§ 45. Mr. PIRIE
asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been drawn to the statement made by the Prime Minister of Canada that His Majesty's Ministers, as also the Leaders of the Opposition, have explicitly accepted the principle that, in view of recent developments, the great Overseas Dominions should necessarily be entitled to share in the responsibility for the direction of Imperial policy; and whether, in view of the desirability of obtaining a settlement by consent of the constitutional changes involved by the passing of the Government of Ireland Bill, the Government will consider the possibility of summoning this year a Conference of representatives of all nationalities and political parties of the United Kingdom to reconsider the inseparable problems of Home Rule and the constitution and the powers of a Second Chamber, with the possibility of strengthening that 1000 Chamber in an Imperial sense by the admission of representatives of the Overseas Dominions duly elected by those Dominions?
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
Much as I should welcome a settlement of these matters by consent, I fear that the proposals made by my hon. Friend would not be practicable at the present moment.
§ Mr. PIRIE
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that the speech of Mr. Borden, from which this statement is an extract, concluded with these words: "This question of Imperial responsibility closely affects the future destinies of the Empire, and however difficult the task may be, it is not the part either of wisdom or statesmanship to evade it"?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Yes, but not to take any particular step at any particular moment. The whole question requires most careful consideration.