I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether an order for upwards of £19,000 worth of armour-piercing shells has recently been given to a French firm over the head of any English tenderer; and having regard to the recent Report of the Labour Correspondent of the Board of Trade at Sheffield, that many men (in analogous branches of industry) have only done one turn a week since Christmas, and are in a most deplorable condition, if more attention will be paid in the further orders about to be placed to avoid spending the people's money out of the United Kingdom in the employment of foreign workmen?
At the same time, may I ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether a, largo contract or order for steel shells has been placed with a foreign manufacturer?
This is a case in which public interests would have suffered by the adoption of any other course. The Admiralty have been anxious to employ English manufacturers; but a heavy loss would have been involved in accepting an English tender.
Will the right hon. Gentleman give the date of the contract?
I cannot say the exact date, but it is a recent one.