HL Deb 06 May 1930 vol 77 cc363-4

VISCOUNT BRENTFORD had given Notice to ask His Majesty's Government if they can make a statement as to the course and progress of the negotiations with the Government of Egypt; and to move for Papers. The noble Viscount said: My Lords, the next Question on the Paper this afternoon is one of very great importance indeed. As your Lordships know, negotiations are taking place between His Majesty's Government and the Government of Egypt. There has been considerable anxiety in many quarters as to the progress of these negotiations and as to the possible results. I put down this Question in order that we might obtain from His Majesty's Government a statement as to the progress of the negotiations, but I have received an intimation from the leading representative of the Government in this House that it would be against the interests of our Government and of our country if he were called upon to make a statement at the present time. The noble and learned Lord informed me that the negotiations are at an acute stage, the Conference is still sitting, and that being so he asked me to postpone my Question. I need hardly tell your Lordships and the noble and learned Lord opposite that that is a request that would be met instantly by any noble Lord on this side of the House. I would like, however, to ask that a very early opportunity shall be given to us, as soon as any conclusion is come to—a conclusion that I take it will need ratification, which I hope will include this House also—to receive full information and to discuss this matter.


My Lords, I thank the noble Viscount for the attitude which he has taken as regards this Question. When I saw the Question on the Paper I got into communication with him, and as soon as he appreciated the position and the public interest involved, he complied with my request to postpone the matter. That is an attitude which, I agree with him, would be adopted by any man on the Front Opposition Bench.


Or anywhere else.


Or anywhere else? I beg pardon. I thought that was what the noble Viscount said.


No, I did not say that.


I quite agree—anywhere in this House. As regards the future, immediately an opportunity can properly be taken advantage of, when negotiations are no longer at an acute stage, I will undertake at the earliest possible moment to arrange an opportunity for the noble Viscount to bring the Question forward.