§ MR. J. R. YORKE
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government a Question of which I have not been able to give him private Notice—namely, Whether it is a fact, as reported in The Times of Thursday, that—Mr. Duckham, M.P., has received a letter from the Prime Minister acknowledging the receipt of a memorial signed by 31 Liberal Members who voted for Mr. Grey's Amendment to Mr. Pell's Motion on local taxation, in which letter Mr. Gladstone expresses his regret that the present state of Business in the House of Commons renders it impossible to deal with the subject this Session;and, if such is the case, whether the House is to conclude that the right 1278 hon. Gentleman proposes to postpone indefinitely the production of a measure regarding which a Resolution has been passed by the House, in which the Government joined, declaring legislation to be moat urgently required?
It is the fact, Sir, that I wrote a letter to my hon. Friend behind me, and he was at perfect liberty to communicate it to the Gentlemen who had signed the Memorial—although, having the honour of the acquaintance of my hon. Friend, and having relations with him of a more personal character than between two ordinary Members of the House, I put matter into that letter which I should not have done had it been intended for publication. But the substance of the letter is as the hon. Gentleman has imagined. It does not in the slightest degree follow that the Government intend to postpone indefinitely the proposal of a measure of that kind. On the contrary, they are fully sensible that the words embodied in the Resolution of the House are words that are strictly true; and they will endeavour, according to the means they possess, to act in the spirit of that declaration.
§ MR. J. R. YORKE
I should like, Sir, to know whether it will not appear to ordinary minds that a measure so characterized and so urgently required, when that description received the assent of the Government, was not a measure which ought to receive precedence over any other Government Business this Session?
I cannot undertake to answer for what may appear to other minds, whether ordinary or otherwise. I should not draw the inference which the hon. Member does.
§ MR. BRODRICK
asked whether any other Government measure would be given precedence over the measure of Local Taxation Reform other than those mentioned in the Queen's Speech and the Parliamentary Oaths Act (1866) Amendment Bill.
I do not now speak of secondary measures, for no one can tell what measures may become necessary in connection with incidental wants and secondary wants. But, speaking of that class of measures which the Government will have to take into contemplation beforehand, I am not aware at the present moment of any such.