HC Deb 10 March 1924 vol 170 cc1890-1

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether the Government of India or the Secretary of State for India has received a request from representative men in India asking that a round-table conference between representatives of the British Government and representatives of all sections of Indian nationalist opinion should take place in order to discuss and, if possible, agree to plans for a further instalment of self-government for the people of India, and, if so, what reply has been given to such request?

1. Mr. BAKER

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he will consider the desirability of appointing a commission to examine the working of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms with a view to seeing what greater powers and what extensions of the franchise are immediately possible?


The attitude of the Government of India has already been indicated by the speeches of Sir Malcolm Hailey, copies of which were circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 3rd March, and an inquiry, on the lines there indicated, is being initiated by the Government of India. His Majesty's Government are continuing to seek other avenues by which the present situation might be cased. As regards the extension of the franchise, it is not understood that this has been advocated by any of the speakers who urged the grant of increased powers to the Indian Legislatures, and, in view of the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee in 1919, my Noble Friend is not prepared to take any immediate stops in this direction.


Is the hon. Member aware that the remarks he has just made, in reference to seeking other avenues, are very indefinite, and will he tell us what he means?


Will the hon. Member state distinctly whether the Government intend to adhere to the provisions of the Act of 1919, which defer the revision of the constitution for ten years?


That is exactly the position of the Government.