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Scottish National Congress (Resolution)

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the resolution, a copy of which has been sent to him, passed at a meeting of the Scottish National Congress at its meeting in Glasgow on Saturday, 17th March, containing a pledge by that conference to protect those Scots who refuse to be conscripted by an English Government; and what action His Majesty's Government now propose to take.

On a point of order. I desire, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to ask your advice. I think that perhaps you will agree, when I have concluded, that I also need your protection against what I consider to be a gross discourtesy to me today.

On Saturday last, a very important meeting took place at which a most appalling resolution was passed which is referred to in Question No. 97 the last oral Question on the Order Paper today. I tried to get advice as to whether I could raise the matter as a Private Notice Question when I reached London, but I was told that it was too late for me to do so. Therefore, I put a Question down to the Prime Minister, and if you will look at Question No. 97, Sir, you will see that it raises a very important issue about which Scottish people are very deeply concerned.

On the advice of the Table, I put the Question down to the Prime Minister and it was accepted by the Table. I realised, too late, that the Prime Minister would not be able to answer it, but it is quite customary for his deputy or someone on his behalf, to answer a Question addressed to the right hon. Gentleman. The matter has been referred to the Secretary of State for Scotland. It is quite obvious that this Question will not be answered orally, today, and I think that, in view of the very vital importance of the issue and the contempt of the people of Scotland for this disgusting resolution, we ought to have a reply from someone on behalf of the Prime Minister today.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman will appreciate that the Chair cannot intervene in this matter. Questions are transferred as between the Departments. This Question has been approved by the Table, but, of course, it has not been reached. I am sure, however, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has ventilated the matter quite well.

In view of the fact that we have a Minister representing Scotland here today, that this is a very vital matter to the people of Scotland; that I addressed the Question in the first place to the Prime Minister and that it was accepted by the Prime Minister, would you, Sir, with the permission of the House allow the Question to be answered now?