I received the notice which the hon. Member has been good enough to send me a few minutes ago, and I have made inquiries in the short interval between that moment and this, but I am afraid that I am unable to give any details of what happened in the "Royal Oak." All we have got at present is a wireless report, a great deal of which, owing to corrupt transmission, is not very easy to decipher, and I hope in the course of a day or two to get the full written account of, what has happened. I hope hon. Members will not give too much credence to sensational reports which may be appearing in the Press. There has been no court-martial, as far as I am aware. There has been an inquiry, hut we have not as yet received the report of the inquiry. As far as I am able to ascertain, that inquiry merely concerned two or three senior officers in the "Royal Oak."
In view of the great importance of this matter and the rumours and reports that have appeared in the papers, and in the interests of the Navy, I take it that the full facts will be made known publicly at the earliest possible moment?
The hon. and gallant gentleman knows what the rules are about Courts of Inquiry, and I leave that with him. I quite agree that it is very desirable that exaggerations or distortions of the facts should not be spread abroad, and I am sure that he and my hon. Friend opposite will have the patience to wait until I can give an account of which I am really sure. It would be in nobody's interest that I should go beyond the very bare facts that I understood from the wireless message, and any attempt on my part to interpret what, is rather an obscure telegram would, I think, do far more harm than good at the present moment.