§ 49. Mr. HAROLD SMITH
asked whether the Government propose in the Franchise and Registration Bill to extend the franchise to women if there is a total stoppage of militant methods, as indicated in a recent speech of the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs?
§ Mr. ROBERT HARCOURT
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers this question, may I ask whether he has ascertained that the statement attributed to the Under-Secretary is correctly reported?
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs made it clear to all who heard his speech that the statement referred to in the question was an expression of his own personal opinion; and whether he is aware that that opinion was shared by suffragists in every part of the House?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think the answer I have to give will cover those points. The policy and intentions of the Government have undergone no change, and remain as declared by the Prime Minister. I am not aware that my hon. Friend conveyed any different impression in the speech referred to.
§ Mr. H. SMITH
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the "Manchester Guardian" and every Lancashire Liberal paper reported the hon. Member as having definitely stated without any qualification that the Government would extend the franchise to women if the militancy stopped, and that has never been repudiated by the hon. Member?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Acland)
May I ask my right hon. Friend to convey to the hon. Member opposite that I did not say any such thing. I was speaking on behalf of the supporters of women's enfranchisement, and I expressed what I thought was a legitimate matter of opinion, namely, that if certain action was taken, the supporters of women's suffrage in this House would succeed in what they desired. I was not speaking for the Government. I did not mention the Government, and it was quite clear that I was speaking only as a supporter of women's, suffrage in the House, and not for the Government at all.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has seen the report in the "Alliance News" which contains a verbatim report of the speech in question, and the sentence referred to begins with the words "I think."