HC Deb 04 December 1925 vol 188 cc2705-6

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether the Government propose to publish papers forthwith explaining the terms of the Irish Agreement communicated to the House last night, particularly a statement showing what liabilities this country incurs under it?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

No liability is incurred as a result of the new Agreement. A full explanation will be given when legislation is introduced next week. I hope to announce the business for next week at the close of the present sitting; but it may be for the convenience of Members to say now that I think it is most probable that the House will be asked to take the necessary legislation on Tuesday.


Will it not be for the convenience of the House, as it was a statement by reference, that the provisions should be set forth in a White Paper, so that we may have the Agreement explained in one short document?


I will consider that. The right hon. Gentleman was good enough to speak to me last night. I desired to communicate with him, and I have written to him this morning. As the House is aware, the practice of the White Paper is due to the fact that, on the discussion on a Financial Resolution, Members found it a great help to have some explanation of the details in a White Paper. On Financial Resolutions you are dealing with fixed and ascertainable figures. What I am asked to do here is to issue a White Paper explaining in effect what are items of a Bill. It is the custom in this House to make such an explanation on the Second Reading. When I tell the House that there are no liabilities, it will be plain that nothing of the kind would go into a White Paper. As to what might be or might not be payable by Ireland in certain circumstances is so much a matter of conjecture that it would be quite impossible to get it into a White, Paper. But I will take note of what the right hon. Gentleman says, and if it be possible and convenient, I will do so.


I do not want to press the Prime Minister unduly, but may I remind him that it is very often the practice, in introducing a Bill, to preface it with a memorandum explaining its provisions and details. If the right hon. Gentleman would issue such a memorandum as a preface to this Bill, setting out what the Bill really means in relation to the Treaty, it would be for the convenience of Members.


Do I understand that the Bill will be presented and printed on Tuesday?


I hope to say definitely at 4 o'clock. I am very anxious to get it passed through this House at the very earliest moment. I would like to get it passed here before it is passed in Ireland. I understand a statement will be made in the Northern Parliament on Wednesday. I have no information as to when it will be taken in the Dail. But I hope to make a further statement at 4 o'clock.