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Navy—Naval Officers And The Press—Question

Volume 229: debated on Thursday 4 May 1876

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether his attention has been called to a pamphlet dated March 21st 1876, which, while marked "Confidential and. for Private Circulation only," has been sent out by Admiral George Elliot, the present Commander in Chief at Portsmouth, in which pamphlet want of ordinary foresight and common prudence are imputed to the Navy Department at Whitehall, and the designs of Her Majesty's ships "Inflexible" and "Temeraire" are found fault with; whether there is not a standing regulation in force in the Royal Navy prohibiting Naval Officers on full pay from printing and circulating controversial statements upon the proceedings of the Admiralty and of other officers; and, whether this regulation, if it exists, is not equally applicable to Admirals and to officers of lower rank?

The only regulation bearing upon the subject is as follows:—

"Every person belonging to the Fleet is forbidden to write for any newspaper on subjects connected with the Naval Service, or to publish, or cause to be published, directly or indirectly, in a newspaper or other periodical, any matter or thing relating to the public service."
This regulation is binding on officers of all ranks when on full pay. The pamphlet referred to by the hon. Member does not come within the regulation.