HC Deb 18 April 1928 vol 216 cc181-3
40. Colonel HOWARD-BURY

asked the Prime Minister whether he can now make a statement with regard to the position of Irish civil servants under Article 10 of the Treaty, in view of the announcement of His Majesty's Government to allow legislation to be passed to nullify the decision of the Privy Council, or whether, in view of the constitutional questions that arise and the interest that is taken in this question, he will now give a day to debate this matter?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

I understand that this subject will be debated in another place in the near future, and I prefer awaiting the result of that Debate before giving a definite answer to my hon. and gallant Friend's question.


Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that as the days go by these unfortunate people are without pay or pension and are suffering serious hardships: does he not think it is a matter of great urgency to tell them what the position is?


Is the Prime Minister aware that many hon. Members are receiving daily communications from some of these ex-civil servants, who have been most loyal servants of the British Government, and will lie do what he can to expedite the Debate in another place?


That urgency is precisely the reason for my answer. by hon. and gallant Friend wants a discussion in which a plain statement of policy and reasons might he given, and this can be given in another place. When I gave my answer before Easter, I was not aware that a Debate was to take place in another place. It is perfectly obvious that at the moment when we are debating the Budget it will be quite impossible to find time in this House, and it is a fortunate circumstance that there is time in another place.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

On a point of Order. Is the Prime Minister in order in referring to a Debate about to take place in another place; and, as this deals with a purely financial question, is it not a matter of Privilege, and that, therefore, an answer should be given in this House irrespective of any Debate in another place?


As to the first point, that is a matter of business, and the arrangement of the time of the House has always been in the hands of the Prime Minister, who is entitled to do what he thinks best. As to the second point, it remains to be seen whether any effective action is taken. If it is, then no doubt it becomes a matter of finance and will no doubt originate in this House.


Can the Prime Minister say whether there will be an opportunity for a Debate in this House after the Debate has taken place in the other House?


It will be a question whether there will be a general desire for a Debate in this House after the Debate in the other place.