HC Deb 21 April 1909 vol 3 c1517

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention had been called to the official announcement of the Prime Minister that we were on the eve of new developments in forms of naval construction which might vitally affect many of the governing conditions of naval policy; and whether the four battleships which the Government had definitely decided to commence this year were to embody those developments, or were to be more or less belated or obsolete specimens of the class of which H.M.S. "Neptune" and "Indefatigable" were the latest examples?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. McKenna)

The hon. Gentleman may rest assured that no battleships which are to be begun during the present financial year will be of a belated or obsolete type.


Have the Government any reason to believe that the four ships which they have definitely decided to lay down, of which the plans must already have been settled, are inferior in fighting respects to the latest German designs, and, if not, what justification have the Government for not proceeding at the earliest possible moment with the number of ships necessary to secure a sufficient superiority in that class of ship?


I do not think that question arises out of the question on the paper, and it would take far too long to answer in reply to a supplementary question.


I will put down a further question.