HC Deb 25 March 1936 vol 310 cc1220-1

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the consequences to the lives and financial resources of British citizens involved in the pledge to authorise the establishment or the continuance of conversations for joint action by the military general staffs of Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Italy in the event of unsatisfactory replies being given by the Government of Germany to the proposals made to it on 19th March, he will undertake that, before such conversations begin or their continuation is permitted, he will take steps to seek authority for such military conversations in precise terms by plebiscite from a majority of the persons qualified to vote at Parliamentary elections and at present upon the electoral rolls of this country?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

I regret that I am unable to give any such undertaking.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware of the deep-seated feeling of this country against military alliances, as opposed to a policy of reliance on the Covenant of the League of Nations?


These anxieties will undoubtedly be given expression to in the Debate to-morrow. I understand that a Debate will take place to-morrow on Foreign Affairs and I hope, in the progress of the Debate, that those anxieties may be considerably allayed.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give any reason why the people of this country are less entitled to have a say in an important matter of this kind than, say, the people of Australia or Switzerland, who are given the privilege of voting by referendum on these matters?


Will he also advise the leaders of the Labour party and the Trades Union Congress to have a plebiscite of their members on the question of sanctions?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that has already been done?