Free State Constitution.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 15th March 1922.

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

47.

asked the Prime Minister if he will assure the House that the Constitution of the Irish Free State when drafted by the Provisional Government will at once be submitted to Parliament, so that the said Constitution may be approved by Parliament and, if necessary, amended before being submitted to the Irish electorate for acceptance?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

No, Sir. The Constitution must necessarily be submitted to Parliament before the Free State is established, but I cannot undertake that it will be so submitted before it is submitted to the Irish electorate.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how the full freedom of Parliament to deal with the Irish Constitution, promised by the Prime Minister, will be secured if the Constitution is first submitted to the Irish electorate? It is a very important matter, and I think we ought to know.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

It has been repeatedly said that the Constitution will be drafted in Ireland by the Irish, just as the Canadian Constitution was prepared over there, but the ultimate Bill ratifying that Constitution will have to receive the assent of Parliament.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

But is it not an outrage on the freedom of Parliament if it is not asked to approve the Constitution before having it submitted to the Irish electorate, after which it will have no control, except to take it or leave it?

Photo of Mr Thomas Adair Mr Thomas Adair , Glasgow Shettleston

Does this not really mean that this Constitution will be arranged by Sinn Feiners and rammed down the throats of this House in the same way as the Treaty Bill?