HC Deb 23 June 1948 vol 452 cc1330-1
25. Mr. Skinnard

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the Protectorate and Provincial African Councils were not consulted in regard to projected changes in the constitutions of various Colonies; and whether the procedure of consultation now being used in Sierra Leone may be followed in discussion on the Nyasaland constitution.

Mr. Creech Jones

In all African Colonies where changes in the Constitution have recently been made or proposed, representative African opinion has been fully consulted, although not necessarily through Protectorate or Provincial Councils, which, as my hon. Friend will be aware, do not exist in all the Territories.

In Nyasaland, as stated in my answer to my hon. Friend of 16th June, the Protectorate and Provincial Councils are being kept informed of constitutional developments. These Councils have only recently been established and one of the objects of their formation is to provide a means for consulting African opinion on matters of major importance. I should wish to have further experience of this procedure, which I have no reason to suppose will not have to be satisfactory in practice, before considering whether any change is necessary.

Mr. Skinnard

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that a much happier state of affairs now exists in the Colony of Sierra Leone following the new procedure of consultation adopted after earlier protests?

Mr. Creech Jones

It is a very good practice and we shall, of course, try to follow it wherever possible.

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