HC Deb 25 May 1949 vol 465 cc1260-1
47. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Prime Minister to what extent he consulted the Irish Government about the Ireland Bill before it was presented to Parliament; and if, in view of the understanding between the British and Irish Governments that such consultation would take place, he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

The understanding with the Government of Eire (as it then was), reached during the discussions which took place last Autumn, was that there should be collaboration between the two countries in maintaining jointly that they would not treat one another as foreign. This understanding was fully carried out. It did not extend to the provisions of the Ireland Bill relating to Northern Ireland, which are, so far as I am aware, the only ones to which the Government of the Irish Republic take exception.

Mr. Gallacher

Has the Prime Minister seen the statement made by the Department of External Affairs in Dublin that as a result of written exchanges and discussions which took place at Chequers and in Paris an understanding was reached that the British and Irish Governments would consult in any steps which might be taken as a result of the Republic of Ireland Act? In view of that definite statement will he not have something further to say on this matter, because no consultation of any kind took place and the Irish authorities did not get the Bill until the day it was introduced here?

The Prime Minister

I do not think I need to add anything to what has already been said. A very full statement was made in another place yesterday.

Mr. Eden

In view of this statement can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Irish Government in any way consulted with His Majesty's Government before announcing that they proposed to abrogate the External Relations Act?

The Prime Minister

No, sir. No notification was received.

Sir R. Ross

Is the Prime Minister aware that a policy opposed both by Sir Oswald Mosley and the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) cannot be wrong?

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