HL Deb 07 March 1928 vol 70 cc381-2

My Lords, a series of Questions stood upon the Paper for to-morrow in the name of my noble and learned friend Lord Carson, dealing with, or arising from, a recent decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council—[in the action of Wigg and Cochrane versus the Attorney-General of the Irish Free State]—the treatment of that decision in the Irish Free State, and an announcement made by my right hon. friend, the Dominions Secretary, in another place upon the subject. The decision of the Judicial Committee in question was one delivered on behalf of the Committee by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, whose absence from among us, and the cause of it, we all so much regret. It would naturally have fallen to my noble and learned friend to deal with any matters arising in this House from that judgment, and indeed he alone is equipped with the authority and the knowledge of this special case which would have enabled him to do so in the manner I conceive most satisfactory to your Lordships. He cannot, of course, be among us at this moment.

I discussed this matter with my noble and learned friend Lord Carson yesterday, and he was good enough to agree, in virtue of the communication which I made to him, to an arrangement under which, in the hope that it might be possible for the Lord Chancellor himself to be present at the discussion of this matter, it should be postponed for a period, not, in any event, exceeding a month. The Government feel as strongly as Lord Carson that it would not be reasonable to ask for a maximum postponement for a longer period than a month. If it should, unfortunately and contrary to our hopes, prove to be the fact that the Lord Chancellor is not able to deal with that matter in debate in this House within that period, I have been asked by my noble friend who leads the House to make such answer as the Government wish to give to the Questions which Lord Carson has asked. It only remains for me, to express my gratitude to my noble and learned friend for the consideration with which he met the views of the Government in a matter of great anxiety in the particular circumstances.