HC Deb 28 July 1879 vol 248 cc1416-9

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £5,034, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1880, for the Expenses of the Queen's University in Ireland.


said, he had, at the desire of his hon. Friends around him, a request to make of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was that the two Votes which stood first upon the Paper, and had reference to the Queen's University and the Queen's Colleges, should be postponed. If the Government would consider the request he had made they would see its reasonableness. It was well known that the House had before it a Bill dealing with another department of this great question, and that the two subjects—the Bill and the Votes—were so dove-tailed that it would be impossible for them to discuss the one without discussing the other. He suggested the postponement in order to facilitate the Business of the House, because he was afraid that if they entered into a discussion of all the questions which would crop up upon these Votes they would occupy a good deal of time unnecessarily; whereas if they postponed the Votes they would get through a good deal of Business before the night was over. He did not, by saying this, in any way mean to threaten the Government. Nothing of the kind was meant; but the question was of such importance, the bearings of the Votes on the University Bill were so intimate and numerous, that, as a matter of necessity, if they discussed them, they must occupy an immense deal of time; and, moreover, the same ground would have to be traversed when considering the University Bill. He, therefore, hoped the Government would, before any further step was taken with respect to these Votes, decide to postpone them until some progress was made with the University Bill. It was hoped that that Bill would emerge from Committee a better Bill than it was when it went into Committee; and they were not without hopes that the Government would continue that process of equitable legislation which was the system of the present day. Some concessions had already been made with respect to Ireland; and, in the end, they would probably make a very fair Bill out of the one recently introduced. At the present moment, however, he earnestly trusted that the Government would yield to the proposed postponement. They were quite ready to discuss the Votes—they were not afraid to discuss them; but they must necessarily repeat themselves when discussing the Bill. He would not occupy the time of the House further; for he thought he had made out a good case, and had given reasons which ought to have weight with the Government. If the Government did not yield to his request he was prepared to move a substantive Motion, which would occupy some time in deliberating.


said, there could be no objection on the part of the Government to put off the Queen's Colleges and University Votes in order to go on with the other Votes, if that was a course which was most agreeable to hon. Gentlemen. But, on the other hand, it must be clearly understood that they did not accept the suggestion of the hon. Member for Cork that they should put off the Votes until after the discussion on the University Bill. They would not enter into an engagement of that kind; but they were prepared to postpone the Votes for the present, and go on with the discussion of the other Votes, in the hope that such a course was most likely to save time.


was very reluctant to interpose, because he had not had the advantage of knowing that it was the intention of the hon. Member for Cork to make his request to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It now appeared, however, that he had made his request to postpone the Votes on a distinct ground. The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied that he would postpone the Estimates, though he did not recognize the ground. He would, therefore, ask the hon. Member for Cork what he gained by the postponement? If they put the University Bill out of all consideration, the present was as good a time for discussing the Queen's Colleges and University Estimates as any other; but it was because the Bill of the Government stood in the way, and because the Estimates were to be considered in connection with that Bill, that his hon. Friend asked for the postponement. The manner in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had met the request was un can did; and he appealed to the Government to say whether they saw anything really objectionable in the ground on which the hon. Member made his request?


submitted that whatever was taken first—the University Bill or the Votes—it was most desirable, for the information of English and Scotch Members, that the Government should state whether they proposed to maintain the full Vote now given to the Queen's Colleges, in addition to the Vote proposed to be given to the Queen's University. If that were so, his and other hon. Gentlemen's views of the matter would be very considerably changed. He believed it would also make some difference in. the view the Irish Members would take.


did not think it would be convenient that they should enter into a general discussion on the question. Of course, he would have preferred very much that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had acceded to his entire request; but he could not say that, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, the right hon. Gentleman had acted unfairly. They would take their chance in the matter; but they hoped the Government would see the reasonableness of connecting the two questions together, so that they might save time.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.


(1.) £110,644, to complete the sum for Public Buildings, Ireland.