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Navy—Discharged Portsmouth Dockyard Men—Question

Volume 202: debated on Monday 4 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether a Memorial has been received at the Admiralty from discharged Portsmouth Dockyard men, in which it is stated that the Memorialists have had difficulty in obtaining employment, owing to an impression produced on the minds of employers by certain expressions used by the First Lord, to the effect that the men discharged were either incompetent workmen or of indifferent character; and, whether he has any objection to state publicly that the words used by him did not apply to all the men who have been discharged, and that in fact many of them are able-bodied and skilful workmen of good character?

said, in reply, that a memorial such as that referred to by his hon. Friend had been received at the Admiralty; but, on referring to it, he found that the expressions said to have been used by the First Lord were not quoted. His right hon. Friend was quite unaware of having used words which could be so interpreted, as there could not be a doubt that many able-bodied good workmen had to be discharged on the reduction of the force.