HC Deb 15 December 1921 vol 149 cc258-60

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. McCurdy.]


I wish to ask the Leader of the House whether it is proposed to prorogue Parliament without waiting for the result of the discussion now proceeding in Dublin?

11.0 P.M.


Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, will he allow me to ask another question? I understand that a large number of questions are put down for oral answers. To-morrow is the only day available for the purpose. Not-withstanding, therefore, that to-morrow is Friday, I trust the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give an assurance that Ministers will find it convenient to be present, and to answer questions.


I do not think Ministers would find it convenient, but they will make it their duty to be present. As to the other question, we think it undesirable that Parliament should be prorogued before we know the result of the discussions now proceeding on the other side of the Channel, and we shall, therefore, if necessary, move a Motion that the House at its rising tomorrow do adjourn until Monday. I hope it may not be necessary.

Lieut.-Colonel J. WARD

In view of the great number of hon. Members who have carefully watched this Debate, and have points of view that have not yet been stated by any speaker, would it not be possible, irrespective of the decision in Dublin, to go over until Monday, so that there may be opportunity for full Debate?


I have done my best to ascertain what would meet the general views of the House, and I gathered through the usual channels that there was a very real and general desire on the part of hon. Members that, unless duty compelled them to do otherwise, to close this Session to-morrow. I have given notice of Motion to suspend the Five o'clock Rule so that, though we may meet at twelve o'clock, it is not necessary that the discussion should close at five o'clock. I believe the House would prefer to sit late to-morrow than meet next week, unless it be absolutely necessary that we should so meet.

Lieut.-Colonel WARD

The right hon. Gentleman will have observed that in almost every case where these negotiations take place it is usually with Members who have had an opportunity of addressing the House. There are definite points of great importance which have not been put before the House. That is most unfortunate, and as we are changing almost the entire constitution of the House and the country, leisurely and deliberate discussion ought to be allowed.


The Government have certainly no desire unduly to curtail discussion. They want to carry the House with them, and to give the House such opportunity as it desires. That is not saying the same as that every Member who desires to address the House should have an opportunity of speaking. My hon. and gallant Friend is quite mistaken if he supposes that we have consulted only those, or mainly those, who have already spoken, or who may be likely to speak. I am speaking for a great body of silent Members and those who very rarely address this House, and they, with my hon. and gallant Friend, desire that the discussion should not be prolonged more than is necessary for adequate debate on the great issues which are raised.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he does not think, apart from all other reasons, it would be more consistent with the dignity of this House that we ought not to come to a decision on this question until the decision in Dublin is announced?


No, Sir. I hold quite the contrary view. I think it is important—and speaking for the Government, we think it is important—that whatever be the view taken in Dublin, and without waiting to ascertain it, the view of this House should be expressed.

Question put, and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at Five Minutes after Eleven o'clock.