HC Deb 08 December 1911 vol 32 cc1875-6

I am told the Government have organised a count in order to prevent the matter I wish to raise being brought forward. I rise to call attention to the way in which the Government have lent themselves, by using the forms of the House, for the purpose of insult and injury. The House may have noticed recently the manner in which when hon. Gentlemen on this side attempt to address the House insults are offered for the purpose of reaching the newspapers, and they are offered under the protection of the Chair. A further extension has been given to that system by a series of questions which in this case were addressed to the Board of Trade. When one thinks that a great Department like the Board of Trade should have lent itself to a transaction of this kind, one is appalled at the idea that the Government will condescend, on account of the differences which exist between Irish Members to lend itself to calumny, injury, annoyance, and insult. Those who carry on newspaper work, if it is a comparatively new newspaper, instead of getting annoyance from the Board of Trade, are entitled to its protection and assistance. Instead of that being given in the case of the "Cork Free Press," which to some extent is the property of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, the Board of Trade, because it does not get any support for its Government from this organ, has seen fit to give an answer in this House which, I think, must be regretted by everybody who knows the hon. Member, who has been, so long a Member of this House. Because of these differences which exist between Ireland, and because we are unable to give support to the Government on matters like the Insurance Bill, that a Government Department should give an answer like this, and then shrink when questioned about it, is certainly to lay down a novel principle for a Department like that of the Board of Trade. A question was asked by an hon. Member about the "Cork Free Press." He asked whether the "Cork Free Press" had failed to comply with a certain statutory requirement, and on the 4th December this answer was given——


I think an apology is due to the hon. and learned Member because the President of the Board of Trade is not here. The reason is that I told my right hon. Friend that this question would be raised on Monday, and it is my mistake entirely.


Of course, once I have the assurance from the Government that this matter is due to a mistake, I will not further continue my remarks.

Question put, and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly, at Ten minutes before Six o'clock, until Monday next, 11th December.