HC Deb 02 August 1881 vol 264 cc692-3

Resolutions [August 1] reported.


observed, that on the previous night the noble Lord C Lord Frederick Cavendish) had said that the House was not taken by surprise in regard to this matter, because the Prime Minister had announced the measure in his Budget speech. That was perfectly accurate as regarded the matter of the Prime Minister's speech, but not as regarded the spirit of that speech. The Prime Minister, no doubt, did sketch his scheme in his Budget speech; but he promised not to place it before the House for its practical judgment until after the Budget; and on the 29th of April, in reply to the right hon. and gallant Member for Wigtown Burghs (Sir John Hay), he said he did not intend to bring this scheme in until the Budget was out of the way, and that the necessary information would be in the hands of Members before that time. The Budget Bill was out of the way by the 31st of May, and when the Prime Minister said he would not introduce this scheme until after the Budget Bill was out of the way, that was equivalent to saying that he would bring it in then, or soon after; but it never could be held that the Prime Minister meant not only that the House should wait till the Budget Bill was out of the way, but that they should also wait till the last days of the Session, when half the Members were away, before having the scheme before them. He, therefore, thought the House had been more or less taken by surprise, and the country had had no opportunity of considering the measure in any way. The Prime Minister held out the hope that it would be brought forward and the necessary information given in time for it to be considered, but it was not known that the proposal was to impose £2,000,000 of taxation on the country for 21 years. He believed the country would wish to oppose the scheme; but it was no use opposing it now; and if the Government were determined to carry it through, he could only enter his protest against it.

Resolutions agreed to:—Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER and Lord FREDERICK CAVENDISH.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill236.]