HC Deb 22 January 1947 vol 432 cc203-4
25. Mr. Pritt

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Governor of Ceylon, on 3rd December last, refused to pardon Dr. S. A. Wickremasingh, a man of good character and a delegate to the World Federation of Trade Unions, who had served a term of imprisonment for a political offence, although this pardon was desired by the State Council and by many representative bodies in Ceylon; and whether he will take, or instruct the Governor of Ceylon to take, steps to deal with a situation which is calculated to deprive Ceylon of valuable public servants.

Mr. Creech Jones

I am aware of the Governor's decision in this matter. As regards the second part of the Question, the prerogative of pardon is vested in the Governor, and I am satisfied that before he decided, as is within his discretion, that it should not be exercised in favour of the person in question, the Governor fully considered the case on its merits. As I stated in reply to the hon. and learned Member on 6th November, I can hardly intervene in such matters.

Mr. Pritt

May I ask two questions? First, does the Minister think it will conduce to what he desires in the way of a healthy trade union movement in Ceylon if the representative of the World Federation of Trade Unions in that Colony is refused a pardon which, in India, would be granted as a matter of course? Secondly, if this rule were strictly en- forced in this country, how many of his colleagues would have to leave this House?

Mr. Creech Jones

On the first point, I want to make* the House understand that this is a matter within the discretion of the Governor, and it is not for me to intervene.

Mr. Leslie Hale

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the exercise of the Royal Prerogative in the Colonial territories is subject to the overriding responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman himself, who is responsible to this House for the exercise of that Prerogative?

Mr. Creech Jones

I imagine that there is a certain procedure which should be followed, and that in this case it has not been followed.

Mr. Stephen

Will not the right hon. Gentleman arrange for the dismissal of the Governor?