Government Statement.

Oral Answers to Questions — India. – in the House of Commons on 25th February 1924.

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Photo of Mr John Simpson Mr John Simpson , Taunton

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether it is the intention to make a statement on Indian affairs in this House concurrently with the statement which it is understood will be made by the Secretary of State for India in another place?

Mr. MILNE:

64.

asked the Prime Minister whether it is his intention to make a statement on India in this House; and, if so, whether he can give a date when the statement will be made?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Aberavon

The Secretary of State for India is not making a special statement on this subject, but is only replying to a question which had been addressed to him in another place. As the hon. Members are aware, answers to questions in another place are given in a fuller and more lengthy form than is customary in this House. If, however, there is a general desire for a discussion on Indian affairs in this House, arrangements can be made for the consideration of the India Office Vote in Committee of Supply if representations are made through the usual channels. I should add that the situation in India is not escaping our notice, and is receiving the constant attention of His Majesty's Government.

Photo of Mr John Simpson Mr John Simpson , Taunton

Will the right hon. Gentleman permit the House to discuss this question before any orders are issued by the India Office to India?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Aberavon

It is impossible for me to give that pledge, because from day to day the Government, as my hon. Friend knows perfectly well, is in communication with the Government of India; but, if a discussion is required, the method of getting it is as is indicated in my answer.

Photo of Mr John Simpson Mr John Simpson , Taunton

I am sorry to press this matter, but would the right hon. Gentleman agree that, if there is a question of a re-examination of the Act of 1919, orders on that point shall not be issued before discussion?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Aberavon

That is another point. Certainly no large departure of policy like that could possibly be inaugurated without its being first reported to this House.