HC Deb 12 March 1883 vol 277 cc216-7

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is now prepared to make any announcement to the House in reference to the appointment of a Minister of Commerce and Agriculture?


Yes, Sir. I am not at all surprised at the Question of my hon. Friend. The House will remember that Her Majesty's Government were prepared, in the early part of last Session, to make a proposal to the House, in redemption of the pledge given by them at a former time, that separate arrangements would be made in the organization of the Government for the affairs of agriculture, apart from the affairs of trade, and the functions of the Committee for Education of the Privy Council. The Mission of Lord Spencer to Ireland, under very special circumstances, with regard to which it was not possible at first to say whether it would be of a provisional character or endure for a considerable time, threw into a state of suspense the whole arrangements. But that provisional state of things is at an end. Lord Spencer now holds the Viceroyalty of Ireland in the same way as any other Viceroy, as far as the duration of his Office is concerned. That being so, it will be the duty of the Government to submit a proposal when the proper time comes—that is to say, before the House is asked to vote any of the salaries connected with the present establishments that are involved in the question. Of course, I will take care that the particulars of the plan of the Government are fully stated to the House in a convenient manner, so that the House may be in a position to judge when they come to the consideration of these Votes.


Am I to understand that Lord Spencer will no longer continue to hold the Office of Lord President of the Council?


I think, certainly, it will be our duty to make other arrangements for the holding of that Office, which, down to the present time, has been in Lord Spencer's hands.


May I ask whether it is the intention of the Govern- ment to ask for a Vote in the course of this year for these salaries?


We shall ask the House this year to provide the salaries under the new arrangements. Full notice will be given to the House with respect to the new arrangement of salaries.