HC Deb 21 January 1897 vol 45 cc198-200
MR. R. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)

On behalf of the hon. Member for Stirling Burghs (SIR HENRY CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN), I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in view of the termination of the inquiry into the financial relations between Great Britain and Ireland, he can now state what course the Government proposes to adopt with regard to the case of Scotland?


I am not at all surprised that the hon. Member who put the question, or the right hon. Gentleman who put it down on the paper, are interested in it, for the matter was constantly brought before them while they were in office by my hon. Friend the Member for Ayrshire. But the present Leader of the Opposition, in answer to a question in April 1894, said that the then Government were of opinion that the Scotch inquiry should not commence until the Irish one had terminated. As the House is aware, the Irish investigation has not, in the opinion of the Government, yet been brought to a conclusion—[Opposition laughter]—and we propose, as I said the other night, to appoint a Committee to conclude the labours left uncompleted by the Committee. I had perhaps better defer any answer as to the scope of the Committee until I am in a position to state the terms of reference to the House.


asked whether the Government intended to reappoint the Committee on the Financial Relations between the three kingdoms. It was appointed by them before, and it has never yet reported. It has only sat one day and has not been reappointed.


The hon. Member should give notice of that question.


Arising out of the right hon. Gentleman's answer, I should like to put a question on another point. (Laughter.) I mean a point different from that raised by my hon. Friend. I desire to ask the Government whether it is in their discretion to state when the labours of a Royal Commission have finished, and not in the discretion of the Royal Commission itself.


The right hon. Gentleman referred to an answer which I gave, that the Scotch Commission should commence after the Committee on the Financial Relations of Ireland had reported. Does he mean that further inquiries are to be made by the same Committee to which I referred on that occasion?


I think, as I stated in my answer just now, any question with regard to the Committee had better be reserved until I can state the terms of reference.

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