§ 53. Mr. HAYWARD
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that dissatisfaction is felt amongst members of rifle associations throughout the Empire at the proposal to change the conditions under which the King's Prize at Bisley is competed for by abolishing the aperture sight and the sling and reverting to open sights and introducing rapid shooting conditions; whether he is aware that the commandants from the Overseas Dominions have protested against the proposed alterations and definitely stated that their respective teams will not again compete at Bisley if the same are carried out; whether he is aware that the change, in the opinion of many best qualified to judge, is calculated to eliminate interest in rifle shooting throughout the Empire and have a disastrous effect on the Territorial Forces; and whether, before such change is finally decided upon, he will reconsider the matter, with the view either of abandoning the new proposal altogether, or of imposing a qualifying course under conditions to be arranged by the "War Office, leaving the competition proper under National Rifle Association conditions, as suggested in a resolution at the Bisley Tent meeting on the 21st instant?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The War Office proposals affect the conditions for some of the important Bisley competitions, including the King's Prize, and it is hoped that the proposals will do much to stimulate interest in rifle shooting generally throughout the country, and will greatly assist in increasing the musketry efficiency of the Territorial Force. The large majority of those Territorial officers who have been consulted are in favour of the War Office proposals, but I understand that the captains of the teams from overseas are not in favour of the alterations in the conditions referred to. I have, however, received no protest on the subject. As regards the last part of the question, the agreement between the War Office and the Council of the National Rifle Association was arrived at after protracted negotiations, and I think that time should be given for the new conditions to be thoroughly tested.
§ Captain MURRAY
Before finally closing the door to the suggestions contained in the last part of the paragraph, will the right hon Gentleman consider the advisability of consulting the Australian Commonwealth Council and the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association?
Mr. F. HALL (Dulwich)
If the right hon. Gentleman has a protest brought to him dealing with this matter and stating that those who have been in the habit of attending at Bisley are against this change, will he give careful attention to it?