MR. BELL AIRS (Lynn Regis)
I bog to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether, besides the four armoured cruisers absent in America, the Channel Fleet has been short of four battleships since 26th May, and from 5th May to 19th May the Channel Fleet has been three battleships short, so that its fighting strength has for a long interval boon reduced from fourteen to ten or eleven battleships.
§ MR. LAMBERT
My information does not coincide with that in the hon. Member's Question. The Channel Fleet was four battleships short only for five days from 10th Juno. This can hardly be termed a long interval. In any case, the circumstances were exceptional, and 874 the Admiralty must be permitted to exercise their discretion as to these matters.
§ MR. BELLAIRS
I adhere to my information, and I should like to ask the hon. Member if he still adheres to his Answer on 17th June, when he said that since February, 1907, only three battleships had been absent. He never said anything about a fourth.
§ [No Answer was returned].