I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he will state what are the intentions of the Government with regard to land purchase in the county of Wexford, in view of the fact that in that county a large number of tenants have arranged to purchase their holdings, but that the purchase of these holdings cannot be proceeded with owing to lack of funds.
In view of the fact that time will not, in all probability, admit of any comprehensive land legislation during the present session, the Government has prepared an interim Bill to deal with the difficulty in county Wexford and with similar difficulties which may arise elsewhere. Such a Bill cannot, however, be introduced and passed unless some assurance be given that it will be discussed as an interim measure to meet an emergency.
When will the Bill be printed and circulated so that we may see its provisions?
If I can receive any assurance—I do not wish to press it too far—there will be no objection to circulate it on an early day.
The right hon. Gentleman must see that we cannot give any assurance about a Bill which we have not seen. Is the Chief Secretary's statement to be taken as a declaration of the Government's abandonment of the promise contained in the King's Speech to deal with the question of voluntary land purchase?
No, Sir. It is premature to make any statement as to the business of the House.
It has just been made.
I asked the Chief Secretary, arising out of his answer to the question on the Paper, whether the Government abandon their promise to introduce a Voluntary Land Purchase Bill.
I made no declaration. I merely alluded to a possibility.