§ Lords' Amendment considered.1733
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
said, perhaps he might induce hon. Members who objected to the Lords' Amendment to accept the proposal he had to make to eliminate certain words from the Amendment introduced in the other House for the purpose of clearing up what was supposed to be an ambiguity in the Bill. Upon this he understood there were considerable differences of opinion among high legal authorities in the other House. The objection now was to the rate of interest it was proposed the landlord should receive. At present, as the Act stood, no rate was fixed, nor did he see any reason why it should be fixed in this Bill; and as it had been hitherto decided by the Court, so he did not see why it should not be so decided in future. He, therefore, proposed to leave out the words "fixing the rate of interest," leaving it a point to be decided by a legal tribunal.
§ Amendment proposed to the Lords' Amendment, to omit the words "such interest to be calculated at the rate of 4 per cent per annum."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the said Amendment."
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
said, he had given Notice of an Amendment in a different sense; but, perhaps, after all, the better way would be to accept the Government suggestion rather than initiate another debate. But he must say he was amazed that when the Bill went up to the other House the noble and learned Lord (Lord Fitzgerald) should have moved an Amendment, of this kind. He did not accept the view that the Amendment made no change. It was a most unfair thing to endeavour to make this change when the Irish Courts had solemnly decided for of per cent—a most unfair thing to give the landlord a claim of 4 per cent. It was a specimen of the kind of law that would be passed but for the check of the Representative House. He would ask for a pledge that the Government, who had their majority in the Lords, would insist on this Amendment there.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, the pledge he was asked to give was of an unusual character. He could assure the hon. 1734 and learned Member that it was his desire—and he would use any influence he might possess—to get this Amendment embodied in the Bill. He saw no grounds for the alteration made in the other House. Of course, he could not answer for the House of Lords; but, undoubtedly, it was the desire of the Government to pass the Amendment.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said, of course the right hon. Gentleman could not answer for noble Lords in "another place;" but, at any rate, the House should object to this action by noble Lords, and teach them the lesson that to rob the people of the land was quite sufficient without demanding 4 per cent in addition. He should object to the matter going any further.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
said, be hoped his hon. Friend would not persist in his objection. The Government had conceded the point, the objectionable 4 per cent was withdrawn, and the Bill might be allowed to rest as it was.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Lords' Amendment, as amended, agreed to.