MR. JOSEPH COWEN
I beg to ask the Prime Minister, in view of recent circumstances and recent declarations of the Government, Whether he does not think the time has come when he will release the three honourable Members of this House who have been in jail in Ireland for several months?
Sir, I think the House will feel, and I believe the hon. Member himself will feel, that it will be hardly possible for me to enter upon any statement, either of our opinions or 1680 of our intentions with regard to a matter of so much importance, and a matter so intimately connected with other circumstances in Ireland, perhaps still more important, in reply to an inquiry. We can only do it, I think, upon an occasion when there should be a perfect liberty of free statement and argument upon what we might say, or what we might not say—that is to say, in a regular debate. We have an opportunity of that kind in immediate prospect. I cannot at present enter upon the subject; but on Tuesday next my right hon. Friend near me (Mr. W. E. Forster) will be prepared to enter upon it fully.