HC Deb 06 August 1912 vol 41 cc2900-1

asked the Secretary of State for War, whether his attention has been called to a Liberal demonstration held at Brighton, on Saturday, 27th July, at which Alderman W. J. West, of Battersea, who was one of the principal speakers, addressed the meeting wearing the uniform of a Territorial; whether he will have inquiries made into the matter; and whether it is in accordance with the regulations that a speaker at a political demonstration should wear His Majesty's uniform?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Colonel Seely)

Nothing is known of this matter at the War Office. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to let me have some more information in order to enable me to make further inquiries.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that great indignation is felt at the action of Alderman West on this occasion?

Colonel SEELY

I cannot accept the statement without inquiry. Many of these cases are brought to my notice, and it is often found that the facts alleged are not quite accurate. That may be the case in this particular instance. I will, however, certainly inquire.


Is this any worse than employing a regimental band at a Primrose League meeting?

Colonel SEELY

These matters, I repeat, are often brought to our notice, and often we find that the facts are not as presented. I would not like, therefore, to answer without further inquiry. Of course it is quite contrary to regulations for anything of the kind suggested to occur, and such conduct would be checked in every way. This applies to both sides.


Was it a Territorial uniform this Gentleman appeared in?

Colonel SEELY

I hope it will not be assumed that the facts as stated are accurate. With the best will in the world these things are often misdescribed.


Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that anyone on this side of the House has been guilty of this practice?

Colonel SEELY

I can tell the Noble Lord of an occasion which occurred not long ago. A respected Member of this House had been dining at Mr. Speaker's house, and a similar charge was made, but on inquiry it was found that no breach of regulations had been committed.