18 FEBRUARY 1905, Page 2

The debate was resumed on Wednesday by Mr. Asquith, who

moved an amendment urging that the time had now come for submitting to the people the Fiscal issue, which had been fully discussed in the country for nearly two years, Mr. Asquith, in a powerful speech, claimed that it was the Fiscal question, which the Prime Minister affected to regard as negligible and of microscopic interest, which had shattered both his Government and his party. Mr. Balfour had made no reference to the fact that Mr. Chamberlain had claimed that there was no difference in principle between them, and he challenged the Prime Minister to say did he or did he not agree with Mr. Chamberlain. Mr. Asquith then defined the two heads of Mr. Chamberlain's policy,—the abandonment of so-called Free-trade, and the creation, in the interests of federal unity and strength, of a Preferential system based on the taxation of foreign corn and flour. Mr. Chamberlain having stated that he neither accepted nor denied tha accuracy of this statement, Mr. Asquith retorted. that he regretted to see that even Mr. Chamberlain was

beginning to be infected with the poison of ambiguity, and challenged Mr. Balfour to say whether he assented to these two propositions.