HC Deb 08 January 1913 vol 46 cc1185-6

asked, in view of Section 47 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, and of the promises of the Unionist Government in the Debates on that Act and of the Liberal Government in the Debates on the Land Act of 1909, that while Ireland should be held liable for the price of the land sold under those Acts, with interest, the bonus in excess of price should for historical and economic reasons be treated as an Imperial and not as an Irish charge, if the Prime Minister will say whether that policy is to be adhered to or reversed under the Government of Ireland Bill?


I can only endorse the reply given to a similar question by the hon. Member on Monday last, that the Government are not aware of any promise that in the event of the establishment of Irish Home Rule this charge should not be regarded as an item of Imperial expenditure in respect of Ireland; but any evidence to that effect, and any other relevant consideration, can and will be taken into account when the legislation on the question of land purchase, which the Government have promised to introduce, is being framed and discussed.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that in the Debates on the Irish Land Bill, 1903, every section of this House treated the bonus as a free Grant distinct from the price of the land for which Ireland alone would be answerable; that the Section to which I have referred is consistent with that, and that the right hon. Member for Dover, who was in charge of that Bill, still holds that the bonus was intended to be an Imperial charge?


The hon. Member must give notice of that question.