HC Deb 24 June 1930 vol 240 cc967-8

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the proposed discussion in the House on the situation in Malta, he will publish a White Paper dealing with the constitutional aspect of the question, and giving such documents as have been submitted by the Governor, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition?

50. Mr. FOOT

asked the Prime Minister if the opinion of this House will be taken before any final decision is arrived at affecting the position of the constitution in Malta?


Owing to the urgency of the local situation, His Majesty's Government have already been compelled to come to a decision with regard to the Maltese problem. In the recent Command Paper the House has been given full information regarding the intervention of the Vatican in the temporal affairs of the Island. The position which has been created by this intervention has, in the opinion of the Governor, made it undesirable for the time being to hold the General Election which is now due. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government with considerable reluctance have decided that they have no alternative but to sanction a temporary suspension of the Constitution. The necessary legislation to give effect to this decision will be submitted to His Majesty in Council at an early date. The effect will be to place as an emergency measure the full legislative and executive authority in the hands of the Governor. The existing Ministry will, however, be retained in office and will be available in a consultative capacity in so far as the Governor chooses to make use of their services. It is not proposed to publish a further Command Paper relating to Malta at present, but the text of the Order in Council providing for the interregnum will be made public in the usual manner as soon as possible.


Will the Measure referred to by the Prime Minister be discussed by this House? Will it come before this House at any time for discussion?


I think that, in a very delicate matter such as this I should not commit myself in answer to a supplementary question. If the hon. Member will put it on the Paper, I will give him an answer.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say, in addition, whether this consultative Committee which will be advising the Governor is to include any other persons or interests besides those of the existing Ministry?


I really must ask hon. Members to be good enough to put all these questions on the Paper.

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