HC Deb 18 March 1881 vol 259 cc1363-4

I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the Government have received any information as to the negotiations or arrangements that are taking place between Sir Evelyn Wood and the Boers; and I would further ask, whether, if he has no recent communications which he can give to the House, he still purposes to proceed with the Vote for the Transvaal expenditure on Monday next?


We are not, Sir, in receipt, nor, indeed, did we expect yesterday to be in receipt to-day, of any fresh intelligence from the Transvaal. It is, however, possible we may be so to-morrow. I cannot say with any certainty, however, whether we shall be in a position to communicate conclusive in- formation to the House before Monday next. We are very desirous of doing so, if possible, because, undoubtedly, the Transvaal Vote would afford a most convenient and proper occasion for discussing whatever topics connected with the Transvaal hon. Gentlemen might think required it. The Votes, however, are, in the first place, of a retrospective character, and I need not say the voting of the money does not in the slightest degree, under the circumstances, commit the judgment of the House with regard to the prospective policy of Her Majesty's Government; and it is, in fact, necessary that the money should be voted, considering the great inconvenience which would arise from postponing it even for a day. We probably could not postpone it till the following day with any certain view of being in a condition of then placing the House in possession of full details. What I should propose, therefore, is that, being most desirous to give the information, if we can we should do so; but if we are not able to give that information to the House we should still proceed with the Votes on the ground of public financial necessity; and, in that case, I need not say that when the information is received, and we can communicate it without detriment to the public interest, we shall at once lay it upon the Table, and if there he a desire, as very possibly there may be, for a discussion upon the subject, it will be our duty to give every facility for bringing on that discussion at an early date.


asked, whether it was proposed to interfere with the rights of private Members by taking Tuesday and Wednesday next for Government Business?


in reply, said, that the progress made in the Business of the House during the week had been such as would probably make it unnecessary to do so.