he had to point out to the Committee that the money which had been expended upon Cork harbour, from time immemorial, or at all events within living memory, had been wasted. It was in the interests of the Empire that they, the reluctant Members of that Empire, should point out that taxes should not be wasted in this manner. They had asked, although they had not been urgent, for the expenditure of larger sums out of the taxation upon Ireland. He had a pregnant Question on the Paper yesterday in connection with this very question, as to how the Imperial monies ex-acted from Ireland were spent. If they had been spent on making or completing the harbour of Cork and Haulbowline and rendering them of service to the Navy, there would have been no reason to complain. The 514 conduct of the Admiralty business with regard to Cork was a living and lasting scandal, and an evidence of the incompetence of successive Governments and Government Departments. He could only promise those who, on the part of the Government, had to conduct the debates or discussions on this subject for the Admiralty that, when they again came to consider this particular Vote, hon. Members for Ireland would again raise the question and would endeavour to point out to a new House of Commons the particular grievances of Ireland in respect to the expenditure of Imperial monies in Ireland. He trusted that by the time the session was over the Government and the House would be in full possession of the grievances which Ireland suffered in regard to the Imperial expenditure of the country.
§ DR. AMBROSE
said that while he would withdraw his Motion for reduction, he could not but protest against so small a portion of Imperial expenditure being disbursed in Ireland.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £275,500, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of Medical Services, including the cost of Medical Establishments at Home and Abroad, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1907."
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. EDMUND ROBERTSON,) Dundee
thought it might be convenient if he made a statement as to the remaining Estimates. After the kindness of the Committee he thought it would be wrong for him to claim any further Vote which raised any question of substance except the last three, numbered 13, 14, and 15, which were non-effective Votes, as they dealt with the half-pay of the Reserve and the retired pay of Navy and Marines.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said he understood that the right hon. Gentleman proposed 515 to withdraw Votes 3 and 6 and to proceed with Votes 13, 14 and 15. As far as he was concerned, he had no objection, because they were automatic Votes and no contentious points arose upon them. Of course, however, he could not guarantee that some of his hon. friends might not seek to raise points upon them. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman did not propose to proceed with any other Votes.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 3. £820,700, Half-Pay, Reserved, and Retired Pay.
§ 4. £1,256,300, Naval and Marine Pensions, Gratuities, and Compassionate Allowances.
§ 5. £383,700, Civil Pensions and Gratuities.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again tomorrow.