Redmond pleads with Nationalist MPs to attend House of Commons

Fears are voiced about the Government's House of Commons majority

Published: 31 July 1913

John Redmond has made an impassioned plea to his fellow nationalist MPs to continue to attend Westminster as the current Parliamentary Session enters its last three weeks.

Attendance at votes in the House of Commons has declined in recent weeks and the Tory Party has made a concerted effort to exploit this fact. The Tories called a ‘snap division’ on the War Office vote and, when the votes were counted, the government majority was reduced to just 33 votes.

After the verdict was announced, members of the Tory Party jeered the government with taunts of ‘Saved by the Irish’. They, in turn, were mocked by Liberals and Nationalists as they filed out of the chamber.

Sensing the potential for the government to be defeated in the coming weeks, Mr. Redmond said: ‘It would be indeed a strange anti-climax to the magnificent and unprecedented attendance of the Irish Party this year if defeat were brought about by any weakness on our part during the last few days or hours of the Session.’

Mr. Redmond noted that the Tories were openly expressing their confidence in the Lobby of their ability to beat the government and he pleaded with his colleagues to ensure that this did not happen.

John Redmond, the Irish leader, has pleaded with his parliamentary colleagues to continue attending the House of Commons as the end of the current session nears.
(Image: National Library of Ireland, MS 9496)

Away from Westminster, Sir Edward Carson is continuing his campaign of opposition to Home Rule with a tour of Ulster. Speaking at the Six Road Ends, near Bangor in Co. Down, where he inspected the North Down Division of the Ulster Volunteer Force, he was received with a nine-gun salute. The shots from the cannon were greeted with huge cheering from the thousands assembled.

There was further cheering when Sir Edward Carson told the crowd: ‘I am proud of leading the finest community that ever turned out to resist the most damnable conspiracy that has ever been arranged against a free-born country.’

Praising the Ulster Volunteer Force, he continued: 'I tell the Government, such as it is, and I tell Mr. Asquith, the slave of Mr. Redmond, that they are living in a Fool’s Paradise if they imagine that we are all out here for mere play.’

Later, at a rally in West Belfast, Sir Edward Carson told the crowd: ‘We are determined that if the Government persist in this policy of Home Rule, we are resolved on the day that the bill is put upon the statute book to set up our own government – to fight it to the end.’

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