11 DECEMBER 1909, Page 2

Sir Edward Grey, who spoke at Leith last Saturday, said

they were in for the greatest fight that the country bad known for many a generation. Coming to the claims of the House of Lords, Sir Edward Grey contended that their inter- ference in finance could not make for liberty, and must make for reaction. It was not a mere passing issue, and the Government were resolved that after the struggle was over they would assert for ever the right of the House of Commons to be uncontrolled with regard to finance, and to establish conditions as between the two Houses which would make it possible for a Liberal Government not only to exist, but to hold office on fair and equal_ conditions. He was prepared for shorter Parliaments, but was not ready to submit to the dictation of the House of Lords, which said that when the Conservatives were in power there were to be septennial Parliaments and when the Liberals were in power there were to be triennial Parliaments. It would have been better if the Lords had reformed themselves before they took this important step, but no reform would be real unless it abolished the hereditary principle and substituted a popular election. The speech was throughout moderate in expression and fair-minded in spirit. But Sir Edward Grey spoke with less than his usual precision when he said that the Members of the House of Lords bad never themselves been before. the

constituencies. The sentence might easily be misinterpreted as disregarding the fact that many Peers have already sat in the House of Commons.