HC Deb 13 February 1924 vol 169 cc835-6
3. Captain BERKELEY

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether it is proposed to proceed with the Singapore dock?

5. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he will consider the desirability of incurring no fresh expenditure on the projected dry docks for battleships at Singapore until the matter has been again before Parliament?


As is generally known, those responsible for the present Government have always taken the view that no adequate reason has been shown for the very large expenditure proposed by the late Government at Singapore. The Government, however, think it only right that they should hear and examine the case for the scheme before announcing their decision, and this they are proceeding to do. In the meantime, commitments such as are referred to by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull will certainly not be entered into.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

When the Under-Secretary is considering this very important question, will he take into consideration the alteration in the whole position caused by the terrible disaster in Japan; and is he aware that this has really put Japan out of the running for another ten years?


That matter is also receiving attention.

Captain Viscount CURZON

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Japanese earthquake has made no material difference to the strength of the Japanese Navy, and can he assure us that, before His Majesty's Government arrive at a decision, they will consult the Dominions?


I can assure the Noble Lord that all the effects of the Japanese earthquake are being considered.

Commander BELLAIRS

May we have an assurance that expenditure already ordered, and sanctioned by this House, is not being retarded by the Government?


I can give the hon. and gallant Gentleman an assurance that instructions have been issued to the officers on the spot not to incur further commitments.


Will the hon. Gentleman inform the House what money has been expended on this scheme so far?


Up to the 20th January last about £13,000 has been spent, and, in addition, I think we are actually committed by signed contracts to an expenditure of £34,000. Liabilities have been incurred on work already in progress, such as railways, road connections, water supplies, etc., but until further reports are received I cannot state how much expenditure has been or will be incurred.


Do I understand that the Government communicated to the Governments of Australia and New Zealand their intention to review this matter?


My answer was that the Dominions will be consulted.