In the debate which followed Sir Edward Carson expressed anxiety
as to the effect of yet another change in Admiralty organiza- tim. Lord Pirrie was a very masterful man, and there was a
danger lest he should press the claims of merchant ships to the exclusion of warships. It would have been better, Sir Edward Carson thought, to entrust him with the control of all shipbuilding. Mr. Wilkie defended the shipyard workers, and astonished the House by saying that even now skilled men of the highest importance in the shipyards were being called up by the War Office for medical examination, though every hour of their work is invaluable to the country. Mr. Lloyd George said that the private yards were being extended in one hundred and thirty- eight cases, and that the Army was releasing skilled men as fast as possible. Mr. Asquith pointed the moral by saying that optimistic estimates of construction had misled the country and the workers, and that the Cabinet, having decided definitely how much work had to be done and how much labour was required, must then insist that the men should be forthcoming.