HC Deb 13 March 1893 vol 9 cc1864-6
MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)

The Prime Minister on Saturday said something about making a statement to-day before going into Committee. In his absence, from a cause which we all regret, will the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer make the statement now?


As regards business this week the Government will endeavour to make what progress they can in Committee of Supply. The Prime Minister desires me to say that, in consequence of the delay in the progress of Supply, it is obvious that the discussion on the Home Rule Bill cannot be considered this week. The Prime Minister, therefore, wishes me to say that the Debate will not be taken before Easter, but it will be taken the first thing after the vacation.


I should like, with the indulgence of the House, to say one or two words with reference to the intimation we have just heard. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, considering the understanding that was arrived at as to proceeding with the Home Rule Bill before Easter, it is not still possible, even taking into account the important financial business to be done, and the unprecedented difficulties which we know have been, and are, to be placed in the way of the Government, to reconsider the decision which has been arrived at, and bring on the Home Rule Bill some time before Easter.


I have stated the decision at which after great reluctance the Government have arrived.

MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the reply which he has just given precludes the possibility, in the event of the necessary progress being made with Supply before the requisite date, of the opening of the Debate on the Home Rule Bill before Easter?


The Government are of opinion that it would not be advantageous to commence the Debate unless there were a fair and even a clear prospect of closing it before Easter. I think everyone who has any Parliamentary experience will agree that to have an interval in a Debate upon the Second Reading of a Bill is not a good method of dealing with that Bill. Therefore, unless we thought we had a fair and reasonable prospect of closing the Debate, we do not think it would be advantageous or expedient to open the Debate and then discontinue it because of the Recess.


In the event of the opening of the Debate being deferred till after Easter, is it the intention of the Government then to proceed from day to day with it?


Certainly, that is our view. It will be the very first business after the Easter holidays.

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