HC Deb 05 March 1885 vol 295 cc129-30

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If his attention has been called to the fact that on Tuesday thirty-two out of the thirty-four Irish Members present voted for a Parliamentary inquiry into the system under which the improvements of tenants in town houses are dealt with in Ireland; and, if he cannot permit a Parliamentary inquiry, will he appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into this question?


in reply, said, he was aware that a very large majority of the Irish Members present in the House voted for the inquiry into house tenure in towns. He was one of those desirous of giving every possible weight to the authority of Irish Members, if the question were one sufficiently and exclusively Irish; but it was proposed to appoint a Select Committee—with out the alternative of a Royal Commission—to inquire into the system under which the improvements of tenants in town houses were dealt with in Ireland. That was a very different question from the town parks question, which, at the time of the discussion on the Irish Land Bill, they' were disposed to admit was a fair matter for consideration, as to which his right hon. Friend behind him (Mr. W. E. Forster) did say that the Government might assent to inquiry. The town parks question could be considered an Irish question in some degree; and his hon. Friend the Member for Tyrone had made a suggestion which the Government were perfectly willing to agree to—namely, that, so far as town parks were concerned, an inquiry might be made. The question of the tenure of houses in towns was not alone an Irish question. Town houses existed in England and Scotland in exactly the same manner as in Ireland; and he was really not aware of anything distinct in the law of Ireland relating to town houses. It was quite evident that the question was not an Irish, but an Imperial question. He was therefore not able to agree with the desire of the Irish Members to have an inquiry into the tenure of town houses, on the ground on which it was asked for.