§ SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he will consider the advisability of the calling of an Imperial Conference thoroughly to examine the fiscal situation of the British Empire.
§ MR. CHARLES McARTHUR (Liverpool, Exchange)
I beg at the same time to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he will consider the advisability of instituting an inquiry by Royal Commission, or other suitable tribunal, upon which Colonial representatives may be placed, as to the fiscal or other measures which may be needful to enable the United Kingdom and the Colonies to co-operate for the defence of Imperial trade 32 and for the promotion of freer trade within the Empire.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The House is aware that twice in the course of the last few years, both times in the term of office of my right hon. friend the late Colonial Secretary, there has been a conference in this country representing the self-governing Colonies, in my opinion one of the greatest additions to the machinery of Empire ever made. I hope that these conferences will be frequently repeated, but I do not propose to take any steps at the present moment on the subject.
§ MR. CHARLES McARTHUR
May I direct the attention of the First Lord to the fact that my Question refers to a Royal Commission.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It is true that the Questions of my hon. friends are different, but both of them relate to some mode in which we can discuss with our Colonies subjects of common interest to both; and that is really the essential point.