Orders of the Day — Deportations to Ireland.

– in the House of Commons on 19th March 1923.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

I beg to move, "That this House do now adjourn."

I want, in the first place, to say that I would not have assisted in the Motion for the Adjournment to-night, if I had not had the feeling that this matter is one of very urgent public importance. I think no subject is so important to this House as that of the liberty of each individual citizen. I think no question ought to be so jealously guarded by the Members of this Chamber as security to every citizen. Whether he be high or low, rich or poor, he should have the full liberty about which the British Government and the British Constitution have for long years boasted. To-day we have a. set of conditions which are practically unknown to this country, if one would forget the War years. Secondly, I want to point out, that it is not my business to-night to discuss either the merits or the demerits of the Irish Free State Government. It is not my business to take the side of the rebels or the side of the Free State Government. It is my business to-night, as representative of a constituency, to defend the liberties and rights of British citizens, and, speaking for the party to which I belong, so long as we have a voice, so long as we have strength con- tained within ourselves, we will not abate one jot, or one iota, but will always defend the right of the British citizen, and particularly the working people. Having said that. I want to say, in the first place, that when this Act, under which the Regulations are now taking effect, was originally drafted, it was in 1920, when our country was then in a state of war with Ireland. It was felt then that as the whole of Ireland was practically at war. these Regulations were needed in order to carry on the Government of this country. But to-day a different set of circumstances exists. The war with Ireland, so far as we are concerned, has now come to an end. We have given Ireland the same form of government, practically, that we have given to Canada and Australia. We have, in. fact, had questions refused in this House because those questions dealt with the internal affairs of Ireland, and, I think, quite rightly. But here we have, under the guise of an Act. people arrested and deported to another country. I would point out that the action of the British Government, even as far as the Regulations themselves are concerned, was illegal.

Mr. DEPUTY - SPEAKER (Captain FitzRoy):

I would point out at this early stage of the hon. Member's speech that the question on which he has obtained the leave of the House to move the Adjournment is a very narrow issue, and that on the Motion for the Adjournment the other night, the question of the legality of the action of the Government was fully discussed. It must, therefore, not be brought under discussion again to-night.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

The point I wish to make is, that the "Regulations, under which those men are now in Ireland, distinctly stated that the place of internment would be contained in their indictment or in the notice served on them. We have prisoners in Ireland who, before being taken there, ought to have been served with a notice as to which place they were going to be kept in Ireland. We have been assured that they are in Mountjoy, but I submit that we arc not sure at the moment that they are in Mountjoy at all. After all, can the Home Secretary or the Government interfere with the Irish Free State in moving about prisoners as they like? When once you have transferred a man from your jurisdiction to another State, then you have handed him over to that State, and it is the duty of that State to do what they like with the people in their charge. These people, who have never been proved guilty of any crime, and against whom there has been no charge preferred, are at this moment in Ireland under the control of the Free State, and liable to be moved whenever the Free State Government require them to be moved. There was a further question raised at Question Time. Some of us, who are Members of Parliament representing constituencies whence those people came, thought that truth and fairplay demanded that we ought to go and see those people, and inquire as to the facts.

One would have fancied that, if the British Government were correct in their attitude, that if there was so much behind their attitude of fair-play as the Home Secretary led us to believe, they would have welcomed any visit from a Member of Parliament to inquire into the conditions. What was there to hide? What was there unfair in a Member going to inquire first-hand for the information? Instead of that, the Government refused to give us that access, because they know that, if once we got in touch with those men, information would come to our hands that would make it unpleasant for the Government in a British House of Commons. This Government is in a very peculiar position. Take what has happened. Men are in Mountjoy prison. They might be moved to-morrow, and, in the course of being moved from town to town, it might be that, in the disturbed state of Ireland, these men might be shot. They might be shot quite innocently. It might be that the soldiers on guard were the worse for liquor. It might be that they were angry. There might be a hundred and one pretexts. Everyone knows that, in the course of war, when tempers are roused, when feeling is high, how easy it is for shooting to take place, and for men to lose their lives. It would not be so bad if those men had been convicted of any crime. I have a list in my pocket of men who have been shot in Mountjoy prison, presumably for crime. It might happen with those men. British citizens, to-morrow, might be deprived of their lives through an act over which the Free State has no control. It might even be outside their particular jurisdiction.

Again, the duty of a Government ought to be to protect its citizens. The moment a Government hands over its citizens to another country, then it ceases to be a Government. It is your duty to look after those in your country, to protect every citizen within your country. If a man committed a crime here against Canada, before you would allow him to go outside your country you would have to make Canada prove that there was a case on the surface against that man. Even if I committed a crime in England against Scotland, the Scottish law is definite on the point, that before a man can be brought back to England he must appear before the magistrate and a case made out against the man. That applies to England and Scotland, and Scotland is a part of Britain, whie Ireland is a Free State outside the jurisdiction of Britain. If we insist upon that in regard to a State which is part of Britain, how much more ought we to insist upon it in regard to a country which is not part of it. It may be that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will challenge the law on this point, though they are lacking the Lord Advocate for Scotland; but I can assure the House that I have gone into this question thoroughly to-day, and am satisfied that I am correct in this matter of law as between England and Scotland.

Might I also say I am not concerned so much for the legal aspect of the question? It may be that the Home Secretary will put it to us that this is legally correct. Even if this action were legally correct, it is no excuse for doing an action of this kind. I want to submit that there is a higher attitude than even legal correctness. I would sooner be legally wrong and right in common sense and justice than be right in a mere legal quibble. Again, I might raise the whole issue that here we are to-night discussing in the British House of Commons. I want to suggest further that this action has not been taken by the Irish Free State at all. This action has been taken largely by the British Government in the first instance approaching the Free State. They were afraid of things happening in this country. They had not the capacity to tackle the problem themselves. They had no case against these people, and they approached the Free State Government in order for the Free State Government to come back to them. That is the way this thing was done. I feel the whole thing we are being faced with is a set of circumstances that no Government worthy of the name would have allowed to occur. Might I further submit that every one of the persons arrested belongs to the working classes? If there had been a hundred landlords, or a hundred financiers, or a hundred legal luminaries, they never would have been arrested and treated in this fashion. They were arrested merely because they are working people, and deported because the Government thought these people would not have the knowledge to defend themselves or have anybody to defend them. The whole question was discussed the other night—

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

The whole general question was discussed the other night, and, therefore, cannot be gone into now. I would remind the hon. Member that the only question before the House at this moment on the Motion for Adjournment is the consideration of whether or not the Government have lost control over these people.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

I accept your ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. My point is this: Here we have the Free State responsible now for British subjects. Our country ought to be responsible for every British citizen. We evade our responsibility by handing over these people to another country. What would anyone think of a Government, who, by handing over 100 persons, were evading their responsibility; handing them over, say, to Canada or Australia, or to any other country? The whole thing is a makeshift policy. The Government have not had the courage to arrest these men or to charge them with any crime. They hauled them on the pretext they did. What I am most afraid of is that now they are in Ireland anything might happen to them. I am especially keen that nothing untoward should happen to them. If anything does happen to them while in Ireland, then the Government are raising a very serious problem for themselves. What immediately will occur if anything happens to these men while under the control of the Irish Fee State? The issue becomes at once not one between the Free State and the rebel party; you will see every Irishman in this country, whether he be a Free Stater or a rebel, thrown right into the arms of the rebels, and you will have the whole Irish trouble intensified 50 times. That is what the Government are doing. What is their object? If you had any case, why do not you bring the men back to our prisons? Surely they are safe enough? Are the warders not capable of looking after them and of guarding them, without handing them over to the tender mercies of another country? Is Barlinnie prison not safe enough? Has your capacity for government ceased to function that you have to hand over your functions to another State? Have you not really confidence in yourselves?

The truth of the matter is that you have handed these men over and you do not really know where they are at the moment. You tell us they are in Mount-joy Prison. When did you become so trustful of the Irish Government? I have heard hon. Members on the other side put questions to the hon. Gentleman and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer doubting the Irish Free State Government on some other occasions. Anyhow, now they have become extremely trustworthy, and you would believe them in anything they might say. Anything might break out. There might be civil war to-morrow in Dublin. Are these men to be kept in Dublin Prison? I have seen it. I was over there quite recently at the Irish Trade Union Congress. Every window was rifled with bullets. You cannot keep these men in that prison while, it may be, there is a riot taking place. You may have to move them to another part of the country. You place them under the same danger and the same disability. For my part I hope that this House whether it be Tory, Liberal or Labour— no matter what section of the House it is to which we may belong— will safeguard the interests of the individual. Let us not forget this, that Governments alter. You have not a continued lease of life. Other Governments will one day supplant you. The regulations you have made will furnish excuses to them; these may then be used with equal effect against you. Let me conclude by saying that the case is not a case built on justice.

I listened to the Attorney-General and the Home Secretary trying to defend this action. Never have I heard the Home Secretary or the Attorney-General defend a case with so much weakness as they have shown in this particular instance. Undoubtedly, there can have been nothing of a similar kind to defend in this House before, when we consider that even during the War we should have shrunk and protested if the Germans had handed over our prisoners of war to another State. The House would have protested, but here we are handing over our own citizens to another State. I conclude by saying that if this kind of thing is carried on— I want to be quite frank— if you can break constitutions, so can I. No constitution in this House will keep me from assisting those citizens in any way when I desire to assist them. If you can break laws, or bring up legal quibbles, then I am going to use all the resources I have to assist these men to go back to their wives and. families, and, at least, to be given a fair and right trial, and not to be condemned before even the decencies of justice are observed. I say, frankly, that if that is not granted, then I shall reserve to myself my right to assist these men in any way, constitutionally or unconstitutionally, to regain the liberty they have a right to possess.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

I beg to second the Motion.

The reason for this Motion is to call attention to the neglect of the Government to retain control over the conditions under which the persons recently deported to Ireland are interned. As you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, very rightly said, this Motion ties us down to a very narrow point, and I hope to keep within it. Unlike the hon. Member who has just sat down, the case to which I want to refer is not that of an ordinary workman, but of a man in a large way of business. He is an employer of labour and, so far as I know, he is not connected with the Labour party. I hope that may appeal to hon. Members on the other side. I raised this issue with the Home Secretary in a question this afternoon. He was good enough to ask me to send on details. I very much prefer giving details to the House of Commons and to the country at large, because it is very essential that the people should know exactly what the Government have done in this connection. If the House will bear with me for a few moments I will put my case in this way. The man of whom I am speaking resided in Manchester. True, he was against the Treaty with Ireland, but since the Treaty was ratified by the Irish people he has never uttered a word in public nor, so far as I know, has done anything at all to jeopar- dise the welfare of the Free State in Ireland. He was arrested. I have always understood that when a man was arrested, his wife and family were told where the police were taking him. Further, I always understood that even when a man was convicted by a Court, and was sent to prison— to any kind of prison—his family were entitled to know exactly where he had been taken. That is the case of a felon, who has been tried and convicted in a Court of law.

Here is the case of a man who is taken away, and his wife and children know nothing at all as to where he is taken. The wife went to a solicitor, and the solicitor wrote, last Tuesday, to the Home Secretary, requesting the Home Office to send a communication to the man at the place where he was interned. That was last Tuesday, and the wife received a telegram from the- man from Mountjoy Prison on Saturday afternoon last. The telegram was sent off at about 2.30, and stated that he had not received a word, either from the lawyer or from his wife. I think I have, so far, kept within the terms of the Motion before the House. What I want to plead for is, that this man, like all other citizens, is entitled to the amenities which the ordinary criminal gets. At any rate, he is entitled to get in touch by correspondence with his solicitor. The Home Office told the solicitor in this case that they were sending the communication at once to the man in Ireland. Surely, if the Home Office received this communication from the solicitor on Wednesday, the man ought to have had it on Friday, at the latest, but he had not received it on Saturday. I am sure hon. Members on the other side, whatever prejudices they may have in regard to these men who have been agitating in England against the Irish Free State, cannot but have sympathy with their wives and children. I feel that no man in the House, whatever position he may occupy, can permit a state of things to exist where the husband and father is kept for a whole week, and the wife and children cannot get access to him by correspondence. I claim, on human grounds, that something ought to be done in this case.

I wish to ask the Home Secretary if it is possible for a case like this to go before the Tribunal he has set up, before the man's solicitor has a chance of preparing his case? It is suggested, in the representations I have received, that the appeal of this man may come forward before his solicitor can get in touch with him through correspondence. That is practically the whole of my case, except to say this. I am convinced of one thing, that there is hardly a lawyer in this land who could stand up and say that the action of the Government in dealing with these men was right. Not only have they arrested them, but they have been callous to their families since they have been arrested. I trust that this Motion will gain the support of the House. There are great principles at stake. I can think of a day coming when there will be another Government on that side of the House. If I happen to be a supporter of that Government, I shall be prepared to stand up, at any time, and to argue for fair play for the biggest criminal in the land until he is tried. I will argue for liberty of the subject irrespective of party politics. This House has a great duty to perform. It should see to it that a man is not condemned, at any rate, until he has been tried. That, in short, is the case we make out to-night.

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

I must at once make the confession that I intervene in this Debate with the very greatest reluctance. This question has been raised several times by my hon. Friends, but until to-day I have never uttered a word upon it, and I would willingly have continued in that course. Owing, however, to the circumstances, my own strong feelings will no longer permit me to do so. As the House knows, I am the only representative here of the Irish Nationalists. There are a number of my countrymen above the Gangway who are, I am sure, just as keen to safeguard their interests as I am myself, and I welcome their coming to this House, not only for themselves, but because it is a very eloquent sign of the spirit of toleration and of indifference to creed and nationality in the country from which they come: but in a more especial sense, perhaps, than they do, I, as an Irish Nationalist, represent, not only my own constituency, but the large body, measured, not by small numbers, but by hundreds of thousands—I believe I may say altogether that there are upwards of 2,000,000 of people of the Irish race within the shores of Great Britain. I feel, therefore, that I have a special responsibility to them, and that, if their liberties are attacked, I, as their representative, have a right to defend them, and I should be failing in my duty as their representative, and, to a certain extent, as their spokesman, if I did not make as hard a fight for them, or even a harder fight, than I should in the case of other fellow-citizens of mine, whether English. Scotch or Welsh.

The reason for my delay and my reluctance in rising is that I have no sympathy with those who are making war on the Free State Government in Ireland. If those gentlemen have complaints to make of the particular form of Government which now exists in Ireland, they can do so by exercising their privileges as citizens and by the ballot. More than that, as one who has resided in England for more than half a century, I have a strong resentment at the idea that my own people in this country should be brought up in fierce antagonism to their British fellow-citizens, with whom they have no quarrel whatever; and that these men should, perhaps, be threatened in their employment, or threatened in any other ways—that these millions of my people living in this country should be threatened by this country being made the point of departure, the headquarters, for attack by violence, by ammunition, by guns, upon the Government of Ireland, is, I think, intolerable. Knowing the misrepresentation that there is with regard to what any man says in public life, and more especially in the case of an Irish politician, with enemies all around him among his own people, I have abstained: but I can do so no longer.

When I went down to Liverpool last week to visit my constituents at the festival of the national holiday, I found that some of the people who were to have taken part in it were among those who had been sent over to Ireland by the Home Secretary. The first I heard of this matter was last Sunday week, when a young man came to me, with the priest of his parish and a friend of mine living in the same parish, and told me his story, and it so shocked and surprised me that I could not believe my ears. At a quarter-past one in the morning a couple of men appeared at the house, and, I will not say dragged out of bed, because they acted as civilly as their instructions would allow, but they insisted that a young woman, in not a particularly good state of health, should get out of bed and be brought into the cold night air, and be taken away by police officers; and then she disappeared without leaving any trace. The first reflection that came to my mind was. what is the matter with Irishmen? They do not seem to have the ordinary rights and liberties that British subjects have, wherever they may be. As men of the same race as myself who sit on these benches know, there are groups of Irishmen and Irishwomen in this country as ardent in their devotion to Ireland as any Irish people born in Ireland can be, but they were born in this country; their fathers, and in some cases even their grandfathers, were born in this country. Has it come to this, that, because I have some Irish blood in my veins through my remote ancestors, I stand on a lower level with regard to the guardianship of my liberties within the shores of England than a man who had a French father, or a German father, or an Italian father, or a Turkish father? That is an intolerable position against which I feel bound to protest.

My right hon. and learned Friend—if he will allow me so to call him—the Attorney-General, who always conducts all his controversies not only with the greatest skill but with the greatest courtesy, declares that this is perfectly legal. I am not in a position to discuss the legality of the matter with him. He is one of the greatest lawyers of his day; I do not know anything about law. But even if he can prove to me by a thousand text-books that it is within the law, it does not change my conviction that it is a gross abuse and an outrage upon men and women of Irish blood, which neither he nor any other man in the world would dare to inflict upon people of any other nation. The circumstances have been set forth, and one of the main reasons for our objection is set forth by the Motion of my hon. Friend. I have seen assassins whose extradition was demanded, men with blood upon their hands, foul, terrible, horrible assassins. The Government of France, or the Government of Germany, or the Government of the United States, has demanded their extradition. What did the Home Secretary do about them? However foul the charge against them, and however great the probability of their blood-guiltiness, he had to go through the due process of the law; and we have come to this, that the French assassin, or the German assassin, or the Italian assassin, has more guardianship for his liberties than has a man born in Ireland; or because he happens to be born of the Irish race and to have Irish blood in his veins, he is deported—how, and where? As to how, these poor people, delicate women, were dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night and sent—where? —we do not know. To what conditions? We do not know.

I am not going to criticise the present Government of Ireland. I have never said one word since the Irish people declared for them instead of for the party to which I belong. I have my opinions, and they have undergone no change, as to the unwisdom of Ireland in doing so, but I accept the verdict of my nation, and, therefore, I have never said a single word that might in the least degree embarrass or weaken the position of these men in their terribly difficult task. But they are fighting a very bitter civil war. They have had—I do not criticise them for doing so; it is not my policy and I am not responsible for it—they have had to execute many men, I think 67 altogether, and they have had to inflict detention upon many thousands of others. They have felt it their duty, owing to the number of escapes, or the possibility of escapes, to impose upon these men very hard restrictions—harder than would be imposed upon them if they were in English gaols. I want to know, as the Motion demands, what security has been given to see that under the stress of the fierce passions of civil war in Ireland these men will get the treatment which, thank God, amid all our worst conflicts in this country, it is the common doctrine of every party to give to every man until by due process of law he has been found guilty.

Photo of Mr Gershom Stewart Mr Gershom Stewart , Wirral

I rise because I think it would be unseemly on our part if we allowed the other side to do all the speaking. We think the Government have been perfectly right in what they have done and I cannot possibly understand all this fuss about the deportations. As one who has been associated with the Unionist cause, I very much appreciate the good-tempered speeches with which this has been put forward by the opposite side and I should like to congratulate the Father of the House on the vigour of his denunciations, which we who have been here a long time know so well. This Motion appears to me to be practically a Vote of Censure upon the Free State Government. Speaking as one who did not believe in the separation of Ireland from England, I and a great many of my Unionist colleagues, feel more confidence in the Free State Government than the supporters of this Motion have. I can assure those hon. Members who are anxious about the safety of the people who have been deported that if the Government have the promise of the Governor-General of Ireland that these people will be interned only, and will not be proceeded against with the utmost rigour of the law, the Governor General will keep his word. We who knew him in the House for many years know that he is a man of courage and once he says a thing you can rely upon it Now we come to the legal aspect. I am sitting in Standing Committee A. In that Committee dealing with the rent account the energetic upholders of the law now sitting before me say that the law is sacroscant because they obtained some decision in a certain court by a fluke—

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

On a point of Order. Is it in order to refer to a decision by Noble Lords in another place as a fluke?

9.0 P.M.

Photo of Mr Gershom Stewart Mr Gershom Stewart , Wirral

I withdraw the word "fluke." I will say an unfortunate decision. Now they have a decision as to these deportations which has been decided to be legal, they seem to be doing all they can to upset it. Their action is difficult to understand. Civil war of the deadliest character is going on in Ireland and if the Home Secretary has got, however he got it, information that there was a danger of that war being carried into this country, he would have been failing in his duty as the chief guardian of public security if he had failed to avail himself of it. I cannot follow this theory which has. been laid down that it is a very dreadful thing to be deported to Ireland, especially for people with Irish blood in them who believe England is the last country in the world to live in. I should also like to ask hon. Members opposite, who are so keen about these relatively few people under discussion, how is it we never heard a' word from them when about four or five hundred people were interned in Ulster by the Ulster Government. [HON. MEMBERS; "They were not lifted out of this country."] They were lifted out of their houses and homes. They had an opportunity, the same as those now arrested, of appealing to a Committee. When I saw them they had been there for several months and not one had availed himself of this privilege of having his case tried. It rather led one to suppose that those who interned them knew a good deal about them that those interned did not wish to have explained, or that they were happy to be there out of the hurly burly. I dare say that will apply to some of those who are interned now. It is now put forward that these people are not British, but Irish citizens. There is no such thing as an Irish, English, Scottish or even a Welsh citizen. There is a British citizen and no other. It is laid down in the last Home Rule. Act that the Irish Government has the power now, if it likes, after a certain number of years' residence in Ireland, to grant certificates to foreigners not of Irish, but of British citizenship, and they become the same as we are. I think the plea falls to the ground that people, because they happen to be resident in England, have some particular claim to English citizenship. These people have been mixing themselves up in the affairs of Ireland, and the Home Secretary was perfectly right to hand them over to the authorities in that country, especially in view of the fact that they have the right of appeal to this Committee which he is setting up, which is composed of men of the highest legal knowledge and the highest character. It is all nonsense to say the Home Secretary should have shut his eyes and done nothing when he got this information. I believe the Home Secretary to be an honest English gentleman, and when a man like that gives his word I do not quibble about it. He has told us he had received information about the possibility of certain things arising in this country.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

I must direct the hon. Member's attention to the words of the Motion upon which the Adjournment has been moved. The question of the legality of the deportation does not arise.

Photo of Mr Gershom Stewart Mr Gershom Stewart , Wirral

You may have plenty of information on which you can rely, though you may not be able to prove it because your witnesses may be terrorised. If he thought these people were dangerous, he was quite right to get rid of them, and it is far better to have them deported a day or two too early than a day or two too late. I myself have seen things happen in this country. I have seen stacks burning in my constituency, and £1,000,000 worth of cotton was burnt in one night in Liverpool.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

I have pointed out to the hon. Member that the legality of the deportation does not arise. The only question at issue is whether the Government have still complete control over these deported people.

Photo of Mr Gershom Stewart Mr Gershom Stewart , Wirral

Perhaps my enthusiasm about the matter has led me away. I think the Home Secretary has got control of these men. You have the promise of the Governor-General of Ireland that they will not be executed or anything of that sort. Then we have the promise of the Home Secretary that they shall be produced before the Committee he is setting up. It seems to me, therefore, that there is not a great deal to complain about. So far from criticising the Home Secretary for what he has done, as a citizen I thank him very much for removing disturbing elements out of the country.

Photo of Mr Harold Morris Mr Harold Morris , Bristol East

As I sum up the Resolution which has been so ably moved, I think it resolves itself into one question—under whose jurisdiction and under whose control are these men and women at the present time? One cannot really deal with that question and the points that arise under it without going back for a moment to what took place in this House a week ago. I do not propose to trespass outside the terms of the Resolution, but I should like to say that I do not suppose there were many hon. Members who could not help feeling, when the Home Secretary made his statement to the House a week ago, that the circumstances under which he was placed, from the information that had come to his knowledge, were such that he was entitled to call upon this House for the strongest possible support in what he did. When, in addition to that, he was fortified by the opinion of the learned Attorney-General, that what he was doing was within the four corners of the Regulation, I felt, and I think some of those who sit with me on these benches felt, that it was our duty to support the Government when the Resolution was moved.

When the hon. Member for Woolwich West (Sir Kingsley Wood) expressed the grave misgiving and apprehension which he felt, in a very temperate and very moderate speech, although he himself at that time was supporting the Government in what they were doing, he pointed out that an action of that kind might lead to difficulties in the future, and that matters might arise for discussion in this House because of the action which was taken by the Secretary of State. From what I have heard this evening, the fact that these men and women are interned at the present time in Mountjoy Prison, leads one to inquire—and I hope that the Minister who is going to reply, possibly the Attorney-General, will give us some answer and some reason —why it is that these men and women have in fact been interned in Ireland and in whose custody they are at the present time. One can take, and I think one can take rightly and fairly, three alternatives. It may very well be that the Irish Free State have given to the Government of this country premises where they may intern these men and women and at the same time keep control over their persons by having them in the custody of servants of this country, namely, by sending over with them police constables or soldiers or custodians of that kind, thereby having guardianship over them, although keeping them in Ireland. That seems unlikely, and I do not think that that has been done.

On the other hand, it may be this alternative, that the Government of this country have arranged with the Free State Government that their officers shall temporarily become the servants of the Government of this country, and that the men and women, interned as they are in Ireland, shall be kept under the control of people in the service of the Free State Government temporarily loaned to the Government of this country. That, again, does not seem likely. The House is at the present time in the dark as to which, if either, of these two alternatives has been adopted. The third and last alternative must be this, that these men and women who could have been interned in this country, but are now, as we are led to believe, interned in the Irish Free State, have been handed over to the Government of the Irish Free State and are interned in Ireland by them under the custody and under the control of the Irish Free State. If that third alternative be the real one, and the right one—and I ask the Minister who replies to give us some information upon that point—then this House is entitled to ask, and is entitled to know, what is the exact arrangement that has been made between His Majesty's Government and the Government of the Irish Free State.

The whole thing will depend upon the answer to that question, because this House is entitled to know what sort of control it is that the right hon. Gentleman has over these men and women, when it is that he can get them back to this country, if he can get them back to this country, and what arrangement he has made for the purpose of getting them back to this country, should he desire to have them back. I should like, but I think it might be out of order, to refer to one short passage in Regulation 14B, in regard to the actual wording of the Regulation. As I read it, it says: The Secretary of State may by Order require that person forthwith"— "that person," of course, includes these 100 men and women who have, been arrested and interned— to be interned in such place as may be specified in the Order. I should like to know from the Secretary of State if at the time when he made his Order he specified the place, or whether he only specified it generally as the Southern part of Ireland. I should have thought that that internment meant in ternment by the Secretary of State him self, and internment over which he, had custody and control. It may be that in handing these men and women over to the custody and control of the Irish Free State—

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

On a point of Order. Does not this really relate to the question of legality?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

I have listened carefully to the hon. and learned Member, and I think he is in order.

Photo of Mr Harold Morris Mr Harold Morris , Bristol East

If it be that the handing over of these men and women to the Irish Free State comes under the third of the alternatives which I have named, I should like to know, and I think the House would like to know, what arrangements were made to make that internment, which the Secretary of State originally had put into force, still his internment, although in effect these men and women are within the bounds of the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

I cannot claim that I take as wide and as deep a view of this matter as those hon. Members who have spoken. I have looked carefully into the matter not so much as a Member of this House, but as one who has been detained in somewhat similar circumstances to the circumstances under which these men and women are detained now. Knowing just exactly the very great difficulties of that position, and knowing how very difficult it is for an innocent man to take the necessary steps to prove his innocence, I have endeavoured on every occasion possible to try to be assured that these men detained in Ireland have the fullest opportunity for establishing their innocence. We were told to-day that we still had full freedom of access and full control over the lives and liberties of these men. I started at Question time on Thursday to endeavour to get access to them in their place of internment in Ireland. I am still without anything like a reasonable promise. That was four days ago. Is that reasonable access or reasonable control over the lives and liberties of these men?

I regard it as a personal affront and an affront to this House to be told that I have no more right to see these men than ordinary visitors to the prison. As a Member of this House I have to take my share of the responsibility for the detention of these men, and yet I am told that my only right of access to them is under the ordinary prison Regulations. When I ask what these ordinary prison Regulations are governing the admission of friends to visit persons interned I discover that neither the Home Office nor the Scottish Office can produce one copy of these Regulations. They do not know what the conditions are. I know that there was no special desire on the part either of the Home Office or the Scottish Office that I should go there. It was indicated to be that they were somewhat alarmed for my personal safety should I go there. I am glad to find that anxiety among the members of the Government. I appreciate it. It touches me.

The interesting point about it is that if the British Government cannot be sure of the personal safety of a Member of Parliament, who presumably is friendly to the Free State, how can it be so terribly certain of the safety of the internees of the Free State who have been carried over there? [HON. MEMBERS: "What about Wilson 1"] That is said to justify us in doing something which everybody on that side realises is unjustifiable. I know that Sir Henry Wilson was shot in this city, but is it because the Home Secretary will be shot that this has taken place, because if it is to protect our Government it is placing Great Britain and the Home Office and the police service of this country, not to mention our military forces, on a very low level indeed, if we have to get the Irish Free State to withdraw Irish citizens and British citizens to protect our Cabinet Ministers and to protect prominent individuals in this country." If we have got to run to the Irish Free State and say, "Take away this batch of our citizens in order that our prominent citizens may be safe," look at the position we are in. Suppose that the President of the Irish Free State said to the Home Secretary, "I have reason to believe that the right hon. Member for the City of London (Sir F.Banbury) and the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs are not friendly to the Irish Free State Government, that they are plotting against the Free State Government and as evidence of that I produce certain letters written by the right hon. Gentleman to the Under-Secretary "—I am assuming that such letters had been written and they contain phrases that were very wild and desperate—would we say, "Yes, there is sufficient evidence on the subject to justify us in handing these two men to the Irish Free State"?

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

I have written no letters to the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. If I had. I should certainly have said that I do not much care about the Irish Free State. I do not understand hon. Members opposite taking that line.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

The right hon. Member for the City of London knows that I am only suggesting a hypothetical case, but I am sure that if I went round all the strong supporters of the Die Hard section, I could light upon two persons to whom my description would admittedly apply.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

And I believe that you are one of them.

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

If it is any relief to the feelings of the hon. Gentleman to know that I have not written any letters of the sort, and that I am not, as he put it, "one of them," whatever that is, I have much pleasure in giving him that assurance, and I hope that he will be very much the happier for it.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

I am sorry that I am stopped giving examples from the other side and that the Debate will not be allowed to proceed. Again, I must assure the hon. Gentleman that I am only giving a hypothetical case, but that could well happen, and what control have we, having once handed them out without any decent evidence, because the few letters that were read out by the Home Secretary, if he will excuse my saying so, seemed to be absolute piffle. One of them was obviously the attempt of some hard-up individual to raise the wind. I am very anxious to know from the Home Secretary how that evidence was collected? Was it the Irish Free State that collected the evidence in this country?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

The hon. Member and the House will remember that it has been decided that we cannot go into these proceedings from the point of view of their legality.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

There is not even a primâ-facie case. The method of the collection of the evidence, not whether the action was legal or not, has some bearing on the question of whether we have a right throughout the whole business to control over the rights and liberties of these men. If the evidence was collected by the Free State in this country, that seems to indicate that the detectives of the Free State are patrolling our great cities unknown to us. If the evidence was collected here by our police, what was it collected for and by whose authority was it transmitted to the Irish Free State?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

I must ask the hon. Member to keep to the question. A Motion for Adjournment must be on a definite point, and it would not be right for an hon. Member, having obtained the leave of the House to move the Adjournment on a particular question, to leave that question and discuss another.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

I accept that, and I believed I was within the question at issue, but I will try to narrow it down to some extent. I am assured that up to date the legal adviser of the Glasgow deportees has not been able to secure access to these prisoners, and that the only thing he has to go upon to assume that he will have access to them is a reply to a question in this House. Supposing there were among these men some individual who, far from being a rebel against the Irish Free State from the Sinn Fein point of view, happened to be a rebel from the Ulster point of view. That, I assure the House, is not an impossible thing, because in the wholesale swoop, which included myself, there was in the next cell to me in the Duke Street prison a member of one of the local Unionist associations in the city of Glasgow. Two days afterwards they had to release him, but he had to undergo all the inconvenience and indignity of that arrest. Supposing there were one of these men of whom I have spoken, and that the Home Secretary said to the Irish Free State, "We want that man back," and the Irish Free State said, "No. We have not got him on the count on which we. wanted him, but we have got him on a good enough count to justify us in holding him"; is this nation then in the positon of having to go in with an army corps and army brigade to bring that man home, because as far as I can see we have absolutely no other power, should the Irish Free State say "No" on such a request from us.

I said at the outset that I raised this point purely from the point of view of one who himself has suffered something of this sort. The particular case in which I am interested is that of a man in my own constituency, a man whom, I have it on good authority, was a very quiet, law-abiding citizen, who has not been associated with the extreme Irish movement, who has left behind him a wife and two children absolutely unprovided for. I am perfectly certain that man has not been able to establish com- munication with his wife and family, and among all the tortures that one suffers when shut up in one of these places, the greatest of all is not to know what is happening to those you have left behind, particularly when you know that your withdrawal from the home has left them absolutely unprovided for.

It is all very well to sign an Order declaring the arrest of 110 people, taking them out of their homes and clearing them away, but you see it from a very different point of view when you are one of the 110. You feel then how very, very cruel the step may be. Not one of the hon. Members opposite, nor the Home Secretary himself, has considered it from the victim's point of view. It is an administrative act, the signing of a paper, but at the other end it is brimful of tragedy and pathos. We have seen it. We have seen children left weeping in the homes when the father was taken away, clinging to their mother's skirt, asking where the father has gone to, and the mother cannot tell because she does not know. And all this on the most flimsy evidence. The wife of this man I am talking about cannot provide food for the children when the man is away, and how can she cross the Irish Sea and visit him in Mountjoy Gaol? How is he to be able to make provision for them? I am appealing to the Home Secretary. I am not raising the Constitutional question at all. Presumably, it can be justified, that whenever a Government feels a need for it all the old-established precedents and customs of the nation may be set aside. That seems to be the attitude of the Government in power. [HON. MEMBERS: "We will remember this when our turn comes."] No, I am a partisan, I am a keen fighter of my enemies, but I am hanged if I will get down into the gutter to fight them. I will fight them by clean means. If the law is not good enough to allow me to hang them, I would improve the law to do it, but I would not appeal to the forces of another country to aid me in handling the people who gave me trouble. I am appealing to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister—some of these men are from his own constituency—to admit that a great big mistake has been made. There is possibly in the whole of that bunch one man who was really a source of danger to the Irish Free State. There was one man, and all the people who said "Good-morning" to him or wrote a letter to him must be gathered into the wide net and thrown across the sea to Ireland and left there without you being able to do anything on their behalf at all. It would be a big thing and a helpful this in this country and on the other side if the Government here were big enough to admit a mistake and restore these people to their homes.

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

The hon. Member who has just spoken reminded us that the Members of the House of Commons have a great responsibility in this matter, and I am not inclined to quarrel with him in that respect. We have a great responsibility. The liberty of the subject is precious to us, and we have the obligation upon us to examine such a set of circumstances as exist at the moment, and to see whether the executive powers in the hands of the Government have been properly carried out. I am therefore glad that this Debate has come on twice within the last fortnight upon such an important question. To-night the question of legality is entirely ruled out. I understand the Motion is limited to one of condemnation of the Government in dealing with these deportees in the way in which they have dealt with them. Feeling the responsibility of Members of Parliament, I would ask the House to consider for a moment the motive which has induced the Home Secretary to take the course he has taken. He has done it in order to protect the Free State from men whom he believed are plotting or helping in plotting against the Free State. On that ground I welcome his action. I have not always been at one with some of my colleagues on the matter of the Free State. I have taken a responsibility with others, with the House of Commons, indeed, in setting up or helping to set up the Free State as a Government, and I will take any measure within the law—legality is not now in question—to see that plots and conspiracies are not hatched in this country against the Free State, if by any means we can prevent them. That is the motive. Does any hon. Member quarrel with the motive that has governed the Home Secretary? Consider what is his position. If we have a responsibility, he has a still greater responsibility, because it is this House which has given him a power which hon. Members say is illegal. The complaint is that these men have been deported without trial [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

The question that is being debated is not deportation without trial, but that these people have been taken away and placed where this Government has no control over them.

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

That is not a point of Order, unless Mr. Deputy-Speaker rules it so. It may be an argument.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

As a matter of fact the discretion of the Government in deporting these people is not in dispute to-night. The question under discussion is whether His Majesty's Government has or has not lost control over these people.

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

I will confine myself within that argument. If I could indicate what I was about to say, you would be able to state whether I was in order. I was about to point out that these men were deported under powers that were given by this House. I intended then to argue whether or not they ought to have been sent to Ireland, which I understand is the kernel of this Motion. In order to get to that position I have to make good the first position, and unless you say that I am out of order in addressing these few words to the House on that point I propose to proceed.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

Of course, it would be in order to lead up to the point whether the Government have now control or not.

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

When hon. Members complain that the Home Secretary has exercised these powers, which include the power to deport to Ireland, they must remember that we share the responsibility with the Home Secretary, because we have granted, or the last House of Commons granted, these powers. Having given the power to the Home Secretary, it is not as if the Home Secretary were without that power You have thrown upon him a greater responsibility, and if he were to neglect the use of powers which this House has given him you would be entitled to arraign him for negligence. Whether or not we ought to have given these powers to the executive Government, and whether or not we ought now to take them away, are other questions which we can debate on a suitable occasion, but do not let us make any mistake, the Home Secretary has those powers, and in certain cases, if there is a primâ-facie case against a man, we should be entitled to arraign the Home Secretary if he did not use the powers. Having made that point good, let me take the next point, which is whether or not the Home Secretary ought to have deported them and deported them to Ireland, and whether he ought to have detained them in some gaol in this country. My hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) claimed that this was an insult and an attack upon his compatriots and upon anyone with Irish blood. No, no! Surely, that is a gross exaggeration. Was this an indiscriminate attack on the two millions whom my hon. Friend represents in this House? It was an attack, if attack at all, upon people against whom there was a primâ-facie case.

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

Because the Home Secretary, with all the responsibility that is his and speaking for the Government, has said that he went into each individual case before he signed the Order, and because he was satisfied that there was a primâ-facie case. I quite understand that hon. Members opposite are not prepared to accept that, but I know the Home Secretary a great deal better than they do, and I do accept it. I do not ask hon. Members to accept it, nor are the deportees asked to accept it. A tribunal or committee has been set up to which they can go, and by which each case could be investigated, and if the primâ-facie case turned out an investigation to be bad, they can get their liberty again. But do not forget that the Home Secretary had the responsibility of the powers which we have placed in his hands. It is for us to consider, on some suitable opportunity, whether those powers are powers which ought to be invested in any executive Government. Let me take the last point. Have we or have we not lost control of these deportees? I confess that there I think the Opposition is on much stronger ground. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is the only point!"] It is not quite the only point. Upon what are we basing ourselves? It seems to me to be this: We have an undertaking from the Free State Government that no form of action except internment under the internment order, will be taken against any of these persons without communication with this Government. Are we or are we not prepared to accept that undertaking by the Free State Government? The Home Secretary informed the House that we have got that undertaking.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

On a point of Order. The Home Secretary, in reply to a question, also said that there was no guarantee that the people would be brought to trial.

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

I am sorry I did not hear the hon. Member's interruption. The Home Secretary said, as I thought, quite definitely that he had an undertaking by the Free State that no form of action would be taken against any one of the deportees without the Free State first communicating with this Government. I say to those who are supporting this Motion, are you prepared to accept the undertaking of the Free State, or are you not? I am prepared to do so. If you are prepared to accept it, your case falls; you cannot maintain your case against the Government and at the same time say that you are prepared to accept the undertaking of the Free State. You have either to repudiate the Free State's undertaking or not. Some of my Friends on this side would be quite willing to repudiate it, but it seems strange that repudiation should come from the other side of the House. It is very strange that it should come from that side of the House. I am going to support the Government to-night. [HON. MEMBEHS: "Only to-night?"] Well, I give no pledges beyond that. I am going to support the Government to-night for this reason, that we have put the Home Secretary in a position of very special responsibility. We have cast upon him a most unpleasant duty and a very dangerous power. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Yes, a very dangerous power, but it is we who have done it, and do not forget that. He is responsible for his exercise of that power, and I see nothing in the action he has taken which prevents me from supporting him this evening.

. THOMAS:

The right hon. Gentle-map who has just spoken emphasised that for to-night at least he is going to sup- port the Government, and I am sure they will not only note that announcement with satisfaction, but will also take note of the fact that he limits his support exclusively to to-night. I wish to make some observations on the sort of defence which is put up against this Motion. The hon. Member for Wirral (Mr. Gershom Stewart) said it was a Vote of Censure on the Free State Government. That is exactly what is not intended. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is what you are doing!"] No, unfortunately it is what hon. Members on the other side are doing. Incidentally, no one on this side of the House should be called upon to apologise for our support of the Free State Government. We have given clear indication that we not only wish them well, but desire to do nothing that would hamper or injure them. The task which faces us to-night, however, is not concerned with the action of the Free State Government, but with the action of our own Government. That action consisted, first, of deporting people—illegally according to our opinion. That unfortunately cannot be discussed at this stage. Secondly, there is the fact that the Government, having deported them, have, in our judgment, lost complete control over them. This afternoon the Home Secretary read out the conditions governing the detention of these people, and mentioned certain rules and regulations by which they could obtain legal advice and assistance. A supplementary question was put to him, but he did not indicate that any of these people were aware of these conditions. The question was directly put to him, "Do the prisoners themselves know of these regulations, and have they been told how they are to avail of them?" The answer was that the Home Secretary was not certain. Therefore we are entitled to suggest that these regulations are useless so far as the prisoners are concerned, and that they have not been made acquainted with them. The next point I wish to make is: what control has the Government here over the prisoners? We all know that as far as Mountjoy Prison is concerned, the Free State Government do not even control it themselves. Let us assume that these prisoners in Mountjoy Prison at the present moment are captured by the Irregulars. Let us assume there is a raid on the prison with that result. Who then is responsible for these men? They have been handed over by our own Government. The Free State Government; has given certain guarantees, but the Free State Government may perhaps prove themselves unable—

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Derby

That proves that, so far as the right hon. Baronet is concerned, he would like to see that happen, but if that is his view and the view of those who support his policy, what becomes of the action of our Government in the matter? The Motion we are debating states that the Government have lost control. The point upon which we are challenging the Government is, that the Free State Government cannot give a guarantee, and if, in these circumstances, they should fail, then I ask the Prime Minister, what is his view and what is his position with regard to his own constituents? Some of his own constituents are prisoners. He, as the head of the Government, has said I am directly responsible. He has handed them over to the Free State Government, and supposing it has been unable, itself, to control the situation, these poor, unfortunate constituents of his might be shot—might be dealt with in a thousand and one different ways—and yet this House of Commons is absolutely unable to interfere. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke, last said the authority, vested in the Home Secretary, was given by the House of Commons. That is contrary to the facts. As a matter of fact, it was an emergency Regulation, never intended for cases of this kind, and no House of Commons could be held responsible for it.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

That is a point which might have been raised last Monday, but we must not deal with that question in the present Debate.

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Derby

I admit that, Mr. Speaker, but the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last urged that this House of Commons had given certain powers to the Home Secretary and based the whole of his case on that ground. I am replying to him by saying that, as far as we are concerned, we do not accept that responsibility, and I have indicated the way in which it was brought about. At all events, leaving that point aside, I content myself by urging the Government not to make the mistake of treating this Motion as a Vote of Censure on the Irish Government. If the Irish Government is responsible, or if the British Government is responsible, it does not absolve this House of Commons from its responsibility. Regardless of the point of view of the individual, regardless or religion or creed, as citizens we believe that these men are entitled to the protection of the law of the land and that the Government has failed in their obligation to secure them that protection.

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Bridge-man):

Before I make any general reply to the Debate which we have had this evening, I should like to answer one question that was asked mo by the hon. Member who seconded the Motion, who complained that he had sent a letter from some legal gentlemen about one of the internees at Mountjoy Prison, and that no action had been taken. The letter was sent to Dublin by the Home Office the same day that it arrived at the Home Office from the hon. Member, and a letter was also written on the same day to the solicitors saying what had been done, so that I think at any rate the Home Office cannot be accused of any delay. [Interruption.] The whole point was that the Home Office had delayed in this matter.

Photo of Mr Shapurji Saklatvala Mr Shapurji Saklatvala , Battersea North

The letter has not reached its destination.

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Derby

That was not my hon. Friend's complaint. He did not complain of the action of the Home Office. He complained that, so far as the communication reaching the individual was concerned, his information was that it had not reached the individual, and therefore that the British Government had lost control.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

Whatever his complaint was, I understood it as I stated. Perhaps I misunderstood it, but what I should like to point out is that his letter was dealt with as quickly as it could be, and that the individual concerned cannot possibly suffer owing to any delay by the Home Office in the matter. A number of questions was also addressed to me by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Mr. Morris), but I do-not think he was here at Question time. He was probably more advantageously engaged, but if he had been here he would have heard, I think, the answers to all those questions, which were given at some length between a quarter to four and a quarter past. If there are any others that have not been answered, I hope I shall be able to reply to them in what I am about to say. I want, as far as I can, to follow the rulings that have been given from the Chair, and to keep within the scope of the Motion which has been moved, which is to call attention to the failure of the Government to retain control over the conditions under which the persons recently deported to Ireland are interned.

10.0 P.M.

Everybody who has spoken in favour of the Motion to-night has spoken as if the conditions in Ireland were absolutely normal and there were no disturbances at all existing there. The circumstances are anything but normal There are disturbances, there are outrages of the most disgraceful kind perpetually going on. They are aimed at the stability of the present Free State Government of Ireland, and I say that if the circumstances are exceptional, as they most certainly are, they require exceptional measures to deal with them, and the exceptional measures which were passed by this House to deal with them were the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act and the Regulations which were made under it. I say that when there was a dangerous conspiracy going on in this country against the Free State Government of Ireland, intended to facilitate the commission of crimes in Ireland, the circumstances were such that it would be. perfectly impossible for any Home Secretary, whether he came from the ranks of hon. Members opposite or from our own ranks, to have taken no action in the matter. A great deal has been said by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) of the tragedy of the circumstances of the wife and children who are left behind when the man of the family is interned. I feel with him that in many cases that is a tragedy, where the circumstances are bad, but have any of the hon. Members who have attacked the Government to-night thought of the tragedy of those people whose parents have been murdered and whose property has been burned down by those for whom these men were acting in this country?

HON. MEMBERS:

That is not proved.

Photo of Mr Francis Broad Mr Francis Broad , Edmonton

Is it justifiable for the Home Secretary—[HON. MEMBERS: "Sit down!"]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Hon. Members must really listen to the reply of the Home Secretary.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

What I am saying is that hon. Members who have supported this Motion should think of the tragedy on both sides, and if I am right in thinking that these men are dangerous. I am right in taking a serious view of the situation—[Interruption]—and I am right in thinking of the tragedy which they might have committed if they had been, allowed to remain at large.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

You should have made sure of getting the right men.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I want to point out that in my opinion the Government has not lost control, as is alleged in the terms of this Motion. I followed the action which was agreed upon by this House as necessary for the restoration of order in Ireland. I became aware, and so did the Irish Free State Government, of this state of affairs that was going on here, and after consultation they asked us to put in motion this Regulation, in order that these men might be interned and their activities curtailed.

Photo of Mr Lauchlan Weir Mr Lauchlan Weir , Clackmannan and Eastern

That is not the point at all.[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] On a point of Order—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

These are not points of Order.

Photo of Mr Lauchlan Weir Mr Lauchlan Weir , Clackmannan and Eastern

You have not heard it yet. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Hon. Members must listen to the reply. They may not agree with it, but they must listen.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

It cannot be a point of Order to interrupt.

Photo of Mr Lauchlan Weir Mr Lauchlan Weir , Clackmannan and Eastern

Mr. Speaker—[HON.MEMBERS: "Sit down!"]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I must ask the hon. Member to obey my ruling.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I have listened very carefully to everything that has been said in this Debate, and I do not think I am asking too much if I ask for a fair hearing to what I am going to say, whether hon. Members agree with me or not.

Photo of Mr John Remer Mr John Remer , Macclesfield

Take your medicine!

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I have not got in yet, but—[HON. MEMBERS: "Name him!"]—I do not care a straw for you. You are—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Hon. Members, I am afraid, on both sides of the House, are trying to provoke interruptions. Hon. Members must really observe silence, and hear the case for the Government.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I hope, Mr. Speaker, you will not accuse me of having attempted to provoke interruption.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Certainly not. But there was some interruption from both sides which might provoke interruption.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

The Government have been attacked on this matter and I am going to do my best to answer. I am held responsible for this, and I am endeavouring to show that I have followed a strictly legal and regular course. I am said to have lost control in every essential point over these, men and women who have been deported. As we cannot discuss to-night, as it has already been discussed, the legality of the action. I will confine myself entirely to the question of whether or not we have lost control. First of all, I should like to say that an Advisory Committee has been appointed, and that it was explained on the warrant which was issued when these people were arrested, that they could appeal to me to have their case represented before the Advisory Committee. The Free State have undertaken certain other things. First of all, that if other proceedings were desired by them against these deportees, they are only to be taken, not only after consultation, but after the consent has been received of the British Government. So that if anything were to happen to them beyond internment, it could not happen without the consent of the British Government.

Photo of Mr James O'Grady Mr James O'Grady , Leeds South East

As the result of raising the question in the House!

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

The second undertaking given is that the internees should have every facility for a personal hearing before the Advisory Committee. The third is that if the Advisory Committee decide that any person should not have been deported he will be released—[HON. MEMBERS: "When? "]—and the fourth is that very reasonable opportunity will be afforded to the deportees to communicate with their friends for the purpose of procuring legal advice, and especially for the purpose of any representations they wish to make to the Advisory Committee, and freedom of access for this purpose will be allowed to the prisoners' legal advisers. I maintain that with those undertakings given to me by the Free State Government, we have a complete control over the position in which the internees are placed. But there is one point which has been dwelt upon by hon. Gentlemen who spoke from the benches opposite, and which I understood was going to be the subject of the Motion to-night by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). That was that he and some of his friends were not allowed to visit the deportees in Mountjoy Prison. That, I think, was the gravamen of his charge. I frankly admit that I did not ask the Free State Government to allow indiscriminate visits from friends to the men and women who were interned.

Mr. MAXTON rose

HON. MEMBERS:

Order, order!

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Does the hon. Member wish merely to ask a question of the Home Secretary?

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

I wish to ask a question concerning the privilege of the House. Is the Home Secretary not saying a very insulting thing to this House when he refers to a visit of a Member as indiscriminate?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I do not think the hon. Gentleman would have said that if he had had the experience I myself have had in this matter. I had a great friend in Wormwood Scrubs some years ago—

HON. MEMBERS:

Bottomley?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

No, it was not—and I tried very hard to be allowed to see him. I appealed to the Home Secretary of the day to be allowed to go and visit this friend of mine that I had known all my life, and I was told that the only chance I had was to go on one day—I think he was allowed to see somebody once in a month or in two months, I cannot remember which—and on these special days his wife always went to see him. But there happened to be one month in this time when she was unable to go, and I was allowed to go on that occasion.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

Not as his wife. Therefore, I think the hon. Gentleman will understand that in cases like this, whether they are prisoners who have been convicted or men who have been interned for the safety of the Free State in Ireland, it is necessary that the country which is concerned should make its own Regulations, and I say I did not, nor would I, ask them to make Regulations other than those which they wanted to make on this point.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Why did you fool me that you were? Is it fair?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I am quite ready to submit the application of anybody who want to see these people to the Free State Government, but I am not prepared to ask them to submit to us their Regulations, because I can trust them to make what I believe will be fair Regulations, and Regulations in the interests of the internees as far as it is compatible with the interests of the country. There have been points made in the Debate to-night both about Irish-born and British-born among these deportees, and one side has been accused of dealing unfairly with the Irish-born, and the other with dealing unfairly with the British-born. But really the point of where they were born does not affect the question if they were engaged in attempting to disturb the security of the Free State in Ireland. It would be futile for a Government when taking emergency measures, as these are, for the preservation of public law and public order to draw any distinction between a dangerous Irishman born on this side of the Channel and a dangerous Irishman born on the other side of the Channel. Our duty is to treat either of these people, if there is a primâ facie case against them, equally. We have only to think of the men who murdered Sir Henry Wilson.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I am ready to hear the hon. Member presently, but I cannot see him if he keeps on with these interruptions.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

Both of the men who murdered Sir Henry Wilson were born in this country, and therefore to say that because a man is born in this country he cannot be dangerous and must be treated in some different way is quite absurd.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

But they were tried here.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I want to say this word in conclusion. I ask the House two questions. With regard to restoration of order in Ireland, first of all, is order restored or is it not

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

On a point of Order. Are we discussing whether these men have passed out of the control of the Government, or are we discussing the whole question of disorder in Irleand and the control of this Government over Ireland?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I have not heard a complete sentence in the speech of the Home. Secretary. He is well aware of the terms of the Motion, for he has read them out himself.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

The first thing I ask is whether order has been restored. And nobody can say it has.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

Is it in order to put a question? [HON. MEMBERS. "Sit down!"]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

You cannot have an answer and a question at the same time.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

The second question is, do we wish to have order restored in Ireland. If we do, and if hon. Members opposite wish it—

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

Then I say it is our duty to trust the Free State Government, and to do what we can to help it. I ask the House to reject this Motion, on the ground that we have done our duty to the Free State, who have been loyal to us in keeping the Treaty up to now, and to whom it is our duty to be loyal in this matter.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I desire, at the outset, to intimate to the House that I occupy a unique position in this House, that is, I have been deported. I know what it is to be deported. I know what it is as a Scotsman, as a Briton, who had boasted all my life of the outstanding liberties which the citizens of our great country enjoy. With all those feelings pent up within my breast, I know what it is as a British subject to be deported, thrown out, rejected. At that time we were at war, and the Government of that time were panicky. They had reason. They were faced with the greatest military machine the world had ever seen, and the Government were to be excused. I have long ago forgiven them. I know what it is to see the children clinging around the mother, wanting to know why their father is being taken away in the middle of the night. [Laughter.] Now you see those soulless individuals, how they laugh—those men who are void of the most valuable thing in life, a fellow-feeling. You are not the men who matter to Britain, though you may think you are. You are ower the Border and awa—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The House, I am sure, will be glad to hear the hon. Member, but will he please keep to the Motion?

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I am doing my best to keep to the Motion, Mr. Speaker, but I hear laughter, which is as the crackling of thorns—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member is far too easily distracted, and gets away from the Question. If he will always address me, and keep to the point, which is the Motion, he will not be led away.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

It is perfectly true, Sir, that I may be tempted away from the main point, but this is a subject upon which I feel very keenly. I appeal, even at this late hour, to hon. Members because of the heat that has been engendered—which I do not wish to add to—and the feeling on the matter; and I appeal to the Prime Minister, because I was wronged when I was deported. The Government eventually admitted it. I do not want this Government to be humbled in the same way. I do not want the fair name of Britain to be stained with the idea that our fellow-countrymen should be deported to another country. Such an idea is foreign to the British character. That is what we were led to believe and taught from our boyhood. We were taught at school to believe these were the tactics of the Russians, not of Britain. Britain was the asylum of those who were driven from their own country—of Garibaldi, of Louis Kossuth, and others. I was deported when we were at war, but these deportations are taking place when the Government are not "pannicky." There is no case for it. Why should the Government stoop to this? As the Scottish say: "Why not be generous as a prince?" Why cannot they act the big man? Why cannot they stand on their dignity? Surely, the day has not come when Ministers of the Crown, responsible Ministers of the British Government, are afraid that they will be shot at? Why should they be afraid? There is absolutely no cause.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I have explained to the hon. Member that that is what we debated last Monday. The question before us now is, whether or not the Government has got proper control over the conditions under which these men are interned now.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

What is worrying me at the moment is that we cannot get an opportunity to interview these men. One of them worked beside me in the Parkhead Works. We spent all last Saturday dealing with this, and running from here to the Scottish Office, trying to get liberty to take all risks to go to Ireland to interview the men affected. To-night the Home Secretary states that he knew all the time that we were not going to get liberty. We were told that we had to come at 11 o'clock on Saturday forenoon, and then they would be in a. position to inform us whether or not we should be allowed to interview the deportees. We went at 11 o'clock, and we were told by the Under-Secretary for Health, Scotland, that they were not in a position yet to tell us whether or not we should be able to see the deportees. We still appealed to him to try and do what he could, because we were very anxious. He had told us how unsafe it was, but we said we were prepared to take all the risks. It is all in the day's work, so far as we are concerned. We have taken risks before, and we are prepared to take them now, and at any time.

Then, we were told—this was on a Saturday remember, after being tied up here all the week—to come back at five o'clock, and they would then see what could be done. When we went back, we were informed that they had no further information to give us. Yet here you have the responsible Minister, who has the brass face to stand at that Treasury Box to-night, and tell us to our face, we, who represent the people, that he knew all the time. Remember, it is not us—we have been treated like that by our employers all our lives, and we shall get over it—but it is this House, to the Rules and Regulations of which you, Mr. Speaker, have tied me down, and in which you are so anxious, and they are so anxious to guard all the tomfoolery of the man who walks up and down the Floor—[Interruption.] Here in this House, this House of Prayer, where, you have prayed as well as I, and then stand, after all that solemnity, and violate that solemnity by telling a deliberate lie—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

That is a statement which is never allowed on the part of any Member of the House. We can only continue here by assuming one another's good faith, and we are assuming now the good faith of the hon. Member himself. He will see that that is a statement which he must withdraw.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I have every respect for you, Mr. Speaker, and I withdraw. But there is no denying the fact that the Home Secretary misled us. That is a fact, and facts are chiels that daurna be disputed; and a rose by any other name smells as sweet. I can assure the House, and even the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, that this is a very serious blunder. Great principles are involved here. You think we do not love our native land, you think we do not revere the laws of our land, but we do, and up to this point we believed it utterly impossible that men could be taken from their children in the middle of the night and given away to another country—[An HON. MEMBER: "Speak up!"]—I can speak up. I am not like some of you; I do not require to get drunk to be able to speak. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!" and "Withdraw!"]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

It is impossible to allow things of that sort to be said. The hon. Member has done what I asked him to do in regard to the other matter, and I must ask him to withdraw an expression of that kind.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I withdraw, in deference to you, Mr. Speaker, but I know perfectly well—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member, for the last quarter of an hour, has kept fairly well to the Motion. But now he is again going as wide as he did at the beginning. Will he please keep to the Motion?

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the word, but I can assure the House, that with all my ruggedness, I am very much in earnest about it, and it is in the interest of my country that I am in earnest. It is her honour that I am anxious to guard, and if I have said some hard things to the Secretary of State on this matter, it is because I feel keenly, and I know what it is for my children to be hanging round my wife. [An HON. MEMBER: "In the middle of the night?"] Yes, in the middle of the night. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame!"] See the cads.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The House knows the hon. Member is speaking under very special circumstances. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] He has told us that he himself has suffered under conditions similar to those which we are now discussing.

Photo of Mr Herbert Spencer Mr Herbert Spencer , Bradford South

May I ask the hon. Member if he will tell the House what he was deported for?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

That has nothing to do with the Question before the House. The House is always generous enough to disregard matters of past history.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

The question has been asked, and I will answer it in a word.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I did not approve of the hon. Member putting the question. The hon. Member must please keep to the, Motion.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I should like to appeal to the Prime Minister, because the idea of deporting British subjects is a very serious matter. My deportation ended just as this deportation will probably end, and that was that I was brought to my home again in the middle of the night in a special train.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

On a point of Order. Has this any relevancy to the Motion, and is it not the custom when an hon. Member has been called to order three times to ask him to resume his seat?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I cannot allow the hon. Member to continue his speech, unless he can keep within the rules of order.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

All I can say now is that, after trying to appeal to the better nature of right hon. Gentlemen opposite, it is evident to me that the Tories are trying to make your position impossible, Mr. Speaker. I rose in order to give the House the benefit of my experience in the interests of law and order, in the interests of the fair name of Britain—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I have given the hon. Member every opportunity—more than customary opportunity. As he seems unable to keep his remarks relevant to the Motion, I must ask him to resume his seat. The Attorney-General.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

The Debate to which we have listened this evening, in which hon. Members have tried to obey the rulings which you, Mr. Speaker and Mr. Deputy-Speaker, have from time to time given, has indicated the extreme difficulty of dissociating this discussion from that of a, week ago. I understood that the hon. Member who moved the Motion said that here we were discussing the whole question again. He based his criticism upon the statement that the position with regard to the Irish deportees was entirely different from the position which might prevail if anybody accused of an offence in Scotland was wanted from England. He told us that he had made careful inquiry, and that he had been informed that in such a case we should have to proceed by application for extradition by inquiry before a local magistrate. I should like to assure the hon. Member that, whoever his informant was, he was extraordinarily ignorant of the law about which he professed to be giving information—

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

He is getting well into the soup.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

I am within the recollection of the House. The House will remember the complaint that the hon. Member made with regard to England and Scotland, that we could not transfer somebody who was wanted for a crime from the one country to the other, or from one part of Great Britain to the other without first having something in the nature of a judicial inquiry or trial before a magistrate in the country in which the accused person resided. I think that is a fair representation of what the hon. Member said. His informant was entirely mistaken, because the procedure in regard to Scotland is under exactly the same Statute as the procedure which I indicated as that which prevailed in the case—

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Get on. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name!"]

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

This information was given to me in private by a gentleman who is well known in legal circles, and if I were at liberty to give his name he would be recognised as being of higher standing in Scottish law than any Member of this House. I say that frankly.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

I am sure that the hon. Member does not think that I am impugning his good faith, but I am sure that if the attention of his informant, more certainly as he is a person of much legal knowledge, were drawn to the Indictable Offences Act, 1848, he would agree that Section 12, under which we propose to proceed in the case of deportees, relates to the transfer of people from England or Scotland to Ireland. Section 14 relates to the transfer of people from Ireland or Scotland to England, and Section 15 relates to the transfer from England or Ireland to Scotland. The procedure in all three cases is exactly the same and in no one of the three is there any such judicial inquiry as that referred to by the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

May I point out that if the Act is properly quoted it has never been carried out in that way in Scotland during the last 30 or 40 years. The person indicted always appears before the local magistrate and is then remitted to England.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

I cannot tell the hon. Member what the practice has been in Scotland but—

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

That is the whole point Why quibble about it?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member must listen. He has made his speech.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Under considerable interruptions before you arrived.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I have always protected the hon. Member.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

As far as I know, the only Statute is the one to which I have referred. If there is any other procedure, I do not know of it. The procedure is exactly the same in relation to each one of the three countries, and so far as I know—nobody can carry the whole Statute law in his head—there is no other procedure as between England and Ireland than that which is provided in the Act of Parliament. The suggestion was made more than once by hon. Members opposite that the handing over of the deportees to the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State was outside the law. That is a matter which I understood was discussed fully last week. It was agreed by the most eminent lawyers in the House that it was within the law. I hope, therefore, that the House will forgive me if I do not go back on that topic. I would only remind the House that it is on the assumption that this is within the law that the whole of this Motion is founded. Therefore the argument which was based upon the assumption, made, for example, by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. O'Connor) that there was some outrageous departure from the law, is really beside the point of the particular Debate on which we are employed. The next point made by hon. Members opposite was that they assured us, and I entirely and sincerely accept their assurances, that they knew certain of these deportees and that, so far as they knew, there was nothing whatever against them. The hon. Member, I think for the Bridgeton Division, asked us last week whether, if such an assurance were given by Members of the House, we would not at once let out the prisoners.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

He did not ask anything so silly or stupid.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Let me remind the hon. Member for Bridgeton that, if he wish to make an explanation, or if something is put into his mouth which he did not say, his proper course, instead of interrupting, is to rise in his place, and ask the Member in possession of the House to give way so as to allow him to make his explanation. The House will always listen to an hon. Member in these circumstances.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

If you will excuse me, Sir, I really felt that on that point there was a misstatement of what I did ask for in this House. But I want to say quite candidly, Sir, that my interruptions have been due to the very unfair treatment accorded to my colleagues.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

If the hon. Member assures me that was not what he asked for, I accept his assurance. I thought I heard him ask it. At any rate, there is no point in getting up in this House and assuring us that hon. Members opposite know nothing against these men, unless the hon. Members who give that assurance know what influenced our action.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

On a point of Order. The point I made was, not that I knew nothing against the men, but that the Government had nothing against them.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

If the hon. Member was making that statement he must have been making a statement about which he could not have been informed. I did give him credit for a statement that would have been within his knowledge. Hon. Members opposite will realise, when they complain of being affronted as Members of the House because their assurance is not taken on a matter of this kind, and because they are not given facilities for going to see these men, that it would be a far greater affront to them if the Government were to accept their assurances as to whether these men were innocent or not, because that would imply that we thought some hon. Members opposite knew who were implicated. We do not think so, and that is why we prefer to act on the information we have got rather than on the information hon. Members have not got.

I pass on to deal with one or two questions which were raised, especially by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Mr. H. Morris)—the question, namely, as to the extent of the control which has been maintained by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. I want to start by reminding the House that, in order to ascertain whether we are right or wrong in our action, we have first to ascertain accurately the circumstances in which that action was taken. It is no good saying "We ought not to hand these people over to the Irish Free State," unless you first remind yourself that the whole object of this proceeding was to carry out the purpose which the Free State Government regarded as essential to the security of their country, and to carry it out in the only way in which, in their judgment, it was possible to carry it out without giving affront to the Irish people, It is no good saying "You ought to have interned these people in Great Britain," when the, Irish Free State Government come and say "It is essential that they should be interned in Southern Ireland." When one hears right hon. Members like the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) assuring us, for instance, that they have no desire to hinder and hamper the Free State, one begins to wonder whether the Free State would not pray to be saved from its friends, because the right hon. Gentleman says, "What assurance have you that these men will be returned, or that they will be kept safe when over there?" Those questions involve the gravest imputation upon either the good faith or the good order of the Irish Free State Government.

Photo of Mr John Muir Mr John Muir , Glasgow Maryhill

It is a misrepresentation of the position.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

If the hon. Member wants to make a personal explanation, he is entitled to speak, but not otherwise.

Photo of Mr John Muir Mr John Muir , Glasgow Maryhill

I want to make a correction. It is an entire misrepresentation of the case.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

The House will realise how accurate my statement is when they remember what is the control of which my right hon. Friend only half an hour ago gave particulars. The terms upon which these men were handed over to the Free State Government included an express pledge by that Government that they would hold

these men harmless and keep them safe, and would return them if it should turn out that the Advisory Committee so directed.

HON. MEMBERS:

Can they fulfil it?

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

They have passed out of your control, then?

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) misses the point. I have said, and it is the essence of our case, that the thing we were asked to do was to arrest certain people against whom was produced evidence which satisfied us was a primâ facie case, who were plotting, according to the evidence, against the security of Ireland—and against the safety and good order of Great Britain as well, for that matter—and to intern these people in Southern Ireland.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

Hand them over, if you like, though I think my expression is the more accurate.

Mr. CLYNES rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but Mr. SPEAKER withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

The last thing I wish is to prevent the House expressing its view on this matter. All I will say, in conclusion, is that if you once assume that what we are asked to do is to intern these people in Southern Ireland, it would be impossible, in my submission, to do it with greater security and with greater pledges of safety than those which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has exacted; and, therefore, it follows that my right hon. Friend's action must be right, unless you doubt the good faith or the strength of the Irish Free State Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]

Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."

The House divided: Ayes, 147; Noes, 266.

Division No. 50.]AYES.[11.0 pm.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Batey, JosephBriant, Frank
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Broad, F. A.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeBerkeley, Captain ReginaldBrotherton, J.
Attlee, C. R.Bonwick, A.Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Bowdler, W. A.Buchanan, G.
Barnes, A.Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Buckle, J.
Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.)Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)Ritson, J.
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, EastRoberts, C. H. (Derby)
Cairns, JohnJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Chapple, W. A.Jones, J. J. (West Ham, SilvertownRobinson, W. C. (York, Elland)
Charleton, H. C.Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)Royce, William Stapleton
Clarke, Sir E. C.Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Saklatvala, S.
Clynes, Rt Hon. John R.Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)Salter, Dr. A.
Darbishire, C. W.Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)Scrymgeour, E
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.Sexton, James
Davies, J. C. (Denbigh, Denbigh)Kenyon, BarnetShinwell, Emanuel
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Kirkwood, D.Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Duffy, T. GavanLansbury, GeorgeSimpson, J. Hope
Duncan, C.Lawson, John JamesSinclair, Sir A.
Ede, James ChuterLeach, W.Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Enwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Lee, F.Snell, Harry
Entwistle, Major C. F.Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)
Foot, IsaacLinfield, F. C.Stephen, Campbell
George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)Lowth, T.Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Gosling, HarryLunn, WilliamThomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)M'Entee, V. L.Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)
Gray, Frank (Oxford)March, S.Tillett, Benjamin
Greenall, T.Marshall, Sir Arthur H.Trevelyan, C. P.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Klnc'dine, E.)Turner, Ben
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Maxton, JamesWalsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Groves, T.Middleton, G.Warne, G. H.
Grundy, T. W.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Morel, E. D.Webb, Sidney
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Morris, HaroldWeir, L. M.
Harbord, ArthurMuir, John W.Westwood, J.
Hardle, George D.Murnin, H.Wheatley, J.
Harney, E. A.Nichol, RobertWhite, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
Harris, Percy A.O'Connor, Thomas P.Whiteley, W.
Hastings, PatrickO'Grady, Captain JamesWignall, James
Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)Oliver, George HaroldWilliams, David (Swansea, E.)
Hayday, ArthurPaling, W.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Hemmerde, E. G.Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Phillipps, VivianWintringham, Margaret
Herriotts, J.Ponsonby, ArthurWood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Hillary, A. E.Potts, John S.Wright, W.
Hinds, JohnPringle, W. M. R.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hirst, G. H.Richards, R.
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
John, William (Rhondda, West)Riley, BenMr. Morgan Jones and Mr. T Griffiths.
NOES.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James TynteBruton, Sir JamesDoyle, N. Grattan
Ainsworth, Captain CharlesBuckingham, Sir H.Edmondson, Major A. J.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.Ednam, Viscount
Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesElliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Burn, Colonel Sir Charles RosdewEllis, R. G.
Apsley, LordButcher, Sir John GeorgeErskine, James Malcolm Monteith
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel MartinButt, Sir AlfredErskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.Cadogan, Major EdwardErskine-Bolst. Captain C.
Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John LawrenceCampion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester. E.)
Baldwin, Rt, Hon. StanleyCassels, J. D.Falcon, Captain Michael
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Cautley, Henry StrotherFalle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Fawkes, Major F. H.
Banks, MitchellChadwick, Sir Robert BurtonFlanagan, W. H.
Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir MontagueChamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Foreman, Sir Henry
Barnett, Major Richard W.Chapman, Sir S.Forestler-Walker, L,
Barnston, Major HarryChurchman, Sir ArthurFoxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot
Barrle, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)Clarry, Reginald GeorgeFraser, Major Sir Keith
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)Clayton, G. C.Frece, Sir Walter de
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Coates, Lt.-Cot. NormanFremantle. Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Bennett, Sir T. J (Sevenoaks)Cobb, Sir CyrilFurness, G. J.
Berry, Sir GeorgeCockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Galbraith, J. F. W.
Betterton, Henry B.Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsGanzoni, Sir John
Birchall, Major J. DearmanColvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeGaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R.
Blades, Sir George RowlandConway, Sir W. MartinGoff, Sir R. Park
Blundell, F. N.Cope, Major WilliamGould, James C.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.Gray, Harold (Cambridge)
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)Greaves-Lord, Walter
Brass, Captain W.Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)
Brassey, Sir LeonardCrooke, J. S. (Deritend)Gretton, Colonel John
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveCurzon, Captain ViscountGuest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.)
Briggs, HaroldDalziel, Sir D (Lambeth, Brixton)Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.
Brittain, Sir HarryDavidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)Guthrie, Thomas Maule
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Gwynne, Rupert S.
Brown, Brig-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)Dawson, Sir PhilipHall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Bruford, R.Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Llv'p'l,W.D'by)
Halstead, Major D.Milne, J. S. WardlawSamuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)Molloy, Major L. G. S.Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.
Harrison, F. C.Molson, Major John ElsdaleSandon, Lord
Harvey, Major S. E.Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Hawke, John AnthonyMoore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)Moreing, Captain Algernon H.Shepperson, E. W.
Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh)Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)Shipwright, Captain D.
Hennesay, Major J. R. G.Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)Murchison, C. K.Singleton, J. E.
Herbert, S. (Scarborough)Nail, Major JosephSkelton, A. N.
Hewett, Sir J. P.Nesbitt, Robert C.Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Hiley, Sir ErnestNewman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)Newson, Sir Percy WilsonSomerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)
Hohler, Gerald FitzroyNewton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Stanley, Lord
Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardNicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Hood, Sir JosephNield, Sir HerbertStewart, Gershom (Wirral)
Hopkins, John W. W.Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir JohnStott, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Ormsby-Gore, Hon. WilliamStrauss, Edward Anthony
Houfton, John PlowrightPaget, T. G.Stuart, Lord C. Crichton.
Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)Parker, Owen (Kettering)Sturrock, J. Leng
Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.Pease, William EdwinSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Hudson, Capt. A.Penny, Frederick GeorgeSugden, Sir Wilfrid H.
Hughes, CollingwoodPercy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Hume, G. H.Perkins, Colonel E. K.Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)Perring, William GeorgeThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)Peto, Basil E.Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)Philipson, H. H.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Pielou, D. P.Turton, Edmund Russborough
Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F, S.Pilditch, Sir PhilipVaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Jarrett, G. W. S.Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest MurrayWallace, Captain E.
Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel AsshetonWard, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Kennedy, Captain M. S. NigelPretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.Waring, Major Walter
King, Captain Henry DouglasPrice, E. G.Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementPrivett, F. J.Watson, Capt. J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Lamb, J. Q.Rae, Sir Henry N.Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)
Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. PeelWells, S. R.
Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.Weston, Colonel John Wakefield
Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)Reid, D. D. (County Down)Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)Remer, J. R.White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.Rentoul, G. S.Whitla, Sir William
Lorden, John WilliamReynolds, W. G. W.Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Lorimes, H. D.Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)Winterton, Earl
Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)Wise, Frederick
Lumley, L. R.Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)Wolmer, Viscount
Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesall)Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Macnaghten, Hon. Sir MalcolmRobertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)Rogerson, Capt. J. E.Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Roundell, Colonel R. F.Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Manville, EdwardRuggles-Brise, Major E.
Margesson, H, D. B.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.Russell, William (Bolton)Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel Gibbs.
Mercer, Colonel H.Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney