§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
I need not add anything to the statement which I made last week in support of the Second Reading of this Bill. I think that since that date, although the taxation proposals which I foreshadowed have aroused very considerable opposition, there has been no opposition indicated to the main principles of the Bill which is now before the House. On the contrary, I have been urged from all quarters to proceed in order to get complete control of the munitions area, and to deal with the special difficulty which exists. I trust that the House will now give the Second Reading of the Bill, and enable me to get the whole of the Bill at an early date next 1296 week, in order to proceed to cope at once with this special difficulty. There is no reference, not even a brief reference, to the taxing proposals in this particular measure. I have nothing to add to what I said in reply to the hon. Member for Cork at the present moment on the question of taxation. I stated quite clearly, I think, last week, in reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, that the Government would not proceed with anything which could be regarded as controversial by any considerable section of the House. All the negotiations which I have been conducting since then have been borne in mind, and I am very confident that after the interviews which I have had with various sections we shall be able to arrive at something which will be satisfactory, not merely to the interests concerned, but satisfactory to all those who take any particular interest in this subject. I hope that we shall be in a position in the course of to-morrow to make some definite arrangement. Had it not been for the fact that I was engaged this morning, and that I have got charge of this Bill this afternoon, I am very sanguine that negotiations would have been completed before nightfall.
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, if he is lucky enough to come to an agreement, he will have the terms of that agreement published at once without waiting until next week?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The House of Commons is always entitled to the first announcement in a matter of this kind. If the House of Commons is prepared to waive that right—[HON. MEMBERS: "NO"!]—the suggestion made can be adopted. Unless I had some sort of general assent by the House of Commons that it would not be regarded as an infringement of its right, this course could not be followed, because the matter is concerned with taxing proposals. But I should have thought that it was in the interests of everybody that the moment there is any agreement arrived at, it should be made known. I quite take the hon. Gentleman's view, because, after all, the matter is one that concerns a considerable trade, and a still more considerable public, and I think that they are entitled to know, the moment that the Government have made an arrangement, what the terms of that arrangement are. I take it that, on the whole, that is the view of the House of Commons. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Otherwise I 1297 certainly should not be in a position to publish the agreement. Subject to that I do hope that the House of Commons will accord a Second Reading to the Bill this afternoon, and there will be another opportunity on Tuesday next for going into the matter, and raising any other question, or, if the compromise arrived at be unsatisfactory, there will be another opportunity under this Bill, though, personally, I think that the subject is quite irrelevant to this Bill. But if others take a different view it is quite open to them to raise the question on the Committee stage or the Third Reading.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken precisely the course which I stated I thought he should take when the subject was under discussion. Therefore I need not say that, so far as I speak for my Friends here, we are prepared to fall in with the suggestion which he has made. I do not quite agree with him in his statement that these two subjects are irrelevant in reference to each other. I think that the question of taxes which do affect the trade, and the question of dealing with the trade are very closely connected, and I think that the proposal which I made is a very fair one, and should be carried out. That is that we should not be asked to part finally in this House with the Bill which we are discussing until we know precisely how the other matter stands. That is the position which I am prepared to take up. As regards the point which was discussed a moment ago, I think that the right hon. Gentleman has correctly interpreted the feeling of the House—that is that the view of this House as a whole must be that those who are directly affected and have a very considerable interest in this matter, and are anxious to have an arrangement made, are entitled, if such an arrangement be made, to have it made known as soon as it possibly can be made known. That will not, of course, interfere in any way with the rights of the House of Commons in regard to the matter; but I am sure that it is in the public interest, if an arrangement be come to, that everyone should know about it as soon as possible.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
As I stated on two previous occasions, taking this Bill as far as it goes at present, I am cordially in support of it, but I am in support of it as it stands. If it is to be taken as part only of the policy of the Government as disclosed the other day by the Chancellor, 1298 then I am not prepared to support the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he is very sanguine of an agreement being arrived at, and arrived at within the next twenty-four hours. Of course, I do not know what he means by the word "agreement." Does he mean by that a settlement which will meet with the support, not only of the trade, but of all sections in this House?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think so. I have said so. I said not merely of the trade, but of all those who have got an interest in this particular matter.
§ Mr. REDMOND
If the right hon. Gentleman says that he is sanguine that it will be brought about within the next twenty-four hours, I am very glad to hear it. But until I know a little more than I do at present or than I learned this morning, I must remain somewhat sceptical in the matter. And until I have some solid reason for knowing that this agreement is going to be arrived at which we can all support, I am not in favour of the Second Reading of this Bill. But I am in favour of dealing with the drink question in the way proposed in the Bill. I would be very sorry to do anything to endanger the passing of this Bill, and very sorry to do anything to delay this Bill. But the delay cannot amount to anything, because the right hon. Gentleman has only asked for the Second Reading, and he has admitted that before we come to the other stages of the Bill this question about taxation has to be settled. So no practical delay will be caused by leaving over the Second Reading until this arrangement has been come to. In fact, the question of delay cannot be raised at all. How many weeks is it since we were told of the pressing nature of this drink evil? During all the interval what has been done? Under the existing powers which the Government possess under the Defence of the Realm Act a great deal could have been done, and we know that a great deal has been done in some places to meet the necessities of the moment. Last week in Dublin where there were large movements of troops, an order was issued forbidding drink to be given to soldiers in any public-house in the whole metropolitan district. Powers of the widest kind are at present in the hands of the Government. They have not exercised these powers. Therefore it does not lie in their mouth to complain of delay between now and next Tuesday in the passage of the Second Reading of 1299 this Bill, in view of the fact that if the agreement alluded to should be arrived at in the meantime they will get the Bill just as quickly as if they had got the Second Reading to-day.
There is no good in the right hon. Gentleman saying that this Bill is not connected with the taxes. Last week he introduced this Bill in a speech which lasted for more than two hours, and I venture to say that at the very least three-quarters of that speech dealt not with this Bill at all, but with the question of taxation. The two things were put before us as a whole—as the whole object of this Bill. If the Bill stands alone, if I am told that the taxes have gone and the Bill stands alone, then I am heartily in support of it. For these reasons I think the Debate ought not to go on, but ought to be suspended until this agreement, or arrangement, has been arrived at. I do not think that we should part with any weapon we have in our power to compel the right hon. Gentleman — if to compel him is necessary—to carry out the pledge of the Government, given over and over again, namely, that no controversial legislation of a character likely to lead to embittered and prolonged controversy and opposition ought to be introduced into this House under present conditions. For these reasons I beg to move, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
§ Mr. BOOTH
I do not think it is at all safe to assume that the entire country is behind the Government with regard to this project for taking over licensed houses and managing them. There is a deep-seated residuum of feeling throughout the country which will manifest itself in due time. A very large number of very active Liberals are already beginning to make their contentions known, for they very much object to the principle of the State becoming proprietors and managers of this traffic. I warn the Government that hon. Members are being constantly approached by very influential people holding that view. I desire to raise two or three questions in regard to the Bill, and one has reference to the allied trades—maltsters, coopers, and others—
No, it is not in order. The Debate must be confined to the Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate until it is disposed of, and then the Bill may be proceeded with.
§ Mr. BOOTH
That is my point; that is why I am asking for the adjournment. This is an important question in reference to clubs, and the fact that not the slightest attention has been paid to the control and management of clubs shows that the Debate ought to be adjourned. I should have thought that the Government, of all people, would have accepted this appeal which I am making to them that further time should be given before-legislation of this description is proceeded with. I am sure that the Government are under a very great mistake if they think that the Bill is generally accepted throughout the country. If the Motion for Adjournment of the Debate is accepted, these people will then be able to make their wishes and views known, and I believe some of us desire to hear them. Therefore, I support the Adjournment of the Debate, and urge that consideration should be given to the important question of the control of clubs, which will be affected by the main Clauses of this Bill.
§ Mr. JOHN WALSH
I desire to say a few words on this question, which is most important to my Constituents. It is very extraordinary that the right hon. Gentleman should seek to carry this Bill as a whole without having given any guarantee as to what his intentions are after the passing of it. We in Ireland have had a very sad experience of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer making promises and, with his usual slight turn of the wrist, cajoling us and fitting his taxes passed upon our country with fair promises of after concessions which are never fulfilled, but upon this occassion we will not, if possible, permit him to kill the last branch of Irish industry which is left us by the British Government which he now represents. I 1301 could say some very hard things about the manner in which our country has been treated in the way of taxation by this Government, but the Motion before the House would not permit me. But on no account can I be a party to the passing of the Second Reading of this Bill until the right hon. Gentleman withdraws the Sur-tax on beer and spirits so far as Ireland is concerned.
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
I regret that this Motion for the Adjournment has been made. This Bill is of very great urgency, and on its speedy passage depends the making of adequate provision of what I may call decent conditions with regard to the supply both of food and drink for the men who are concerned in the industries on which the safety of the country at this moment depends. I think that anything that delays its passage at a moment like this is very serious indeed in the interests of the country and of the Empire. With all due respect to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford, I think the fact of the modified proposal which my right hon. Friend hopes to be able to submit in regard to taxation, and which he has said he hopes to be in a position to make known to the world in the course of twenty-four hours, really affords adequate ground for getting the Second Reading of the Bill to-day. The House will be in possession of the Bill on the Committee stage and the Third Reading stage. Whatever relevance there may be—I do not go into that question at all—between the two subjects—I do not deny-that there is a certain amount of connection between them—this Bill, on its its merits, apart from proposals of taxation, is in our own opinion urgently needed. If this were an ordinary occasion, and we were living in ordinary and normal conditions, I should ask the House not to accept the Motion for the Adjournment, but I am most anxious that all important controversy in all these matters should, as far as we can, proceed with harmony and general agreement. I do not recognise that my hon. Friend (Mr. Booth), in what he said, if he will allow me to say so with great respect, showed any connection whatever between his observations and the question now before the House. The reasons which he advanced were addressed to the merits of the Bill, and would be most appropriate on a Second Reading, but they were most inappropriate to the Motion for the 1302 Adjournment of the Debate. It is only because I am most anxious that in this, as in other things, that we should proceed by general agreement, that I make this suggestion to the House: There is a Motion standing in my name on the Paper, which I was about to more, and which has been moved regularly during the last few weeks, that the adjournment should take place until Tuesday. If I accept this Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate, I shall not submit the Motion to adjourn until Tuesday, and we shall take the Second Reading of the Bill on Monday, although I very much regret the waste of a day. I hope that the House will consent to that course, so that the actual date upon which the Bill passes on to the Statute Book will not be deferred. If that has the general approval of the House, and if the suggestion meets with general agreement, we will adopt that course.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
At a very early date the Prime Minister gave an undertaking that no contentious business, as I understood, would be proceeded with, and upon that undertaking this House forewent a very valuable privilege—namely, the right to introduce Bills—and acceded to the wish of the Government to give them the full time of the House. That, I think, involves reciprocity on the part of the Government. For my part, I thought, from what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said both to-night and the other night, that we might regard these proposals as regards beer and spirits as at an end. I cannot believe that anyone who has followed the proposals affecting taxation in Ireland, and the constant aim of all Irish Members for the last 25 years on these matters, would imagine that such an extraordinary proposal as that which the Chancellor of the Exchequer submitted would be regarded as non-contentious. What made the matter more extraordinary was the fact that according to the newspapers in Ireland the right hon. Gentleman was for days and days together in communication with the hon. Member for Waterford, the hon. Member for Belfast, the hon. Member for Mayo, and I think also—
The hon. and learned Gentleman is overlooking the fact that we are concerned only with the question of the Adjournment of the Debate, and his arguments must apply to that.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I recognise that the Member who moves the Adjournment can state the whole case, while he can truncate the case of others, which no doubt is a great advantage; but I shall bear your ruling, Sir, thoroughly in mind, and confine myself to saying that the Prime Minister must remember that for ten years, without objection, he has had the constant support of the great body of Irish Members; and it is only when what we regard as a vital attack upon our position is made, that such a Motion is made as that which has been submitted by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. Even a worm must turn, and I support the action taken to-night by the hon. Member for Waterford. He would not vote against the proposal when we divided. They have seventy-two votes, and we have only five; but they abstained from voting, and there was an uprising in Ireland, and some of his supporters would not listen to the hon. and learned Gentleman in Queen's Park.
I must remind the hon. Member that the Question is that the Debate be now adjourned.
§ Mr. HEALY
If my remarks are not revelant, it seems to me that debate is practically impossible. What I would suggest to the hon. and learned Member for Waterford is that he might temporarily agree to the withdrawal of his Motion, so that the Debate might be carried on in a reasonable and what I will call an intellectual manner, because I can assure you that there is a great deal to be said from my point of view. Therefore, while I am very glad indeed that after ten years the hon. and learned Member for Waterford has plucked up courage to make some stand on behalf of his country, I deplore very much that I cannot on this Motion point out the numerous occasions on which he has entirely failed to do so.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his recent speech on this subject said that we are fighting three enemies, Germany, Austria, and drink. I think if the Government does not proceed this afternoon the country will say that they have been defeated by drink, and in the present condition of affairs I do not think the Government ought to suffer such a humiliation.
§ Mr. JOHN DILLON
I rise for the purpose of saying a word or two in reference to what fell from the Prime Minister. Let 1304 it be clearly understood that no one on these benches desires to delay the pas sage of this Bill. The reason my hon. and learned Friend made the Motion he made was simply this. He thought, as I think, that we are entitled before we proceed to discuss the Second Reading of this Bill to have the whole plan of the Government before us. That is common sense. We have not the whole plan of the Government before us, and one of the main reasons why I felt bound to rise was this, to inform the Prime Minister that if on Monday we are still left in doubt as to the whole plan of the Government, we will be compelled to move a similar Motion. I wish to say, with regard to the observations which fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that we were all agreeably surprised at the tone of his speech, because he seemed to be extremely sanguine that he was within sight, within a few hours, of an arrangement which would satisfy all parties. But there was a very remarkable expression which fell from him, and which I confess disturbed my mind considerably, and that was when he said, when called upon to publish that arrangement to-morrow, a thing which I myself do not think would be the best policy. He said, "If the arrangement should prove unsatisfactory." How could it be unsatisfactory if it is agreed to by all parties? What I really want to know is this—
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
My hon. Friend is under the impression that I said something, and has quoted something, but I never said anything of the kind.
§ Mr. DILLON
The right hon. Gentleman said if the arrangement was unsatisfactory it could be discussed on Tuesday. [HON. MEMBERS: "Satisfactory!"]
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The point I put was this, that if the hon. Gentleman was not satisfied with whatever arrangement was made, and it is not for me to say what he considers satisfactory, and if he thought that the arrangement was not satisfactory he could discuss it.
§ Mr. DILLON
That is exactly what I said. Then what we are to understand is that an arrangement is contemplated unsatisfactory to the hon. and learned Member for Waterford and to the other hon. Gentleman who sits on these benches. Is that an arrangement, and an arrangement with whom? Is there to be an arrangement with the Opposition in this House 1305 or behind the back of the House with some people outside the House? I really do not think the publication of an arrangement, unless it was an arrangement to which all responsible parties in this House were parties, during the interval of Friday or Saturday next would be at all a satisfactory business, because there would be no security at all that it would be an arrangement in the sense which we understood, and which, at least, I, personally, understood was pointed to by the opening sentence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is now perfectly manifest from his interruption that he contemplates the possibility of an arrangement unsatisfactory at least to the Members on these benches. In honesty, we must tell the Government and tell the Prime Minister that if that be so, and if the arrangement is unsatisfactory, we shall be just in the same position on Monday as we are now, our object being not to delay this Bill by a single hour or a single day, but to get from the Government a statement to which, I think, the House is entitled. We have surely drifted into a very queer way of doing business. I do not blame the Government; it was inevitable. But, under the circumstances that have prevailed in this House for the last year, business is done in a way which really is wholly unsuitable to any business about which there are serious differences of opinion. After six months of that procedure the Government slips into a method which is quite inconsistent with the tradition and practice of this House. If the Government depart from the understanding and arrangement that has governed our proceedings for the last eight months, they must revert to the old procedure if they are going to bring in contentious business which will lead to debate and division.
The Prime Minister spoke very seriously of the great desirability of getting this Bill through immediately. There is a very simple method by which it can go through to-night, and that is by dropping these taxes. It looks rather suspicious that we should hear from the Prime Minister himself mention of modified proposals under this arrangement. I do not know what modified proposals mean. Does it mean modified taxes, because, if it does, I am afraid we will be just in the same position on Monday as regards the taxes as we were. Therefore, I say, if this Bill is delayed by this Motion, the responsibility does not lie on us. We do 1306 not desire to interpose any obstacle in the way of the Government in applying a remedy to this evil, whether it be so great as has been alleged or not, and I very much doubt if it is so. We desire to place no obstacle in the way of applying the remedy and to make no delay in applying that remedy, but we hold that the taxes which were proposed are no remedy and have no relation to it, and if the Government are really in earnest in trying in this proposed Bill to apply an effective remedy as speedily as possible, they can do so by the simple method of dropping the taxes, when all parties in this House will co-operate.
§ Sir ROBERT WILLIAMS
I am profoundly disappointed at the course the Debate has taken within the last few minutes. Not very long ago we had the Prime Minister getting up and saying that this Bill was very necessary. He went on to say that if any proposals that might be made or adhered to were found to clash with this Bill there would be plenty of time for readjusting them; or, in other words, that was a pledge from him that time would be given for the readjustment. He pointed out that the Bill was necessary, and that the only way he would suggest to meet the demand of several hon. Members was to propose an extra Parliamentary day. I should have thought that the House of Commons, every part of it, would not have desired to add to the burden of the Prime Minister, or of the Government, by asking them to give another day out of their strenuous labours to come down to the House of Commons. I should have thought, after that speech was made, and I expected that the hon. and learned Member for Waterford would have said, "We cannot cause the Prime Minister or the Government any extra burden, and we will accept his assurance that there will be plenty of time afterwards for discussions." I am profoundly disappointed that that opportunity has been lost of making it quite clear that the House of Commons, as a whole, is waging this War, and that when we are at war it means that we are prepared to enable the Government to fight it as they ought to be able to do.
§ Mr. LOUGH
I should like to thank my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister for the generous spirit in which he has met the Motion made by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond). I really do not think the matter ought to be further discussed—[An HON. MEMBER: 1307 "Sit down, then!" and Laughter.] I am glad I have brought the House into good humour again. I need hardly say I am not going to discuss the question at any length, but I will say everything that appears to me to be necessary to be said on the subject. I think the hon. Member who has just sat down, and perhaps one or two of my right hon. Friends in the Government, have not paid sufficient attention to the friendly spirit in which the hon. and learned Member for Water-ford moved the Motion for Adjournment. He did not say one word against the Bill "that is before us. He promised the Bill his most hearty support. He even explained that the Bill would not be delayed in any way by the acceptance of the Motion for Adjournment. I do not think we ought to pass the Second Reading of a Bill when we have been told that some arrangements which this House ought to make are going to be made behind the back of the House. It is before Parliament those arrangements, which are to please everybody, should be made, and we ought to hear them in the first instance. Under those circumstances I entirely sympathise with the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in asking for the Adjournment. I think the Prime Minister has met the Motion in an excellent spirit, and I venture humbly to appeal to the House to accept it.
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
What has decided me to vote for the Amendment is the expression "modified," which was used by the Prime Minister. He distinctly hinted that any agreement that might be come to might be a mere modification of the Sur-tax proposals. The only possible modification that can satisfy us or satisfy Ireland is the abandonment pure and simple of those Sur-taxes in their entirety, both for whisky and beer. This afternoon I pressed the Chancellor of the Exchequer to relieve the intense anxiety in Ireland by saying "yes" or "no" to what nearly all the London newspapers, whether rightly or wrongly, agree in saying that these, taxes are dead. The right hon. Gentleman did not contradict that statement. Let him only say that the newspapers are right—
If I permitted the hon. Gentleman to continue the argument, that would open up a whole Debate on the question of the merits, and that would not be in order on the Motion for Adjournment.
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
I am not going to go into any details irrelevant to this Motion, and I am certainly not going over one-tenth of the ground the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) was allowed to go. I simply want to make one observation, which I insist is perfectly in order, in reference to whether or not this Debate is to go on. Let the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether that statement is true. If it is true, there is an end of the matter, and there is peace so far as we are concerned. If it is not true, there can be nothing but war.
§ Mr. ROCH
I am sorry that we are not able to proceed with this Bill to-day. As one who has listened to the whole Debate, I cannot perceive what reason has been given for the adjournment. So far as I can understand, the hon. and learned Member fer Waterford declared that he had no objection to the Bill, but was strongly in favour of it. I do not appreciate the point of view from which he moves the adjournment of a Bill of which he is strongly in favour.
§ Mr. ROCH
As I understand, the hon. and learned Member is in favour of this Bill, but he is against certain taxation proposals. I fail to see the logic of the hon. and learned Gentleman not allowing this Bill to go through at once and then carrying on his opposition to perfectly separate proposals. I should have thought that it would have suited the convenience of all to have proceeded with the Bill as arranged, and then—
§ Mr. ROCH
I think there is general agreement in the House that we cannot 1309 pass any proposals to which there is widespread objection. Hon. Members would therefore be perfectly safe in letting this Bill, of which they are in favour, go forward, relying upon that common good feeling and general understanding that proposals to which there is real opposition in all or most quarters of the House will be modified or withdrawn. For that reason I hope that we shall proceed with this Bill to-day.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I cannot let the statement of the Prime Minister go by without quite respectfully entering my protest. The right hon. Gentleman said that this Bill was absolutely essential in the interest of the safety of the country and in order that the War should be carried on as vigorously as possible. The assumption behind that is that the Government believe largely in the statements contained in the White Paper issued last Sunday. Speaking for myself, I absolutely disagree with that reason. If the Government come along and say that this Bill is essential, the position of our party, at any rate as far as I am concerned, is that the Government must take the responsibility for the Bill itself. You cannot get away from the fact that this Adjournment Motion does bring us to the question of the Sur-taxes. After all, we must understand the motive behind the Sur-taxes on whisky and beer and behind this Bill. I suggest that if some declaration could be made now upon the question of the Sur-taxes, it would make the position much easier and enable the Government to get their Bill without opposition.
§ Mr. COWAN
I hope I am in order in supporting the suggestion which has been made. In any case, although I see no objection to the adjournment of the Debate, I am surprised that Members should be willing to ignore the appeal made by the Prime Minister. Still, seeing that under present circumstances legislation can only go through by agreement, I feel that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had better recognise that he cannot carry these taxes in face of opposition from the Irish Benches. I think, therefore, that he would do well to withdraw them, especially seeing that he says they are not intended to raise revenue, and provide some 1310 other means of encouraging the use of light beers and discouraging the use of spirits.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I am sure the Prime Minister will admit that from the day when he made his appeal to all classes and sections in the Empire no class has responded with such promptitude and courage as the Irish—not only the Irish in other parts of the world, but the Irish in Ireland. Nor does the appeal which he makes to these benches this afternoon fall on deaf ears. But that appeal should be made, not to us, but to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is very easy to secure this Bill, which the Prime Minister says is vital to the interests of the State, by the right hon. Gentleman declaring here and now that we have heard the last of the taxes in which nobody believes but the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. The right hon. Gentleman said the other day:The House of Commons may depend upon it that no personal pride shall stand for one moment between the accomplishment of unity and the purpose which we have in view.May I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to put that declaration into practice? He will not get these taxes without the most bitter and violent opposition.
I have several times said that if I allow such statements the whole question will have to be open for discussion. The present Debate must be confined to the question of Adjournment.
May I suggest that you appeal to the hon. Member for Waterford to withdraw his Motion, so that the Member for West Belfast may proceed?
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I recognise, which the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. T. Healy) does not, that this is the Imperial Parliament and not a circus; therefore I proceed to deal with a matter of vital concern to Ireland, apart altogether from the position which the hon. and learned Member, despised by his own nation, occupies here to-day.
That statement has nothing to do with the question before the House. The question is, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned accordingly; to be resumed upon Monday next (10th May).