HL Deb 20 February 1882 vol 266 cc1075-6

My Lords, I think it respectful to your Lordships to state the course which the Members of Her Majesty's Government in this House intend to pursue in regard to the Committee which was agreed to be appointed on Friday last upon the Irish Land Act and the condition of Ireland. We have consulted our Colleagues, and we are of opinion that the objections stated by my noble Friend the Lord Privy Seal, and which would have been reiterated by me if the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) had attempted to answer my noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack, are of so grave a character that we should not be justified in taking any part in the constitution or in the proceedings of the Committee.


I wish to state, with reference to one remark made by the noble Earl, that the reason why I did not answer the observations of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack was that it was a quarter to 1 o'clock when he sat down, and that, in my opinion, the House preferred to go to a division; but I did not think there was anything in the argument of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack that was not sufficiently answered, in anticipation, by my noble and learned Friend behind me (Earl Cairns). With regard to the course just announced by the noble Earl on the part of the Government, it is a grave one, and, as the noble Earl is probably aware, it is entirely without precedent. I will not now express a further opinion upon it; but I can hardly think that the noble Earl looks with much satisfaction to the issue and the verdict of the inquiry, if he is unwilling to join in it in the ordinary course of Parliamentary procedure.