HC Deb 30 March 1897 vol 48 cc182-4

On the Motion, "That this House do now adjourn,"

MR. VESEY KNOX (Londonderry)

asked what was the intention of the Government as to the future course of business? He thought it would be clear from the course of the Debate that night, that it would be quite impossible for anything like half the Members who had given time and attention to the subject, to speak if the Debate was to be concluded the next night. He understood that his hem. Friend the Member for Islington, who took a great interest in this subject, as well as in the Military Works Bill, would not oppose the Second Reading of the latter if Thursday were given for the continuation of the discussion on the Resolution of the Member for Longford. Therefore it would not be a waste of time on the part of the Government if they would give Thursday as well as Wednesday to the purposes of Debate. He hoped that the Leader of the House would be able to say that another day would be given.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

contended that the House had been generous to the Government, not only in the amount of time given them, but also in the manner in which Government Measures had been treated; in fact, the Government had been singularly fortunate in the conduct of business during the present Session. The fact that the Address to the Queen's Speech was voted within a single week was partly due to the promise that was given of sufficient time in which to Debate this question of the financial relations. It appeared to him that in regard to a great historical Debate such as this, the concession of only one day of Government time was entirely inadequate, and he would firmly but. respectfully press upon the Government the advisability of giving up Thursday. Having regard to the interest which this subject had excited in Ireland, and the general volume of desire that there was to discuss it, he contended that they were entitled to the concession they asked for. So strong was the desire from all parts of the House to discuss this subject that, so far as they were concerned, the speeches had been confined to two hon. Members, that being due to the liberal desire on the part of the Chair that views should be presented fairly from both sides of the House. He therefore thought it was reasonable that Thursday should be conceded to them by the Government.


said he had always recognised an arrangement made with the authorised spokesmen of the Irish Party as an arrangement which needed no endorsement, but he would point out the difficulty in which they stood. He admitted that the House had been thrown into a difficulty by the inordinate length of the speeches which had been made. If any large proportion of hon. Members were, in addressing the House, to give an abstract of the various Reports of the Royal Commission, and were then to survey the financial history of England and Ireland from the year 1800, or perhaps earlier, to the present day, and to append thereto their own comments upon the present position of Ireland and its future prospects, it would be almost impossible ever to bring the Debate to an end. He himself had intended to take part in that Debate, and be had hoped that his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, who had had a great deal to do with the earlier stages of this controversy, would have been able to address the House that night. He had recognised, however, that that was impossible, and he had asked his right hon. Friend to take the place which he himself should otherwise have occupied in concluding the Debate on the following day on behalf of the Government. While he recognised the desire of hon. Gentlemen opposite to make out the best case they could for the country from which they came, he hoped, in the interest, not of the convenience of the Government, but of the convenience of the House, the hon. Member for North Louth would not press his request which would upset a fixed arrangement, but would not have the effect of bringing before the country any possible argument that had not been already threshed out in the course of the Debate. ["Hear, hear!"]


was intensely sorry to hear that the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to join in the Debate. ["Hear, hear!"] That, was a loss which they would not be able to make good hereafter. The subject was one of gigantic importance, and the Debate would be historic. There had been no opportunity since 1817 to discuss the question; and now that a Royal Commission had been working on the subject for two or three years, to grudge another day to the Debate seemed to him a false economy of time.

House Adjourned at Twenty Minutes after Twelve o'Clock.