HC Deb 05 July 1869 vol 197 cc1172-3

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, taking into consideration the fact that the occasion just referred to was the first in Ulster on which there had been a collision between the Police and the Orangemen, and considering the great amount of irritation and excitement in the North of Ireland, he will give the House an opportunity of discussing the Party Processions Act before the 12th of July?


Sir, I am not able to combine the preamble or first part of the hon. Baronet's Question with the closing part of it; and I think it is very doubtful whether, in what he recited in that preamble, there is a reason for the conclusion that he intimates. The case of the Party Processions Act (Ireland) Bill, is peculiar. The hon. Gentleman the Mover of the Bill (Mr. W. Johnston) has declared his view of the subject, and the Government, by the mouth of my right hon. Friend near me (Mr. Chichester Fortescue), have declared their view of it. If the Mover had continued in his place it might have been material to go forward with the discussion on his Bill, because the discussion might have had a practical result, and might have operated on the course of conduct of the Mover, who, as I apprehend, is the person having the principal control of the measure, his Colleague in introducing it being an hon. Friend of mine who sits on this side of the House. But now that the Mover is absent, the discussion would simply be a discussion on the Bill, without the possibility of any practical result. Therefore, the Question of the hon. Baronet really amounts to this—whether the Government is distinctly of opinion that benefit would arise from a general discussion of this subject in the House of Commons at this particular moment in the present state of feeling? "We are not satisfied that benefit would be likely so to arise, or that such a discussion would have such a soothing effect—as we may judge from slight indications from time to time in this House —on the public mind, or so contribute to the maintenance of the public peace, which is the main object we all have in view for the moment, as to induce us to interfere with the due course of Public Business in order to give an opportunity for that discussion.