Skip to main content

Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

See other formats

" A"i ^HIS Debate was originally fixed to take place last
JL week. I should like to begin by expressing my regret
to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite that, owing
to my personal physical weakness, I was not able to be
present on that occasion, and also my appreciation of their
courtesy in consenting to postpone the Debate until I was
able to take my place here again. The hon. Gentleman the
Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) began his speech
by complaining that we have treated the Motion as a Vote of
Censure., but I think he will see that it was inevitable that we
should do so owing to the terms in which it is couched.
Although it does not actually declare that this House has no
confidence in the Government, there are in the terms of the
Motion two implications which come as near as no matter
to the same thing. The first implication is that the condition
of the country's air defences and the administration of those
defences by the Air Ministry are so bad that a searching
inquiry is necessary; and the second implication is that
the Government cannot be trusted to make that inquiry
itself, but that the inquiry must be handed over to some
outside, independent, or, as the hon. Gentleman said, impartial
body. What is that but want of confidence ? If the hon.
Gentleman had confidence in the Government, he would
not require to take the matter out of their hands and give it
to somebody else. I think it is a little unreasonable of hon.
Gentlemen opposite to put down a Motion in those terms
and then complain that we treat it as a Vote of Censure.
" As to the first of the implications, let me say at once
that I am not here to deny that there have been delays, dis-
appointments and checks in the programme, which has been
altered from time to time and expanded according to what
we consider to be the needs of the moment. I do not deny
that. But, on the other hand, I have no hesitation in saying
"that in the Air Force as it stands to-day the country has a