HC Deb 17 June 1948 vol 452 cc651-2
45. Mr. John Beattie

asked the Prime Minister whether he is prepared to consider the advisability of inaugurating discussions on the subject of Irish unity between the Governments in Belfast and Dublin, especially in view of happenings in Palestine; and if he would be prepared to preside over such a conference.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I have been asked to reply. The policy of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom is to maintain and develop by all practicable means the closest relations between Great Britain and both Northern Ireland and Eire. But my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister does not consider that this policy would be assisted by our proceeding as the hon. Member suggests.

Mr. Beattie

Is it the intention of this Socialist Government to continue this disgraceful and undemocratic principle in the life of the Irish nation during the time they are in control of this House?

Mr. Morrison

In our view this is a matter which is far better settled by Irishmen themselves than by us starting anything up in this House.

Sir Ronald Ross

As there appears to be dissatisfaction in Eire with the separation they themselves brought about, would it be possible to offer them return to the United Kingdom on reasonable terms?

Mr. Morrison

I am trying to keep out of the controversial clutches of my hon. Friend behind me, and equally to keep out of controversial clutches of hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Delargy

Since the question cannot possibly be solved by Irishmen alone, and since, with great respect, the right hon. Gentleman has not given a direct answer to the Question, are we to conclude that he is not prepared even to consider that it might be advisable to inaugurate such discussions without a priori committing the Government to any hard and fast solution?

Professor Savory

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise the extreme reluctance of Northern Ireland to unite with a country which protested against the landing of American troops in Northern Ireland at a time of our dire necessity, and maintained a German Minister in Dublin as a centre of active espionage and allowed the brilliantly lighted Dublin—[Interruption].

Mr. Speaker

A question should be directed to obtaining information. I think both sides have been properly heard.