HC Deb 21 June 1920 vol 130 cc1737-8
38. Colonel ASHLEY

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the numerous successful surprise attacks in Ireland on despatch riders, sentries, and small bodies of military and police, the Government intend by temporary orders under the Defence of the Realm Regulations, subsequently to be confirmed by legislation, to confer on the military and police in that country such powers of initiative as will place them at least on an equality with the forces of disloyalty and sedition who attack them?


The answer is in the negative.

Colonel ASHLEY

May I ask whether some steps cannot be taken to give the policemen and soldiers some opportunity of defending themselves before they are attacked, in view of the fact that they are so often attacked unawares, and killed before they have an opportunity of doing anything?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a very great shortage of light motor cars at the disposal of the police forces in Ireland, and that the only means available are to send heavy Army motors, which are heard miles off; and will he see that light cars, which can take soldiers and police to the scene of action quickly and silently, are obtained?


I will represent to the proper quarter the hon. Gentleman's views on the question of motor-cars. As regards the other question, it is obviously impossible to define by a Defence of the Realm Regulation who shall shoot first.


Would it be wise to send over to Ireland the motors now used by the Ministry of Transport?