chapter  X
13 Pages

THE MONARCH'S PREROGATIVE OF DISMISSAL IN RELATION TO THE HOME RULE BILL

No sooner was the Parliament Act passed, than the ques-tion was raised whether it would be fair or proper to apply it to a Bill providing for the granting of Home Rule to Ireland. As to the strictly legal applicability of the Parliament Act to such a Bill, no possible question could arise. The Act operated as and from August 18th, 1911, the day upon which the King's assent was given, and thenceforward the extent of the effective veto of the House of Lords was limited by its terms. Further, as we have seen, the special motive underlying the policy of the Conservatives after the second general election of 19 10 was to secure such an amendment of the Parliament Bill as would prevent a Home Rule Bill from becoming law over the opposition of the Lords before the next ensuing general election, which would take place not later than December 1915, the maximum duration of Parliament having been reduced from seven years to five years by the Parliament Act itself. But it gradually became clear that the conditions presented by the Parliament Act, namely,· passing by the House of Commons in three successive sessions, and the lapse of two years between the first and third passing of the Bill by the House of Commons, could easily be fulfilled in relation to any Government Bill during the lifetime of the existing House of Commons. Hence it became understood, not only at the Conference proceedings of 191 1, but at the time when Lord Morley announced to the Lords the proposed exercise of the prerogative of creating Peers, that the passing of the Parliament Bill in the form desired by the Government might be followed by the passing into law in the year 1914 of a Home Rule Bill for Ireland.