§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg leave to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if any Reports have been received from Her Majesty's Representatives in Sweden and Norway concerning the differences which are reported to have arisen between the two Parliaments and two Governments of that United Kingdom by reason of the efforts of Norway to 75 achieve a greater measure of independence; and, in such case, if they can be communicated to Parliament for consideration in connection with the Irish Government Bill?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
Such Reports as those to which the hon. Member refers have been received. There are two objections to producing them. In the first place, they are of a confidential character; and, in the second place, they refer to actions which are only proceeding and have not yet reached any termination. If the matter were under our own control, the time would not have arrived for communicating the documents to Parliament.
§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not a fact that strenuous efforts have been made by Norway for the establishment of separate Consular representation for that country abroad; and whether a deadlock has not ensued in consequence with Sweden? As the right hon. Gentleman so frequently refers to the example of Sweden and Norway—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
As Notice has not been given of this supplementary question, perhaps it had better be put on the Paper.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I can say now in answer to the question everything which I could say if Notice were given. As to the argumentative part of the question, I decline to admit that there is any force or weight in it at all. It is not my direct duty to give an account of the state of affairs in Sweden and Norway; but it is the fact that there is a great controversy going on between Sweden and Norway; and the immediate subject of it is the appointment of Consuls on account of Norway and by Norwegian authority. We must all hope that the difficulties in which a friendly Power finds itself will reach a favourable solution; and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman joins in that fervent hope, notwithstanding any argument which he may think he will derive from those difficulties.
§ MR. JOHNSTON
Will the Prime Minister postpone the Home Rule Bill until the controversy in Norway is settled?