HC Deb 19 February 1917 vol 90 cc964-5
46. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Prime Minister whether the question of the autonomy of Ireland will be submitted to the Conference to which representatives of the Dominions have been invited; and, if so, whether the Government will be guided by the advice of the Conference in the event of their agreeing that Ireland should have as complete a form of self-government as prevails in the Dominions?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)

The subjects to be discussed at the Conference will not be finally settled till after the arrival of the representatives of the Overseas Dominions, but the decision of a question which concerns the administration of the United Kingdom can obviously only be taken by the Imperial Parliament.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Ireland is determined to have self-government, and that the time has now passed for Prussianising that country?


Is not this to be a War Conference, and will not the representative Dominions be discussing the question of autonomy for the Czechs and Slovaks, and why should not the question of autonomy for Ireland properly be discussed?


I do not think that either of those questions arises.


They are what we are fighting for.


The subjects to be discussed obviously will not be settled until the representatives arrive. Their views will be taken into consideration. I think we may assume, on the one hand, that the Government will not interfere with the discussion of anything they wish to discuss, and, on the other hand, that they will not wish to discuss anything which will add to the difficulties of the conduct of the War.


Will the representatives of the Dominions who come to the Conference be asked whether in any of those Dominions there is one-quarter of the population which prefers legislative union with the Mother Country, and as there is in Ireland?