HC Deb 25 February 1942 vol 378 cc187-8
23. Major Milner

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, having regard to the circulation to the House of the Order-in-Council, dated 9th February, 1942, Article 872 of the King's (Naval) Regulations, may be considered abrogated; and whether such Orders-in-Council will be published for information in the same way as Army Council and Air Council Instructions?

The Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. George Hall)

Since Admiralty Orders-in-Council are not now circulated to flag officers and officers in command, the first part of the Question does not arise. As regards the second part, my right hon. Friend does not consider that there would be any advantage in publishing Orders-in-Council such as the one to which my hon. Friend refers in the King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions.

Major Milner

Is it not clear that that particular Order-in-Council did fix responsibility on the First Sea Lord, and is it not extremely important that these Orders should be published, as in the case of the Air Ministry and the Army Council?

Mr. Hall

Of course the First Sea Lord would know of the existence of this Order-in-Council, and it was not deemed necessary by the Board of Admiralty to circulate it as suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend

Major Milner

Is it not desirable that the House and the country should know where the responsibility lies? In future may not these Orders be published, as in the case of other Ministries?

Mr. Silverman

When the hon. Gentleman says that this was not considered desirable by the Board of Admiralty, is he inviting the House to understand that the Board of Admiralty met and considered that it was not advisable; and will he say at the same time whether there would he any disadvantage in doing exactly what the Army Council and the Air Ministry do in the case of these Orders?

Mr. Hall

No, I am not suggesting that the Board of Admiralty met to consider this matter, but it was deemed unnecessary to publish this Order, whatever may be the practice of the Army Council.