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The Belfast Dispute

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 7 August 1907

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asked Mr. Speaker whether he would be in order in putting a Question of which he had given the Secretary for War private notice concerning the Belfast strike, in the absence of the Minister to whom the Question was addressed.


replied that the hon. Member could put his Question if he wished, but he was afraid he would not get any answer if there was no Minister responsible present who could answer it.

, suggesting that perhaps the Prime Minister would answer, asked whether the Secretary of State for War was aware that a large number of military troops had been turned to parade the streets of Belfast that morning and that the men had each been supplied with twenty rounds of ball cartridge; whether he would use his influence to have these soldiers withdrawn, as they only irritated the strikers and tended to render abortive all efforts to end the dispute.

SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN said he had not received any communication with regard to the information the hon. Member had just given the House, and apparently it had not been received by his right hon. friend the War Minister, or he would no doubt have been in his place to reply. In the right hon. Gentleman's absence he knew of no Minister who could answer the Question.

Am I then to understand from the Prime Minister that there is no responsible Minister present prepared to deal with this Question? It is a most serious matter.

As I understand it, the circumstances only occurred this morning; and I have had no knowledge of it at all, therefore I can hardly be expected to give an answer to the hon. Member's Question. Personally, I have no knowledge of it whatever.

If the Prime Minister cannot see his way to induce the Government to withdraw the troops, will he use his influence with the Secretary for War to get him to withdraw the ball cartridges?

[No Answer was returned.]