HL Deb 05 July 1895 vol 35 cc244-5

formally moved the Second Reading of the Naval Works Bill.


said, that he had no desire to enter at any length upon the questions involved by this measure, but, as he had been responsible for its introduction during the period when he had the honour of holding the office of First Lord of the Admiralty, he should like to make a few observations with regard to it. During the time he held that office the then Government had found it necessary to undertake a considerable expenditure for the purpose of placing the Navy upon a proper basis, and they believed that nothing could more greatly conduce to the efficiency of that branch of our defence than the execution of necessary works which had not been properly carried out for many years. In the first place we required larger docks and deeper closed harbours for our new ships of war in order that they might be protected from torpedo attack, to which they would be liable in the old open roadsteads. The late Government, therefore, had determined to improve the harbours at Portland, Portsmouth, and Devonport at home, and to create a harbour at Dover. Their Lordships would all agree that Gibraltar was one of the most important stations of Her Majesty's Navy, and that it was essential that its harbour accommodation should be increased, and that the harbour itself should be closed, and that proper dock accommodation should be provided. The noble Marquess opposite had pressed him some year or two ago on the subject, and he then explained that he had already conceived the intention of taking the course which the Bill now sought to carry out. The Bill also gave power to improve the harbour at Hong Kong, which would in all probability become of even more importance than it was now, in the course of a few years. It gave him the greatest satisfaction to find that Her Majesty's present Government had taken up this Bill with every prospect that it would become law this Session.


said, that he entirely concurred in the remarks which had fallen from the noble Lord opposite with regard to this Bill, but he could not help feeling that in such a matter, although speech might be silver, silence was golden. It was not necessary to do more than what had been done by the noble Lord in introducing the measure. It was hardly a subject much suited for Parliamentary discussion.

Read 2a (according to Order): Committee negatived; and (Standing Order No. XXXIX. having been suspended) Bill read 3a, and Passed.