Mussolini's Attempt To Embarass British Flops...For Churchill

Thursday 20th February 1936

Mussolini provided Winston Churchill with an opportunity to put the Government on the spot when Italy published a confidential British document about Abyssinia. It was simply a review of British interests in the country prior to the Italian invasion in 1935 and contained nothing that could embarass the British. The only purpose that publication served was to demonstrate publicly the regime's ability to obtain such a document.

Churchill attempted to ask a private notice question on the matter but failed to give sufficient notice. He was ruled out of order and Baldwin was able to assure the House that he would have been happy to answer the question but, having had no notice of the question, he had worked on other things that morning. British diplomacy over Abyssinia was quite ineffective but it faced practically no effective political challenge at home.

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