HC Deb 02 April 1917 vol 92 cc899-901
50. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that Australia is not at present represented at the Imperial Conference, he will bear in mind the fact that opinion in Australia is almost unanimously opposed to Imperial Federation, and that the adoption by the Government of any attitude tending to force the Dominions to accept such a form of federation under the existing conditions would be dangerous; and whether such proposals will for the present be withdrawn from the ambit of discussion of the Conference?


There is no possibility of this or I think of any British Government adopting any attitude tending to force the Dominions to accept any form of federation.


In place of Imperial Federation would the Conference take into consideration my own plan for a ring of republics?


asked the Prime Minister whether the Imperial Cabinet, in its executive capacity, is responsible to the Parliament of the United Kingdom or to the Parliaments of the Dominions, or whether the Government does not propose to accept the doctrine of Parliamentary responsibility?


I cannot usefully add anything to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member on 28th March and to a supplementary question by the hon. Member for Burnley arising out of my reply.

54. Mr. MARTIN

asked the Prime Minister if he will state the kind of closer relations between all parts of the Empire referred to in the Gracious Speech from the Throne?


I cannot give the definition asked for, but in my opinion a great advance towards these closer relations has already been made in the meetings of the Imperial War Cabinet.

55. Mr. MARTIN

asked the Prime Minister whether the representatives of the Dominions and of the Indian Empire are now considering with His Majesty's Ministers in secret the question of the closer relations referred to in the Gracious Speech from the Throne; and whether the people of the Dominions will be bound by what is done by their representatives in this Conference?


The subject has not yet been discussed at the Imperial Conference. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

56. Mr. MARTIN

asked the Prime Minister how much longer the representatives of Canada at the Imperial Conference will be kept away from home, where they are much needed at the present time in connection with the prosecution of the War and other important business?


This does not seem to me a proper question to be addressed to a member of the British Government, on whose invitation the Prime Minister of Canada is now in London in order to attend the Imperial War Cabinet.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the Premier and other members of the Canadian Government are not here because the Canadian people want them to be, but because they were asked to come?


I am not aware of that fact. I think there is plenty of scope for criticism of their own Government by Members of this House, and that they might leave the Governments of the Dominions to themselves.