§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I am sorry to have to complain of the course being pursued in reference to the Select Committee on the Irish Societies' Estates. I wish now to ask, with reference to this Committee, what is to be done by the Government? Hon. Members were asked to postpone their Motions for the discharge of Members from the Committee in order that the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade might be carried out and the Committee discharged. But the Members of one Party still continue to act on the Committee, which held a meeting on Friday. At Question Time I put a Question to the First Lord of the Treasury, who referred me to the Chief Secretary, who in turn asked me to wait till after midnight. When the Order of the Day came on after midnight, an hon. Member, who would not have acted on his own initiative, objected to progress being made, and the Government made no appeal to him. The Committee have summoned another meeting for this day, and I wish to know what practical step the Government intend to take, as the present procedure is unworthy the dignity of Parliament.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I quite accept the view of the right hon. Gentleman, which is in accordance with the view I have expressed to the House, that a Committee entirely composed of one side of the House, however impartial may be its proceedings, cannot command that general assent which would make its Report of any permanent value as a guide to the House. I do not anticipate that any Report is likely to be made by this Committee of the nature which has been indicated, nor do I gather that the sittings are likely to continue. I think it would be better to wait a day or two and see what proceedings are taken.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ House adjourned at ten minutes before One o'clock.