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House Of Commons Prestige (Belgium)

Volume 411: debated on Tuesday 29 May 1945

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Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[ Mr. Buchan-Hepburn.]

11.21 p.m.

I feel I cannot allow this House to adjourn on this first day of the new Government without asking His Majesty's Government whether they are aware of certain information I have and of which they should be aware. In brief, it is this. I have just returned from a visit to Belgium which I was asked to undertake by the Foreign Office to lecture to people in Belgium on the work of the British Parliament during the war. In the course of that visit, I had the honour of being entertained by the President of the Belgian Senate and the President of the Belgian House of Commons. I met a large number of Belgian deputies. I was entirely overcome by the immense reputation which this hon. House has earned in the minds of the Belgians by its conduct during the war. It is impossible to exaggerate the reputation and prestige which this House now enjoys in Belgium. The second point of which I wish to inform the Government is this—that in both Belgium and France I found it was practically impossible to make any person in all the different classes to whom I spoke understand what on earth was happening in Great Britain, where, apparently, the Government which had kept together for five years was now breaking up and its members were attacking each other from political platforms. All I wish the Government to know is this, that it appeared to be causing the greatest alarm and despondency among those millions of people on the Continent of Europe who are looking to this country for leadership, and who believe this country is the only stable and fixed point, the only anchor, in a world of chaos in which they feel they do not know what is going to happen from one week to the next. If we have a repetition of the scene we had at Question Time to-day, their alarm and despondency will be still further increased.

Question put, and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-four Minutes past Eleven o'Clock.