HL Deb 13 July 1903 vol 125 cc376-7

My Lords, I desire to ask a Question of which I have given the noble Duke the Leader of the House private notice—whether His Majesty's Government can give any indication as to when the Second Reading of the Irish Land Bill will be taken in the House of Lords, and whether they will give an assurance that it will not be taken before August 3. I imagine that my motive in putting this question will not be misinterpreted in any way, but will be readily understood. As your Lordships are aware, an event of a particularly auspicious and gratifying character is about to take place in Ireland, and Irishmen of all classes wish to be on the spot in order to extend a welcome to their Sovereign when he visits their native country. Not content with staying in the Metropolis His Majesty wishes to visit the further portions of the country, and naturally we all desire when he goes there to extend to him a hearty welcome. There has undoubtedly been a certain amount of anxiety that, owing to the rapid progress of the Irish Land Bill in another place, it might be possible to take the Second Reading in this House rather sooner than was anticipated. This, I think, would be much regretted by noble Lords who have the misfortune to be Irish landlords, and who, I imagine, would wish to be in their places when a measure so revolutionary and of such an important character is taken in this House. It occurred to me, therefore, and my action was approved by my colleagues, that the best course would be to ask the noble Duke to give us an assurance that the Second Reading will not be taken in your Lordships' House before August 3, in order to enable those of us who have to be in Ireland on the occasion of His Majesty's visit to return and be in our places when the Second Reading is taken.


My Lords, I understand that, under present arrangements, it is thought that the Third Reading of the Irish Land Bill may be taken in the House of Commons on Monday, July 27. It is possible that that result may be arrived at later rather than earlier than the date which is now contemplated, but I believe it is not expected to be at all likely that it can be taken before Monday the 27th. I think that, in any circumstances, it would probably be convenient and desirable that a week's interval should elapse before the Second Reading is moved in this House, and especially in the circumstances which have been referred to by the noble Earl. I think the noble Earl and Irish Peers generally may confidently rely on the Second Reading not being taken before Monday, August 3.


The proposal of the noble Duke seems a desirable one to adopt. But there are other important measures to come up to your Lordships from the other House, and I would like to ask the noble Duke whether he can inform us when we are likely to receive the London Education Bill.


I will endeavour to reply to the noble Earl's Question to-morrow.