HC Deb 14 March 1927 vol 203 cc1623-4
24. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether there is any British Colony or mandated territory besides Palestine where British subjects are denied the vote; whether he is aware that, in British Guiana, all white residents of whatever nationality may vote; and will he have an amending ordinance enacted in Palestine so that British subjects, either exceptionally or in common with other alien residents, may enjoy equal rights under the British flag?


In British Colonies where there are elective legislative or municipal councils, British subjects are, of course, eligible to vote. In British Guiana the vote for municipal purposes, but not for the Legislature, is given after three years' residence without nationality qualifications. In British mandated territories they are accorded similar privileges except where, as in Palestine, a local Nationality Law has been enacted, in which case the franchise is confined to persons who have acquired the special status for which that law provides. I am not prepared to take the action suggested in the last part of the question.


How can the right hon. Gentleman say that it is our duty to deprive British subjects in any British Colony of a vote even for municipal purposes?


The position of Palestine is a special one. It is not a British Colony in the ordinary sense. What we are anxious to have is a strong local Palestinian feeling.