asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, If a contract for raising Her Majesty's Ship "Vanguard" has been concluded; and, if so, about what time is it proposed to commence the operations?
In reply to the hon. Gentleman, I have to state that no contract has been entered into for raising the Vanguard. Negotiations for the purpose have been going on for some time; but they have not, as yet, come to any conclusion.
Navy—Collision Of The "Alberta" And The "Mistletoe"—Captain Welch—Question
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether, since the discussion on the "Mistletoe" disaster, the Admiralty have had any communication with Captain Welch with reference to the discrepancy between his letter, saying that he had requested a court martial, and the statement of the First Lord that no such request had been made or it would have been granted; and, whether he can now explain that discrepancy, and if he is willing still to grant such court martial if requested by Captain Welch?
I have to state, in answer to the hon. Gentleman's Question, that no communications have passed between the Admiralty and Captain Welch since the period to which he refers. I can only repeat now what I have stated before—that no application for a court martial has been received by the Admiralty from Captain Welch. With respect to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's Question, the matter stands on a wholly different footing after the length of time that has elapsed since the unfortunate occurrence; and I am not prepared to say what would be the result of an application that has not yet been made.
Parliament—Public Business—Scotch Bills—Question
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, with reference to the frequent postponements of Scotch Government business in the House, the Government will be pleased to fix a time for moving the Second Reading of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Bill, considering its great importance to the people of Scotland; and also to make arrangements so as to secure the discussion during the present Session of the other Government Scotch Bills appearing in the Order Book of the House?
I am afraid Scotland is not alone in this matter. She is in very good company—namely, that of England and Ireland. With regard to the Sheriffs Courts (Scotland) Bill, which is a matter of great importance, I hope there is a prospect, and a reasonable one, of its being taken on Thursday. The Poor Law (Scotland) Bill stands for Monday, but I cannot say whether it can come on on that day or not. I think the two other Scotch Bills must be postponed until after Whitsuntide. But I will give hon. Members notice, as far as I can, as to when the Bills will be taken.