Preamble.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 24th November 1931.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

My hon. and gallant Friend is under a misconception about this matter, if he will allow me to say so. He wants to call, what is rightly described as the British Commonwealth of Nations, the British Empire. The British Commonwealth of Nations is not the British Empire. If he will turn to the report of the Imperial Conference of 1926 he will find, in language most carefully chosen and as accurate as it is inspiring, that the position of the Dominions is described in this way: Their position of mutual relation may be readily defined. They are autonomous communities within the British Empire"— —I am sure the hon. and gallant Member will be gratified to find the word "Empire" in the report of the Imperial Conference— equal in status and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The British Empire is a great and magnificent community, but it is not the same thing as the British Commonwealth of Nations, which is the accurate description of the autonomous Dominions which are generally included within that term. I hope that my hon. and gallant Friend will see that we intend no disrespect for and wish for no forgetfulness of the British Empire, and that this Bill wishes to emphasise or describe accurately what is a part of the British Empire, namely, the Commonwealth of the self-governing Dominions.