HC Deb 24 November 1937 vol 329 cc1212-3
38 and 39. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether consideration can be given to the qualifications for franchise in Mauritius; and whether he will recommend a modification in the existing arrangements so as to give wider adult franchise? (2) Whether the report on disturbances in Mauritius has yet been presented to him; when the report is likely to be available; and whether he will urge, particularly in the Government of that Colony, the value of collective bargaining and trade union organisation and the desirability of an operative minimum in respect to conditions of employment?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The report of the Commission of Inquiry into the recent disturbances in the Colony has not yet been presented to me, and on this point I have nothing to add to my reply to a question by the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Paling) on 3rd November. The Government of Mauritius have stated in the Council of Government in May this year that they are entirely willing to legislate to provide for the regulation and registration of trade unions in the Colony at any time that may seem convenient to the Council. I am about to address the Colonial Government further on this question. Legislative provision for the enforcement of a minimum wage already exists in the Colony. I am aware that the present franchise is somewhat narrow and I will keep in mind the suggestions contained in the hon. Member's question on this point.

Mr. Creech Jones

Will the right hon. Gentleman give serious attention to the question of the revision of the existing franchise, because it is impossible for any progressive legislation to get through as long as the franchise remains as it is, and sets up a definitely reactionary government?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I do not admit that. A lot of progressive legislation has been passed by the existing Government. I would point out that this is not a council where there is an official majority. There is an unofficial majority, and any proposals for reform in this matter would naturally originate in the council.