HC Deb 02 February 1944 vol 396 cc1266-7
40. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the trend of a section of Irish opinion that Eire should become a permanent member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, recently given expression to by General Mulcahy, he will consider entering into consultation with the Eire Government on post-war economic policy of mutual interest.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

My hon. Friend will note that the speech to which his Question refers was made, not by a member of the Government of Southern Ireland, but by one of the Opposition leaders. I am not aware of any alteration in the standpoint of the Southern Irish Government. So long as the attitude of that Government remains what it is as regards the war, our relations tions with them in all matters must take account of that dominating fact.

Mr. Shinwell

While fully appreciating the substance of the right hon. Gentleman's point, in view of this recent trend on the part of those in opposition and among a fairly large section of opinion in Eire, would it not be desirable in some way to encourage it, and will the right hon. Gentleman take note that the suggestion of concentration on post-war economic policy was only made in order to find a line of approach?

The Prime Minister

The situation there is well-known to the House, and I should hesitate to make a statement about it, because of the many elements of gravity which it possesses, without having an opportunity of considering my words very carefully.