§ 46. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Prime Minister whether it was with Government sanction martial law and the Defence of the Realm Act were recently used to pre-vent a meeting in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, for the purpose of opposing the partition of Ireland and to facilitate a meeting in St. Mary's Hall, Belfast, in promotion of partition; whether it was with Government sanction Mr. Stuart, an official in the office of the Irish Insurance Commissioners, spent the fortnight preceding the latter meeting motoring in Ulster canvas-sing people to attend that meeting in support of partition, and paying by cheques signed Joseph Devlin; whether the money so drawn upon was supplied by the Government or any State Department; whether he is aware that another insurance official, Mr. Skeffington, of Dungannon, got himself appointed to oppose partition in St. Mary's Hall, when there supported partition, and subsequently explained that if he had done otherwise the Member for West Belfast would have got him deprived of his means of living; on what principle insurance officials in Ireland are allowed to interfere and be used in controversial politics against the wish of the public; and, seeing that the project for the partition of Ireland has none but this manufactured support, that no elected statutory body in Ireland has asked it, and that the people of all classes so far as allowed have pro-tested against it, whether that project will be withdrawn?
§ Mr. LUNDON
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers, may I ask, on a point of Order, whether the hon. Member for North—West Meath is entitled to make use of the Order Paper of this House in order to make unscrupulous and anonymous attacks upon an hon. Member of this House? The statements contained in this question would not be made either in the public Press or on the platform, for the simple reason that the hon. Member would be brought to book. Is it fair that state- 526 ments which could not be made outside the House should be made inside for the purpose of attacking an hon. Member? The last part of the question refers to Mr. Skeffington, of Dungannon, who is supposed to be an insurance official. He is a solicitor, and has no connection what-ever with the Insurance Commission. I have a telegram from him in which he says that the whole story is a hoax as far as he is concerned.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
In reply to the hon. Member's question, I have constantly deprecated references to and attacks upon other hon. Members in questions, and I shall continue to do so as far as I can. But I am afraid that I have little or no influence with the hon. Member who has put this question on the Paper. With regard to attacks upon those who are not members of the House, all I can say is that, in my opinion, for an hon. Member to make use of the privileges which this House gives him in order to attack innocent people outside, is one of the most despicable proceedings imaginable.
§ Mr. GINNELL
The reason why this question has caused irritation is that it is true. I beg to ask Question 46.
As regards the first part of the question, I have nothing to add to the answer given by the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Cork City on 26th June. As regards the latter part of the question, Mr. Stewart, who is a temporary clerk in the service of the National Health Insurance Commission, Ireland, denies specifically the truth of the allegations contained in the question, and there is no officer of the name of Skeffington in the employment of the Irish Commission.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that a meeting announced to be held in the Ulster Hall was pre-vented by the military and the police, to my personal knowledge, for I went there? Does he claim to know more about cheques in Tyrone than the people of Tyrone?
With regard to the first part of the question, it is the case that a meeting was prohibited, as was stated by the Prime Minister on the 26th June. The meeting was of a character which was regarded as connected with the rebellious movement which came to a head some little time ago. With regard to the cheques, I have no knowledge.
Mr. GIN NELL
The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the last part of the question—whether the partition proposals based upon manufactured opinion will be withdrawn?
§ 51. Major NEWMAN
asked whether it is still the intention of the Government to defer the final settlement of the government of Ireland, including the continuance of the exclusion of any part of Ireland from the provisions of the Government of Ireland Act of 1912, or subsequent amending Acts, to an Imperial Conference, to be summoned after the conclusion of hostilities?
§ 63. Colonel YATE
asked whether the acceptance by both the Unionist and Nationalist parties in Ireland of the application to Ireland of the Military Ser-vice Act will be one of the conditions embodied in the proposed Home Rule Act Amending Bill?
I can make no further statement on this matter until the introduction of the Bill to give effect to the Government's proposals.
§ Colonel YATE
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, is not this pledge of sincerity on the part of all parties in Ireland necessary and essential to any settlement? Without equal co-operation on the part of Ireland, what becomes of the bond of common sacrifices and glories—
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Can the right hon. Gentleman say why the Prime Minister is not able to be here to-day?
I understand that he has important matters of public business to attend to for the moment; he will be here shortly, when the business is disposed of.