Ree State Constitution.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 2nd August 1922.

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Sir F. HALL:

58.

asked the Prime Minister whether any time limit has been imposed within which the terms of the proposed Irish Free State Constitution shall he submitted for approval by the Imperial Parliament; and, if not, will he state whether it is the intention of the Government to allow the existing anomalous relations between Great Britain and Southern Ireland to continue indefinitely, having regard to the fact that these conditions, while involving this country in heavy financial obligations, deprive it of any of the powers of governmental control given to it under the Treaty?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to Article 17 of the Schedule to the Irish Free State Agreement Act, which provides for the continuance of a Provisional Government, pending the constitution of an Irish Free State, for a period not exceeding 12 months, from 6th December, 1921. In reply to the second part of the question, I am not aware that any delay in the constitution of the Free State involves this country in any financial obligations which would not otherwise arise.

Sir F. HALL:

Are we to understand that the time limit of the 6th December, which will expire in about three or four months, will be strictly adhered to by the Government?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

I have tried to answer the hon. and gallant Gentleman's question in language which is customary in this House.

Sir F. HALL:

I am perfectly conversant with the date, but we should like to know whether that date is going to be adhered to or not.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Glasgow Springburn

Is not the universal belief in Ireland that all the destruction of property which is taking place in the South of Ireland will ultimately be paid for by the British taxpayer; and will the Government definitely announce to the Provisional Government that they do of intend to pay any of it?

Mr. SPEAKER:

I do not know where that comes in on this question.