§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he will explain to the House a recent notification by the War Office as to the effect of the lapse of the appointment of Commander-in-Chief; whether it is the case that the lapse occurred in or before the issue of the letters patent published in the Gazette of 12th February, 1904, giving to the Army Council authority to do and execute every power and thing which formerly appertained to 750 the Secretary of State for War or to the Commander-in-Chief; whether the War Office notification appearing in the Military Intelligence of Monday last declares that the statutory powers under Section 183, sub-section (2), of the Army Act have reverted to the King; and, if so, how it is that such powers were not covered by specific transfer in the letters patent of all prerogative powers as well as the general transfer of every power formerly appertaining to the Secretary of State for War or to the Commander-in-Chief.
§ MR. HALDANE
The power of the Commander-in-Chief to reduce non-commissioned officers to a lower grade or to the ranks is granted by Statute under Section 183 (2) of the Army Act. When the appointment of Commander-in-Chief lapsed, it was held that as his statutory powers could only be granted to the Army Council by statute, and as these powers through the lapse of the appointment had come to an end, all cases of reduction should be submitted to the Sovereign and approved by His Majesty. This is one of the statutory powers which it is proposed to transfer to the Army Council by the Army Council Bill. Since the date of the lapse of the appointment of the Commander-in-Chief all cases have been submitted to His Majesty. The letters patent are dated 6th February, 1904, and the date of the retirement of Lord Roberts from the post was 11th February, 1904. The Bill will distribute the powers in the same way as before, reserving to Parliament the same responsibility.