HC Deb 14 April 1921 vol 140 cc1281-2

asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance on behalf of the Government that no further financial or military or other commitments will be incurred or loans granted to any Ally by Great Britain, whether arising out of the Treaty of Versailles or not, without first obtaining the sanction of Parliament?


We shall follow the regular practice by informing Parliament at once of any action proposed by the Allies which involves the co-operation of this country, and where Parliamentary sanction is required it will be sought as early as possible.


May I ask whether, following the regular practice, it would not be the custom to require the sanction of Parliament first, and not merely to ask Parliament afterwards to support and approve of that which has already been decided by the War Cabinet?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

In the event of no agreement being reached with Germany before the end of this month, will the right hon. Gentleman make a statement in this House explaining the situation before any fresh steps are taken?


I shall follow the ordinary practice, and I do not see how it is possible to conduct international business except on those lines. We shall first of all consult with our Allies. The moment we come to a provisional agreement, I shall announce it to the House of Commons, and the House of Commons will have the opportunity of debating it. That is the course I have always followed.

Captain W. BENN

May we take it that Parliamentary approval will be sought before this country co-operates in any further occupation of German territory?


I think I made it quite clear that I shall state to the House of Commons what the arrangements are which are made at the International Conference.


As this is a matter involving our nation in a continuous expense of many millions, may I ask if I have understood the right hon. Gentleman properly as saying that before he commits this country, as the head of the Government, to expenditure of any sort whatsoever, he will seek first the approval of this Parliament, in view of the fact that the tradition of this House is always to support the decision of the head of the Executive if possible?


The hon. Member's question is of the nature of argument.