§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ (12.12.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I desire to bring to the notice of the First Lord a matter of particular urgency—a question arising in refer- 1087 ence to the Irish National Education Bill. I understand that a deputation from the executive body of the Irish national teachers are now in London, and that they have sought an interview to-day with the Chief Secretary. It has become a question of vital importance to them, considering the Bill proposes to allocate a sum of £200,000 this year and in succeeding years towards the salaries of the teachers, to learn what steps the Government propose to take to secure that the money shall be allocated this year. I wish to ascertain from the right hon. Gentleman or from the Chief Secretary whether the executive body of the Teachers' Association have made any representation on the subject; and, if so, what reply has been made? I think it must be evident to every Member in the House that in the general condition of political affairs, and the state of uncertainty as to the duration of this the last Session of Parliament, these officials have every reason to be anxious, so far as their interests are concerned in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that at an earlier stage I submitted a suggestion that the Bill should be divided, and that the part dealing with the allocation of the £200,000 should be distinct from that part of the Bill which raises questions which, in view of certain declarations of opinion in Ireland, cannot be regarded as other than likely to give rise to considerable debate. There will be no contention as to the allocation of the money, and I would renew my suggestion that this part should be made a separate Bill. I think it will be admitted that the programme before the House—apart from these national teachers' clauses—whatever may be the intention of the Government in regard to the duration of the Session, as to which I have no intention to inquire, is such that it is extremely unlikely that after the Local Government Bill there will be the opportunity of passing the National Education Bill unless its scope is reduced. Therefore, I put my question, will the right hon. Gentleman separate the Bill, and will he 1088 make special arrangements by which this money shall be allocated to the teachers in the present year?
§ (12.15) THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I am sorry I have not heard from my right hon. Friend (Mr. Jackson) what has passed in the interview with the deputation which I understand the hon. Member to say has waited upon my right hon. Friend.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I have not heard whether there has been such an interview, or what may have taken place. I may say, in answer to the hon. Member's question, that I have seen no reason to alter my opinion as to the advantage of treating as a whole the subject he has alluded to, the allocation of £200,000 and the question of the application to Ireland of some modified form of compulsory education. I am unwilling to divide the Bill into two, as the hon. Member suggests. I will report to my right hon. Friend the purport of what has passed in the short conversation, and can only say now that I hope an opportunity will be found for reading the Bill a second time before we separate for the Whitsuntide Recess; and if the Bill is met with only reasonable controversy, I see no reason to doubt that it will pass into law this Session.
§ MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman alter his arrangement, and take the Bill before the Local Government Bill?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I have been pressed by hon. Gentlemen to take the Local Government Bill immediately after the Committee on the Small Agricultural Holdings Bill, and I adopted that course, from which I do not think it is expedient to depart.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ House adjourned at twenty minutes after Twelve o'clock.