HC Deb 29 July 1910 vol 19 cc2528-9
Mr. KING (for Mr. Wedgwood)

asked the Prime Minister whether he is able to make any statement as to the probable duration of the Conference on the relations between the two Houses of Parliament; and whether any statement as to the result of such Conference will be made before the House rises for the Autumn Recess?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

The representatives of the Government and the Opposition have held twelve meetings, and have carefully surveyed a large part of the field of controversy. The result is that our discussions have made such progress, although we have not so far reached an agreement, as to render it, in the opinion of all of us, not only desirable, but necessary, that they should continue. In fact, I may go further, and say that we should think it wrong at this stage to break them off. There is no question of their indefinite continuance, and if we find as the result of our further deliberations during the Recess that there is no prospect of an agreement that can be announced to Parliament in the course of the present Session, we shall bring the Conference to a close?


Are further meetings to be held during the Recess?




I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the House is to understand that it is the intention of the Government that the decision will be given one way or another and announced to the country and this House at the latest by the time Parliament meets in November?


I would rather not pledge myself to a fixed date like that, but I should say in the coarse of the present Session. I hope at a very early date.


Do I understand that if the Conference should come to a rupture the country will be informed then and there, or whether we shall have to wait for the reassembling of Parliament?


That is a hypothetical question, but in the contingency to which my hon. Friend refers, and I trust it will not occur, I do not think the country will be kept in the dark for very long.

One other Member took and subscribed the Oath.