HC Deb 22 May 1908 vol 189 cc612-3
MR. F. E. SMITH (Liverpool, Walton)

To ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he will state when the long overdue payment of the balance of purchase money to the vendors of H.M.S. "Cyclops" will be made; what are the technical reasons which have delayed such payment; whether the vendors are in any way responsible for the existence of such reasons; and, if not, what grounds exist for withholding interest on a payment which is now considerably overdue.

(Answered by Mr. McKenna.) The technical reasons which have delayed the payment of the outstanding balance of £1,000 purchase money to the vendors of H.M.S. "Cyclops" are that when the vessel was purchased she was only in a partially completed condition as a merchant ship; large alterations were necessary to convert her to her present service, and it was impracticable till very recently fully to complete and test all those portions of the vessel that were bought from the vendors. Trials have now been made, their results are being considered in connection with the contract obligations of the vendors, and it is hoped that a settlement will be reached in the course of the next month. The vendors are not in any way responsible for fixing the date at which the necessary trials were made; but, although the vendors were not in any way so responsible, it was impracticable to determine, prior to the trials referred to, what balance might be due to the vendors, and consequently what interest, if any, might be due to them. Payment of such interest as may be adjugded due will be made when closing the accounts for this vessel.