Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
I would merely make one second point, turning from Clause 1 (1, b) to the other provision in the Bill by which the citizens of Eire are not to be considered as foreigners. I simply want to emphasise one point which has not bulked very large in the Debate so far. During the 19th century the population of this island multiplied by about four. On the other hand, the population of Ireland during the same period declined somewhat and yet there was not much to choose between the birth rates of the two islands. The answer was of course that there was a vastly higher proportional emigration from Ireland. The fact is sometimes overlooked that in the new countries of the world there, is a vastly different proportion between the people of English origin and Irish origin from that which exists in these islands. The Irish are a very much more important factor in the populations of the new Dominions, particularly in Australia, than in this part of the world. One of the great problems of those countries is to keep the irrelevant Irish issue out of their domestic politics. There is a big improvement in Dominion opinions on this problem since British politics ceased to be dominated by Irish issues. I was in New South Wales 25 years ago at the time of a General Election and the General Election turned almost entirely upon arguments about the rights and wrongs of the Black and Tans and Irish politics, which was both an unnatural and, I think, an evil state of affairs.One of the great good consequences of the Irish question no longer being the predominant question of British politics has been a very great decline of an unpleasant sectarianism in the politics of the Dominions. It is of vital importance that a policy should be pursued, if it can be pursued, by which there will be no temptation to reintroduce sectarianism into the politics of such countries as Australia. It is of great importance that we should go hand in hand with the great Dominions in this matter. It was my understanding, and I hope I shall prove right, that we are pursuing parallel policies with the Dominions. When first the question of citizenship was raised, it was announced that these rights of citizenship would be granted in this country and in the Dominions. I hope that is the understanding, but I also hope the Lord President of the Council will give categorical answers tonight to the questions about the attitude of the Dominions which were addressed to him by my right hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) and the hon. Member for Platting. I think it of supreme importance that everyone should be absolutely clear where we stand and that our policy is going hand in hand with the policy of the Dominions. In general, as one who has spent many of the happiest times of my life in Southern Ireland, it is a very great grief to me that this question should come up at all in this form. There seems a lack of proportion about it which in many ways is extraordinarily unbalanced. One of the greatest challenges to the whole fabric of the European civilisation that history has known has come up in these days and in every other country of the world that challenge has come to a nation that has to some extent itself been infected by the philosophy of the challenge. The Irish are the only people who have not been infected and that is true of the Irish of the North, as well as the Irish of the South. If ever there could be a challenge in which one would hope Ireland would have found her true unity and her finest hour, it would be in resistance to that challenge. It seems a supreme tragedy that on the very battlefield of Armageddon, people should find something no more important to talk about than the county council elections in Tyrone or the alleged misdemeanours of Cromwell 300 years ago. The problem seems sadly out of proportion to me and seems out of proportion to the great majority of the Irish race who live outside the island of Ireland. We must never forget that the Irish are a great imperial race spread over the world and that only a small minority of them live in Ireland. My great fear is that if these matters are not wisely handled, there will be a growing divorce between the Irish of Ireland and of the rest of the world. It would be a great tragedy if that happened. In this very difficult situation, and reserving the right with my hon. Friends to examine details of the Bill, I consider that the Government have pursued the wisest course in bringing in the Bill, and I give it my support.
My sole excuse for intervening in this Debate is that I have lived for upwards of 30 years in Ireland. I claim to speak with some intimate knowledge of what has happened in that time. I have known many tempers lost, many border battles fought, a great deal of intemperate language used, but I hope that it is not part of my purpose tonight to add it. I agree with the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) that a great deal is said about the Irish problem and many stories told which are as old as:
I should like to think that many hon. Members on all sides of the House would try to get the present objective facts as far as they can be obtained. I hope my contribution to the Debate will be in that factual way. I have equally many friends south of the border, politically and otherwise, whom I much admire, and therefore I am very surprised to find that the coercive, almost rebellious, language used yesterday in the Dail should be spoken as representing the mood of the Southern Irish people. That is not the mood of the ordinary man in the Irish street, as I happen to know him. I feel we must ask the Southern Irish to deal with this matter in a much more temperate way. The contentious Clause of this Bill which worries many of my hon. Friends is Clause 1, particularly subsection (1, b). I believe from my knowledge of Northern Ireland, where I was only last week, that that Clause represents the mood of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland. It is not my evidence which may be taken but the evidence of the last election. That election, as hon. Members will know, was fought on one issue and one issue only—"The harp that once through Tara's halls."
It was fought on the question of partition. The Northern Ireland Parliament is not of the political colour of which I approve, but I accept it as representing the will of the people. The election resulted in the return of a Unionist Government with a vaster majority than ever before, and remember, the election was fought on the one issue of partition. I believe that election represents the mood of the people of Northern Ireland at the present time. To hear some of my hon. Friends speaking this afternoon one would assume that even now in Northern Ireland every Protestant votes Unionist and every Catholic Nationalist. That may be so in some country areas in Northern Ireland, but if one analyses the figures of elections in the Belfast constituencies it will be found quite impossible for the Protestants only who voted Unionist to have registered the number of votes by which their candidates were returned. It is quite clear that many Catholics in the Belfast constituencies this time voted for partition.I think the reason is very clear. Many people of both religions in Northern Ireland recognise that to go in with Southern Ireland would mean the loss of many of the social services they now enjoy and in some industries of the good wages they earn in Northern Ireland. Hon. Members may not be aware of the great disparity which exists between the social services in Northern Ireland and those in Southern Ireland. I will give but one example. There are contributory old age pensions in Northern Ireland of 26s. and 36s. a week; there are none at all in Southern Ireland. Indeed, our health services, for which we fought so much in this House, and which apply to Northern Ireland, do not apply in the same degree in Southern Ireland. I regret the dilemma in which the Tory Members from Northern Ireland have been placed. They come to this House and, following the lead of the Opposition Front Bench, they vote against these services; but the Northern Ireland Government knows on which side its bread is buttered and it applies them. Indeed, the workers of Northern Ireland know that, and they vote for the Unionist Party there.
True to their principles.
The Northern Ireland elections were the easiest elections for a party in power ever to win. They were won, in my opinion, by the action of the Southern Irish, who did but one thing: they collected subscriptions at the chapel doors in every town in Southern Ireland for the purpose of supporting Nationalist candidates in Northern Ireland. The reaction of the Northern Ireland people was that this was an unwarranted intrusion into their affairs. Those electors who might have abstained, certainly did not do so after that.
No one was defeated except Labour.
I am going to talk about the Labour Party in a moment.The second thing that helped the Northern Ireland Government was the intrusion of the Eire Labour Party, which refused to support their comrades in the North of Ireland who were taking a constitutional view on the border issue. Members of the Eire Labour Party stepped in as candidates and further split the Labour vote in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Labour Party, unfortunately, was blotted out in that election. Its reputation, I regret to say, on this issue has been wobbly. I am on record over a period of years in telling the Northern Ireland Labour Party that they must make their position clear on this constitutional issue. Although it is now rather late to decide, they have now come out into the open and declared their constitutional solidarity with the British Labour Government on this issue. The Northern Ireland Labour Party is now pursuing a policy which clearly defines its support of the border. As a result, it has broken with the Nationalists for the first time in its history; secondly, it has broken with the Eire Labour Party; and thirdly, and only a few days ago, it expelled those members in its party who belonged to the Anti-Partition League. That is the Northern Ireland Labour Party, which wholeheartedly supports us in this Government and which we on this side of the House ought also wholeheartedly to support. Is it not evident that these members of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, these workers of Northern Ireland, ought to know the Ulster situation and the Ulster mind on this matter? They have taken their decision and I believe they have done the right thing. This border issue has vitiated Labour politics in Northern Ireland for a generation. Hon. Members who do not agree with me must ask themselves this question; why is it that in Northern Ireland we have some of the best organised trade union branches representing almost 100 per cent. membership, and yet they vote Unionist? Quite clearly, this partition issue has vitiated Labour politics in Northern Ireland. These are the men on the spot, who have the right to decide their own future. This is a matter which concerns me personally. I have in my possession a parchment belonging to my deceased father, who was an old and, I believe, trusted trade unionist, a branch officer for many years in the A.E.U. in Northern Ireland. As long ago as 1913, when Home Rule politics in Northern Ireland were very violent, he joined the Ulster volunteers. He undertook in that parchment to fight to the death if need be for the preservation of the liberties of the Northern Ireland people. There are many in Northern Ireland today, good workers and trusted trade unionists, who would equally sign a declaration in those terms. In face of a threat to force Northern Ireland out of the Commonwealth, hundreds of thousands of Northern Irish workmen would rally to the cause and defend the border. They would fight now as they were prepared to fight in 1913 and 1914 for their right of self-determination. The Bill gives them no other right than that; the right to determine what their future shall be through their freely elected Parliament. If this Clause were new I could understand the concern of some of my hon. Friends. I was bold enough to intervene during the speech this afternoon of my hon. Friend the Member for Platting (Mr. Delargy) to point out that this Clause, in almost identical language, was inserted in the Government of Ireland Act, 1920. Then it was not considered, apparently, that it was perpetuating partition, because in that Act machinery was set up to bring North and South together. The Council of Ireland was a most useful idea; it was to consist of 13 members of the lower House and seven senators from both North and South, making 40 in all, meeting together to discuss kindred problems. In time it could have broken down Irish disunity. Regrettably, the Southern Ireland Parliament never met as envisaged, the Irish Free State came into being and the Council of Ireland was never set up. At that time, however, it was hoped that disunity would end through that machinery. With this Clause of a similar nature, I see no reason why—if in the fullness of time the people of North and South can come together—partition should be perpetuated. I hope that such is the movement of international affairs that both the South and the North of Ireland may find themselves united in a wider political integration than that of Ireland alone. I hope that they might find a community of purpose in a Western European union. If they can agree to that, it may well be that we shall break down some of these problems that have disturbed Irish life for so long. It surprises me that in the 16 years in which Mr. de Valera was in office partition did not become a burning issue. Indeed, Mr. de Valera was a wise enough statesman to know that only at election times need he tilt at the windmill of the border. He was not alone. The other parties flew their flags at the border. Back in office again, Mr. de Valera took no constitutional step whatever apart from the 1936 Act.
Is it not the case that Mr. de Valera took the all-important step of declaring that his Government was "the Government of Ireland" and accordingly gave it the Gaelic name of Eire?
It was quite clear that in that Act Mr. de Valera used that title, but he did nothing more about it to bring about the machinery which would create the reality of the change of which he was making only a myth. It seems to me that Mr. de Valera, now out of office, finds himself looking for an opportunity to get back into power. He thinks that this border issue is the royal—I suppose that I should say "republican"—road hack to power. Now, the Southern Ireland Coalition Government finds itself competing with Mr. de Valera, out-doing "Dev." for electoral favours. If I may say so, having met some of them, many of the statesmen in power in Southern Ireland are new men, men of little experience, who show that inexperience by rushing into this Irish problem where political angels have feared to tread.
They should have called in the hon. Gentleman.
The Irish question, as my hon. Friend knows perfectly well, has been the graveyard of many political hopes.I believe the Southern Ireland Government would be well advised to accept this Bill, which is only a recognition of the status quo. They should then endeavour to establish good economic and cultural relations with the North and forget about the bogy of the border. I believe that their threats should be withdrawn, Certainly I think that we in this House will continue to receive them calmly as, I am glad to note, we have done this afternoon. If they are not satisfied that their case is being properly heard, they can always have recourse to the forum of the United Nations. If their case is submitted there, I have not the slightest doubt what the decision will be. The Labour Government have kept faith with both Northern and Southern Ireland. This Bill enshrines the decision of Southern Ireland to go its Republican way and gives it, at the same time, favoured-nation treatment in the 'going. This Bill also acknowledges the right of Northern Ireland to go its own way and no British Government, least of all this one, can ever sacrifice Northern Ireland on the altar of Southern demagogy. If the people of Northern Ireland under a Tory or Socialist Government continue to say, "No surrender," then it is our duty in this House to support them in the name of British democracy.
I am quite sure that the Tory Party in this House will be delighted with the speech which we have just heard, for it might well have been made from the Northern Ireland jungle.In this Measure that is being proposed tonight I find myself in agreement with a large number of hon. Members and with most of the Bill, in attempting to rectify a number of anomalies that are bound to exist upon the declaration of the Republic of Ireland. At the same time I have a fundamental objection to the Clause that stabilises one of the most reactionary and repressive Governments that we have known in Western Europe. It makes permanent the rule of tyranny in government because that Government have employed the whole of their political power for their own economic and financial gain, and they have used the fear that exists between Northern and Southern Ireland of the danger of some form of religious tyranny and repression. I admit frankly as a realist that there may have been a time when the people in Northern Ireland might have feared Southern repression and intolerance, but they have failed to realise that as time marches on, and as by education the minds of men broaden, the possibility of intolerance and oppression on a religious basis is largely being narrowed and eliminated. The very repression and intolerance of which they complained in their initial propaganda in the North, they have themselves developed, and they have evolved an intolerant machine which represses every minority within their borders in the name of freedom and religion. I can see the drift that is taking place of which the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. Haire) spoke. Harry Midgley went along that precise road. He saw that to be associated with any form of national struggle by the minority in Northern Ireland might put him for a time into the political wilderness, and he went along the road of association with the Unionist Party in Ireland and found himself latterly standing as a Unionist Orange candidate at the last election.
I am sure my hon. Friend, would not wish to do me an injustice, and I hope he will not do Mr. Harry Midgley an injustice. Let it be said that Harry Midgley broke with the Northern Ireland Labour Party and formed a Commonwealth Labour Party because of the border issue.
No, that is not the history, although I do not propose to go completely into it here tonight. I spoke with Midgley and with others who know the country. He evolved into the Tory camp because it was the logical road he was travelling at the time. I am depressed at the thought that a Labour Government are laying it down in this Bill that there is to be a permanent estrangement between the North and the South. With the coming of the Labour Government and with the political advance of India, Burma, Egypt, Palestine and other places, I had hoped that they would use their good offices to try to bring about a solution to this problem, and not to give it up by a hopeless surrender to Tory politicians in the North, as they are doing tonight.Therefore I deplore the fact that Mr. Costello declared for a republic. History will prove that Mr. de Valera is a more astute politician than Mr. Costello, that he has seen the danger that cutting the knot by a declaration of a republic would produce the very result we see tonight, of driving us along the most dangerous road in the history of Ireland. Mr. Costello got power by the political change which was going on, and within his ranks are men who have declared for closer association with this country—for example, Mr. Dillon—who defended the country in the war period and wanted Ireland to support this country in the war. Now they associate themselves with the complete out-and-out Republican idea. It has produced results which probably they never anticipated. My view is that Mr. de Valera saw these dangers but has now come to the rescue of Mr. Costello because Irish opinion is being driven, along this road of wanting a united Ireland. When people talk in this House about the bitterness of the Southern Irish, I am staggered. There has been nothing but repression, terror and brutality imposed on these people by Englishmen who are annoyed because the Irish have developed a hatred for them. I admit that they have never forgiven the English politicians or the English people in the way in which the Scots have done. I myself am in the position that my father was an Irishman and my mother was a Scotswoman, and both were born in English-occupied countries. Therefore I know the result of that repression and the struggle that goes on within me between the political sanity of the Scots race and the open antagonism and unforgiveness of the Irish race. I am only to blame because I am a kind of cross-breed. In a sense the Irish people are struggling for an ideal. What is that ideal? A united Ireland. What is wrong with a struggle for a united Ireland any more than for a united England, Scotland or Wales? There is nothing wrong with it at all, and we should be using all our talents to try to bring these two sections together. If it is right for Northern Ireland people to claim that they should have independence from the South, then it is right for the other areas, such as those represented by the two hon. Members in this House who have a Nationalist majority, to have a complete severance from Northern Ireland on the same basis. I have made inquiries all over Southern and Northern Ireland. When I have, in Southern Ireland, put the question to people who have not the religious faith of Mr. de Valera and Mr. Costello, "Have you any fear of repression on religious grounds in this country?" they have all laughed at the thought. But if I asked the same question in Northern Ireland I had overwhelming evidence of it, and of the gerrymandering of constituencies to maintain the present dominant party in permanent political power. I have seen the possibility of gradually evolving a state of affairs, for example, through the good offices of the British Government and the United Nations, whereby Northern and Southern Ireland could both have been granted their Parliamentary rights and have a Parliament, that there might be a senate on a federal basis operating in Ireland, and that both parts of Ireland might, on that basis, have maintained Dominion status in the Comonwealth, which would have given them complete liberty of action in their own country. The border could in time have been gradually eliminated as intelligence and reason evolved in the Irish people themselves. To make the present position something permanent is the most unwise thing that I have seen the Labour Government do during their period of office. I know the good things that this Government have done, but to come here now and in response to the demand of the Northern Ireland Tory reactionaries—this element in Northern Ireland which is second only to the Nazi power in the deeds which it has perpetrated in Northern Ireland—
Do not talk such nonsense.
to hand over the entire people of Northern Ireland to that junta permanently is a criminal action on the part of the Labour Government.All my life my aim has been to see a united Ireland. I heard the Leader of the Opposition in Glasgow in the election in 1910, when he swept the whole of Britain in favour of a united Ireland. When the Liberal Party had played with the votes of the Irish people they never carried out the policy which they had put before the electors. We are suffering today from those failures, for the way they made playthings of Irish politics and the voters of this country. I am sure that the Labour Government will come to regard this as one of the worst Bills which they have ever tried to put through this House, and unless there is a pledge to eliminate from the Bill the Clause to which I have been referring, I shall oppose the Bill and vote against it.
I thought, Mr. Speaker, that it was very appropriate that Black Rod should enter the Chamber in the midst of an Irish Debate. When you were leading the Members of the Government and the Members of the Opposition into another place one could have wished that you were leading the Members of the Northern Ireland Government, and the Members of the Dail, who had agreed again to become part of the United Kingdom.A great deal has been said about victimisation of the minority and the lack of good will. I hold the position of Lord Mayor of Belfast, and anything that I have to say will be said with the knowledge that I have to return to my position and that I shall have to account for anything wrong which I have said. In the Belfast Corporation we have 60 members—47 Unionists and 13 Labour and Nationalist members. They are now facing an election. All those 13 members approached me and expressed their thanks for the way in which they had been received and the help which they had been given to carry out their work. In addition, they expressed their thanks for the friendships made and regretted that owing to divisions in the Labour Party some of them could not return. I am also a member of the Belfast City and District Water Commissioners, a publicly elected body of 15 members, 13 of whom are Unionists and two Nationalists. Within the last five years those two Nationalists—100 per cent, of them—have been chairmen, and one of them is this year in the chair for the second time. I give these facts only to prove that there is very little victimisation there, and that on the contrary there is evidence of good will. In local authority work in Belfast we have without doubt had nothing but good will amongst all sections who have undertaken that work. Unfortunately I cannot end there; it would be nice if I could do so, but we have the professional politician, who enters into the Debates, and for some reason uses arguments which widen the gap between the people of Ireland rather than narrow it. These people should be more careful and should try to say something to encourage good will, because the foundation is there. It only requires these people, some of whom have spoken this afternoon to remember that what they have said will injure rather than help the cause which we all have in mind. Threats of force and propaganda will not solve our problem. Surely it would be better to restore confidence in the spoken and written word, for there to be less looking back to alleged wrongs, for the creation of good will by social and business intercourse, for the return of friendliness towards Great Britain by the Irish Republic without attached conditions, and freedom of worship irrespective of religion. When these become a reality, then and only then will it be possible to meet and discuss the future. Since the war we in Ulster have added 140 new industrial firms to our business community. Those firms did not come by chance. Investigations are made before such a step is taken, and if there was any truth in these stories of victimisations which we have heard this afternoon these business people would not have brought their firms to Ulster. Through hard work we have built up in Northern Ireland a great industrial unit and a great agricultural unit, and it is our sincere wish that the Republic of Ireland should be equally successful within her own boundaries. Reference has been made previously today to what Mr. de Valera has said. One of the things which he is reported as having said is that this Bill:
That is rather a strange statement from a man who to my knowledge has for the past 29 years been doing precisely that."is proposed to perpetuate as far as it can the division of Ireland. It looks as if some malignant spirits must be at work stirring up old animosities."
That is untrue; it is unfair.
I hope that the hon. Member will have an opportunity of speaking after me.
I hope so.
Mr. Costello has said:
What do those few words mean—"as far as they can expect"? This to my mind is a peculiar way of wooing a wench, a queer courtship. It starts off by threats and misrepresentation and ends up by party propaganda. These things do not inspire confidence, they do not form a foundation upon which we can discuss our problems. They will have to change their outlook and their ways before we can approach them. After making that statement I feel that those words convey one thing to me, that the courtship is over, and they say to Northern Ireland, "Now, ducky, I love you, let me look after you for the rest of your life." I am afraid that under the conditions that exist at the present time we shall not allow them to look after us. It reminds me of the story of two mother kangaroos, each of which had a baby in its pouch. One of the babies kept jumping in and out of the pouch and the other baby said, "What is wrong with you?" The first baby replied, "There is nothing wrong with me, but my mother has got the hiccoughs." My point is this. First it was Southern Ireland, then the Irish Free State, and now Eire. They do not know whether to stay in the Empire or not, and that is the relevance of my story. I am convinced that this Bill will give Northern Ireland the protection she requires and indeed deserves, and I shall have the greatest pleasure in voting for it. I believe it will be to the interests of Eire, Northern Ireland and this Parliament that the position should be defined, and that we should know where we are, and go our way in the future to make our respective areas successful."We are prepared to be on friendly terms with Great Britain and Northern Ireland and we are prepared to give the north as fair a deal as they can expect."
I beg to move, to leave out "now," and at the end of the Question to add "upon this day six months."It is not my intention to be led down the garden path by some of the speeches that have been made this afternoon. I have listened with amazement to the irrelevancy of some of the speakers, and I wish to make my plea from Irish Labour to British Labour. Speaking on behalf of the Irish Labour Party, I think I am entitled to make that appeal to the British Labour Party. I feel that there is something very unhealthy and unsound about the position which is created by this Bill. In the introduction of this Bill, the Labour Government have brought forward one of the most serious propositions ever undertaken by a British Government against another nation. I happen to be an Ulsterman, and am proud to be an Ulsterman, but prouder still to be an Irishman. People who live in the country and get a very good living from it, and who fail to recognise that they are Irish, remind me of the man who said he had no country. I classify him as like a man with no soul. I feel that we are entitled to come here and ask this Labour Government to help in the building up of that movement, whereby some day we may be the proud possessors of the seats of the mighty in a Parliament for the whole of Ireland. That is my desire and my wish. I do not wish to travel on any narrow path. I am travelling on the Labour and Socialist ticket in Ireland just as I am in England. One of the pioneers of the Labour Movement was Keir Hardie. He was a man of outstanding ability and character. He fought and worked for the interests of Ireland and for its unification, along with the interests of the people of the working class. The maturity of his work has been shown in this House. The closest friend and colleague of Keir Hardie was James Connolly, the leader of Irish Labour. We ask in the name of Keir Hardie and James Connolly, "Give an ear to the case from Labour to Labour." I wish with all my heart that at this moment I could be speaking in favour of an Ireland Bill instead of moving this Amendment. In my 30 years in public life, never once have I cast a vote against Labour or Labour policy. Never once in all that long career have I committed the mortal sin of being found in the Lobby with the Tories. But tonight it will be an unhappy event for me to go into that Lobby—
The hon. Member will not find the Tories there.
If it is put to me that nothing can be done with this contentious part of the Bill, if I have that assurance from the Lord President of the Council, then I shall be compelled to go into the Lobby against the Government, and those who wish to follow me will be very welcome. Even if it is one man and one man only, I shall go into the Lobby against the Government because of the injustice which I see inflicted upon a country of which I am proud to call myself a citizen. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I was listening to that sound and, from the Oxford Dictionary, I understand that the sound is derived from a full belly and an empty head. I think that is the meaning of the definition in the Oxford Dictionary. There are many excellent provisions in the Bill. It contains a statesmanlike recognition of the fact that there are many ties, economic and otherwise, between the two islands. Most of its Clauses bear out the contention that the prosperity of one country is increased, not damaged, by the prosperity of its neighbour. That in itself is good. Unfortunately, I cannot support the Bill because Clause 1 (1, b) undoes the good work of the rest. It is a bitter reflection that what the Bill gives with one hand it takes away with the other. Those who framed this Bill remind me of a boxer who assists a man to his feet only to knock him down again with a harder blow. Clause 1 (1, b), for the first time in history, endorses partition and sets a seal on it. It destroys even a pretence that the British Government desire to assist in the reunion of Ireland. What is the position which the Labour Government are so anxious to maintain? There may be some hon. Members who feel that this matter has something to do with old forgotten, far-off battles. These things are not forgotten, nor are they so far off that many of the chief actors are not still living, and I fear that all the battles may not be over. Partition in Ireland was the result of the effective coercion of a majority by a minority—that is a contradiction in terms—aided and abetted by prominent English Tories. This minority in the whole of Ireland in the General Election of 1918 amounted to one-fifth. That was the last time on which a plebiscite of the whole nation was taken. In spite of the fact that 47 candidates were in gaol and that official persecution made electioneering very difficult for all except Unionists, eighty per cent. of the Irish electorate voted for independence. The setting up of the Six Counties of North-East Ireland as a separate State was carried out without any reference to electoral results. There was no attempt to hold a plebiscite. It was the result of a deal between the so-called Ulster Unionists and their supporters in this country. In his speech on the Government of Ireland Bill, 1920, Carson made this clear. The Unionists themselves determined what area they could conveniently control—six counties out of the nine counties of Ulster. Carson explained:
Having grabbed as much as they could swallow, including the two counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh, in which they were, and still are, in a minority, the Unionists received the official sanction for action. They received official sanction from this House to act, and they acted upon that gerrymandered area, selected and defined by Members of this House. They mutilated one of the finest provinces in Ireland, the Province of Ulster, to which I and my forefathers belong and from which came great men who have done valuable service for this country. This gerrymandering by politicians on this side of the channel, and this mutilation of Ulster, was a great disservice.
"…but the truth is that we came to the conclusion, after many anxious hours and anxious days of going into the whole matter, almost parish by parish and townland by townland, that you would have no chance of successfully starting a Parliament in Belfast which was to be responsible for the government of Donegal, Cavan, and Monaghan."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th May, 1920; Vol. 129, c. 1315–16.]
Those are the words that were used in the speech which made that declaration on Unionist determination. I will read another extract from this declaration, and this is it:"If Protestant King George does not prevent Home Rule being applied to Ireland, Kaiser Billy will do it."
Those are the exact words used."I have only to refer to the threats that the Unionists made immediately before the 1914 war that if Protestant King George did not serve their turn, Protestant Billy the Kaiser would."
The hon. Gentleman knows it.
I do not know it.
I will tell the hon. Gentleman, if he wishes. That was said in 1912 by the men who went to Balmoral to sign the Covenant.
He did not say this.
They sent the young men to the war, but they did not go to the war themselves. They were the soldiers of the back benches of the Government in this House.
In view of the interruptions, is it not the case that the leaders of Ulster not only declared that they would go under the Kaiser, but that they made a deal with the Germans and got a supply of armaments from the Kaiser? I saw the armaments coming in.
I know that the policy of the Politburo is against us, which is too bad, but the statements made by the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) are entirely wrong. The arms bought were mostly Italian, and we never said that we would work with the Kaiser. Further, most of the Ulster volunteer force now lie buried in the plains of the Somme.
The arms were brought in from Germany with "God and Ulster" upon them. I saw a consignment of the arms, and had them in my possession for a short time. I also saw the solemn league and covenant and I was asked to sign it in blood. The young men who went all the way to Balmoral stopped on the way and went into a slaughterhouse, where they got cow's blood with which to sign it.I want to bring out this point which it is very important this House should realise. Political propaganda is being made in every direction and by every means, including things that are held sacred in this country and what I would call the ideals of the people of this country. I want to tell this House that at the present moment the Minister of Home Affairs in Northern Ireland is arranging to have Princess Elizabeth and her husband, when they go to Belfast—
The hon. Gentleman is not allowed to discuss members of the Royal Family to influence opinion.
This visit is going to be made
No reference must be made to any member of the Royal Family doing anything, as I have said.
I will accept that Ruling from you, Sir, and will proceed to the next complaint which I have to make. I was going to say that the tom-toms were to be out, and sectarian passions aroused with the possibility of a pogrom to follow—
The hon. Gentleman is still making an indirect reference to the visit of the Royal Family. No reference is allowed to be made in this House to the Royal Family which is designed to affect argument. I must ask the hon. Gentleman to leave out all such references in his speech.
I bow to your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I did not intend to make any reference to the Royal Family, either direct or indirect.The Unionists frequently express their fears of what might happen if partition were abolished. Anyone living in Ireland must realise that there is something seriously wrong if they have any fears about partition being removed. They are the fears of guilty men who expect that what they have done unto others will be done unto them. However richly they may deserve it, it will not happen if Jack Beattie is alive. This Bill cannot quiet Unionist fears, because in his heart even the most bellicose Unionist knows that partition is not and cannot be permanent. That is why I consider that Clause 1 (1, b) of this Bill is mischievous, for it will not persuade a single Unionist to change his attitude, or a single Orangeman to rid himself of the sectarianism which makes the Orange Order a blood brother of the Ku-Klux-Klan. In my simplicity, I expected that the creation of a Labour Government in Britain, in view of Britain's Labour policy and past attitude, would mean a renewed effort to wipe out in that country the legacy of an Imperialist past. I was encouraged by their actions in India and Burma. I thought that, but then I was an innocent abroad. I expected that this Government would point out to the Unionists that a garrison mentality was out of date, that the fostering of sectarian views was detestable, and that the greatest service that could be rendered to Ireland and to Britain would be to make their contribution to the building of an Irish nation. This British Government have convinced me that I am wrong. Someone has said:
"No one can deny that the English possess one outstanding characteristic, their readiness to forgive those whom they have most grievously wronged."
That is correct.
If I were a cynic, I would agree, but I hope that this Bill does not make me a cynic. I do not know, or profess to know, what motives prompted the Cabinet to insert this Clause in the Bill, a Clause which does to Ireland what the Prussian war machine of 1870 and Hitler's war machine did to France. Hon. Members may think the comparison strong, but I can assure them that the French did not feel the loss of Alsace-Lorraine more deeply than the Irish people feel the loss of the Six Counties. The homeland of McCracken and Munro, of Mitchell and Hope, the scene of James Connolly's labours, is as much a part of Ireland as Keir Hardie's Lanark is part of Scotland. The British Labour movement has travelled far since the days of Keir Hardie, but it has not grown more. Socialist. Keir Hardie was the friend and comrade of James Connolly: he shared his hopes for Ireland, and, assisted him financially in his political work. Were he alive today, he might be excused for feeling that expediency had triumphed over ideals in the movement which he pioneered.This Government are no doubt anxious to avoid raising partition as a General Election issue. The moral they seemed to have drawn from Liberal experiences with Ireland is one of appeasement—appeasement of the Unionists. The Unionists are still an armed conspiracy, a conspiracy reinforced by legal sanction and the apparatus of a police State. This Government in their folly may feel that this Bill is a masterly settlement of the so-called Irish problem. To my mind it is a sowing of dragons' teeth. May they not spring up as armed men. But if they do spring up, let the blame be assigned to this Government—the hand that casts them. I have passed most of my life under the difficult conditions which prevail in the Six Counties. It had been my hope to see the Labour movement, both trade union and political, growing to its full stature in my native country. Many Irishmen have helped in the growth of the British Labour movement, but in return they have had little assistance for their own. The trade union movement has been split, grievously split, and the end is not yet. The stifling of the political movement is the direct outcome of partition, and not all the Treasury Bills or organisers in Transport House can build an effective Labour Party in the Six Counties. This Bill is the greatest gift to Toryism in Ireland since the Black and Tans. I was much interested in a recent speech of the Foreign Secretary's on the future of Germany. In it he expressed his desire to see a new democratic Germany, and suggested that a commission should consider the question of Germany's Eastern areas. I suggest that, instead of presenting this subsection (1, b) with its terrifying possibilities, the Government should ask such a commission to examine Ireland's North-Eastern area. It may be embarrassing to acknowledge British responsibility for the state of affairs there, but at least it will enable British spokesmen to point out motes or beams in other eyes without feeling that they have one planted in their own. Here is one of these beams. I have in my hand a register of a school polling station in my own division in Belfast. [An HON. MEMBER: "Read all of it."] Oh, no. On the pages of this book is a surprising number of names of people who are on the register but have no local government vote. Out of 5,000 names on that register, 3,000 people do not qualify for the vote, although they are over the age of 21. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because of the fear and trembling of the Ulster Unionist Party at the determination of the youth of Ulster to put them out.
How is it that a person is on the register and yet has no vote? Surely, being on the register is a qualification to vote.
Every person over the age of 21 in this country has the vote—
No, everyone who is on the register.
In the rest of Ireland that right was granted 16 years ago, but that is not the case in Northern Ireland. People over the age of 21 are on the Parliamentary register for elections to this House, but they are not on the Parliamentary register for local government elections. It may be that this Government thinks that by this Clause it will earn the gratitude of the Unionists. If so, they should have a glance at this cartoon which I have in my hand. I will give it to the Home Secretary if he wishes. This is the Unionist official organ, and in this cartoon the Socialist Cabinet are depicted as repulsive apes in a steel cage. That is what this Government got last Christmas as a Christmas and New Year's present. Perhaps hon. Members can see the Lord President of the Council hanging up in a corner of this cartoon. I should say that the present Socialist Front Bench are just as decorative and beautiful as any. However, I assure the Cabinet that they are exceedingly fortunate to escape with a few cartoons and some hard words. Opposition Labour Parties in the Six Counties are decidedly less lucky, myself included.Anybody who has the slightest acquaintance with Irish history will know that it presents a regular pattern. When constitutional reform is refused, the physical force movement emerges. Mr. de Valera uttered a bitter truth when he said that this latest endorsement of partition would produce in the young men of this generation a growing hate of those responsible for its maintenance. Mr. Costello hoped to take the gun out of politics, but this Bill can spell the death of these hopes. I am not a physical force man; I do not believe in physical force. I condemned it in the Mansion House in Dublin, and I condemn it on every platform on which I stand. I do not believe it takes us anywhere. I appeal to the Government with all the strength at my command, before it is too late to help Mr. Costello. The Prime Minister has received a message from the Labour Party in the Dail, signed by Mr. Norton, the Vice-Premier. I beg of him to consider it carefully, for it is the authentic voice of Irish Labour. I appeal to hon. Members in this House to recollect what they are asked to do—to endorse the regime in the Six Counties. Let them ask themselves what is wrong there, when a Government finds it necessary to suspend Habeas Corpus under its Special Powers Act, not for one but for 27 years, when its supporters resort to violance at elections, and when it has a special police composed of its own party members, and that special police force is 12,000 strong, paid for and maintained out of public funds. I wonder sometimes, when the Chancellor is looking for money, whether he should not look towards the elimination of the allocation of that monew for political purposes in Northern Ireland. Surely, when after more than a quarter of a century this state of affairs still continues, there is grave suspicion of the wisdom of giving support to such a junta and of endorsing the partition which brought it into existence. [Interruption.] I will be finished in three seconds—which is an Irish five seconds. This Bill will bring no advantage either to the British Labour Party or to Great Britain as a whole. It will not satisfy the Unionists, who know in their hearts that partition must go sooner or later. It will leave among Irish people everywhere a just resentment. Even on the ground of expediency, whether militantly, politically or otherwise, it will prove a disaster to those who framed it. It heals nothing; in fact, it rubs salt into the wound. It revives old hates and old feuds, it pours poison into the stream of Anglo-Irish relations which so recently was losing its muddiness. By clinging to a dying imperialism it fosters in Ireland an exaggerated over-conscious nation-alism—
The hon. Member is on his last page.
The hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) takes ample time when he is speaking in this House.
I do not read my speeches.
If the hon. Member thinks that I am speaking from notes because the knowledge at my disposal is not adequate, he is making a grave mistake. I have no objection to other Members using notes, and I think it is unbecoming that the hon. Member should cast aspersions at me.
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. May I seek your guidance? I understood that it is a Rule of this House that, although reference may be made to notes, speeches cannot be read. As I understand it, not only has the hon. Member been reading from a manuscript for some considerable time, but he does not deny that fact. May I seek your guidance as to whether that is in Order?
Technically and strictly the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) is quite right but the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. J. Beattie) did not say he was reading word for word; he said he was using ample notes, and that is allowed. Quite frankly, however, the practice is growing too much, in my opinion.
I am sorry if any friction has arisen. I think I have taken in a homely way any badgering which I have received during my remarks.This Bill solves nothing, least of all the Irish problem. As long as partition remains, so long will British Governments find it haunting them. Let this Government lay it by withdrawing this accursed Clause and by playing their part. Let them undo the harm of centuries by helping to unite Ireland. Let them earn the friendship of those whom their predecessors have most grievously wronged.
I beg to second the Amendment.I feel it is futile on my part, or the part of the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Beattie), to stand up in this House and protest against British shackles being fastened upon Ireland, especially as the Labour Party are about to tighten them with, I feel, the collusion of the Tories of Northern Ireland. As the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. McGhee) said today, when the results of the General Election in 1945 became known, the Irish people, North and South, with the exception of the Diehard Tories of the North-East corner of the country, heaved a sigh of relief. They felt confident that the return of a Socialist democratic Government in this country would effect political changes in Ireland and, consequently changes in the deplorable and undemocratic conditions that have existed in Northern Ireland for 25 years, changes which would make for friendship between our two countries. Now they are surprised to see, after the short space of four years, that the Labour Government in this Bill give definite assurances, with guarantees, to the Tories of Northern Ireland and set at defiance the wishes of the Nationalists of that area and the wishes of four-fifths of the whole Irish people. Sections of the Labour Party in this country have repeatedly during the past 25 years protested against the division of Ireland and now a Labour Administration at Westminster submit a Bill to make partition permanent and to deny liberty and justice to the overwhelmingly Nationalist areas of Tyrone, Fermanagh, Derry City, South Down and South Armagh. I do not know whether the Government here realise the seriousness of their action at this stage, but I feel I am not misstating the facts when I assert here tonight that the proceedings in this House today open up the probability of a vista more disturbing in Anglo-Irish relations than has existed for the past 40 years. The present attitude of the Government here is amazing, especially so at a time when the world is yet in a disturbed state and when the big Powers, including Great Britain and the other nations in Western Europe, are endeavouring to effect reconciliation between opposing States with the object of bringing lasting peace to the world. As hon. Members in this House know, Anglo-Irish relations have formed tragic chapters in British misgovernment in Ireland down the centuries, and in the middle of this twentieth century, following two world wars, when the main theme of British statesmen is the advocacy of justice for small nations and the cessation of strife between nations, it is amazing that a Labour democratic Government should embark on such a legislative Measure as will tend to perpetuate strife in Ireland and renew strife between Ireland and Gnat Britain when most people realise that in recent years a better feeling has been growing up between the two countries. A Labour Administration at Westminster was always looked on by Irish people as the friend of Ireland and not an enemy as were previous party Governments in this country. Undoubtedly, it will be agreed, it was a Tory-Liberal combine which forced partition upon Ireland, yet Ministers of that combine never intimated that that division would be permanent and never made any attempt by way of legislation to make it permanent. These same authors of partition, the Tories and Liberals, never undertook in any way to give public assurance that the constitutional position of the Six Counties would not be changed without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland. As far as I know, no such guarantee was given until that given by the right hon. Gentleman, the Prime Minister, in Autumn last. Now that guarantee, and more than that guarantee, is embodied in this Bill. In the statement last October it was said there would be no change without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland; now this guarantee is given that it shall not be made without the consent of the Northern Ireland Parliament. That guarantee is embodied in this Bill and it goes much further than any provisions in the Act of 1920. According to the wording of the first Clause of this Bill the onus for ending Partition now rests on the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Under the Act of 1920 that onus rested upon the Parliament at Westminster, but under this Measure it has been transferred to the Parliament of Northern Ireland. In every respect the present Labour Administration has gone further to consolidate partition than any previous Government. This Bill declares for the territorial integrity of Northern Ireland and in effect states that no part of the territory of Northern Ireland will have the right to secede even if the majority of the whole of any area desire secession. Taken in its major aspect this Bill contains provisions which I can definitely say are a gross violation of the democratic principles common to the Labour movement and a denial to the whole Irish people of the right of self-determination. Ireland, as Lord Samuel recently said in the British House of Lords, is a mother country. The whole country was one unit and designed by God to be one unit. It was one unit under British law until partition was forced upon it. In an election over 30 years ago, four-fifths of the Irish people voted for national freedom, with only one-fifth in the North-East corner against it. There would be the same result today if a plebiscite were taken throughout the whole country. In Northern Ireland, more than one-third of the people desire to be united with the rest of the nation, that one-third being largely in Tyrone, Fermanagh, Derry City and large areas in the border counties of Armagh and Down. These people, under the provisions of this Bill, will be debarred from re-union with the rest of the country which they so much desire. It will be admitted by all fair-minded people, that coercion of the Irish people is written into the partition Act of 1920, but coercion more intensified is written into the present Bill, especially in the case of Tyrone and Fermanagh and other places in Northern Ireland, which cover an area almost one-half of the whole Six Counties. It compels the majority in these areas to live under an administration they do not desire. In the view of all fair-minded people, it is blatant coercion to compel over one-third of the people of Northern Ireland to live under a Belfast Tory régime, which denies them the elementary principles of democracy by rigging constituencies and placing the control of administration of affairs in the hands of a minority of Tories. Under this Bill, as stated a few days ago by an Irish Labour leader, democracy has been put in chains in Northern Ireland, and by none other than a British Labour Government. Yet democracy is the principle which the British Labour Party in this country are so fond of preaching for the benefit of other countries further afield. The Irish people have often been told by British statesmen that when Ireland is able to settle its own affairs, any Government in this country will be glad. Considering the real record in Ireland, I say that this is downright hypocrisy on the part of British statesmen. When did this Government or any other Government in this country give the Irish people a chance to settle their differences amongst themselves? If they had given them that chance years ago, then possibly all these differences—and little differences they are and not of great magnitude—would have been settled. But the administration in this House never wanted this Irish question to be settled. I say that this Government are hypocritical because they did not want this question to be settled. Previous Governments and the present Government have continued meddling in Irish affairs and doing everything possible to bolster up the administration in Northern Ireland, while at the same time asking why the Irish people do not settle the matter for themselves. By this Bill they are backing up one section of the community and adopting a ludicrous attitude. Their hyprocrisy should be clear to the whole world. By the provisions of this Bill and by the transfer of all powers to Belfast for the continuation of partition, it is clear that the British Labour Government have frustrated every attempt to bring about unity of Ireland.
I say that definitely, because no Government have given the Irish people any assistance to settle their own differences. That has never been done by any Government. I say, from my experience of this Parliament and from our history of politics, while I admit we have the bulk of British labour with us, and I appreciate the support we have had, that no Government who have been in office for a very long time have done more to perpetuate partition than the present Labour Government.The Prime Minister, in introducing this Bill, referred to the position in Ireland as being analogous with that of India. But the people of India decided their own fate and have had, so far as I know, the assistance of the British Government. The position in Ireland is entirely different. Furthermore, the British Government have divided Ireland against the sanction of any section of the Irish people and contend that that is valid and lasting for all time. What do Members think should be the natural feeling of Ireland, Ireland being a small country, in submitting to a portion of their territory being cut off by the British Government without the sanction of any section of the Irish people? I say that the Irish people will regard that as an aggressive act and will never forgo their just claim for the unity of their country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) said that realities should be faced in this question, but he and I may not agree about the realities in relation to Ireland. Ireland being a small country designed by God to be one, I as an Irishman like thousands of my fellow countrymen, will never give up the fight until the country is again re-united. I do not wish to be cynical in any way, but I want to refer again to what the Prime Minister said in introducing the Bill. I consider that he was not sufficiently lucid. He should have elaborated at greater length the advantages which this Measure will afford to the Tories of Northern Ireland. He affirmed that the situation, status and territory of Northern Ireland would remain, and he declared that no part of it would be permitted to secede even if the people there desired secession. I think he would have been justified in adding that the Tories in Northern Ireland under this Bill will have full control guaranteed to them, full liberty to continue their work of gerrymandering, to continue to deprive other people of work, to continue in their desire to have dual voting under the company franchise system, to continue the denial of free speech for their political opponents, and to impose other disabilities on them to the extent of depriving Nationalists of their fair share of houses—which is done by the minority-controlled public boards, especially in Tyrone and Fermanagh. I say in conclusion that any hon. Member of this House or any Britisher who expects the Irish people to accept complacently the maintenance of the existing situation really does not know the spirit of the Irish people. This Bill will undoubtedly be passed, but I feel it will have repercussions in Ireland, and amongst Irish people elsewhere, which will not redound to British prestige in the world.
I have listened with interest, occasionally with pleasure, to the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Beattie) and to the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone (Mr. Mulvey) moving the rejection of this Bill. I have seldom heard so much sound and fury. I do not know that it signifies very much. The most startling fact was the announcement by the hon. Member for West Belfast that he represented the Northern Ireland Labour Party, because, as I understand it, the official Northern Ireland Labour Party has not only expelled him but expelled anybody who supports him.
I said I represented the Irish Labour Party, which represents Labour in Northern Ireland, Southern Ireland, East and West.
I see. So the poor old official Northern Ireland Labour Party, which is affiliated to the party opposite—
No, it is not.
is all wrong, and is just making a mistake. It does not consider, however, that the hon. Member does represent it. However, I think we ought to get back to realities. The hon. Member for West Belfast, during the recent Election, had the misfortune that somebody threw an orange at him, but missed him and hit the chairman. However, he has never stopped screaming for help ever since. If things really were so desperate in the election as he said they were, when he was rejected by an enthusiastic majority, we should imagine that he would have been able to show some physical sign of that, some bruise, perhaps; or, perhaps, his spectacles would have been broken, instead of which he is all in one piece, and was effectively protected by the Royal Ulster Constabulary.I think we had better realise for a moment what is the objection that these two hon. Members have to this legislation. They object to that portion of the Bill which says that Northern Ireland shall not be in terfered with except by its own consent. This proposition has been treated by both hon. Members as if there were something in the Bill like the well-known law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not, and something which said that nothing can ever shift, change, or remove Northern Ireland. That is not what the Bill says at all. It merely says one thing: there shall be no coercion. When I remember the amount of talk there was, the number of protests that there used to be, about coercion in the other direction, and now hear this clamour that Northern Ireland should be subject to coercion—
—in order to create the unity of all Ireland—
It is so. What the Bill says is that there shall be no coercion, and that if there is to be an alteration of the status, that change has to be by the will of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, and not by coercion from outside.
It says nothing of the kind. Let the hon. Gentleman read it.
That is what the Bill says. [Interruption.] I know most of the constituents of the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) will come under this Bill and vote as subjects of Eire. I sympathise with his position.
The hon. Gentleman is making the greatest blunder in his life. There are not 20 per cent. of the people of my division who are Irish.
I listened to the hon. Member's speech. I have heard many good speeches from the hon. Member, but I do not think that I have ever heard a sillier one than the one he made today.
Is it in Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for the hon. Gentleman to speak to you in that manner?
The hon. Gentleman is not addressing his remarks to me.
I was addressing the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern). I was saying that I have heard him make many good speeches, but of his speeches this was the silliest. This is a sad occasion because I think all of us on all sides of the House regret that the people of Eire should have taken this step of leaving the association of the British Commonwealth. I think that is foolish and must cause all Members, with a very few exceptions, great regret. After all, the Commonwealth owes a lot to the efforts of men from that part of Ireland which has now become a Republic. Many of them have served very faithfully and distinguished themselves under the Union Jack; possibly Ireland has gained greater glory and a greater reputation from what it has done under that flag than it has since the Irish Free State had a tricolour.The treatment of the nationals of Eire is probably the most generous treatment of nationals not associated in a political association, ever given by one country to another. They have all the rights of British subjects. They have some of the burdens, but when one thinks that in Great Britain a citizen of Eire can qualify for a vote in one day but does not qualify for military service until he has been here for two years, it seems to me that he gets a good deal of the best of the bargain. I do not think that the Government are entirely well-advised to make this so broad. As the hon. Member for the University of Wales (Professor Gruffydd) has pointed out, these non-aliens, the citizens of Eire, who properly owe allegiance to another State which is an independent Republic, can take part in our politics and vote. Are they not under an obligation to cast their vote to assist the country to which they owe allegiance rather than the country in which they live? I think that is rather a disadvantage and a drawback to the scheme of citizenship. As I understand the position, the Republic of Eire is to be treated as if it were a Dominion, and it will gain advantages in trade which do not go to foreign countries under the most-favoured nation clause. That is another thing which seems to me liable to build up trouble for this Government or any other Government that occupies the Treasury Bench in the future. As regards the name—the Republic of Ireland—that is a definite mistake. I do not agree with the Prime Minister that we are obliged to introduce into our legislation a description merely because it is in the legislation of other countries with which we are dealing. As the hon. Member for the University of Wales said, it is obviously put in as a challenge. To use his words, they are calling themselves the Republic of Ireland in order to further their pretensions to be the Republic of the whole of Ireland, and the Government should not be party to a policy they repudiate. I think it very unwise that the Government should have in their Bill something which is not true. As it states quite definitely that this Republic consists only of a part of Ireland, the description of the Republic of Ireland is misleading. Why was this new Republic treated so generously? Partly, as has been candidly explained, it was a matter of convenience. I agree that it was obviously a convenience not to have to deal with a vastly increased number of aliens. But I think it was chiefly in order to create a friendly feeling with the people of Eire. Let us see what has happened. No friendly feeling has been created. There has been violent abuse, not only of Ulstermen, who are accustomed to it, but even of right hon. Gentlemen of the Labour Party of the United Kingdom. As was pointed out by the Prime Minister, when these arrangements were made for the Republic to exist, it was known to the Prime Minister of Eire that any such action must make the partition even more permanent than it was before. They knew that. I had not heard that made known until the Prime Minister announced it today, but it is perfectly clear that they went into this with their eyes open, dangling the usual bait of Irish good will. How often have I seen the bait of Irish good will hung before a patient Parliament which has passed one thing after another in the hope of getting Irish good will? In giving these unexampled advantages to Eire and to the citizens of this new Republic, the Government hoped that, as they had done something quite unheard-of to the advantage of these people, as they see it, they would then get a show of good will. Not a bit of it. We are told that there is no good will. Mr. de Valera even goes so far as to say he does not care if Britain ceases to exist or to have any force. But that is so similar to his attitude during the war, that it does not mean any practical change. What I am perfectly clear about is that no good will has been obtained. We are now told that the good will is dependent on the abolition of what they call partition. Of course, we must remember that the original partition which took place at the instance of Sinn Fein, who accepted it at the instance of Southern Ireland, was a partition of the United Kingdom. Ireland has never been a political entity since the days of Grattan's Parliament, when it was governed by what I am sure would be described as "a bunch of Protestant landlords." I do not think that even the hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Delargy) would care about that sort of determination. We are also told that if partition is done away with we shall get the good will of Ireland. The Irish are realists, and I can tell hon. and right hon. Gentlemen what would happen if we were to give what is asked. We should get the contempt of Northern Ireland, whose people would know perfectly well that the Government of this country had abandoned their only true friends—the only friends who stand at their side in peace and war—in Ireland because of pressure that was put upon them. We should get no more good will than we get from giving this really remarkable position to the new Republic and its citizens; and from people in Ireland and from history we should get profound contempt. The present attempt to bully this Parliament is one of the most ill-conceived gestures that Mr. Costello has yet achieved, because it is the wrong way to approach the question or to approach this Parliament; and it is certainly the wrong way to approach Northern Ireland. There was the admission by the hon. Member for Platting that it is hopeless to persuade Northern Ireland—
I said the Northern Ireland Parliament.
the Northern Ireland Parliament; but the Northern Breland Parliament represents Northern Ireland—
—and the sooner people realise that the better, because the people of Northern Ireland can have recourse to the courts if they do not like anything in the elections and say that they are ill-judged and ill-done. The courts are a reserved service; they are not subject to the Government of Northern Ireland. Those elections, if anything has ever proved anything at all, have proved the abhorrence which the people of Northern Ireland have for any idea of being subject to a Government from Dublin. Of course, the leaders of the Eire Government have left no stone unturned to emphasise the existence of abhorrence on our part of them. They have never failed to take any steps which would offend us; they have never hesitated to do that, from the time when a protest was made at the arrival of American troops in Northern Ireland to defend the liberties of the world. They have never hesitated, even with their postage stamps, to do every single thing which could possibly alienate Northern Ireland from any sympathy with their way of political thought.
The hon. Gentleman says that never was a gesture of friendship made from Dublin towards Belfast. Surely he will remember, with some generosity, that when Belfast was blitzed the Dublin fire brigade and ambulances, without any request whatever, went to Belfast to help their fellow Irishmen.
And in record time.
That certainly was so. That was an individual effort of the fire brigades coming to our assistance when Belfast was bearing its share of the war. In the numbers of people killed from air raids in the whole of the United Kingdom, Belfast stands eighth on the list. From neutral Eire came gallant and good gesture by the fire brigades. I give them absolute credit for doing so. They worked with our fire brigades and did the best they could to put out the fires. But at the same time the lights of neutral Dublin were the best fix for bombers raiding Liverpool that anyone could possibly have. I have seen the plots of aircraft proceeding on their course until they got their fix, and then turning eastwards. I was complaining not of the occasional kindly thought, but that in the political field every action of the Government of Eire has made the grand canyon between us deeper than it was before.The present Prime Minister of Eire was elected on a definite pledge of staying inside the Commonwealth, but apparently he has been hypnotised by Mr. McBride and nobody who knows poor Mr. McBride's family history would expect him to be friendly to this country. Within six months of being elected on that pledge the present Prime Minister of Eire announced that he was going outside the Commonwealth, which seems to me to be a betrayal of those who voted for him. When he makes sneering observations about our Prime Minister, he might at all events learn the simple lesson that we have a Prime Minister who is true to his pledges. [Interruption.] I do not know what particular skirmish is going on, but I will pass to another part of what I want to say.
I said, "Join the Labour Party."
We are told from time to time that the people of Fermanagh and Tyrone are oppressed. We want something more than mere ex parte statements from people with a political end in view. It is well known to any student of history that when people are oppressed, beginning with the Israelites in Egypt, there tends to be an exodus unless some obstacle is set up to prevent them from getting out of the country. Why is it that the people of Fermanagh and Tyrone, who in some cases have only to take a twopenny bus ride to get into the land of promise, have never done so? Why is it that the rate of emigration from this land of promise, Eire, is much higher than the rate of emigration from Fermanagh and Tyrone? Why is it that the hon. Member who seconded the Motion for the rejection of this Bill, and whose rich Connaught accent we enjoy, reminds us that he is not a native of Fermanagh and Tyrone, but went there from Connaught because he preferred it?
The hon. Member will be able to tell the House how many from Belfast are living in Cork City.
I have not been provided with statistics about how many from Belfast are living in Cork, but I know that the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone, who started life in the happy Utopia of Connaught, hugs his chains and prefers to live under the oppression of Northern Ireland in Tyrone and Fermanagh. We all know that the demand is not for freedom from oppression but that a desire for mastery is at the bottom of it, and also that the occasional cry at Fermanagh and Tyrone—which enjoy not a large but a constant majority for the hon. Members who represent the Nationalist cause—should be transferred to what is now an Irish Republic. is uttered simply with the object of crippling the State of Northern Ireland.Actually the territory has been twice accepted by the government of the territory which is now the Republic. First it was accepted in the Treaty subject to, a boundary commission; secondly, in 1925, by the 40th Act of the Dail, the Irish Free State accepted the present territory of Northern Ireland without adjustment. There was an adjustment made under the impartial presidency of a South African judge but they would not have it; they did not want it. They preferred to confirm that Northern Ireland should remain as it now is. There must be no mutilation of Northern Ireland. It is a political entity which has existed for more than a quarter of a century. The whole object of this question about Fermanagh and Tyrone is simply an attempt to mutilate Northern Ireland, and is looked upon as a step towards its complete destruction. No one is now such a fool as to suppose that if Fermanagh and Tyrone were handed to the Irish Republic on a platter they would be appeased. They would not be appeased for 20 seconds: they would merely say, "We have got this much; now boys, all together and we will get some more." That would involve handing over many more Unionists. Many Unionists who have already been handed over and are living in what is now Eire, would prefer to live in Northern Ireland. I know that when I meet people from East Donegal.
Why do they not emigrate?
A lot of them have done so. My old batman, who lived at Manorcunningham, is now in Northern Ireland, and many others have also left Eire for a very good reason. It is wise to have left the decision of whether we remain as we are and as we have always been—part of the United Kingdom—to the Parliament of Northern Ireland. The days are past when large blocks of population could be handed over as the dowries of queens, etc., without their consent. In these days the consent of the people is an essential. They must not be handed from one community to another arbitrarily and by coercion. The only thing that is laid down in this Bill is that there shall be no coercion of Northern Ireland. So far there is absolutely no suggestion of any title to Northern Ireland by this new Republic, except the geographical one; there is not a shred of support of any other type. We know it is suggested that they might wish to go before various foreign tribunals or bodies, and the less those bodies knew about our affairs the better it would suit the Government of Eire. I can assure this House of one thing: we who have been British subjects by birth will remain British subjects, and any decision of a foreign tribunal would not be good enough. We are the King's men, and that we remain.
We now come to the last stages of the consideration of the Second Reading of this Bill, and I think that everyone in the House will agree that such consideration falls into two parts. The first part concerns the method of dealing with the people of Southern Ireland who now become citizens of the new Republic. The other aspect is the declaration that Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty's Dominions and of the United Kingdom, and will so remain until its Parliament decides otherwise. As one might expect, the first consideration, which involves the terms of the gift that is being made to this country, has received somewhat less attention. That unfortunately is very often the fate of gifts. And the points that were raised regarding it were largely contained in the speech of the hon. Member for the University of Wales (Professor Gruffydd).I wish to deal with one or two of those points, because they may have raised a certain amount of misgiving in the minds of some hon. Members. I do not share the difficulty of the hon. Member and his trouble with regard to the conflict of allegiance. Obviously, if someone from Southern Ireland comes over here and, taking advantage of the gift, gets a job here, whatever it may be, he will not take that job without the obligations which it entails; even if those obligations include taking the Oath of Allegiance. He will give that allegiance. I would remind the hon. Member that the idea of local allegiance, commensurate with residence and the benefits received from the country in which a person resides, is one of quite old and distinguished ancestry. It was quite recently tried successfully at the courts by the learned Attorney-General in a well known case. I do not see that the conception which underlies this part of the Bill of an extension of local allegiance to cover these problems will cause any difficulty in its working out. To my great regret I missed the first 10 minutes of the speech of the Prime Minister, for reasons which could not be avoided, and I now apologise, but I think I am the first to claim that this is not wholly novel. There is a precedent, as a matter of interest, if the House will forgive me for going back nearly 200 years. It is interesting to note that in 1761 the three countries of France, Spain and the two Sicilies did put a clause in their treaty that the nationals of each country should not be foreigners in the dominion of another. I believe that whereas that rested on the dynastic affiliations between the relations of the countries, the line we are taking rests on the far firmer and surer basis of commonsense. But, on the other hand, let us face the facts fairly and without disguise. In the first place, to work this out fully one would have to go over the Statute Book almost completely and see how it worked out, certainly in a large number of fields of law. I do not think that anyone has had the time or the industry to do that. Therefore we are taking a certain amount of chance and we must face that fact. The second point which we must face—and I ask hon. Members who have put very forcibly the point of view of the Irish Republic to consider this point—is that we are at the present time facing the possible repercussions of taking this course on the development of the British Commonwealth at one of the most critical moments of its existence. We must face the fact, wherever we sit and whatever our view, that this intermediate position for citizens of the Irish Republic may have the effect in some minds of weakening the desire to remain in the Commonwealth. They argue that all the advantages are obtainable without remaining in; therefore, why remain in? I say that now, when the Commonwealth as a whole is taking new shape, when we are faced with the problem of incorporating and co-operating with Asiatic Dominions in a way which we have never had to do before, to take the risk of this difficulty, as is being done today, shows once again the faith and courage of this country to face difficulties when it is a question of making up its mind what is right. We have done it, and that is something which hon. Gentlemen who have many criticisms to offer should bear in mind. I do not believe that there is any other country in the world which at a critical moment in its history would have the faith and courage to take so difficult a course. The other point which I wish to make clear is that, of course, I agree with the Prime Minister that there are great advantages and support to be gained from remaining in the Commonwealth. This must not be minimised and it is no desire of mine so to do. But the other question which I think affects all our minds is that of the special situation of Ireland due to its proximity and the connections of many centuries. I believe that the ordinary person looking at this problem has been impressed not by the legalistic difficulties, which it takes a non-lawyer like the hon. Member for the University of Wales to conjure up, but by three ordinary commonsense points. We are recognising the facts of association between the two countries. We are recognising that citizens of the Republic are to be found as valuable members of society in all walks of life, including the service of the Crown, and that it would be unreasonable to embark on the upheaval which would be necessary to ensure that they all opted to be British or registered as aliens, in the latter case losing jobs in which they are doing well. Thirdly, in my view 'to turn into aliens the citizens of the Republic who are travelling to and fro and living here would be an unreasonable course. There are two points which I should like to mention before I pass to the other aspect of the matter. The Prime Minister told us that it was hoped that the Eire Government would review their nationality law in respect of other members of the Commonwealth. In view of the fact which he indicated that an amount of present legislation, if I may so call it, which does not go as far as ours, is based on subsidiary orders and the like, we hope that this will be done. The other point which I hope the Lord President has had a chance of looking at is the drafting of Clause 1 to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) drew attention. After the usual introductory words which show legislation by the King in Parliament, it then says:
So far as we can find, that is a novel form of drafting, and we should like to know the reason for that course, as it is not yet apparent to my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself. When considering these points on this part of the Bill, despite the well-supported pessimism of my hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry (Sir R. Ross) we did hope, and we still hope, for greater co-operation and friendship, and we are conscious of the fact—and we believe it will become more pressing as the days pass—that there are colder and fiercer gales beating on both our countries alike, in the face of which we ought to stand together in defence of the triple heritage of Western civilisation. We hope, and I make no apology for putting it seriously, and with such force as I can command, to hon. Gentlemen who are so deeply moved on this matter, that this is one of the fundamental things on which the world will go to happiness or the reverse, and I do appeal again for consideration of the closer friendship and co-operation which we hope will be the result of the steps we are taking. I pass to the second point which is that, as the Bill says, the course which we propose to take with regard to the citizens of the new Republic does not and cannot mean that Northern Ireland, which always has been and still is—and I quote from the Bill—"(1) Parliament hereby— (a) recognises and declares—"
and of the United Kingdom, is going to have its position changed contrary to its wishes. Again, without traversing ground which has been so clearly traversed in the Prime Minister's speech, we must remind hon. Gentlemen who have spoken so warmly that it is by the action of Eire in cutting the last link that they have demonstrated the view to the world and to everyone that they consider that cutting the link in that way is more important than removing partition, because they know and everyone knows and no common sense can refuse to recognise, that the ending of partition became a difficulty, indeed almost an impossibility, by that very act of theirs. I do feel that, in deference to the arguments which hon. Gentlemen have advanced, that I should say a word or two about it. The hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Delargy), whose sincerity I of course accept and admire, advanced the view that this was a gratuitous hostility introduced into the Bill. May I put it to him that we are, as I have indicated, recognising a change made by Southern Ireland itself and shaping that change in statutory form. When that change is being recognised and shaped, clearly, then, if at any time, we must make obvious and demonstrably clear what is going to happen to the rest of the island of Ireland. There has been no occasion since 1921 when we have had legislation concerning Southern Ireland without making clear what the position is, and I believe it was essential that that should be done. However, I also think that the hon. Gentleman—and the same applies to the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Beattie) and the hon. Gentleman the junior Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone (Mr. Mulvey)—has not answered the point first put by the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. Haire) in an interruption, and later developed in his speech, that it is impossible, on facts and dates, to suggest that Northern Ireland was established or maintained by force. That is the point which I have waited to see developed in the speeches—I have listened to them all with great care—and I have found the evidence for that suggestion entirely lacking. The hon. Gentleman might make some argument with regard to the Treaty of 1921. He might even make a further argument in regard to the vote in the Dail in 1922, but he cannot make any argument with regard to the legislation of 1925. Three years have passed, and after Mr. Justice Feetham had made his award, in substitution for that, it was agreed to take the boundaries as they existed under the Treaty. May I put to the hon. Gentleman the terms of the Free State legislation, because the agreement was included in that? The agreement between the United Kingdom, the Free State and Northern Ireland recognises friendly relations, and"part of His Majesty's dominions;"
and then, on that, they agree and accept that the boundaries of Northern Ireland shall be those set out in the Treaty "and to do away with the necessity of the award." That was 1925. It cannot be said that that was done under compulsion, and really when that has been the position and partition is accepted on that basis, and when at the same time the vehicle or instrument for getting rid of partition is abandoned, again by the consent of, and at the desire of, the Free State, I fail to see where the suggestion of compulsion can be made, or the suggestion that this is a new matter today. The hon. Member for West Belfast—I do not think he is here at the moment, but I know he would not mind my replying to the speech he made because that is part of what I have to deal with tonight—made mention of a number of old enmities. He called up certain things that had happened, and words that had been said. It would be equally futile if I were now to start to give the House an account of what Roger Casement did at one of the most critical periods in the war. They were clear, and—I speak as one whose blood is Celtic to fellow Celts—if we are not going to get rid of "unhappy far-off things" when every circumstance is changed, we are being traitors to the world, to our children and to posterity."the Government of the United Kingdom and of the Free State being united in amity in this undertaking with the Government of Northern Ireland,"
That is why you are making it in perpetuity now.
Hon. Members must really do me the credit of my argument. I have said that it was founded in agreement, and I am saying that something founded in agreement is not made gratuitously hostile because when one changes one's circumstances one declares that one is continuing what is agreed.
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the Treaty was forced on Ireland by threat of an immediate and terrible war? That was the statement of Mr. Lloyd George.
I said a moment ago that I would not even argue that point, although, of course, there is an argument the other way. The points I have been dealing with are three years after. I have quoted words of amity expressed by the Dail. The Dail has a greater right to speak for Southern Ireland than even the hon. Member for Fermanagh and Tyrone (Mr. Mulvey). I say again that raking up old enmities is the most unhelpful way of trying to deal practically and positively with the difficulties of today.The hon. Member for West Belfast said that he would not be cynical, but he just approached the brink of cynicism when he mentioned certain of the qualities of the English. I, as a Scot, can also speak objectively about the qualities of the English, and I say that the commonsense of the people of this country seeks on this occasion to make clear in its laws the tolerance and kindness which, I recognise, are the basis of the English way of life, and I want to see it the basis of the whole life of Britain and those connected with it. That is what is being done today. I do not think hon. Members realise how many heart searchings people have had before they have agreed to this Measure at this time. I ask them to say that these very qualities which I have mentioned are the same qualities as would prevent us even contemplating deserting or failing to support our fellow citizens who wish to stand with us. Surely this attitude is not only comprehensible but right. It gives us a new starting point from which to go on to greater understanding and cooperation. We have received in reply so far merely hard words, but—and I am sure I speak for everyone irrespective of party—we are still determined that it will not be our fault if this great effort towards greater friendship and cooperation fails.
We have, I think, on the whole had a useful and well-conducted Debate. As I listened to the contributions of hon. Members from Ireland, I had a fleeting regret that I had never sat in this House in the days when the great Irish Party sat here and indirectly caused those reforms in our Parliamentary procedure which this Parliament has now pretty well concluded. It must have been a great experience to have been here in those exciting days when the Irish Party were fighting with great vigour and when they taught Parliament what obstruction was really like and what it really meant.It is true that hon. Members from Ireland have, perhaps, preserved on both sides of the controversy rather long memories—perhaps longer than is good—but this is inevitable on these occasions. I think we can say that if this Debate had taken place 40 or 50 or 60 years ago, there would have been much more excitement and many more hard words said than we have had during the Debate today. I think it has been a very good Debate it has not caused personal abuse or disorder—and believe me, as Leader of the House, I am not complaining about that. I am much obliged to the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) for a speech which, I think the House generally will agree, was moderate, restrained, responsible and carefully calculated not to be provocative even among people with whom he did not agree. The same is true of the speech with which the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) opened the Debate this afternoon. Although the Government could have manifested some feeling of soreness about the manner in which this situation suddenly came at us out of the blue—and the blue was a very long way away—without notice and without our expecting it, although I think we could have felt sore, I am sure the House will appreciate the objective and restrained terms in which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister moved the Second Reading of the Bill. Let us hope that that will be appreciated on the other side of the Irish Sea in all quarters, because we are most anxious, if it can be avoided, not to become involved ourselves in bitter words or a Donnybrook. We feel it is better that these matters should be discussed reasonably and quietly and without passion, if possible, tempting though some phrases may be. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to the capacity of our country to meet these difficulties with a certain degree of stoicism and quietness, and he referred to the courage of the country in facing these great difficulties. It is, of course the case that Ireland, geographically, as he has indicated, is very very near to our shores and we cannot be indifferent to the circumstances which obtain there. I think it is the case that if Ireland had been situated close to some other great Powers and countries in the world, the change would not have come about as smoothly as it has done, and that is very fortunate for Ireland. The country has taken this quietly; it is courageous on its part, and let us hope that we are right in the course which we are taking. The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked, as did the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition, what was the reason for the somewhat exceptional drafting of the opening words of Clause 1 of the Bill. There is no hidden motive behind it. The reason the Bill does not start with the customary words, "It is hereby declared," is that it was desired to make it quite clear that the initiative was not that of our own Parliament at Westminster and that what this Parliament is doing in the first place is to recognise that which already exists de facto as a result of the action of the Parliament in Dublin. Therefore, we thought that the usual operative phrase would have been inept and, as I have said, the phrase which has been used has no hidden significance. As a matter of sound I think the words have a rather pleasant ring about them:
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwick and Leamington made a speech which, I think, we all appreciated, and he indicated that the Treaty which was originally made has been abrogated bit by bit, and that the latest incident represents the breaking of the final link. With regard to the holders of offices requiring the declaration of the oath of allegiance, the position is that, in so far as that oath was required, it still will be required. The Bill itself makes no difference on that point. Therefore, Members coming to the Table will continue to have to take the oath or to make the affirmation in the customary form. For myself, notwithstanding what the hon. Member for the University of Wales (Professor Gruffydd) said, I do not think that there will be any difficulty about it. Indeed, I think—I am speaking from memory—I think it was the case in the Parliament at Stormont that at one time members could be elected and could draw their salaries without taking the oath of allegiance, and that later Members were elected and drew their salaries, but did not take the oath of allegiance. I believe that was altered so that they could not draw their salaries until the oath was taken, and that that is now the case; and I understand that in the new circumstances Members have taken the oath of allegiance—Members of all parties—and have proceeded to take their salaries."Parliament hereby recognizes and declares.…"
They have to. Before they can be elected they have to sign a declaration that they will take the oath.
Then it is somewhat more thorough. In any case, if the matter raises no difficulty in Northern Ireland, I think the hon. Member for the University of Wales, who spoke for the Liberal Party, can take it that it will not raise any difficulty here, and, therefore, I do not think he need be apprehensive on the point.I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwick and Leamington that we certainly could not be a party—I do not think anybody in this House would be—to taking the initiative in urging, Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom, and therefore, the Commonwealth. That would be an unthinkable course which would not be approved by any British electorate. I do not know that anybody has really urged it. We agree that Northern Ireland must retain its own right of decision. As to the allegation he mentioned that Mr. Costello had made, that the Labour Government were introducing this Bill so as to get some political advantage over the Tories, I am bound to say I cannot follow that reasoning. I can assure all parties in the House that this is not a Bill which the Government ran after. It was the Bill that ran after us. We had to do something about it. So what Mr. Costello said was not the case. As a matter of fact, if we are all wise and sensible in our conduct in the constituencies, no British political party will get advantage or disadvantage out of this Bill. I would assure the Prime Minister of the new Irish Republic that no such thought is in our mind—and that it was not likely that it would be. This Bill is not the product of competitive activity between the British political parties, though it is possible to suspect that the Act of Parliament passed by the Dail, which declared the Irish Republic to exist, may have been somewhat influenced by competitive considerations between the political parties in Southern Ireland.
That is quite true.
I do not want that kind of competition between the parties here; I hope that there will not be any such competition. This is a Commonwealth matter, and as I said the other day, the more we march together on Commonwealth matters the better it will be. I think I have dealt with the main points raised by the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington, and we are all much obliged to him for the careful way in which he put his case.My hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Mr. W. Wells) generally supported the Bill, although he did not like the inclusion in Clause 1 (1, b) of the words:
I see the point. On the other hand, if we are to have a nibbling process whereby we are trying to get an exact boundary wherever there is any minority at all, then sooner or later there will be no Northern Ireland."or any part thereof."
I quite follow that my hon. Friend does not desire that there should be any part of the United Kingdom in Ireland. Not all of us take that view. If we once start this business of saying that there is a minority in part of Northern Ireland—and we have to clean that one up—we will soon get to a situation in which the whole thing becomes ridiculous. As a matter of fact, that has not been asked for by the Government in Dublin. They would not urge that we should have a minor plebiscite to see whether a fringe transfer into the Irish Republic should take place. The issue which they are raising is the total merging subject to understandings and conditions about which they would be willing to negotiate, of Northern Ireland into Ireland.
Are we to understand from my right hon. Friend's statement, that we are to wait until the Government of the new Republic asks us to do something about which we ourselves ought to decide whether it is right or wrong?
I do not think that argument particularly relevant. Quite frankly, this Government is not going to seek and take the initiative for the purpose of losing a part of the United Kingdom. I hope that my hon. Friend is not doing so either. If Irishmen get together and make agreements among themselves that is a situation which we will consider, but it is no part of the business of this Government—and it is not going to do it—to take the initiative to diminish the territory of the United Kingdom. As I say, if Irishmen themselves come together and make their own agreements, this Government will willingly consider the results. With respect to the hon. Member for Walsall, I do not think that the point which he raised goes to the heart of the dispute which has arisen on the matter.The right hon. Member for Antrim (Sir H. O'Neill) made a speech to which we all listened with interest. He will forgive me if I say that I thought some of the points he raised were rather on the small side and in danger perhaps of setting the fires alight; but the House, on both sides, has been short of matches today and the fires did not get started. I personally did not think it wise of him to talk of the prospects of civil war. It is best not to talk about these things. If something happens we have to deal with it, but let us not be quick to prophesy bloody happenings which may not occur at all, and which we all hope will not occur. The hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Delargy) strongly objected, as I would expect him to do, to the provisions of Clause 1 (1, b). He said that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had earlier used the term "the consent of the people," and I think his argument was that the way to get the consent or the opinion of the people was by a plebiscite rather than by a parliamentary decision. It has not been the custom of our country to settle things by referendum or plebiscite, and I, personally, shrink from these expedients, which are, I think, not good and not in accordance with British tradition or practice. Nor, for that matter, do I think they are as democratic as the process of electoral argument—election and parliamentary decision: nor do I know that they are in accordance with Irish practice either. As a matter of fact, the particular decision of the Dail which led to the declaration of the Republic of Ireland was not arrived at by plebiscite. Indeed, I do not know that at the election it was an issue raised by the party of which the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland was a member. I rather thought they took the line that they deprecated raising these constitutional issues. It is true that some other party did raise the point.
A small one, I think, in the present Government at Dublin. Mr. de Valera had let the position remain as it was with the External Relations Act in operation right through his period of office. Therefore, there was not a real electoral mandate to do this, much less a plebiscite. It is a little bit rough, although I am not complaining; it is not the business of this Government to interfere in the way in which the new Irish Republic conducts its electoral business or its Parliamentary affairs; it is their business, not ours. But I am entitled to make this observation when it is urged that the issue of Northern Ireland should be settled by the process of a plebiscite. We think it is right to make provision in the Bill that it should be declared that the right body to decide whether Northern Ireland would wish to merge itself with the Republic of Ireland or to abolish the border is the Parliament of Northern Ireland, just as it would be the Parliament of the United Kingdom if constitutional changes were to be made in this country. I therefore think that that point is ill-founded.My hon. Friend the Member for Platting asked three questions. First; What were we going to do to safeguard minorities? The answer to that must be that under Statute passed by this Parliament at Westminster the maintenance of law and order in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Government and Parliament of Northern Ireland, and it would be unconstitutional and improper, if not impossible, for this Government to take on responsibilities in these respects. Secondly, he wanted to know why we had put in paragraph (b) in Clause 1 (1). Had somebody pressed us or coerced us or what not, to put in this paragraph? Nobody coerced us. And if I may say so, nobody is going to coerce us on either paragraph (b) or anything else. We will not be coerced. This is a self-governing Parliamentary democracy. The reason we have put in paragraph (b) is because we believe that paragraph is right. I will come back to that point shortly. Thirdly, he asked: Were the Dominions asked about this question of Northern Ireland? It is the case that the Dominions were consulted broadly about the development which had taken place as a result of the passing of the Republic of Ireland Act by the Dail in Dublin. There were consultations, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, and other Ministers conferred with representatives of the appropriate Dominions. That was right, because obviously a Commonwealth issue was raised when the new Republic was insisting on going out of the Commonwealth. Moreover, it raised all sorts of repercussions in the Commonwealth. Indeed, it raised the most grave issues, because without this Bill the Republic of Ireland would be a foreign State, with all the consequences that that involves, both there and to Irish folk in this country. That is another reason why we want to get the Bill through in order to remedy that state of affairs. It was, therefore, a Commonwealth issue, and it was right that the Dominions should be consulted. But with respect to Northern Ireland, I would impress upon my hon. Friend that that is essentially a United Kingdom matter. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. Therefore, that is the domestic business of the United Kingdom Government and the Government of Northern Ireland. I will be quite frank in saying that the Dominions were not consulted about that particular point; but I am sure that they would not expect to be consulted. My hon. Friend and others have raised an issue which is worrying a certain number of hon. Members: why have we included paragraph (b) of Clause 1 (1), and why did we not leave that situation alone? If hon. Members say that paragraph (b) is redundant and unnecessary, then they must take the responsibility themselves of affirming that the words of that paragraph are operative even if the paragraph is not there. If they assert that the guarantee it contains ought not to be there, they are arguing against the situation which, they say, already exists. If it is argued that the situation described in paragraph (b) does, in fact, exist and that that paragraph is unnecessary, hon. Gentlemen must be in support of the purpose of paragraph (b); but they have been critical of its purpose. We do not fully accept the situation that paragraph (b) was unnecessary. Let us have credit for what we have done in paragraph (a)—if "credit" is the right word. We think we have got to do it, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, with regret. But let the critics know and appreciate that for the Government, after the unilateral action of the Dail, which it was constitutionally entitled to take, to say that
and for the House of Commons to approve it without argument—with discussion, it is true, but without bad temper—is something that ought not to be taken lightly. There are not many Governments that would have done that, or many Parliaments that would have swallowed that, with the speed with which I think this House of Commons is going to do so. Somebody ought to say that we are a very generous and kind people, Government and Parliament that we act with such speed, although we get very little thanks for having done this. Instead, there has been a great deal of concentrated criticism of paragraph (b). If it be the case that the British Parliament is going to declare that what was known as Eire becomes the Irish Republic and has ceased to be part of His Majesty's Dominions, surely it is logical and rational that we should in the same subsection declare what is the position regarding Northern Ireland. It is ungenerous—if I may say so, it is somewhat intolerant and unreasonable—that we should be criticised for declaring what is the position of Northern Ireland when we have been exceedingly generous in declaring the position of our country to the Republic of Ireland. Therefore, having declared the Republic of Ireland not to be part of His Majesty's Dominions, we declare that"Parliament hereby recognises and declares that the part of Ireland heretofore known as Eire ceased, as from the eighteenth day of April, nineteen hundred and forty-nine, to be part of His Majesty's dominions."
That is not banging doors, but it is not unlocking doors either. It is leaving the situation fluid if the Parliament of Northern Ireland should wish to make a change, but if it does not wish to make a change, then we are affirming that the present position remains of Northern Ireland being part of the United Kingdom and part of His Majesty's Dominions and part of the British Commonwealth. I really cannot see that there is any reason for British Members of Parliament to get excited or indignant about that. It seems to the Government to be logical and to be reasonable and fair both to ourselves and to Northern Ireland that that paragraph should be in the Bill. I have dealt with one point raised by the hon. Member for the University of Wales about the oath of allegiance. He asked that the Government should withdraw the Bill, and other hon. Members have asked that we should delay the Bill. Of course, the hon. Gentleman was entitled to put his point of view on behalf of the Liberal Party. We always take a kindly interest in what our Liberal colleagues do, and we shall see what happens when the Division comes. I was not quite clear as to what their line on the Bill really was, but one thing was clear, the hon. Gentleman asked that the Bill should be withdrawn and, as I have said, others have asked that its consideration should be postponed. I am sorry, but we cannot accept those suggestions. It must be remembered that at the moment legally the Republic of Ireland is a foreign State, and Irish folk in this country are foreigners. I can assure the House that my experience of Irish folk in this country is that they do not want to be foreigners. Indeed, the Republic of Ireland does not want to be in the Commonwealth but it does not want to be foreign—it is as far as I know quite sincere, on both points. [Laughter.] We have done the best we can to meet that situation by this Bill, but I think the House will agree that it would be bad for this situation to continue longer than is necessary because, sooner or later, it will produce some great legal difficulties of disadvantage to the Republic of Ireland and to Irish folk who live in this country. Therefore we cannot delay the Bill. I shall inform the House tomorrow, and I think it is only fair to tell the House tonight, that we must proceed with the next stages of the Bill at the beginning of next week in order that their Lordships may have it and, I hope, get the Bill on to the Statute Book before the Whitsun Recess. For it is clearly desirable that this anomalous and possibly embarrassing situation should be cleared up. My hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. McGhee), with whose sincere convictions I am familiar, went so far as to ask us to withdraw the Bill. He referred to what we have done on India. I agree that we have handled that difficulty with success, and we were all grateful to the Leader of the Liberal Party for the just compliment he paid the Prime Minister in that matter. But, of course, the Indian question was a very different one. It is true that India wished to be a Republic, but India definitely desired to remain in the Commonwealth, whereas the Republic of Ireland definitely wished to go out of the Commonwealth. The hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) spoke generally in support of the Bill. I thought a good and sincere speech was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. Haire), who has long experience as a result of residence in Ireland and, generally speaking, I agreed with the line he took on the matter. Reference was made to the Labour Party view in Northern Ireland, and the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. J. Beattie) may well have been right in some of the opinions he expressed. I would not challenge him as to what was the view of the Irish Labour Party, but he will be aware that some developments have taken place in Northern Ireland. As a result of the Irish Labour Party coming into Northern Ireland a new Northern Ireland Labour Party has been established, and it is only fair to inform the House that the Northern Ireland Labour Party has, for the first time, made a very clear declaration about partition. [Laughter.] I am not making any humorous or sarcastic observations because although this is a new organisation it is an organisation of substance. This is what they have said, on the recommendation of the executive. It was passed at their conference on a card vote, by 20,000 to 700. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite ought not to laugh about this; they should be rather pleased at this development—as I am:"Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty's dominions and of the United Kingdom and affirms that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be part of His Majesty's dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland."
That is a development of significance of which we on this side of the House must take proper notice. There are elements outside who are seeking to make this question a bitter matter of politics in the United Kingdom, to squeeze and bring pressure to bear upon Members of Parliament and Parliamentary candidates. This matter has in the long run to be settled in Ireland by Irishmen, and none of us, to whatever party we belong, ought to be parties to permitting ourselves to be squeezed and coerced on a matter which ought not to be a deciding factor in British politics. I have co-operated, and so have my right hon. and hon. Friends, with Irishmen in many good causes for many years. The Labour Party has been a good friend of Irish freedom from the old Home Rule days, and many Irish folk in this country vote heavily for Labour candidates for various public offices. [Interruption.] That is the spirit I do not like. I am sorry; I should have paid no attention to an interruption from the Public Gallery, but I thought it was an hon. Member who made that interjection. I do not believe that Irish folk who have lived in Great Britain for many years will take the position that unless we seek to cut off another part of the United King- dom and drive it somewhere else, they will let that influence their votes at Parliamentary elections. I hope that none of us will encourage them to do so or will pursue policies which will encourage them to do so, or this Irish issue might well become an embarrassing issue in British politics again."The Northern Ireland Labour Party will maintain unbroken the connection between Great Britain and Northern Ireland as part of the Commonwealth, and to implement this hereby instructs the Executive Committee to proceed at once to take all necessary steps to seek the closest possible means of co-operation with the British Labour Party."
Our first duty as British Members of Parliament is to the people who send us here, and to our country. I earnestly trust that all of us will be sufficiently courageous and
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Hamilton, Lt.-Col. R.|
|Albu, A. H.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V||Cove, W. G.||Harden, J R. E.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Crawley, A.||Hardman, D R.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville|
|Alpass, J. H||Crossman, R. H. S.||Haughton. S G|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O E||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Daggar, G||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A (Kingswinford)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Daines, P.||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Darling, Sir W. Y.||Herbison, Miss M|
|Awbery, S. S.||Davidson, Viscountess||Hewitson, Capt M|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Hobson, C. R|
|Baird, J.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hogg, Hon. Q|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Hollis, M. C|
|Balfour, A.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Holman, P|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Dodds, N. N.||Holmes, H. E (Hemsworth)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Horabin, T. L.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Donovan, T.||Houghton, A. L, N. D. (Sowerby)|
|Barton, C.||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Hughes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Battley, J. R.||Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Dumpleton, C. W.||Hurd, A.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Duthie, W. S.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)|
|Benson, G.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Berry, H.||Eden, Rt. Hon, A.||Janner, B.|
|Beswick, F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Jay, D. P. T,|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Wandsworth, C.)||Edwards, John (Blackburn)||Jeffreys, General Sir G.|
|Binns, J.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)||Jeger, C. (Winchester)|
|Blenkinsop, A||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||John, W.|
|Boardman, H.||Evans, John (Ogmore)||Johnston, Douglas|
|Bossom, A. C.||Evans, S N. (Wednesbury)||Jones, Rt. Han. A. C. (Shipley)|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Ewart, R.||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)|
|Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.||Fairhurst, F.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)|
|Bramall, E. A.||Farthing, W. J.||Keeling, E. H.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W||Fletcher, E G M.(Islington, E)||Kendall, W. D.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Follick, M||Kenyon, C.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Fool, M M||Kerr, Sir J. Graham|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Forman, J C||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||King, E. M.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Freeman, J. (Watford)||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr E|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Fyfe, At. Hon. Sir D. P M||Kinley, J.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Gage, C.||Lambert, Hon, G|
|Burden, T. W.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H T. N.||Lavers, S.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Lawson, Rt. Hon J. J|
|Carson., E.||Ganley, Mrs. C S||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Gibson. C. W.||Levy, B. W.|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Gilzean, A.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)|
|Channon, H||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Lewis, J. (Bolton)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Gooch, E. G||Lindgren, G. S|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Goodrich, H. E.||Lipson, D. L.|
|Close, W. S.||Greenwood., Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Cobb, F. A.||Grey, C. F.||Lucas-Tooth, S. H.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Grierson, E.||Lyne, A. W.|
|Cole, T. L||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Lytteltan, Rt. Hon. O|
|Collindridge, F.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||McAdam, W.|
|Collins, V. J.||Grimston R. V.||McAllister, G.|
|Comyns, Dr. L.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||MacDonald, Sir M (Inverness)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||McFarlane, C. S.|
|Cook, T. F.||Hale, Leslie||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)|
|Cooper, G.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)|
restrained, and that we shall not permit this to be a disturbing and bargaining factor in the political scene in Great Britain. I am obliged to the House for the tolerant and understanding reception which it has given to the Bill. I now invite the House to give the Bill, if not a unanimous Second Reading, at any rate a Second Reading by an overwhelming majority.
Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
The House divided: Ayes, 317: Noes, 12.
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Rees-Williams, D. R.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Reeves, J.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Renton, D.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Ridealgh, Mrs M||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Robens, A.||Tolley, L.|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G|
|Mann, Mrs. J.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Robinson, K. (St. Pancras)||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Rogers, G. H R.||Vernon, Maj. W. F|
|Marquand, Rt Hon. H. A||Ropner, Col. L.||Viant, S. P.|
|Mathers, Rt. Hon. George||Ross, Sir R. D (Londonderry)||Walker, G. H|
|Medlicott, Brigadier F.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Walker-Smith, D|
|Messer, F.||Sanderson, Sir F.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Sargood, R.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow. E.)|
|Monslow, W.||Savory, Prof. D. L||Warbey, W. N.|
|Morley, R.||Scott-Elliot, W.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hn. H. (Lewisham, E.)||Segal, Dr. S.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Mullan, Lt. C. H.||Shackleton, E. A A.||Welts, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Murray, J. D.||Sharp, Granville||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Nally, W.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)||West, D. G.|
|Neal, H. (Claycross)||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. J. T. (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Neill, Sir William (Belfast, N.)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon E.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Silkin, Rt. Hon L||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Simmons, C. J.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon W|
|Nicholson, G.||Skinnard, F. W.||Wigg, George|
|Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C A B|
|Noel-Baker, Rt Hon. P J. (Derby)||Smith, C. (Colchester)||Wilkes, L.|
|Nutting, Anthony||Snow, J. W||Wilkins, W. A|
|Oliver, G. H.||Solley, L. J.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|O'Neill, RI. Hon. Sir H||Sorensen, R. W.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Paget, R. T.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Steele, T.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Williams, W. R (Heston)|
|Parker, J.||Stross, Dr. B.||Willis, E|
|Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Stubbs, A E.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Paton, J. (Norwich)||Studholme, H. G.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Peart, T. F.||Summerskill Rt. Hon. Edith||Woods, G S.|
|Popplewell, E.||Swingler, S.||York, C.|
|Porter, E. (Warrington)||Sylvester, G. O||Young, Sir R (Newton)|
|Price, M. Philips||Symonds, A. L.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Proctor, W. T.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n. S.)|
|Pursey, Comdr. H.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Randall, H. E.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Hannan.|
|Ranger, J.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Beattie, J. (Belfast, W.)||McGovern, J.||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Stokes, R. R.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Gallacher, W.||Piratin, P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Gunter, R. J||Skeffington, A. M.||Mr. Mulvey and Mr. Cunningham.|
Bill read a Second time.
|Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House for Tomorrow.—[Mr. Popplewell.]|