HC Deb 09 March 1949 vol 462 cc1190-1
62. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the circumstances which led to the removal of the arm from the figurehead of Lord Nelson at the Royal Naval Barracks at Chatham; and what disciplinary action is being taken against those concerned in the incidents which caused the removal.

Mr. W. Edwards

The outstretched arm of the figurehead was removed in April, 1947, when it was found to have rotted and to be in danger of falling off. Because of the decayed condition of the figurehead as a whole it was not replaced. The removal was not occasioned by any incidents and the question of disciplinary action does not therefore arise.

Sir W. Smithers

Will the Parliamentary Secretary give the House an assurance that there was no Communist influence behind this; and is he also aware that since this Government came into power the discipline in the Navy has deteriorated to an alarming extent?

Mr. Edwards

With regard to the first part of the supplementary question, I have no evidence that Communists had anything to do with Nelson's statue; and, secondly, I do not agree with the hon. Member in the slightest that discipline in the Navy has deteriorated in any way.

Sir W. Smithers

It is true all the same.

Mr. Gallacher

Is my hon. Friend aware that if the decayed arm of Nelson's figurehead is the only harm the Communists in this country resort to, they will not give much trouble?