HC Deb 25 May 1905 vol 146 cc1389-90

To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Colonial Conference which is to assemble in 1906 will be constituted in the same way, and deliberate under the same conditions, as the Colonial Conference of 1902, or whether there will be any change, and if so, in what respect; whether he still adheres to his intention, declared at Sheffield and elsewhere, not to make the merits of any proposal for colonial preference founded on the taxation of food an issue at the next election, or whether that intention has been modified, or might in the future be modified, by the proceedings of the Colonial Conference to be held in 1906; whether he still adheres to the intention declared in the past not to propose to Parliament any scheme for the commercial union of the Empire, unless it has been formulated by an Imperial Conference representing not only, like the Colonial Conference of 1902, the self-governing Colonies, but also India and (so far as may be) the other dependencies of the Crown, and laid in the shape so formulated before the electorate at the time of a general election; whether he intends to summon an Imperial Conference, representing the whole Empire, as distinct from a Colonial Conference of the pattern of 1902, during the continuance of the present Parliament.

(Answered by Mr. A. J. Balfour.) With all respect to my noble friend, I think those parts of his Question not already answered in the House, may more conveniently be dealt with in the debate on Tuesday than in an Answer to a Parliamentary Question.