§ SIR EDWARD WATKIN (Hythe)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will inform the House prior to, or upon, the second reading of the Local Government Bill, as to the proposals of the Government in reference to local government in Ireland?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
In answer to my hon. Friend, I have to say that the Government have already distinctly announced that it is not their intention to proceed with a Local Government Bill for Ireland in the course of the present Session. It must be obvious, I think, to the hon. Baronet that the time available this Session is already fully disposed of. There will, however, be no indisposition to extend to Ireland an improved system of local government, suited to its wants, when it is made clear that the people are prepared to receive and work it in a spirit of loyalty to the Crown and to the Constitution.
§ SIR EDWARD WATKIN
I wish to ask whether the Government have finally made up their minds that they will not lay on the Table before the close of the Session their ideas of what should be the Bill to be introduced at the proper time for the local self-government of Ireland, in order that during the Recess it may be considered by the people?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I think the hon. Baronet will see that such a course is most unusual. No precedent exists for it, and if it did it would be a most inconvenient precedent. I cannot undertake, under the circumstances, to lay such a Paper on the Table.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
I desire to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, by the answer he has just given to the hon. Baronet, he means to convey the impression that it would only be after 20 years of resolute government?