HC Deb 22 February 1945 vol 408 cc949-50
38. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has considered the statement of the Attorney-General in the Northern Ireland Parliament on 25th January, during the discussion on the Education Bill, that the proposed legislation, as well as the existing legislation on the subject since 1925, has not been in accordance with Section 5 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920; and if he has approached the representatives of the Northern Ireland Government on the subject of incorporating provisions for giving religious instruction in State-controlled, schools within school hours and the duties of teachers in connection with such instruction.

Mr. H. Morrison

My hon. Friend is no doubt referring to a statement made in a debate on a Paper on educational reconstruction, presented to the Parliament of Northern Ireland. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.

Mr. Stokes

Is it not intended by this legislation that there shall be denominational teaching in Protestant schools provided by the State? If that is carried through, will my right hon. Friend see that at least equal treatment is meted out to the Catholic half of the population?

Mr. Morrison

My hon. Friend is evidently under the illusion that Northern Ireland is a Crown Colony. It is a place with a Parliament, and this is within the competence of the Government of Northern Ireland.

Professor Savory

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that the Attorney-General of the day certified that both those Acts, the Act of 1925 and the Act of 1930, were within the powers of the Government of Northern Ireland, and that that, legal advice was accepted by the Government of this country, especially by the Home Secretary?

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