HC Deb 06 February 1908 vol 183 cc1074-5

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any Government which was a party to the Sugar Convention postponed the date for ratification of the additional Act until its Parliament should have had an opportunity of discussing the matter; whether there was any, and if so, what, reason why His Majesty's Government fixed a date for ratification of a Convention made after Parliament rose, which precluded all effective discussion by Parliament; and whether he will give an assurance that in all cases where it is possible the date for ratification of all international agreements to which His Majesty's Government is a party shall be fixed at such date as will give Parliament an opportunity of effective criticism.


His Majesty's Government did not fix any date for the ratification; they desired the earliest date, in order that the trade might know as soon as possible what the settlement was to be, but they agreed to the date considered necessary by other Powers who were under a constitutional obligation to bring the matter before their Parliaments. I cannot, with every desire to afford opportunities for discussion, give an assurance such as the hon. Member desires without altering what has hitherto been the constitutional practice. I may, however, remind the hon. Member that the line which His Majesty's Government have followed in the matter was announced on 6th June last.

MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)

Is it the fact that the Government have ratified the additional Act?


No, Sir, we have not actually deposited the ratification, but we are to do so in a few days.