HC Deb 11 June 1917 vol 94 c607
61. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the departure from the custom and practice of the Navy to hold courts-martial to inquire into the losses of warships having been made in so many cases; whether he is aware that there have been about thirty such cases of courts-martial and, contrary to the invariable practice of the past, that these were held in secret, and the secrecy has deprived Parliament and the Navy of much guidance and knowledge; and whether the Government will set up a Royal Commission as soon as the War is over to inquire into the whole position and to suggest such a revision of the Navy Discipline Act as will be binding on the Admiralty, and will tend to maintain the high standards of the Navy while safeguarding Parliament's control through the publicity of proceedings of courts-martial?


It is clearly impossible for me to say what view the Government which may be in existence immediately after the War will take with regard to the setting up of a Royal Commission.

Commander BELLAIRS

Will my right hon. Friend in any case bear in mind that very intricate questions concerning relations with Dominion Navies arise in applying the Naval Discipline Act, and that their opinion generally coincides with his own opinion that the failure to hold courts-martial was a bad departure?


That does not arise out of the question, which deals with what will be done by the Government after the War.

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