§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD SOMERLEYTON
My Lords, I will trouble your Lordships with only a few words in moving that this Bill be read a second time. In 1917, in consequence of representations made by the associations representing navigating and engineer officers of the Mercantile Marin in favour of the institution of a standard uniform for the Merchant. Service, the President of the Board of Trade appointed a Committee representative of those officers, of ship-owners, of the Admiralty and the Board of Trade, to advise as to the uniform to be adopted. The Committee reported at the end of that year, and the majority recommended that the standard uniform which had been devised by the Committee should be formally instituted, but should not be made compulsory on board ship although, if it was desired to wear uniform on shore on other than the ship's business, it should not be any other uniform than the standard. As no opportunity arose for introducing a Bill into Parliament an Order in Council was passed. It was not competent for the Order in Council to include powers to exact penalties for the wrongful use of the uniform, nor to give permanent protection to the designs forming part of the uniform. For the moment some penalties are provided by the Defence of the Realm Regulations, but a promise was given last Session in the House of Commons on b half of the Board of Trade that legislation would be introduced in order to put the matter on a proper footing, and the present Bill is being introduced for that purpose. It should be carefully noted that all the details of the Mercantile Marine standard uniform have been before the Admiralty, and have been passed by that Department, but that nevertheless this uniform is in no sense a naval uniform but is a civilian one appertaining solely to the British Merchant Service. Your Lordships will see that it is not proposed to make the uniform compulsory by this Bill. It 1035 would be optional. I therefore venture to trust that the Bill will receive your Lordships' assent. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Somerleyton.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.