§ COMMITTEE. [Progress, 30th May.]
§ [TENTH NIGHT.]
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Legislative Authority.
§ Clause 3 (Exceptions from powers of Irish Legislature).
§ *VISCOUNT WOLMER (Edinburgh, W.)
said, he desired to move, as an Amendment, to insert after "laws," the words—Or to entertain or grant Votes in Supply except on the recommendation of the Crown signified by a Minister of the Imperial Parliament.
§ MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)
I wish to raise a point of Order. I desire to know whether this Amendment, which deals with Votes in Supply, ought not properly to be moved on Clause 18, which relates to Money Bills and Votes, and devolves certain powers on the Lord Lieutenant?
§ *VISCOUNT WOLMER
That point has also presented itself to my mind. I therefore propose only to move the insertion of the words "or to grant Votes in Supply." Will not that be in Order?
I think the Amendment as it appeared on the Paper yesterday was not in Order. I have carefully considered this matter, and the bearing of Clause 18 on it has not escaped my attention. I hold that the Amendment, as now framed, is in Order.
§ *VISCOUNT WOLMER
said, he would not trouble the Committee at length with the particular points arising upon this Amendment, which he had dealt with in his Amendment on the previous day; but he would ask them to keep in view, in discussing this Amendment, the fact 1642 that the word "laws" governed the whole of this section, and he would also remind them that the Prime Minister had the day before most distinctly and clearly withdrawn from the position which the House and the public understood him to have taken up, both when he introduced this Bill and when he introduced the Bill of 1886. The Committee must bear in mind that when the Prime Minister spoke of withdrawing these excepted matters from the cognisance of the Irish Legislative Body, he meant legislative cognisance, and that when the right hon. Gentleman said that Body would be precluded from doing any act in connection with these matters he meant, not doing an act, but passing any Act. The Amendment would preclude the Irish Legislature from granting Votes in Supply in connection with any of these excepted subjects, and bad a very important bearing in at least three cases. It touched the question of the Military and Naval Forces, for he submitted that as the Bill stood the Irish Legislative Body could grant Votes in Supply to any Volunteer Force that might be established in Ireland. Again, the Amendment dealt with the question of the payment of Envoys to Foreign States, even if they were not accredited, inasmuch as under the Bill in its present form the Irish Legislature could pass a Vote in Supply for such a purpose. Lastly, the Amendment raised the whole question of bounties. As the Bill now stood, he submitted that the Legislative Body could grant bounties on Irish produce exported to foreign ports. Whether his contention should ultimately prove to be right or wrong, he thought the Committee would admit that no more important question than that of foreign bounties could be raised in connection with this Bill, as it affected the trade of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister would probably say in answer to him that the Government agreed that the Irish Legislative Body ought not to grant Votes in Supply in connection with the excepted subjects, and that, as a matter of fact, that was provided for in the Bill, because they could not grant any Votes in Supply that were not included within the Appropriation Act, and which would be void if it included Votes in any of the excepted 1643 subjects. But, assuming that the Appropriation Act would cover the point he was now dealing with, be thought, the Committee and the country required a great deal more light upon the way in which this safeguard was going to work. In the first place, would the whole of an Appropriation Act which included Votes for a Volunteer Force or for bounties be null and void? Would the whole of the appropriation of the Irish Supplies for the year fall to the ground because one Vote was included that was beyond the purview of the powers of the Irish Parliament? He imagined the answer would be in the negative, and that the Appropriation Act, as well as all other Irish Acts, was covered by Section 33, which enacted that—An Irish Act, notwithstanding it is in any respect repugnant to any enactment excepted as aforesaid, shall, though read subject to that enactment, be, except to the extent of that repugnancy, valid.If that was to be the answer he would put another question. Suppose an Appropriation Act were passed which included Votes in Supply for some of the excepted matters, Section 3, read in connection with Section 33, would allow the whole of the Act to be valid except the clauses dealing with the particular Votes which were repugnant, and therefore invalid. Who was going to pronounce that those clauses were invalid? How was the point going to be raised, and at what moment? This was not a question of levying taxes, for they would be levied under another Act, but of expending taxes; and when the Appropriation Act was passed, at what moment would the Paymaster General or the official, whoever he might be, who would be charged with the duty of paying to the officials of the Irish Government the money so voted—at what moment would that official be hauled over the coals for allowing money to pass from his hands for purposes beyond the purview of the Irish Legislative Body? How would the question be raised? Not by those who passed the Vote, or who were interested in it. Would the Lord Lieutenant have to send the Appropriation Act to the Privy Council to determine whether and to what extent it was invalid and repugnant? He would ask some Member of the Government to give the Committee a 1644 little light on this most important matter, which had been studiously concealed from the country, and as to which absolutely no information had been vouchsafed to the House or to the electors. The Government would probably say that neither the Lord Lieutenant nor any body of aggrieved Irishmen, nor anyone else, would have to raise this question, because it was dealt with under Section 31. Section 31 provided that an officer should be appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, to be called the Irish Comptroller and Auditor General. The Government might say that if the Irish Paymaster paid away money he had no business to pay the Comptroller and Auditor General, who would revise the annual accounts, would disallow these payments; and that the Irish official who paid away the money would have to make it good out of his own pocket. The Government might add that, under those circumstances, no official would be willing to run so grave a risk to his position and pocket, and that he would be careful not to pay money which he was not perfectly satisfied had been legally voted. But that raised another point on which he desired information. In what capacity would the Lord Lieutenant be acting in appointing the Irish Comptroller and Auditor General? Would he be acting as the Queen's Minister, or as the Representative of the Irish Cabinet? Would the Irish Comptroller and Auditor General be an Imperial officer for Imperial purposes to safeguard Imperial expenses? In that case he admitted that such an officer would be a safeguard against and a check upon the voting of illicit Supplies. But what would the Irish Nationalists say if the Comptroller and Auditor General, instead of being their officer, was to be an Imperial officer? If, on the other hand, the Comptroller and Auditor General was to be a mere mouthpiece of the Irish Cabinet, it was quite clear that no reliance could be placed upon him as affording a check upon the voting of these illicit Supplies. What restraint would a Nationalist Comptroller and Auditor General be likely to exercise over Supplies proposed by a Nationalist Cabinet, voted by a Nationalist Parliament, and approved by a Nationalist 1645 people? There was no necessity to imagine a case of great wickedness or evil. They need only imagine the very natural case of the Irish Parliament granting bounties to an Irish industry. Would not the whole Nationalist sentiment of Ireland be in favour of these bounties, and would it really be contended by the Government that the bulwark against the Nationalist sentiment in favour of bounties was the Nationalist Auditor General responsible to a Nationalist Parliament by whom the bounties would be voted? If he might be allowed to say so, with pardonable parental pride, this Amendment was a most interesting one, because it afforded Her Majesty's Government such an excellent opportunity for giving the Committee much information with regard to the clause under discussion. The Government might say that Clause 18, Sub-section 2, guarded against the evil he had pointed out. That sub-section laid down—It shall not be lawful for the Legislative Assembly to adopt or pass any Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill for the appropriation for any purpose of the public revenue of Ireland, or of any tax, except in pursuance of a recommendation from the Lord Lieutenant in the Session in which such Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill is proposed.That sub-section raised a very important point indeed. He asked again, in reference to that sub-section, in what capacity would the Lord Lieutenant act?
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N)
I rise to Order. I wish to know whether the noble Lord is in Order in discussing Clause 18 while Clause 3 is under discussion?
§ *VISCOUNT WOLMER
said, that he was not surprised that hon. Members on the Benches below the Gangway opposite had not the same thirst for information on these questions that Unionist Members had. He wished to know whether, under Clause 18, the Lord Lieutenant was going to act in the Irish Parliament as Her Majesty now acted in this House? No Votes in Supply could be brought forward in tills House unless they were proposed on the recommendation of Her Majesty, or, in other words, Her Majesty's Government. That was 1646 not a Constitutional provision to safeguard the rights of the Monarchy, but was intended to take out of the hands of private Members the proposal of Votes in Supply. He, therefore, wanted to know, did Clause 18 mean that no Votes in Supply could be proposed to the Irish Legislature except by the Irish Cabinet? If so, that would be no check at all upon the voting of illegal Supply. On the other hand, did that clause mean that the Lord Lieutenant was to have a veto on the Votes in Supply to be proposed, that he could act in quite a different manner from the way in which Her Majesty acted in this House, and that with a stroke of his pen he could strike out such Votes as were proposed by the Irish Cabinet which he deemed were illegal? It was very important that the country should have clear and definite answers from the Prime Minister upon these questions. If the Lord Lieutenant were put into the position he had described he would be a real check against illicit Votes in the Irish Parliament, because he would be an Imperial officer, with the Imperial forces at his back, and with a most imperious command over the Irish Cabinet. He had argued the matter up to this point upon the assumption that an Irish Appropriation Act would be necessary; but he asked the right hon. Gentleman to point out within the four corners of the Bill a single line which absolutely secured, directly or indirectly, that an Irish Appropriation Act must be passed.
§ * VISCOUNT WOLMER
said, that that sub-section of the clause was to this effect—Save as in this Act mentioned all the Public Revenues of Ireland shall be paid into the Irish Exchequer and form a Consolidated Fund, and be appropriated to the Public Service of Ireland by an Irish Act.He admitted that, at first sight, that clause appeared to meet his objection. But he should like to ask whether it would be in the power of the Irish Parliament if it chose to alter that provision by an Act which might or might not be vetoed by the Lord Lieutenant, or by a formal Resolution directing the Irish Paymaster General 1647 to pay out moneys in obedience to Resolutions of the Assembly, either of which, for all the purposes of Irish Government and as far as the allegiance of Irish officers was concerned, would be absolutely binding upon the Irish Executive? In fact, why should the Irish Parliament be hide-bound, in matters of financial routine, by an Act of this kind passed by an. Imperial Parliament? There was no provision that would prevent the Irish Parliament from passing Acts of Indemnity for acts done contrary to the provisions of the Bill. Acts done in obedience to the will of the Irish Parliament would be done in accordance with the sentiment of the majority of the Irish people, which might be opposed to that of the British people. He admitted that it would be very hard upon the Irish Parliament if they should be rigidly prohibited from voting Supplies in connection with all the excepted subjects, for it might lead to great inconvenience; and if the Committee were to adopt his Amendment he would move consequential Amendments in their proper places, to permit such Votes to he granted on the recommendation of Her Majesty, signified through some Member of the Imperial Cabinet. The Prime Minister had a favourite argument against those Amendments. But it was not sufficient for the right hon. Gentleman to throw it in the teeth of the Irish Unionists that they seemed to suppose that there was nothing human in the Irish except the form. The Prime Minister seemed to forget that in all these matters he was not dealing with his own property. This was not a personal bargain between the right hon. Gentleman and the Irish people. He was simply one of the trustees, though the chief trustee, dealing with the Irish people; and why should not the liability which attached to a private trustee apply also to him? Those who married their children without marriage settlements were considered very foolish; and nobody accused the bride or the bridegroom of having nothing human but the form because they insisted on having marriage settlements. They claimed the same right for themselves. They were trustees for the British people, present and future, and had no right to give away this property as if it were their 1648 private property. Was the Prime Minister going to contend, as he did last night, that it was no good to insert provisions which could not be enforced by the Imperial Parliament? He thought that the Prime Minister must regret some of the words which he used yesterday, because he gave away at once the whole case he had been making against the previous contentions of the Unionists.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
What were the words I used?
§ *VISCOUNT WOLMER
said, that he understood the Prime Minister to say—and the right hon. Gentleman would correct him if he misinterpreted him—that it was derogatory to the dignity of Parliament to insert provisions on the lines of his Amendment yesterday, which they would not have the power to enforce. He was glad to find that he had not misinterpreted the right hon. Gentleman. But that had been the contention of the Unionists all along in reference to the figment of the Imperial supremacy and other matters; and they had a right to ask the Prime Minister, was this, or was it not, a binding and honourable compact with the Irish people? If it was an honourable and binding compact, every Amendment of this kind would be honourably observed by the Irish Parliament; if it was not, then none of the right hon. Gentleman's own provisions were worth the paper upon which they were written. The right hon. Gentleman could not pick and choose between his exceptions and restrictions. If the right hon. Gentleman really believed that the Opposition were guilty of gross want of humanity, sympathy, and fellow-feeling in proposing restrictions, he would himself have placed no restrictions upon the Irish Parliament; he would simply have written down the general limits which he wished the Irish Members to observe, and trust implicitly to them. That course would be consistent; but it was not consistent for the right hon. Gentleman to make his own restrictions, and to accuse all others who tried to impose restrictions of insulting the Irish people, and to try to evade answering the Opposition by casting all their Amendments into what 1649 might be termed the crucible of his indignation.
In page 1, line 19, after the word "laws," to insert the words "or to entertain or grant Votes in Supply, except on the recommendation of the Crown, signified by a, Minister of (he Imperial Government."—(Viscount Wolmer.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The question how far an Act of Parliament should be considered a compact is one of great importance in considering; the general merits of the Bill; but the point raised by the Amendment is of much narrower scope. I am entirely clear in my own mind that it would be very unwise to introduce any portion of the Amendment into the present clause, which deals with legislative powers. Do not let us, if we wish to have a working measure, introduce into a clause dealing with legislative powers provisions relating to the issue of money which are exceedingly complex. The two things should not be mixed up. Nothing could be more inconvenient and loss practical than to introduce into this clause anything relating to the issue of money. If that has to be done, it should be done in its proper place, and after separate consideration and discussion. The main object of the noble Lord is to prevent any appropriation of public money for purposes excluded by the Act. If ever there was a proposal that requires separate consideration and discussion it is this Amendment, which proposes to give the Crown a discretionary power of going beyond the subjects to be excluded from the purview of the Irish Legislature. The words in the Amendment are—Except on the recommendation of the Crown, signified by a Minister of the Imperial Government.That proposition is so large, that to me it is rather staggering. There may be cases in which some power ought to be granted; but I am not prepared to give, and I will not give, a power to the Minister of the Crown to override the purposes of this Act. We should take 1650 care that there shall be no issue of money from the Irish Exchequer, under authority of this Bill, except for purposes contemplated by the Bill. The Bill aims at empowering the Irish Legislature to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Ireland. That implies, of course, making Money Laws and granting Votes in Supply. Those laws are defined in the Bill, and in this section their definition is extended by exclusion. The contention of the noble Lord is that there should be no issue of public money for the purpose so excluded. That is a reasonable contention; but, in my view, it has been provided for. If, however, the matter has not been made quite plain, the insertion of a few words at the proper place will make it absolutely clear. My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary has already indicated that Section 10, Sub-section 4, will be the proper place. That sub-section provides that—Save as in this Act mentioned, all the Public Revenues of Ireland shall be paid into the Irish Exchequer and form a Consolidated Fund, and be appropriated to the Public Service of Ireland by Irish Act.Of course, the appropriation must be by Irish Act, and the Revenues must be appropriated to the Public Service of Ireland—that is, the Public Service of Ireland as defined and limited by this Act; and the Bill, as it stands, prevents any issue of money except for purposes within the scope and purview of the measure. I hope, therefore, that what I have said is clear—first, that this is the wrong place to introduce any matters relating to the issue of money; secondly, that the power of exception given to a Minister of the Crown, if given at all—and on that I give no opinion—ought to be given most carefully, in most moderate terms, and not in the large manner proposed; and, thirdly, that if there is not a legal doubt, but even a general impression, that the words of the Financial Clauses are insufficient, there is not the slightest objection to make them still more clearly sufficient than they are by saying that no appropriation can take effect except according to the purposes and purview of the Act. It may be asserted by the noble Lord and others that I 1651 have said nothing about Votes in Supply; but it appears to me that the proper point is not the voting in Supply, but the issue of the money. No Legislature would ever dream of passing Votes in Supply except with a view to the issue of money. Any Legislature which passes Votes in Supply in regard to matters where it has no power to issue money would be making itself ridiculous; and I have not heard, among the innumerable imputations cast upon the Irish Legislature, the suggestion that it would be in the habit of making itself ridiculous. If we make the question of the issue of money safe, no other matter need be taken into view. I will not enter into the complicated question of the provisions of the law for the issue of money. But the House ought to be aware of two things—first of all, that, under the final Appropriation Act passed at the close of every Session, the money voted by the House is strictly and absolutely limited to the purposes specified by the law; and, secondly, that there are intermediate Appropriations which pass this House under the name of a Ways and Means Bill, and which provide that issues of public money may take place for purposes voted by the House in Committee of Supply. In that case there is no specification; but there is still absolute security in the Royal Order, without which the money cannot be issued. That Royal Order, of course, means in Ireland an Order from the Viceroy, and that brings in the Executive Government.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The Executive Government of Ireland, certainly. I do not dispute the perfect propriety of the action of the Chairman in allowing the Amendment; but I am of opinion that, as a matter of convenience and policy, the plan proposed is clearly inappropriate, when the 4th subsection of Clause 10 is intended to meet the purpose. I hope I have shown that there is really no question of principle at issue between us; in fact, I think I have shown that I am rather more scrupulous in admitting exceptions to the provisions contained in the clause than is the noble Lord himself. If that 1652 be so, the question should stand over for consideration at the proper time, when I shall be ready to agree.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am glad to hear that there is no difference whatever between the right hon. Gentleman and the Opposition upon the principle involved in the Amendment. What the right hon. Gentleman relied upon was not the veto of the Lord Lieutenant of the Appropriation Bill, or the provisions of Section 18, by which the Lord Lieutenant shall recommend a Vote before it is considered by the Irish Legislature, but the provision—which he is ready to strengthen—in Section 10, which prevents money being paid out of the Irish Consolidated Fund for any except Irish purposes, as defined by the Act. Therefore, if I am not wrong in the interpretation which I put on the right hon. Gentleman's speech, the one foundation and the one machinery which he has provided for preventing illegitimate and illegal payments out of Irish taxation for prohibited purposes is the action of the Paymaster General dealing with the Irish Consolidated Fund.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Perhaps I ought to have explained more clearly that, as regards the final appropriation of money, I believe the machinery of the Bill to be so perfect that we cannot possibly amend it. But, as I have stated, we have in this country issues by intermediate Ways and Means Acts. Whether that system will be introduced into Ireland I cannot at the present moment say; but it is a convenient system, a good system, and almost a necessary system. It is solely with regard to these intermediate issues of money, in my opinion, that any possibility of difficulty can arise; and with regard to that, I say the matter is clearly brought within the responsibility of the Viceroy by the absolute necessity for having a Royal Order. I think, however, the intention of Parliament ought to be made perfectly clear, so that the issue of money for a prohibited purpose under any intermediate Ways and Means Act might be as clearly a breach of the law as it would be under the final Appropriation Act.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I quite understand the point which the right hon. Gentleman has explained with his usual Clearness, but I should like to Know in: What Capacity the Lord Lieutenant is to act. The Royal Order in this country is merely, so to speak, the expression of the will of the Executive Government. Therefore if the Irish system is framed, as I imagine it will be, on the model of our own, the Order of the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland will also be merely an expression of the will of the Irish Executive Government. There will, therefore, be no check upon the Irish Executive Government, and there being no check on the Irish Executive Government, it will not carry out the wishes of the noble Lord, which were to check not the Irish Parliament alone, but the Irish Parliament acting through the appropriate organ—the Irish Executive So I gather from the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman that, so far as these intermediate issues of money are concerned, our only safeguard in the necessity of having an Order from the Lord Lieutenant, who himself will be acting on the advice of the Irish Executive, who are the very people that we desire to keep in order. So I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in addition to the words Which he proposes to intro-duce into Clause 10, if he will Consider sonic method by which the object he has in view may be Carried out, and the system which he himself described as perfect—by which money can only be issued in accordance with the law under the filial Appropriation Act—may be extended so as to cover the case of preliminary and intermediate issues. I understand from the assent which the right hon. Gentleman has given, that he is prepared to consider, not unfavourably, the suggestion which I have thrown out; but there is another question. Even in the case of the final Appropriation Act I want to know how, as a matter of practical politics, you can prevent effectively illegal issues in accordance with the will of the Irish Legislature by the Irish Paymaster General? The case put by the noble Lord is that of the Irish Legislature and the Irish Executive being desirous of fostering Irish industries by means of the payment of bounties. That certainly is in accordance with all 1654 we know of the sentiments of a section of the Irish community, and it is not disgraceful to the Irish Legislature that it should try to do it. But then if that is a thing the Irish Legislature are likely to do, the question arises, is it a thing they can do under this Act? The right hon. Gentle-man said they could not, at all events with regard to the final appropriation of money, because that was fenced round by all kinds of safeguards. But might it not be done in defiance of safeguards? The Irish Paymaster General is likely to be at one with the Irish Legislature and the Irish Executive; at all events, he will be absolutely dependent upon them, as he will be their servant. Suppose all the necessary machinery were gone through—the passing of a Vote in Supply and an Appropriation Act—would not the Irish Paymaster General, whatever the legal safeguards, carry out what he knew to be the will of the Irish Legislature, acting in accordance with the wishes of the Irish people? It appears to us that this is a real practical danger, and therefore I would further ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will not also do his best to enable a British Minister, or somebody not dependent upon the Irish Executive and the Irish Parliament, to control the issues of money from the Public Treasury, which we fear might be made in spite of all safeguards. If the right hon. Gentleman will answer that question, he will go even further than he has already to meet the objections that have been raised.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
It is obviously impossible for me to deal with the question the right hon. Gentleman has raised with regard to the Irish Paymaster General further than to say that if the Paymaster General was so devoid of principle and of prudence as to sign orders for the issue of public money in defiance of the law and so make himself liable for disobedience to the law, he would be brought up like any other criminal. All we can do is, first, of all, to indicate the duty of such public officers; and, secondly, to make the machinery of the law as effective as possible to punish them if they disobey it. The noble Lord asked me to say whether the payment, of bounties is to be made 1655 illegal or not. I entirely decline to discuss the question of bounties. It has been said that there is a section of the Irish people who are given to view with favour the theory of Protection; but there is a section of the English people of whom the same may be said. Some time ago there was a meeting of the Conservative Associations of England, and on that occasion, with three or four exceptions, all those Associations determined that Protection ought to be restored. I hope the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who is so afraid of the protectionist tendencies of the people of Ireland, will use his influence to prevent effect being given to the nearly unanimous desire of the Conservative Associations of England. I think it is quite right that we should have words in this Act showing that under no circumstances can any issue of money take place in Ireland except for the Irish Public Service, and defining the limits of this Act. The right hon. Gentleman said the Viceroy would be the servant of the Irish Executive Government. That is, in my opinion, an exact inversion and an absolute contradiction of the whole moaning of the Act with respect to Imperial purposes. There will be no Executive in Ireland for Imperial purposes. The Viceroy will be the only Executive for Imperial purposes; find if you told me that the Viceroy might give his assent to an Act or might authorise the issue of a Royal Order for an illegal purpose, I can only say that, in my opinion, tin's House would soon put an end to the existence of such a Viceroy and to any Government that attempted to maintain him. The right hon. Gentleman has failed to comprehend the dual capacity of the Viceroy. For the purpose of guarding, within the entire range of his office, against the infraction of the prohibitions contained in this clause, the Viceroy is strictly and absolutely an Imperial officer. The Viceroy's relations to his Irish Executive are for Irish purposes, as defined by this Act, for Irish purposes, not excluded by this Act.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I entirely apprehend the fact that the Government desire the Viceroy to act in a dual capacity, but one of my complaints is 1656 that in none of the clauses is it clear in which of his two capacities he is to act. Sometimes he is represented as the Constitutional Monarch of Ireland acting through the Irish Executive alone, for Irish purposes, and at others as the Representative of the Imperial Government, dependent on the majority in this House, and checking, when it seems good, the action of the Irish Legislature. It ought to be made clear in which of his two inconsistent personalities the Irish Viceroy is to act. It is one of the great blots of the drafting of the Bill that it is impossible to discover what the views of the Government are in this matter, and what the view of the Courts called upon to interpret the Act in the future may be. The hon. Gentleman has let it be seen that even in his view the chocks in the issue of money before the final Appropriation Act may be insufficient. The only check that exists is the necessity for a Royal Order in England and the Lord Lieutenant's Order in Ireland.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
What I meant was that any Royal Order for the Irish Service would clearly fall within the category of the Irish Service; but with respect to a Royal Order for the issue of money for the purposes excluded by this Act, it would be the absolute and primary duty of the Viceroy to refuse the Order, and in that respect he will be acting as an Imperial officer. There is not a Colony in the Empire in which the Governor has not a dualism of this kind, in which the Governor has not to discharge duties from time to time as an Imperial officer, and there is not a single Act which attempts to define the distinction.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
This might be a workable system when you are dealing with a Colony, but here you are going to deal with a country in which by hypothesis the Lord Lieutenant is constantly to act, and as to whom it has not been settled whether or not he is to be the Representative of the British Cabinet or a Representative of the Irish Executive. The right hon. Gentleman, therefore, has not given the Committee any substantial consolation. The Government have not met what was 1657 the principal point of the noble Lord's contention. The right hon. Gentleman complained because the case of bounties had been cited as an illustration, and he had referred to the former action of Conservative Associations with reference to Protection. I make no complaint on that score; I only say that the House of Commons does not mean to concede the power of conferring bounties to the Irish Legislature, because it is a power which that Body might presumably desire to exercise? and the question to consider is whether the Government have effectually provided against its use? If the noble Lord's Amendment is not adopted, it will be in the power of the Irish Legislature to pass Votes of Supply; and the Irish Paymaster General, having behind him the express opinion of the Irish Legislature, cannot be effectively prevented from carrying out its intentions or from paying money out of the Irish Consolidated. Fund, even if those payments should be illegal. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Paymaster General, if he did so, would be a criminal, and could be prosecuted. But who is to prosecute him? The Irish Attorney General? The Irish Attorney General was a Member of the Irish Government representing the two Houses of the Irish Legislature, and is it seriously suggested that he should prosecute the Irish Paymaster General for carrying out the wishes of the Irish Legislature?
§ *THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir J. RIGBY,) Forfar
said, that the Attorney General was not the only person who could prosecute. Any one of Her Majesty's subjects could prosecute.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I will not enter into a legal controversy with the learned Gentleman, who, I am quite sure, in addition to his other qualification!? to instruct us, is a more capable authority on the legal point than I can be. But at this moment the immemorial custom in Ireland is that the whole of the Criminal Law has to be set in motion at the instance of the Attorney General. That duty, you will admit, will not be performed in the case, I suppose by the Irish Attorney General, but by some private individual in Ireland, against the wishes of the Attorney General, at his 1658 own cost and with the certainty of obtaining a kind of reputation in Ireland which will certainly not conduce to his personal comfort. If the learned Solicitor General knows something of law, I know something of Ireland: and I can assure him that if he relies for the maintenance of the law in Ireland upon prosecutions against the publicly expressed will of the people by a private individual at his own cost, the trial ultimately to come before Judges appointed by the Irish Executive, and jurors appointed under the amended Jurors Act, all I can toll him is that the law he thinks will be adequately maintained by such a procedure has no more chance of being put into operation than if it was in Lapland. The Committee will now see that the question before us is not one of drafting, or of a particular place where an Amendment should be put in, or of the particular legal safeguards you are going to place round your Appropriation Act, but it is a question of practical politics which the right hon. Gentleman has not endeavoured to meet; and for that reason, and as long as this practical point remained unanswered, I shall feel obliged to support my hon. Friend if he goes to a Division.
§ SIR H. JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)
The Prime Minister has made an important statement, and I hope he will forgive me for asking him for a little more information. He has informed the Committee that the Lord Lieutenant, as head of the Executive in Ireland, will exist in a dual capacity—that he will represent the Imperial Government in some capacities; in other capacities he will represent, and be guided by, the Irish Executive; that, being a Constitutional officer, the Lord Lieutenant will on certain occasions be instructed by the Imperial Executive; on other occasions by the Irish Executive. Until to-day I thought that, when the Lord Lieutenant was receiving instructions from the British Ministry, it was so stated in the Bill, and on all other occasions he was receiving advice from the Executive in Ireland. For instance, in Clause 5, which I thought gave us the true position, an instance is given where the Lord Lieutenant is not to act on 1659 the advice of the Executive Committee. He is, however, to be guided by the Executive Committee, who should aid and advise the Lord Lieutenant in general circumstances. In Sub-section 3 he could veto certain Bills, but he is there to be guided by the Irish Executive and to act subject to any instructions given by Her Majesty. In Clause 18 no Appropriation Act is to be passed, or Resolution, or Bill, for the appropriation of money except in pursuance of a recommendation from the Lord Lieutenant. When the Lord Lieutenant acts under that section is he to act in pursuance of advice from the British Minister or from the Irish Executive? If from the Irish Executive, then the Lord Lieutenant does not check them, because they will advise him to act in regard to their own action; if the Central Executive is to be understood, then in respect of money that is to be devoted to Irish objects only the Lord Lieutenant is not to receive the advice of the Irish Ministry, but of the British Ministry. In Clause 31 the Lord Lieutenant appoints the Irish Comptroller and Auditor General. In making that appointment under whose advice is the Lord Lieutenant to act? With reference to what has been said about prosecutions of the Paymaster General by a private individual, I think that the Solicitor General is reducing the administration of the Criminal Law to an absurdity. If the Paymaster General acted in the way described he would act with the sanction of the Irish Ministry, among whom would be the Attorney General, who could enter a nolle prosequi at any moment and stop the prosecution at his own will, and no private individual could proceed with it unless the Attorney General approved of it, and whether he has to institute or bear the expenses of the prosecution, he has the control of it as much as if he was the prosecutor. If the Criminal Law has to be carried out at, all, it is virtually at the will of the Attorney General.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
asked whether in England, in the case of a private prosecution, the Attorney General could enter a nolle prosequi?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE, whose remarks were almost inaudible in the Reporters' Gallery, was understood to speak as follows: It is not in accordance with usual order or convenience to discuss every clause in the Bill on any particular Amendment. I therefore decline to follow my right hon. Friend, and refuse to discuss any clause except the one immediately under consideration. The case, as presented to the Committee, is that the Paymaster General might act in flat contravention of the law. Supposing that officer to be prosecuted by a private individual, the Supposition carefully put forward by my right hon. Friend is that the Attorney General would interfere. I cannot help thinking that suppositions, which appear to be some thing entirely extravagant, are indulged in. I can assure my right hon. Friend, without any discourtesy, that I cannot enter upon the subject, for I know well that that would be to give ground for the further development of argument and discussion. When we come to the clause we shall deal with it. At, present I am not defining the duties of the Viceroy, and I think it would be absurd on this clause to justify Clause.5. What I have stated is that absolutely the Viceroy must be bound, under all circumstances, to refuse to do any net which is in contravention of the Statute. It might be said that the phraseology is insufficient; it might be thought so; I do not admit it is. I have done all in my power to give every reasonable explanation, and I have done everything that reason or equity demands for the purpose of avoiding unnecessary debate.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
I do not rise to continue the discussion in any controversial spirit. I am sure no one will charge my right hon. Friend with intentional discourtesy in this or any other Debate: but I think he has misapprehended the point of my right hon. and learned Friend. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that it was not convenient, in discussing Clause 3, to deal with the subsequent clauses in the Bill. But it is impossible to avoid that, and he himself is an instance of it, because when we proposed 1661 to deal with this particular point on Clause 3 my right hon. Friend referred to Clause 10, and he explained that in Clause 10, Sub-section 4, they would find the provisions which they desired. The sub-section of Clause 18 states—It shall not be lawful for the Legislative Assembly to adopt or pass any Vote. Resolution, Address, or Bill for the appropriation for any purpose of any part of the public revenue of Ireland or of any tax except in pursuance of a recommendation from the Lord Lieutenant in the Session in which such Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill is proposed.Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether it is intended in this sub-section to refer to the Irish Executive in connection with the Lord Lieutenant? If it is so, then I think the sub-section is of no value for the present purpose. Until we have that information we cannot properly decide whether or not it is necessary to insert further precautions in Clause 3. We only want to know what it means? [Laughter.] I know it is thought a most unreasonable contention on our part that we should wish to understand the meaning of the discussions. It is the opinion of some hon. Members that we are not here to discuss; that we are not wanted to understand; but that we are simply here to vote. I do not think that is the view taken by my right hon. Friend. If the Lord Lieutenant, mentioned in Clause 18, is the Lord Lieutenant acting on the advice of the British Government, then I should advise the noble Lord to withdraw the Amendment.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I have no hesitation in saying, in respect to any charge which is in violation of the provisions of this Act, no advice of the Irish Executive would have the smallest influence on the attitude of the Lord Lieutenant, who would be bound to obey the instructions of the Imperial Government.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
, whose remarks were interrupted by constant cries of "Divide!" said, he did not rise for the purpose of occupying time, but simply for the purpose of getting some information. Up to now this Debate had been carried on between eminent lawyers on legal points, and these eminent lawyers were diametrically opposed to each other. The other part of the Debate had been 1662 carried on across the Table of the House, appearing to hon. Members like an afternoon tea-table conversation, scarcely a syllable of which they had heard. He wanted to know something from the point of view of the practical politician, and from that point of view they had had no light whatever. The further they got with the Bill only tended to show what a tremendous leap in the dark the Government were prepared to take and their supporters to back up. As far as the speeches from the Government Benches went, they were to have a small tribute-paying Province under this Bill; but as far as the Bill itself went, they were to have, if not an independent Parliament, yet everything in the Bill to enable the Irish Legislature to become an independent Parliament. What they wanted was to have the substance of the speeches they had heard embodied in the Bill. They gained nothing from these discussions except a further conviction of the utter hopelessness of the whole of every clause of this Bill, and the great difficulty which Parliament was unnecessarily undertaking for itself in creating this Legislature in Ireland.
Mr. Byles rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That, the Question be now put," but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
expressed, the hope that there would be no more accusations against the Unionists of being opposed to the Irish people. If they wanted imputations against the Irish people and Irish Representatives they could find them made in their strongest aspect and strongest language by right hon. Gentlemen on the Government Bench.
§ Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 188; Noes 240.—(Division List, No. 103.)1663
§ *MR. G. BALFOUR (Leeds, Central)
said, he was not without hope that the Government might be induced to accept the Amendment which stood next on the Paper in his name.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; Committee counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ *MR. G. BALFOUR
said, his Amendment was to insert, in line 21, after the first "Crown," the words "or the prerogatives, or other executive power of the Crown." It was possible that the restrictions he desired to add were already included implicitly in the language of the Bill. He did not know whether that was so, and whether the word "Crown" was intended to cover "the prerogatives or other executive power of the Crown." Perhaps he might receive some intimation from the Solicitor General as to whether the words he proposed to add were regarded as already included, because, if so, he had no desire to take up the time of the Committee unnecessarily. If the hon. and learned Gentleman gave him that intimation it would relieve him from the task of showing that the power to legislate on the prerogatives of the Crown should be withheld from the Irish Legislature.
§ *SIR J. RIGBY
said, that to a certain extent the object of the hon. Gentleman's Motion was already attained. He considered, for instance, that the word "Crown" included different prerogatives. But; with regard to the words, "other executive power of the Crown," he doubted whether the hon. Member had quite thought out what their effect would be. These were not words known to the Courts, or used in the processes of the law. Where, for example, the Sheriff acted in levying upon goods, he did it by virtue of the executive power of the Crown. Words of such wide extent as these would have the effect of cutting down the power of the Irish Executive in relation to the most ordinary matters within its jurisdiction. If, however, the hon. Gentleman's intention was to deal only with such matters as were outside the jurisdiction of the Irish Legislature, it would be seen that that object was already 1664 attained. The Amendment had a much wider scope than he believed was intended by the hon. Gentleman. He was afraid the Government could not accept the Amendment as it stood.
In Clause 3, page 1, line 21. after the first "Crown," to insert the words, "or the Prerogatives or other Executive power of the Crown."—(Mr. C Balfour.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. G. BALFOUR
said, there might be a certain objection to the words, "or other Executive power of the Crown," arising from the fact that some portions of the Executive power of the Crown were of minor importance, and that it would be unwise to withdraw them from the jurisdiction of the Irish Legislature. Supposing the words of the Bill were to stand as they were now, without the addition of the word "Prerogatives," he wanted to know whether it would be competent for the Irish Legislature to pass a law enabling them to interfere in the appointments to such Executive offices as, under the Bill, would give a title or claim to the holders to sit on the Executive Committee of the Privy Council; and whether, under the Bill as it stood, it would be competent for the Irish Parliament to pass a law withdrawing the appointment of the Judges from the Executive and vesting it in the Legislature or leaving it to a popular vote? Those were the kind of powers he wished to withdraw from the competence of the Irish Legislature.
§ *SIR J. RIGBY
said, that with regard to the first part of the question—that was to say, whether the Bill as it stood would enable the Irish Legislature to deal with those officers who would form part of the Executive Committee—a clause later on clearly provided that by an Irish Act alterations of that kind could be made. As to the appointment of Judges, certainly the appointment of Judges, other than Exchequer Judges, was treated as within the power of the Irish Legislature; and as the Bill stood it would appear not to be outside the functions of the Irish Legislature to provide some 1665 method of appointing them other than on the responsibility of the Executive of the day. He did not think the Amendment of the hon. Member would really touch these points at all.
§ *SIR J. RIGBY
It would leave matters just as they were. The words "Executive power" would scarcely cover the appointment of Judges—to suppose that they would, would be a very wide stretch of the words "Executive power." What he would suggest was, not that these were matters so unimportant that they should not for that reason be excluded from the jurisdiction of the Irish Legislature, but rather that they were matters so plainly mixed up with the powers given to it, so plainly involved in the legislation permitted, that there ought not to be general words inserted in the Act to cripple and prevent the Legislature from carrying out the legislation entrusted to it in the most practical and reasonable manner. He therefore objected very much to the generality of the words proposed, believing that they would create serious dangers and difficulties. The Bill, he would suggest, was at present quite clear enough as it stood in the definition of matters which were of Irish import and which related to Ireland only, and he did not think any further words were required to establish greater certainty with regard to the limitations of the legislative power.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The words of the Amendment are far too large. I take it that everything that is entrusted to the Crown by an Act of Parliament becomes, pro hâc vice, an Executive power. Every farthing of public money which is expended is given to the Crown by grant of Parliament; and, having been given to the Crown, the expenditure of the money in the manner directed becomes a matter of Executive power. Suppose a sum of money is granted out of the Consolidated Fund for the purpose of a particular salary, it is the duty of the Crown to expend the money on that salary. Surely the hon. Member does not intend to say there should be change, or power 1666 of change, in respect to that salary. I repeat, that the words "Executive power" are far too wide.
§ *MR. G. BALFOUR
said, he appreciated the objections urged against the Amendment; and perhaps it would be better, in view of them, that he should draft particular Amendments dealing with the points where he thought the interference of the Irish Legislature with the Executive power would be dangerous. That being so, he begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ GENERAL GOLDSWORTHY (Hammersmith)
said, he desired to move, in line 22, to leave out the words "Lord Lieutenant as." His object was to give effect to a view he had long entertained—namely, that Ireland should not have exceptional treatment in the matter of a Lord Lieutenant. He saw no reason whatever why Ireland should have a Lord Lieutenant, when no such functionary was appointed for England and Scotland. He considered, further, that Ireland should have a Royal residence, and that Members of the Royal Family should visit that country. He knew that this opened up a very large question, and he should like to assure the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister that his Amendment was not put down with the view of damaging the Bill; but it was really his continued opinion that a Lord Lieutenant was detrimental to the best interests of the Irish people. He did not believe this Bill would become law—nay, he did not think it would ever pass the House of Commons—still, this was a good opportunity for calling attention to a subject on which he felt strongly. Having been Adjutant General in the South of Ireland for five years, having seen a great deal of the Irish people, and having served in an Irish regiment for years, he had had a good opportunity of forming an opinion as to the Irish character. He considered that the Irish people were easily led. But, at the same time, it was necessary to lead them in the right way. He did not believe in parties in Ireland. He did not belong to Ulster nor to the South, but he practically 1667 occupied an independent position; and his view was that the Office of Lord Lieutenant was detrimental to the interests of the Irish people, and that it was a mark of inferiority. He had been told that the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy would render the Home Rule Bill inoperative: but though he believed that difficulty might be mot, he did not think the Bill as it stood would be workable under any circumstances. He was of opinion that eventually it would be necessary to delegate some of the powers of that House to Local Legislatures. That House was overburdened with work, and to relieve it it would be necessary to give to the various parts of the Kingdom the management of their own local affairs. At the same time, he wanted to see a Bill introduced that would be workable. When such a measure was introduced it surely would not be proposed to give England a Lord Lieutenant; and, if that were so, why should they, solely on account of the narrow strip of water separating her from the rest of the country, put this inferiority upon Ireland? He desired to see a Secretary of State appointed for each part of the United Kingdom, believing that, under the existing system, they hurt the feelings of the people of Ireland without pleasing the English people. A great deal of the outcry for Home Rule and the expression of discontent in Ireland had been due to this exceptional treatment, and to the fact that the Irish people had been denied the privileges of Local Government which had been given to the rest of the United Kingdom. They also wanted to see Royalty more actively associated with Ireland. He could not help thinking, whilst witnessing the ceremony of the opening of the Imperial Institute the other day, that displays of that kind were needed in Ireland. It was said that the Irish people did not wish to see the Lord Lieutenant abolished, for the reason that the Viceregal Court brought money to Dublin. But he did not wish to do away with any expenditure of money in Ireland. He was only against Ireland being treated differently to the other parts of the United Kingdom in this matter, and he hoped in the future to see the residence in the country of a Member of the Royal Family as a 1668 Representative of the Sovereign. The presence of Royalty, with a real ceremonial, was what he wished to see, and not a tinsel show of the Lord Lieutenancy. That, he believed, would appeal to the sense of loyalty of the people, and would conduce to the welfare of the country in many respects. Notwithstanding that he had lived five years in the South of Ireland he had never attended a levèe in Dublin, though, of course, he did not mean that he sympathised with the policy of boycotting the Lord Lieutenant, whatever Party might happen to be in power. He had attended Her Majesty's Drawing Rooms in England; and if any Member of the Royal Family had held a levée in Ireland whilst he was there he should have considered it his duty to attend. He hoped the Irish Members would not think that he was moving his Amendment in a spirit of hostility to them. He had made it a rule since he had been in the House never to do or say anything which could unnecessarily irritate those hon. Members; but he believed lie was making this proposal for the best interests of the Irish people. He desired to see an end put to the present system, whereby one section of Irishmen showed antipathy to a Lord Lieutenant, whilst another section sympathised with him. He wished to see the Irish people treated with the consideration they had a right to demand, whether they resided in the North or the South of the Island. For those reasons he begged to move the Amendment standing in his name on the Paper.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 22, to leave out the words "Lord Lieutenant as."—(General Goldsworthy.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
There are but few consolatory features in this Debate, and therefore the rare consolations which it affords are very welcome, and we must make the most of them.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
It is a real consolation to hear an hon. Gentleman sitting on the opposite side of the House make a speech in the spirit of the speech which the Committee has just heard. I am convinced of the sincerity of every word which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has uttered; and if I cannot accede to the Amendment, it must not be inferred there from that I do not sympathise with a very large portion of what has fallen from the hon. and gallant Member. Go back to the history of this subject, or take the Lord Lieutenant as he is. There has been a difference of opinion amongst, persons very honestly disposed in connection with Irish politics as to the expediency of maintaining the Lord Lieutenancy. I remember one nobleman who earned a reputation in Ireland—Lord Carlisle—who was at one time Chief Secretary and at another Lord Lieutenant, was of opinion that the Lord Lieutenancy on its present footing tended to maintain Party spirt in Ireland, and, as tending to maintain Party spirit, should be abolished, and Lord J. Russell went so far as to bring in a Bill for that purpose. There was no Party opposition to the Bill. It was received without prejudice; but the first impediment that appeared in its way was the great authority of the Duke of Wellington, who contended that to have some Representative of the Executive power residing in Ireland was a thing indispensable. But now I do not quite understand how far the hon. and gallant Member intends to express dissent from that opinion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman has expressed a strong desire that a Member of the Royal Family should reside in Ireland; and, speaking in the abstract without reference to this or that person, I agree with him that it would be a very desirable thing indeed. The custom which the hon. and gallant Member wishes to see established has prevailed in other countries in ancient times, quite apart from questions of democracy, of nationality, or other agitating questions. I will give an example. At the period when Flanders was attached to the German Empire, before the German Empire became simply an Austrian State, the rule—the general rule—was to have a branch Court at Brussels, presided over by a Member of the Royal Family. A symbol of Royalty is important in most 1670 countries, and is highly important in a country like Ireland, where, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman said in a kindly and generous spirit, the people are easily led. In other words, they are a people who, if you give them fair play, and do not bar the way to mutual understanding, would be easy to govern. Even under the present system, when the Viceroy is undoubtedly liable to be associated to too great an extent with this or that particular Party, it has been found impossible to abolish the Office, and the impartial opinion of those best, qualified to form a judgment is that it cannot be got rid of. The question whether the Viceroy should be a Royal person or not is a totally different question. I am convinced that when what we call Home Rule becomes the law of Ireland a Party character will cease to attach to the Viceroy. There is no Party character in Colonial Governors; they are not representative of Party, and that, I hope, will be the case of the Irish Viceroys under the new system. We cannot part, with the Viceroy any more than we can part with Colonial Governors. We cannot say to the Colonies—"Matters affecting you shall be referred to Secretaries of State, and they shall decide whether or not the Royal veto shall be exercised." To withdraw from Ireland the representation of the Imperial power that exists there now—although under very unfavourable circumstances—would lie a retrograde step. We cannot part with the Lord Lieutenant; Ireland, even under the present system, could not be governed by a Secretary of State residing in London. Still less would it be possible so to govern it when you have a Home Government established, for the ordinary transactions of that Home Government would be Irish and not Imperial transactions, and with regard to them an officer resident in London would labour under enormous disadvantages. Consequently, although I sympathise with the feelings of the hon. and gallant Member, and agree with what he has said as to: the immense moral power even in this sometimes called democratic age of what may be called Royal association beneficially exercised, yet I am sorry to say we are obliged to object to the Amendment, because, even under the present system, it has not been found possible to dispense with a local head to the 1671 Executive Government, and because under the new system, when Irish affairs will be separated from Imperial affairs and transacted on the spot, even if the Office were held by a Royal person, it certainly will not be possible to do so.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The discussion the hon. and gallant Member has initiated is of the greatest interest. I have never myself strongly advocated the retention of the Lord Lieutenant. The question, indeed, never came formally before us, but it has been frequently raised in an informal manner on the Vote in Supply for the Lord Lieutenant's Household; and I have never committed myself, nor have my Colleagues, to any view as to the propriety or impropriety, the expediency or inexpediency, of retaining the somewhat anomalous Office of the Lord Lieutenant. That Office is now divided really into two different portions. It has two quite separate spheres of activity. It is a great Ceremonial Office, and it is in name, at any rate, a great Executive Office. My hon. and gallant Friend admits that in Ireland there ought to be a great Ceremonial Officer representing the Crown—if possible a Member of the Royal Family—but he thinks that the Executive duties of the Lord Lieutenant may properly be given over to some other officer, a Secretary of State. Without committing myself to the plan of my hon. and gallant Friend, I agree with him that under the existing system we are drifting into the division of the ceremonial and Executive functions of the Viceroy, and that under the new system that is proposed we ought officially and formally to accept that division. The right hon. Gentleman opposite, dealing with the present system, said that it was impossible to govern Ireland without having on the spot an Executive Officer like the Lord Lieutenant to carry out Executive functions. I wish he would ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland how many Executive functions are now really carried out by the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland. Every one acquainted with the government of Ireland knows that the whole tendency in modern times has been to throw more and more into the hands of a gentleman who is in everything but name a Secretary of State the 1672 real Executive functions in Ireland, and to reduce the Lord Lieutenant to the position of a great Ceremonial Officer. I do not say that this division of functions has ever been carried out completely, but the stream of tendency has been in that direction. That being the existing state of things, what do the Government propose to substitute for it? They propose to abolish the Secretary of State, and to throw upon the shoulders of one man the ceremonial functions and the Executive functions, and to divide the latter into two different classes, in one of which the Executive functions are to be exercised by the Lord Lieutenant on the advice of the Irish Government, and, in the other, the Executive functions are to be exercised practically according to the instructions of the British Cabinet. That system, I confess, I think must break down. I think it will be found impossible—the more we discuss the clauses of this Bill the more it will be found impossible to exercise the proposed double Executive functions of the Lord Lieutenant satisfactorily, and when ceremonial functions are added to them the system will, I believe, fall to pieces by its own weight. The right lion. Gentleman appears to hope that if Home Rule should ever be carried the Lord Lieutenant will be a great Executive and Ceremonial Officer disconnected from Party. I do not understand on what the right hon. Gentleman bases that expectation. Under this Bill, as we know from a speech of the President of the Local Government Board, the great safeguard against the misuse of power by the Irish Executive resides in the veto of the Lord Lieutenant, acting upon the advice of the English Government; and if these functions are to be a reality the Lord Lieutenant in future will be ten times more a partisan than he is at the present time. No doubt, at the present time, owing to the position which the Irish controversy has occupied during the last 10 years, the Lord Lieutenant has found himself looked at askance by one Party or the other. But that was not always the case; and if, as I hope and believe, the Home Rule Bill is not passed and the Irish controversy gradually fades, we shall find that the Lord Lieutenant will practically cease to be mixed up with Party politics, 1673 and will have at his Vice-Regal Court members of all Parties, all interests, and all sections alike. But to suppose that such a result can possibly follow if you pass this Homo Rule Bill and hand over to the Lord Lieutenant the enormous responsibilities which the measure will cast upon him, appears to me to show a sanguineness of disposition which throws the lessons and results of experience absolutely to the winds. I do not know whether my hon. and gallant Friend, will think it necessary or desirable to take a Division. If he does, I shall certainly vote with him, and for this reason: that it appeared clearly when we were discussing the last Amendment, and will appear, I am convinced, more and more clearly as we make our progress through this Bill, that the functions yon propose to throw on the Lord Lieutenant sire functions which he cannot possibly carry out. You had better make up your mind, if you must keep up ceremonial functions in Ireland, to have two officers—one representing Royalty, and being above and altogether removed from Party politics, and the other being a great official who shall endeavour, as far as he can, to carry out the double rôle which you allot to the Lord Lieutenant in this Bill and do his best during half the week to act as the Representative of the Irish Cabinet, whilst during the other half-week he tries to act as the Representative of the British Cabinet.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
There are one or two points which the right hon. Gentleman has raised that need a word or two's reference from me. First of all, as to the recent history of this question, the right hon. Gentleman said there had been no formal invitation given to this House in recent times to express its opinion respecting the Office of Lord Lieutenant. The right hon. Gentleman is mistaken. Very soon after I came into the House, in 1887, the present Leader of the Irish Nationalist Party—the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. J. M'Carthy)—moved the Second Reading of a Bill for the abolition of the Office of Lord Lieutenant. The discussion took place on a Wednesday afternoon, and 1674 there was no Division. The curious thing is, however, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Mr. Plunket) made a very strong speech in favour of the maintenance of the Office, and he did so, in some degree, upon Home Rule grounds. I do not mean in the least with reference to an Irish Legislature; but what he said was—He would have no hesitation in saying it would be impossible for the then Lord Lieutenant to perform his difficult duties as he had done during the last year if he were a Minister obliged to be in attendance in the House of Commons.I only refer to that as showing that the House was invited to express an opinion upon the maintenance of this Office, and that the only gentleman who spoke from the Conservative Benches was in favour of retaining that Office. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down seems to suppose that it is only in recent years that the Office of Lord Lieutenant has been a Party Office.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I recognise, of course, that it has always been a Party appointment, but I rather intended to imply—I may be wrong historically—that it has only been within the last 10 or 15 years that, as a rule, the Lord Lieutenant was "boycotted" by one or other Party in the State.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I believe my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who knows these facts better than he or I know them, is confident that during the last 15 years the state of things has not prevailed to which the right hon. Gentleman has alluded. As to the existing system, it is, no doubt, quite true that in a general way, certainly for the last 15 years, the Chief Secretary has had more to do with Executive duties than the Lord Lieutenant. I must, however, remind the right hon. Gentleman of the exception of Lord Spencer. Lord Spencer, of course, being a Cabinet Minister, had the most immediate and direct control of the Executive work. But, however that may be, the right hon. Gentleman is right in saying that the stream of tendency has been, and is, that the Chief Secretary should sit in this House, and because he sits in this House should have the control of, and be responsible for, 1675 Executive action which docs not belong to the Lord Lieutenant. The precise degree to which the Lord Lieutenant confines himself to ceremonial functions and takes part in Executive acts will, of course, vary with circumstances; but in a general way it has been proved that since 1880 the Chief Secretary has had more to do with Executive action than the Lord Lieutenant. One reason for that is that it is during the last 13 years that the Irish Question has entered into one of its very acute phases, and, that being so, it is perfectly natural, and indeed inevitable, that the Minister responsible for Ireland should sit in this House, which, whatever view we may have on the question of a Second Chamber, is the Body through which public opinion can be best consulted. As to the remarks that have been made on the system proposed by the Bill, of course a great deal more will have to be said on that question when we come to the 5th clause, and I think we had better reserve discussion upon the matter until we reach that clause. I think the right hon. Gentleman must feel himself that, as the Government believe that the policy on which the Bill rests is sound, and that our plan or some such plan is inevitable and indispensable, it is necessary to have an officer resident in Ireland, in constant touch with Irish feeling, and in constant relation with Irish Ministers in a way and to a degree that no Secretary of State residing in London practically for six months in the year could possibly be. I consider that the whole of this fabric, whether it be sound or unsound, would fall to pieces, because you would remove the keystone from the arch if you took away this Executive officer and set up in his place two officers to perform two sets of functions. On these grounds we must resist the Amendment.
§ MR. HENEAGE (Great Grimsby)
said, the right hon. Gentleman might have made a most interesting speech, and might have answered everything that had been said by the supporters of the Amendment; but, as far as those who sat in his (Mr. Heneage's) part of the House were concerned, they had not heard a single syllable [Cries of "Oh!"] Well, he supposed he knew best. Of course, hon. Members did not like to interrupt the Prime Minister; 1676 but they really thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary might make himself audible. With regard to the Amendment, he had always been opposed to the maintenance of the office of Lord Lieutenant, whom he had always looked upon as a species of political dummy. The Lord Lieutenant had nothing whatever in the world to do apart from those things which appertained to a Ceremonial Office. Except in the case of Lord Spencer, and during the short Lord Lieutenancy of Lord Carnarvon, the Lord Lieutenant's Chief Secretary had been his master. He (Mr. Heneage) objected to the maintenance of any office in which the man who was nominally responsible had under him someone who was really his master and who always pulled the strings. To continue the system under the new state of things it was proposed to inaugurate would be an absurdity. He did not think that "Lord Lieutenant" was a good name to preserve in Ireland, the Lord Lieutenant being associated with what was popularly known as "the Castle"; and, that being so, he did not think the retention of the title would commend itself to Irishmen. What was the Lord Lieutenant to do under this Bill? He was to be at the bidding of the Irish Executive on some occasions and of the Imperial Executive on others; he was to be a sort of administrative "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and was never to know for two minutes together which character he was to assume. Was the Lord Lieutenant to be used merely for ceremonial purposes, or was he to be an Executive officer? It appeared to him (Mr. Heneage), from what had been said in the course of the discussion, that he was to be a most important administrative officer. At the same time, he was to be under the control of the Chief Secretary. Who was to represent Irish affair's in the House of Commons—the Home Secretary, the Colonial Secretary, or the Foreign Secretary? Occasionally, it must happen that the Lord Lieutenant, acting as the Representative of the Imperial Parliament, would exercise the veto in regard to some Vote in Supply, and in that event who was to defend his action in the House? What was to be the position of the Lord Lieutenant? Was he to continue to be entirely under the control of some British Minister, or was 1677 he to act under the direction of the Irish Executive? Was he to have control over the Naval and Military Forces of the Crown? What was he to do? Unless they received some more specific answer to these questions he should vote for the Amendment of the hon, and gallant Gentleman opposite.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said, he believed there was no question on which Irish Unionist opinion was so unanimous as on the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy; and having listened attentively to the Debate, lie was bound to say he had heard nothing to lead him to assume that the position which the Lord Lieutenant would occupy under an Irish Administration would materially differ from that which he held under the present system. Irish Unionists believed that the Lord Lieutenant was a, mischievous element in the Irish Government; for under our modern arrangements he really exercised no political power, and had practically no influence on the Government of Ireland as an Executive officer. There was a, great deal in what the Chief Secretary said with regard to the fatal effect which the Amendment, if carried, would have on the Bill. That in itself was a strong inducement to him to support the Amendment; and it also showed clearly how precarious was the Constitution to be given to Ireland when the withdrawal of a simple ceremonial officer would destroy the whole fabric. The Prime Minister had indicated that the Lord Lieutenant would merely be the ceremonial head of the new Government, and it did seem absurd to say that the suppression of the office would destroy the whole Bill. He thought they had good reason to complain that they were left completely in the dark as to when the Lord Lieutenant would exercise his duties as ceremonial head of the Irish Government and when he would begin to act as guardian of British interests. Did the Government propose in any future clause to add machinery which would assist the Lord Lieutenant in distinguishing between those two phases of his character? for it was evident from what had been said that afternoon that he might be called upon at any moment to decide most 1678 delicate questions which might arise between the Irish Legislature and the Imperial Parliament. If the Lord Lieutenant was to be called upon to decide intricate questions, they would have to create a supply of hereditary Constitutional lawyers which up to the present time this realm had not produced, he, believed the policy embodied in the Amendment of his hon. and gallant Friend was one which had the unanimous support of Irish Unionists. They submitted to having the Lord Lieutenant as the head of the Government, because they had not yet had an opportunity of getting rid of a system which they believed to be mischievous in the extreme; but he was convinced that when they did get a chance of again proposing legislative measures for the better government of Ireland, one of their efforts would be to promote a Bill for the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy.
§ *SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
said, he rose in consequence of the statement of the Government that it would be impossible to conduct the Government of Ireland if the head of the Government were not resident in Ireland, as it was insisted he should be. But he wished to remind the Committee that at one time Scotland had a separate Government and Parliament. Scotland never had a Lord Lieutenant, but a Secretary of State, who was generally with the King in London. There were several chapters in Macaulay's History which described the state of the Government of Scotland shortly before the union of the two Parliaments. He was acquainted, too, with the correspondence that passed at the end of the 17th century between the Secretary of State for Scotland (Lauderdale), who was resident in London, and his deputy in Edinburgh, and bore out his statement. If that was the case at the time when Scotland was practically further from the centre of Government than Ireland was in the present day, there could be no difficulty in the way of having a Secretary of State often in London responsible for Irish Government. It all turned on whether the Imperial control was to be a real one or not; if it was to be real, then it could not be wielded by the Lord Lieutenant as proposed. He 1679 recognised a strong family likeness between the Lord Lieutenant's position under the Bill and that of a Colonial Governor. They were both appointed for a period of six years; and now the Committee had learnt that the Lord Lieutenant was to exercise the prerogatives of the Crown on the advice of the Irish Ministers, and was therefore to be a mere figurehead. Like the Colonial Governors, he could only act through Constitutional advisers, and would have no more direct power than the Sovereign.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I entirely dispute the historical reference of the right hon. Gentleman. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to maintain that all the persecutions of the Covenanters in the reigns of Charles II. and James II. were directed by a Secretary of State in London? [Sir J. FERGUSSON: No.] Certainly they were not. They were conducted by the Council of State, and under a totally different system. If the right, hon. Gentleman means to propose a Council of State in the same sense, there may be something in his argument: but otherwise his reference fails totally to sustain his point.
§ *SIR J. FERGUSSON
I was not describing the state of things under Charles II. or James II., but under William III., and the correspondence shows that the Minister who resided near the King was to have the chief direction of affairs. Matters in Scotland were managed by a deputy.
§ MR. PLUNKET (Dublin University)
said, that as the Chief Secretary had referred to some arguments which be used 10 or 12 years ago, he might perhaps be permitted to say a few words in explanation of his views. He did not altogether agree with his hon. Friend the Member for South Antrim that there was an entirely unanimous feeling in Ireland in favour of the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy. His views on the subject were formed in happier days in the recent history of Ireland before the Home Rule Question had come upon the stage; and certainly in the part of the 1680 country in which he lived there was by no means a unanimous opinion among Conservatives against the Lord Lieutenancy. He believed that at that time the Lord Lieutenant's office was popular with both political Parties; and he desired most strongly that it should be held, if possible, by some member of the Royal Family. He was not prepared to say how far the circumstances of the last 12 years might not have altered the conditions of the case, but he hoped and believed that when this insane Home Rule agitation and policy had passed away, the old traditions would revive again in Ireland; and he should then be prepared to vote for the retention of the Lord Lieutenant's office, to be filled by as distinguished a personage as possible. Hut what on earth had these reasonings to do with the case that was before the Committee? What kind of an office was to be filled under the Bill by the Lord Lieutenant? Imagine a Royal personage being asked to undertake such an office! The position of the Lord Lieutenant as described by the Government—an official responsible to-day to the Nationalist Parliament in Dublin and to-morrow to the Imperial Parliament in London—reminded him of a very clever caricature which he had seen on the stage not long ago in this City. A very able actor personated in one performance an Irishman and a Scotchman at the same time. On one side he was dressed in a Scotch kilt and on the other side in Irish costume; and he managed to change the expression of his face in accordance with the side of him that was presented to the spectators. When the band struck up a Scotch reel he danced it to perfection, with the Scotch leg exposed to view, and when an Irish jig was played he was equally good with the other leg as "Paddy." The performance of the Lord Lieutenant would be of a similar nature, if he were to be called upon to-day to dance to the tune of an Irish jig and to-morrow to follow the strains of "God Save the Queen."
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said, the Prime Minister had referred to the Bill, brought in by Lord John Russell, for the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy, and to the views of Lord Carlisle in favour of the abolition of the Office which he once held. That Bill he 1681 found, by the Records of Parliament, was actually read a second time; but it then mysteriously disappeared, and had not been heard of since. With regard to the abstract question, he thought that the difference between the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University and the hon. Member for South Antrim as to the retention of the Lord Lieutenancy was accounted for by the fact that one represented Dublin opinion, which was favourable to the Lord Lieutenancy, and the other a part of the country which was not so much brought into contact with the Lord Lieutenant. The real question before the Committee, however, was, what was to be the position of the Lord Lieutenant under the Bill? The Chief Secretary had given him a very excellent reason for voting for the Amendment when he stated that to take the words out of the Bill was to take the keystone out of the arch. It was to do that very thing that he was in the House of Commons, and he should most certainly support the Amendment, and press it to a Division, whether the hon. and gallant Member liked it or not. Assuming the Bill to be carried and in operation, and supposing a disorderly state of affairs to have arisen in Kerry, Clare, or Limerick, with which the Irish Government were unable to cope, would the Irish Members be allowed to raise the question in the British House of Commons? And, if so, who was to answer them, as being responsible for the government of Ireland? At present, it appeared that the House would not be able to fix anybody with the responsibility. There would be an ornamental gentleman in Dublin, where he could not be readied. Anarchy might be reigning in Ireland, and Parliament would be powerless to stop it. He hoped the Chief Secretary would tell them who was to be responsible for Irish affairs in the Imperial Parliament.
Earl Compton rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ SIR T. LEA (Londonderry, S.)
said, the Members who represented Unionist constituencies must press for an answer 1682 to the important question which had been put by the lion. Member for South Tyrone. The Irish Members were to remain in the House of Commons; Irish discussions were bound to be raised, whether the Prime Minister liked it or not: and who was to be responsible for Irish government in the House? Irish Land Legislation was to be reserved from the Irish Parliament for three years. During that time, what British Minister was to take up the question in which Irish tenant farmers wore intensely interested? If hon. Members from Ireland brought in a Bill dealing with the land, which Member of the Government would deal with it? This was a very serious point.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
The Government quite agree that the point is a most serious one; but I submit that this is not the clause on which to raise it. The Government arcs quite prepared to make provision for the representation in the House of those responsible for what goes on in Ireland, just as there is representation of those responsible for what goes on all over the Empire. When the proper time comes—on Clause 5, for example, which concerns the Constitution -and functions of the Executive power—the Government will be willing to discuss the matter.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 265; Noes 219.—(Division List, No. 104.)
*SIR: A. SCOBLE (Hackney, Central) moved to amend the clause by inserting on page 1, line 22, after the second word "or," the words—
Which may affect the authority of Parliament, or any part of the unwritten laws or Constitution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, whereon may depend in any degree the allegiance of any person to the Crown of the United Kingdom, or the sovereignty or dominion of the Crown within the same; or.
He said that, instead of laying down specifically the things with which the Irish Legislature should be allowed to deal, the Bill enumerated certain matters which were withdrawn from the cognisance of the Legislature in Ireland. It followed that every subject which was not withdrawn was left to be dealt with by the Irish Legislature; and, therefore, in
fixing the limits great care should be exercised to leave out nothing which it was intended that the Irish Parliament were not to have power to control and command. This Amendment was not a new-fangled one. It was introduced into the Indian Council Act of 1861, and had the approval of such eminent statesmen and jurists as the late Lord Derby and Sir Henry Maine. He thought he was justified in asking the Committee to insert the same words in the present Bill. The principle embodied in the first part of the Amendment had already been affirmed by the acceptance of the Amendment of the right hon. and learned Member for Bury. He had given notice of his Amendment before the Amendment of the right hon. and learned Member for Bury, and what he proposed was nothing more than a natural corollary of the Amendment of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and it would give to those who were entrusted with the Executive Government of Ireland a practical remedy against possible mistakes which might be committed by the new Irish Legislature. Under the Amendment of the right hon. and learned Member for Bury it would be competent for the Imperial Parliament to repeal Acts passed in error by the Irish Legislature; but, under the Amendment he suggested, it would be impossible for any measure which contravened the authority of the Imperial Parliament to come into operation, even if passed by the Irish Legislature, because those who advised the Lord Lieutenant, whether they resided in Ireland or in this country, before giving assent to any Bill in contravention of the authority of the Imperial Parliament, would be bound to tell him that he would be justified in refusing assent to that Bill, and in that way all conflict with the Irish Legislature and the Imperial Parliament would be avoided. The second part of his Amendment related to a matter as to which there could be no difference of opinion in the House. He had been struck by the absence in the Bill of any direct reference to allegiance to the Crown. Of course, it might be suggested that, by introducing the Queen as one of the constituent elements of the Legislature, there was an implication of allegiance to Her Majesty; but he was desirous of having in the Bill something
more definite than an implied allegiance. When Members of Parliament entered the House they took the Oath of Allegiance. No similar obligation was imposed by the Bill on Members of the Irish Legislature. But he did not think it necessary at this stage to put upon the Paper any Amendment imposing a statutory obligation upon the Members of the Irish Legislature to take the ordinary Oath of Allegiance to the Crown. He wished to have a recognition in the Bill of those unwritten features of the British Constitution, whereon the allegiance of the subjects of the Crown in this country depended. He did not think there was any need for him to press this upon the other side of (he House. He did not suppose that anyone who was anxious that the Monarchical Constitution of our country should be maintained would be desirous of loosening the ties of allegiance of any of Her Majesty's subjects. All he asked for was a recognition of it on the face of the Bill, and with that object he begged to move the Amendment.
In page 1. line 22, after the second word "or," to insert the words "which may affect the authority of Parliament, or any part of the unwritten laws or Constitution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, whereon may depend in any degree the allegiance of any person to the Crown of the United Kingdom, or the sovereignty or dominion of the Crown within the same; or."—(Sir A. Scoble.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir J. RIGBY,) Forfar
I do not know that there is anything in the Amendment which can be objected to except this— that it has all been fully provided for already. The hon. and learned Gentleman proposes that we should take note in the Bill of one point only of our Common Law. That is a proposition of a dangerous tendency. If we are to take note of that one point, we had better at once include in the Bill the whole of Stephen's Commentaries, or some other book of authority on Common Law. The authority of Parliament, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has already pointed out, is provided for by the acceptance of the Amendment of the right hon. and learned 1685 Member for Bury, so far as the supremacy of Parliament is concerned. The words which have been borrowed from the Indian Act are quite proper to be inserted in a Statute for a country in which questions may arise as to the particular position of the subjects of Native Princess with whom we are in alliance; but those are questions that cannot possibly arise under this Act. The principle of the Common Law is clear that every person born a subject of Her Majesty must continue, without taking any Oath of Allegiance, to bear allegiance to the Crown all his life. The only way in which he can get rid of that allegiance is by complying with the provisions of the Naturalisation Act, 1870: and the Bill expressly provides, in Clause 3, Sub-section 6, that treason, treason-felony, alienage, and naturalisation shall not be dealt with by the Irish Parliament. A Legislature that cannot make laws as to alienage and naturalisation cannot make laws dealing with the allegiance of any of Her Majesty's subjects. It should be also remembered that nothing can be dealt with by the Irish Parliament that does not exclusively affect Ireland or some part of Ireland. It would be impossible to suggest that making a subject of Her Majesty not a subject of Her Majesty is a matter affecting Ireland alone.
§ CAPTAIN NAYLOR-LEYLAND (Colchester)
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman had given them the answer which he invariably gave when he made a speech in this House. He either told them that what they proposed was already provided for, or that it was going to be provided for. He was led to think that occasionally the Solicitor General forgot that in this House he represented the chief Law Officer of the Crown. They did not want, playful frolicsome banter from the hou. and learned Gentleman, but the views of a Constitutional lawyer, which they had a right to expect. The Amendment approximated to one which he had on the Paper which was ruled out of Order. He supported the Amendment, because he thought the supremacy of Parliament ought to be inserted in clear and definite terms, not only in every clause, but in every line and every sentence of the Bill. The supremacy of Parliament had been ac- 1686 knowledged by the Irish Members in the House; but what guarantee had they that it would be recognised by the Members of an Irish Parliament? If they divested themselves of Parliamentary authority as regarded a part of the Empire they ceased to be a Sovereign Power so far as affected that part. It might be argued that that was the relation of this country to the Colonies at the present time; but it was their love and loyalty, and not the Parliamentary sovereignty, that bound the Colonies to this country.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
, rising to Order, asked if the hon. and gallant Gentleman was discussing the Amendment?
The hon. and gallant Member is rather discussing an Amendment which has already been settled by the Committee.
§ CAPTAIN NAYLOR-LEYLAND
said, as he read the Amendment, it dealt with the allegiance to, and Sovereignty of, the Crown.
That is so. The hon. and gallant Member will be in Order in discussing that part of the Amendment, but he was not discussing it.
§ CAPTAIN NAYLOR-LEYLAND
said, his contention was that if the Amendment was not accepted the Imperial Parliament would not. be a Sovereign Parliament. [Cries of ''Order!" "Divide!" and "Question!"] The three strongest arguments of hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to him to be concentrated in the words, "Divide!" "Question!" and "Order!"
§ CAPTAIN NAYLOR-LEYLAND,
resuming, said, that unless the supremacy of Parliament were clearly defined in every clause of the Bill it would be in the power of the Irish Members in the future to be able to say whether or not the Imperial Parliament was a Sovereign Parliament. [Cries of "Order!"]
The hon. and gallant Member must confine himself to the question raised in the Amendment. The matter to which he refers has already been settled by the Committee.
§ Mr. Conybeare
rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to pat that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ CAPTAIN NAYLOR-LEYLAND
said, he accepted the Chairman's ruling, though it seemed to him that the questions of Allegiance and the Sovereignty of Parliament were inseparably connected. He hoped the Government would yet accept the Amendment, which could do no harm and would save much public time. He appealed to the First Lord of the Treasury to leave our Parliamentary Sovereignty as it was, unimpaired and unquestioned.
§ Mr. Conybeare
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ *SIR A. SCOBLE (Hackney, Central)
said, he desired to remind the Solicitor General, and through him the Committee, that the Common Law could at any time be changed by Statute, and it was to prevent that that he had put the Amendment on the Paper.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 238; Noes 276.—(Division List, No. 105.)
§ The figures having been announced,
§ MR.TOMLINSON (Preston),
addressing the Chairman, said: I desire to call your attention to the fact that there was an hon. Member (Mr. Wayman) in the Ay Lobby who did not come through.
§ MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)
The hon. Member was not telling in the Ay Lobby, but in the No Lobby. He would, therefore, have no knowledge of what occurred in the Ay Lobby.
§ MR. TOMLINSON
It is the duty of any hon. Member of this House to call attention to an irregularity which is brought to his notice.
The following is the Entry in the Votes:—
Whereupon Notice was taken that Mr. Wayman, Member for the Elland Division of the West Riding, had voted with the Ayes, not having been in the House when the Question was put. Mr. Wayman explained that he had been writing in the Upper Ay Lobby, and coming down stairs had been counted in the Ay Lobby, although he had wished to vote with the Noes
The Chairman thereupon stated that, as the hon. Member had not been within the Folding Doors nor heard the Question put, he was not entitled to vote; and directed the Clerk to correct the numbers accordingly.
The Chairman then declared the Numbers Ayes 237, Noes 276.
§ MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick) moved the following Amendment: In Clause 3, page 1, line 22, after "Crown," insert "or the altering of their own name or style." He said the Amendment, if carried, would stand as a separate sub-section. The object of the Amendment was to provide that this Irish Legislature, if it was created, should not have the power of forthwith calling themselves an Irish Parliament. 1689 This question was raised by the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Clare, to substitute the word "Parliament" for "Legislature," and he supported that Amendment not because he desired to see a Parliament in Ireland, but on the ground that if that Bi11 created a Parliament it was only right to call it so. He supported that Amendment on the further ground that if that Legislature were created, and they in England called it a Legislature, the very first thing it would do would be to call itself a Parliament. He gave as a precedent where that very thing was done the case of Victoria. The Act which gave a Legislature to Victoria called it a Legislative Assembly, but in the very first Session, and in the very first chapter of a Statute which they passed, the Legislature of Victoria had a clause enacting "That the Legislature of Victoria shall be and is hereby called 'the Parliament of Victoria.'" The House of Commons, however, was practically unanimous in rejecting the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Clare, and, on the whole, he (Mr. Smith) was well pleased with that conclusion, and satisfied that the House should by such an overwhelming majority have declared that there should not be a Parliament in Ireland. The only question that really arose regarding this sub-section was the question whether the Irish Legislature under this Bill would have the power to give itself the name of Parliament, and, of course, under the 10th section of the Bi11 the Irish Legislature had only the power to repeal or alter any provisions which by this Act were alterable. That seemed to him not to make the matter explicit or certain. It left it an open question whether it was a repeal or alteration for the Irish Assembly to add, as it were, a provision to the Hill when it became an Act; that that Assembly should in future be called a Parliament, and it was important that the matter should be made clear and certain now. If the Bill as it stood would prevent the Irish Legislature from altering its title and taking the title of Parliament, and if Irish Members were prepared to acquiesce in that view, the greater part of his object would be attained; but it would be well if a point on which all were agreed could be made certain by adopting the Amendment.1690
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 22, to insert the words "the altering of their own name or style."—(Mr. Parker Smith.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
said, the first objection to the Amendment was that it was in the wrong place; secondly, the provision it would make was absolutely made already. The Irish Legislature could not alter anything in the Bill except in virtue of express power conferred upon it for that purpose. If the words used were not the best for the purpose—and it was his belief that they were—the time for amending them would be when dealing with the clause itself. His third objection to the Amendment was that it was objectionable to select, in a measure which was not intended to be alterable unless by express enactment, one particular point, and to say that that should not be altered. The plain effect of an Amendment to attach inviolability to a particular provision was to reduce the inviolability of others. From the point of view of the hon. Member, the Amendment was unnecessary and inexpedient, as it raised doubts as to other provisions of Acts of Parliament.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 231; Noes 278.—(Division List, No. 106.)
§ It being half-past Five of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.