§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
asked the Premier on what day the House would be called upon to consider the Amendments made by the House of Lords in the Arrears of Rent Bill?
With regard to the Lords' Amendments on the Arrears Bill, I may say that we propose to take a little time, that the House may have an opportunity of fully considering them, and we propose to take them on Tuesday next. I promised to state to-day what course we should take in regard to the Police Bill. My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is very sorry to find, from the declarations of hon. Gentlemen opposite, that he has no prospect of carrying it without considerable delay and discussion, and it would be probably inconsistent with the pledges given as to the period when the Session will terminate to go forward with it. Under these circumstances, therefore, it will be dropped. I may say we shall continue to press forward Supply as far as we can, with only the interpolation of certain Bills that are not expected to take any length of time. In regard to those Bills, we have been anxious, if we could, to avoid asking the House to sit on Saturday; but we are not certain yet whether it will not be necessary to make a suggestion of that kind. I have a request from Mr. Blunt, who was mentioned the other day, that I would make known, on his behalf— 615That with, the exception of receiving, on the 13th of July, Arabi Pasha's letter to Mr. Gladstone, I have had no communication, direct or indirect, with Egypt since the bombardment.He likewise, as a question arose as to the genuineness of that letter of Arabi Pasha, is desirous that I should state publicly in the House of Commons that the gentleman who took down in English the letter from the dictation in Arabic by Arabi Pasha at Alexandria, on the 2nd of July, is now in England, and can bear testimony to the fact that it was a lelter dictated by Arabi Pasha.
§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
believed that the majority of the names that were put down in opposition to the Police Bill were those of Gentlemen sitting on the Ministerial side of the House.
I understand, Sir, that the opposition of those hon. Gentlemen has for the most part been withdrawn.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
I wish to ask a Question in connection with the statement just made by the Prime Minister, who dwelt upon various topics, but did not conclude with any absolute Motion. It will, therefore, be necessary for me to confine myself to the form of interrogatory. I wish to know whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the course upon which he has decided in connection with the consideration of the Amendments made by the other House on the Arrears Bill is most unusual—["Order!"]—especially in connection with a measure which we have been constantly informed—[Loud cries of "Oh, oh!"] Well, of course, if necessary, I shall, to make use of a phrase just now employed by the hon. Member for Wicklow, regularize my proceedings by concluding with a Motion. I ask whether that course is not most unusual, especially with respect to a measure in regard to which we have been constantly assured it was most important that it should be definitely disposed of without a moment's delay? I further ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that that tacit understanding has led to arrangements being made by both Houses of Parliament which would cause a great deal of inconvenience, owing to the postponement of the consideration of the Lords' Amendments to a far later date than had been generally anticipated? ["Order!"]
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
I will, if necessary, conclude with a Motion. [An hon. MEMBER: You cannot.] The hon. Member says I cannot. Evidently, he is not aware that I can. I ask the right hon. Gentleman this question—Whether he is not aware that the relative proportion of forces between the Government and the Opposition in both Houses of Parliament, when the month of August is entered upon, proceeds at a rate and in favour of one side which is tolerably well known, and if he can give the House any reason beyond that which he has stated why such an unusual proceeding has been adopted? In addition, I will ask if the right hon. Gentleman thinks that the result of divisions, under these conditions, can be fairly taken as represented the opinion of Parliament?
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he would like to ask, before the right hon. Gentleman answered the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Lincolnshire, whether there would be a Morning Sitting on Tuesday?
§ MR. MACFARLANE
asked the Prime Minister whether, in the event of the Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Bill not becoming law in a short time, Her Majesty's Government would consider the propriety of refusing to give the support of the Crown to the evicting of tenants, whose eviction would have been avoided if that Bill had been passed?
§ COLONEL NOLAN
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether 100,000 Irish tenants were not worth more consideration than 100,000 Scotch grouse?
In answer to the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Macfarlane), I may say his Question is an expression of feeling which is natural enough; but, at the same time, I do not think he can expect me to give any answer to the effect that we could, under any circumstances, act or do otherwise than perform our duty in the execution of the actual laws, whatever they may be, so long as we find it consistent with our convictions to remain the Government of the country. In regard to the Question of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the junior Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson), I stated a few nights ago that at the close of the Session it will be usual to revert 617 to the Afternoon Sitting, and that will be the course we shall take on Tuesday next. With regard to the Question of the right hon. Member for North Lincolnshire (Mr. J. Lowther), I am not quite sure into how many Questions it branches out. There are various interrogations as to the state of my information, with reference to the period of the Session, and the importance of divisions taken at the present period of the Session, on which I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will consider that any opinion given by me is very greatly worthy his consideration. Consequently, I am not disposed to trouble him with an opinion on these matters. The point he has put to me, on which he may fairly expect an answer is—How is it we, who have expressed the greatest possible anxiety to have expedition with respect to the Arrears Bill, have proposed that some days should elapse before we proceed to consider the Amendments, which undoubtedly might have been taken into consideration at an earlier date? My answer is this. We have been extremely anxious to expedite the Arrears Bill both in this and the other House of Parliament. I confess in regard to the other House of Parliament, I was rather at a loss to understand some of the intervals that were allowed to elapse; but if the right hon. Gentleman asks me why we have not asked this House to come to an immediate judgment upon the Amendments made by the House of Lords, I tell him plainly that it is because of the extreme importance which we attach to some of these Amendments, and the consequences that may possibly result from them. On that account we have been most desirous that nothing should be done precipitately, and that the House should have full opportunity of considering before it comes to what may be a very momentous decision.