HC Deb 06 March 1922 vol 151 c839
106. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to a speech by one of the Irish delegates who signed the Agreement to the effect that he had signed the same under duress, but that as the Agreement would secure the evacuation of British troops in Ireland the power would be left in republican hands to relegate the King of England to exterior darkness; and whether, having regard to this statement by one of the signatories to the Agreement, he will postpone the withdrawal of British troops from Ireland until the terms of the said Agreement have been formally ratified by the new-Irish Parliament to whom it is to be submitted?


My attention was called to this speech at the time at which it was made, namely, the end of last year. The delegate who made it, though a signatory to the Articles of Agreement, was not then, nor is he now, exercising authority in Ireland, and His Majesty s Government did not think that his utterance afforded sufficient cause for any modification in the policy which they had already decided to pursue should the Articles of Agreement be ratified, as they subsequently were. They do not now see any reason to change the opinion which they then held and upon which they have subsequently acted.


As this gentleman who was one of the signatories to the Treaty, has repudiated it, does not the right hon. Gentleman think it is a little premature to withdraw British troops from Ireland?


I do not care to argue a matter of that kind by question and answer across the Floor of the House.