12 JUNE 1920, Page 3

On June 3rd Mr. Lloyd George received a deputation from

the N.U.R. with reference to the refusal of the. Irish railwaymen to handle munitions at North Wall. Mr. J. H. Thomas, who heeded the deputation, said that his Executive, before expressing any opinion on the matter,. desiredto ascertain from theGevernment whether there were any means by which the question could be dealt. with. Mr. Lloyd George replied that Trade Unionism was thus entering into an entirely new sphere, where he regarded it as a serious challenge to the Constitution. "Itseeks to influence political decisions not by the ordinary machinery, of the State, the choosing of members on the widest franchise we have ever had, but by means of bringing pressure to bear through a threat of disorganizing the industries of this country to effect changes which up to the present the electorate of this country has not sanctioned." The Prime Minister added that he would regard it as a complete abdication of Government if he were in the least to countenance this demand. Unfortunately he somewhat weakened the effect of these brave words by arguing that it was not as if the Government were sending high. explosives or poison gas to Dublin. But he concluded in. his best vein. by adtoitly correcting Mr. Thomas's final admission that to support the North Wall men meant a. declaration of war on the Government. " Not on the Government," said the Prime Minister, " but on government, which is a much more serious thing." On the following day Mr. Thomas invited the North Wall strikers to return to work. But as the men refused to promise that they would handle all goods, irrespective of their character, the company declined to employ the strikers.