Sir Edward Grey, speaking at Belford on Friday week, defined
the issue with his habitual frankness and moderation. Tariff Reformers, he observed, had apparently realised that they were getting the worst of the argument, because they bad now begun to talk of other things, like Home-rule and the Empire, raising them as scarecrows to obscure the political view. On the other hand, the Liberals were fighting the Election on Free-trade, and if they wanted to bring up another Home-rule Bill they would have to get another and a special mandate from the country. He held that every one who voted for Free-trade was entitled to ask that his vote should not be used to revert to the position of 1885, and he
had no hesitation in assuring them that the votes given for Free-trade would not be used to introduce Home-rule. But even if the Liberal Government did introduce a Home- rule Bill, it would take a whole Session to pass it, and then the House of Lords would throw it out. Sir Edward Grey's assurances on the subject of Home-rule could not be more explicit, as they are neither more nor less than a formulation of the conditions on which his retention of office depends.