HC Deb 30 April 1908 vol 187 cc1414-6

I beg to ask the Prime Minister if the pledges on the Home Rule question given by the President of the Board of Trade to his late constituents at Manchester have his sanction and authority; and, if so, whether he will give the House of Commons an opportunity of discussing this change in policy by His Majesty's Government.


There has been and is no change in the policy of His Majesty's Government, which was fully explained by the Chief Secretary and myself in this House on the 30th March last. I did not authorise my right hon. friend, and I am satisfied after acquainting myself with the substance of his speeches that he did not make any statement in Manchester which was in any way inconsistent with the previous declarations of the Government.


Is the Prime Minister not aware that the President of the Board of Trade said definitely at Manchester that great misunderstanding had arisen with regard to the language used by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons upon the occasion referred to, and that he had the authority of the Prime Minister to explain that those misapprehensions were not justified and to assume a line with regard to the next election which was not adopted by the Prime Minister here? The interpretation which has been placed on the right hon. Gentleman's language is not confined to one party or one section.


I am not responsible for the interpretation put on the language of my right hon. friend. Although I am a great admirer and diligent student of his speeches, I have not read everything he said at Manchester. But I know the passage to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. So far as I know he did not say anything there which I had not expressly or by plain implication said in my speech.


Is the House to understand that the statements made by the President of the Board of Trade at Manchester represent the policy of the Government?


The statement referred to by the right hon. Gentleman opposite is, I have said, perfectly consistent with and not repugnant to what I have said in this House, and, therefore, it does represent the views of the Government.

MR. PIKE PEASE (Darlington)

Is the Prime Minister aware that the speech he made in the House of Commons and the speech made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland did not satisfy the Irish Party, and that the speech of the President of the Board of Trade did satisfy the Irish Party?


made a reply which, was inaudible in the Gallery.


Is the Prime Minister going to allow the President of the Board of Trade to make, similar pledges to the electors at Dundee?

[No Answer was returned.]