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Autumn Session

Volume 155: debated on Thursday 15 June 1922

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May I ask the Leader of the House to be good enough to state the Business for next week, and also what is the Business for to-morrow?

To-morrow it is proposed to take the Law of Property Bill [Lords], Third Reading, and then certain Ways and Means Resolutions, which are required for the Finance Bill. After that we shall take the Government of Northern Ireland [Loan Guarantee] Financial Resolution, Telegraph [Money] Resolution, the Naval Discipline Bill [Lords], Second Reading, and the Wireless Telegraphy and Signalling Bill, Second Reading.

Next week, we propose to devote Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill.

On Thursday, we will take the Colonial Office Vote.

Friday is a Private Members' day.

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he has had the opportunity of discussing with the Home Secretary whether he will give the House an opportunity for debating the question of criminal responsibility raised by the Ronald True case. We cannot very well discuss it on the Estimates, because it would involve legislation?

No, Sir. As I came into the House I heard the right hon. Gentleman asking my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary whether the House could not discuss this matter. I have not seen my right hon. Friend since, and therefore have not had an opportunity of discussing it with him, but I say at once that, in the present state of public business, I do not see how it is possible for me to find a day for all these supplementary subjects, especially if the House wishes to rise in anything like good time having regard to the possibility—the probability—that it may have to meet again in the Autumn in respect of Irish matters. Therefore we must get on with the business that has to be completed before the Adjournment can take place.

May I ask my right hon. Friend—this is the only way I can put it—whether he is aware that we should have no objection to ask for the Home Office Vote if we could have some latitude allowed us by the Chair in respect of the discussion of this matter.

I do not quite know—it is not for me to indicate what latitude the Chairman of Committees would give under a Vote in Committee of Supply—but I conceive that it might be possible to discuss this matter, in the spirit and with the object that my right hon. Friend has in mind, on a Vote in Committee of Supply, providing he omitted to mention legislation!

In making provision for the business of next week has my right hon. Friend omitted to take into account the statement just made by the Colonial Secretary that he will next week make a very important statement on Ireland, and does the right hon. Gentleman intend that there shall not be any discussion upon that statement relating to the Constitution of the Free State, when the statement is made?

I do not think that my right hon. Friend applied to his statement the epithets that my hon. Friend is good enough to apply for him, but I think it is quite possible that a discussion on Ireland may be necessary. Anything I have said must be taken as subject to such an accident as that. At the same time, I would venture to submit that the time for us to discuss the Irish Constitution is not so much when we see the first draft of it, but when we know in what form it emerges from the Constituent Assembly in Ireland.