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'Mr Asquith, who was given a great" ''."reception, declared, ; that the recent by- 1 S elections-indicated' no change .as regards the attitude of the electorate '.towards Home Rule. , A dissolution would be useless., It would reduce the Parliament Act to a nullity and might Vesult in a condition of stalemate, if Opposition were victorious they 1 would be faced with the problem of governing an Ireland in which. threefourths of the people would be bitterly disappointed. He asked whether, if the Liberals gained a majority at an election, Ulster would lay down its arms. There was no reason why Ulster should change its opinions because a number of British electors,-imperfectly informed on Irish affairs and more interested in the land question, tariff reform, or the Insurance Bill, chose to say so. He asked the Opposition if they would give a guarantee that the measure if approved by the \ electorate, should pass into law.

Sir Edward Carson: Will you drop Home Rule?

Mr Asquith replied: " Thero is no parity between the two positions. You' control the Lords. If the matter can be settled by something in the nature of a general agreement it is much better that it should be settled here and now." He regretted that the conversations with Mr Bonar Law had failed to reach an agreement, foit he did not despair of the possibility of a settlement being attained. He thought tlw passage of the King's .Speech was echoed in every corner of the House.

Mr Asquith said he was not even going to pronounce final judgment against the exclusion of Ulster, though even the Opposition regarded it as undesirable. It only, means the escape from more formidable evils. Personally he favoured Sir Horace Plunkett's plan of including Ulster with the option of exclusion after a time. Mr Asquith conicluded by saying that any concessions must be regarded as the nrice of peace. By this he did not mean avoidance of civil strife, but peace would enable the Irish Government to start in -an atmosphere which would give it. a fair chance > of working successfully. ,He could not believe the country was reduced to such insolvency of statesmanship that it could not with an honest mind and goodwill avoid .the evils and dangers ahead. Directly the necessary financial business was completed, the Government would put forward suggestions to secure a settlement.

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Bibliographic details

MR ASQUITH IN REPLY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8792, 12 February 1914

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MR ASQUITH IN REPLY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8792, 12 February 1914

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