35. Mr. CHANCELLOR
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War, whether nearly half the present production of beer goes to the Army; whether this would represent a consumption of over four barrels (144 gallons) per man per annum; if not, what quantity was actually supplied during 1916; and, if this quantity is not used by the Army, will he say what steps he will take to punish, under the Defence of the Realm Act, those who make such statements, which are detrimental to the Army, and likely to shake the confidence of our Allies who have either prohibited or severely restricted the use of all alcoholic liquor by their troops?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I am not aware of the source of the statements quoted by my hon. Friend, but whether detrimental to the Army or not, they are wholly at variance with fact. The consumption of beer through canteens at home was for 615 last year approximately 1,500,000 barrels. This, I am informed, represents not one-half, but one-eighteenth of the total consumption of beer on the reduced basis in the United Kingdom. It is not proposed to take the action suggested in the latter part of the question.
Am I to understand that persons are to be privileged to issue false statements detrimental to the Army without any action being taken by the Government?