HC Deb 19 March 1907 vol 171 cc679-80
MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)

I beg to ask the Prime Minister when he will introduce a measure to carry out the decision come to by the House and the Government that the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act should be immediately repealed.

Notice had also been given of the following Question:


To ask the Prime Minister whether, having regard to the Resolution passed in this House last Wednesday which declared that the presence of the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act on the Statute-book is a gross violation of the Constitution without parallel in any other portion of His Majesty's dominions, and for which he voted, he proposes to introduce a Bill for the repeal of the Act mentioned; and, if so, at what date.

THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, Stirling Burghs)

Perhaps I may be allowed to answer the noble Lord's Question at the same time. My right hon. friend the Chief Secretary stated in the debate that it was impossible for the Government to undertake immediate action in this matter. There are more urgent questions on hand, particularly Irish questions; and the powers given to the Government under this Act are not being used.


Is the Resolution null and void then? My Question refers to the Resolution, not to the language of the Chief Secretary.


I do not think the Resolution is null and void because it is not immediately put into effect.

LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

Do the Government really propose to tolerate on the Statute-book an Act which, according to the Resolution of last Wednesday, is "a gross violation of the Constitution without parallel in any other portion of His Majesty's dominions"?


It is tolerated for many reasons. In the first place, there is the difficulty of getting it expunged; in the second place, we have other things to do; and then, as I have said, the Act is treated as of no effect by the present Executive.


It remains as a memorial of the Cecils.