HC Deb 28 March 1899 vol 69 cc648-9
MR. MACLEAN (Cardiff)

On the Question of the recent action of the Government of India with regard to the Sugar Duties, you were good enough to give me your ruling, Sir, last week, that it was impossible to raise a discussion on the subject owing to the blocking notice given by the honourable Member for Sheffield. That applies not only to the merits of the Question itself, but also to the procedure taken by the Government of India and the Secretary of State for India. I bow to your decision, Sir, in the matter, and I do not propose to raise the subject here to-day, but I should like to make an appeal to the Leader of the House to set apart a day soon after Easter for a discussion upon that Question. The right honourable Gentleman, in answer to a Question, said that he could not provide special facilities for the discussion of any matter however important or interesting it might be; but I venture to call his attention to the fact of the scope of this Measure passed in India. Lord Curzon says it is a protective Measure, and that he hopes it will be imitated in all other points. We know that policy comes from Sheffield; but the point which we desire to raise is not the controversy of Protection and Free Trade, but how far Her Majesty's Government intends to go in this direction. I am sure the right honourable Gentleman will feel that it is a question which, having been raised in this form by the Viceroy of India, with the consent of and sanction of the Secretary of State, it would not be becoming for the Government to put off a discussion in the House and allow a blocking Amendment, like that of the honourable Member for Sheffield, to prevent that discussion being raised. In that Resolution which the honourable Gentleman has put down upon the paper, he not only expresses approval of the action of the Viceroy of India, but he goes further and expresses the hope that Her Majesty's Government will fall upon the breast of; the Viceroy with gratitude. I am sure that the right honourable Gentleman will agree that this is not a matter that should be indefinitely delayed. No doubt the right honourable Gentleman, with his serried battalions behind him, can carry a Resolution for Protection and remain happy until the next General Election undeceives him; but I think that the right honourable Gentleman will agree that the issue should be soon submitted to the House of Commons.