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Clause 10. — (Short title and extent.)

Part of Clause 4 (Prohibition of offensive weapons at public, meetings and processions), ordered to stand part of the Bill. – in the House of Commons on 26th November 1936.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore , Ayr District of Burghs

I appreciate all that has been said by the last speaker, and I am sure he speaks from the heart, but as an Irishman representing a Scottish constituency, I might perhaps, since he has mentioned both countries, say a word in defence of the Bill as it stands. As we know, certain constitutional changes have been made in the status of Northern Ireland since the War. The hon. Member referred to none of them. He omitted, deliberately I am afraid, to mention that Northern Ireland was given a Constitution of her own some 17 years ago. Since that time Northern Ireland has satisfactorily carried out the duties given her under that Constitution. She has a Cabinet, her people trust that Cabinet, and it has done its work extraordinarily well in very difficult circumstances. Therefore it seems to me perfectly legitimate and proper for the Imperial Government to say to the people of Northern Ireland, "You are masters in your own house; it is for you to decide whether or not you feel it necessary to adept this Public Order Bill in Northern Ireland. We have decided that it is necessary for Great Britain, but we feel that you are competent to carry out your own affairs in your own way, and therefore we leave it in your hands to follow our example if you think fit, or not to do so if you do not think fit. We believe in you and we trust you. You have not failed us in the past, and we trust you not to fail us in the future." Therefore, I oppose the Amendment, and trust that the Government will stand by the Bill as it is at present.