12 AUGUST 1905, Page 2

Mr. Balfour replied in what even for him was a

speech of amazing adroitness. Mr. Asquith's questions admitted, un- fortunately, of a formal answer, and that answer was given with extreme skill. He did not attempt to justify the "panic," but he went seriatim through his critic's other points. The defeat on the Land Commission Vote meant nothing, because the question was not really at issue between the two great parties, and the Opposition had taken no interest in the merits of the debate. If the Government had resigned, they ought to have advised the King to send for Mr. Redmond. Lord Roberts, again, had spoken not as an official,

or as a member of the Defence Committee, but as an outside expert, and he had dealt with matters which belonged, not to the Defence Committee, but to the War Office. On the Redistri- bution question, he proposed to follow exactly the precedent set by Mr. Gladstone in 1884, and appoint a Recess Coramittee toreport confidentially to the Government. After that it would be transformed into a Commission with the consent of the House. On the matter of the Conference, his position was simple. The automatic Conference need not be summoned till after the opening of next Session, and he did not see any reason for limiting its discretion as to the subjects to be discussed. The Crown Colonies would be represented by the Colonial Secretary, and it was not proposed to summon Indian representatives. As to the further Conference, there was little use in the Opposition discussing that, since they had made up their minds that the Government would not win the next Election.