HC Deb 12 April 1905 vol 144 cc1412-4

I desire to ask the First Lord of the Treasury a Question of which I have given him private notice— namely, whether he will give a day for the discussion of a Motion in these or very similar terms: "That, in view of recent events in Ireland and the revelations which caused the resignation of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, it is in the highest degree desirable in the public interest that the correspondence and other information necessary to enable the House of Commons and the country to form a judgment on the policy and proceedings of the Irish Government since the appointment of Sir Antony MacDonnell be immediately laid upon the Table."


I understand that this is really a somewhat belated vote of censure upon the administration of the late Chief Secretary for Ireland, who has left office more than a month— five weeks to-day. But, of course, it is the privilege of any one in the right hon. Gentleman's position to insist on a day for a vote of censure, even though it be under circumstances so peculiar and unusual as these, and the only question that remains is as to when that day shall be fixed. I hope to get the Speaker out of the Chair to-morrow on the Civil Service Estimates. On Monday I must, I think, take the Second Reading of the Agricultural Rates Bill, and I had hoped to take on Tuesday the Second Reading of the Scotch Education Bill. I understand from a Question put by the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark that there is a great desire on the part of Scotch Members to rediscuss a measure which passed its Second Reading last session without a division, and which is introduced this session substantially in its old form. I should have thought that Tuesday afternoon would have been sufficient for the purpose; but if I get an intimation that it is not so, nothing will be gained by having a discussion beginning before Easter and not concluding until some date after Easter, and I will endeavour to make other arrangements. The question arises whether the right hon. Gentleman thinks Tuesday afternoon will be sufficient for his purpose. I am anxious to bring on a vote of censure as soon as I can when notice has been given, but I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what his opinion is on that point, because if his reply is unfavourable I shall have to fix some early day after Easter.


I should think it unlikely, but still I have to consult others. On the face of it, Tuesday is not a convenient day because of the Easter holiday being so near. It is most inconvenient to Scottish Members to take Scottish legislation immediately before or after the holidays.

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

It would be very inconvenient to take this debate before Easter, for one reason because everybody hopes to see the right hon. Member for Dover restored to health and in his place during the debate. Manifestly it would be most desirable that that right hon. Gentleman should be present when the debate takes place.

SIR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

hoped that no arrangement made would defer the introduction of the Aliens Bill.

MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)

asked on what day the Unemployed Bill would be taken.


Both these Bills will be introduced before Easter under the Ten Minutes Rule—probably one will be taken on Monday and the other on Tuesday. After the appeal made to me by the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. and learned Member for Water-ford, I feel it would be impossible for me to press on the vote of censure before Easter, and, therefore, I must try and make some arrangement to bring it on after Easter. I presume I shall not be asked at the moment to give a date, but, of course, it will not be either on the first or the second day after we come back.


The right hon. Gentleman used the word belated in reference to the vote of censure, and I would like therefore to point out that its "belation," if I may use the word, is largely because the right hon. Gentleman told us that the late Secretary for Ireland would make a statement. We greatly regret the cause of the delay.


Hear, hear!