HL Deb 24 July 1855 vol 139 cc1330-1

wished to put a question to the noble Lord who represented the Government in that House, before they passed to the order of the day, on the subject of the creation of Mr. Roche as Baron Fermoy. Some time ago he brought under the consideration of the House the legality of that proceeding, and the point was ultimately referred to a Select Committee. He was then under the impression that the hon. Gentleman in whose favour the creation had been made would have taken the course which would have been at once most regular and most advantageous to himself—namely, that of claiming to vote for Representative Peers of Ireland, in order that the matter might be carried before a Committee of Privileges. The hon. Gentleman, however, had not taken that course, and now the Session being so far advanced, and the Judges being absent on circuit, it would be impossible to go on with the other Committee this year; but he begged leave to give notice, that unless the Government determined to take up the question themselves, or unless the hon. Gentleman in whose favour the creation had been made should assert his claim before a Committee of Privileges, he should at the very earliest period next Session move the re-appointment of the Select Committee. In the meanwhile he wished to ask the noble Earl the President of the Council whether he was prepared to give an assurance that no steps would be taken during the recess which could in any way prejudice the question as it now stood. The noble Earl was no doubt aware that the extinction of the Earldom of Mountrath had created other vacancies, and some steps might be taken in reference to those vacancies which would have the effect of rendering the present question more difficult of solution.


said, considering that the noble Earl himself had been mainly instrumental in securing the appointment of the Select Committee, he had been under the impression, as it had been the full expectation of Baron Fermoy, that the noble Earl would have taken immediate steps to have the question properly brought before the Committee, Having however waited several weeks, and finding that the noble Earl did not do so, his noble Friend Baron Fermoy consulted him on the question of exercising his right of voting for the Representative Peers of Ireland; and so bringing his claim before a Committee of Privileges: he agreed with his noble Friend in the expediency of that course, but thought it right in the first instance to take advice upon the subject from his noble and learned Friend on the woolsack. His noble and learned Friend, without venturing any opinion of his own upon the question, said it would in any event be necessary to have the assistance of the learned Judges in coming to a conclusion upon it, and therefore he persuaded his noble Friend Baron Fermoy to postpone his claim until another Session, when he fully intended to bring it before a Committee of Privileges. With regard, however, to the question which the noble Earl had put to him, he felt some little difficulty in answering it, because to some extent it affected the prerogative of the Crown; but he thought he could go the length of stating that, until the Government had had sufficient time to consider the decision of a competent tribunal upon the question, they would not advise Her Majesty to take any step in regard to these dormant peerages.