§ MR. DOWNING
said, he would beg to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Ministry to introduce a Bill for the amendment of the Law of Landlord and Tenant in Ireland during the present Session of Parliament; and, if not, what are the intentions of the Ministry with regard to legislation on the subject?
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
, in reply, said, on this subject he must refer the hon. Member to what was said by his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury on the first night of the Session, when he volunteered the statement before a Question had been asked, that nothing but physical impossibility, or in other words, want of time in the present Session, had deterred the Government from dealing with this great question; and it was that, and that alone, which prevented them taking any action upon it.
§ MR. BLAKE
said, he would beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Irish Members were to understand, from the Answer just given by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that Her Majesty's Government would not introduce a measure during the present Session to amend the law relating to the tenure and improvement of land in Ireland; and, in the event of Government being only prevented from attempting to legislate on the question owing to its being physically impossible, as stated by the Chief Secretary, whether a statement would be made as to the principles on which the Government would propose to legislate on the question hereafter?
The hon. Gentleman has asked me two Questions—first, whether Her Majesty's Government have abandoned all hope or intention of bringing in a Bill on the subject of the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland during the present Session; and next, whether, if they do not, they will make some declaration of principle on which they would proceed to legislate. In answer to the first of these Questions, I should say, following up what has been stated by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that we do not see the smallest possibility of there being 354 any such state of circumstances in the present Session as would enable us to introduce a Bill on this important subject with the due consideration which its real importance demands. With regard to the second Question, I think it would not be expected that Her Majesty's Government should endeavour to state their; policy—and it would be extremely difficult to make intelligible any such statement, unless it was accompanied by all those details and particulars which could only be presented in the former case.