HC Deb 09 November 1949 vol 469 cc1202-3
37. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why he has notified his acceptance of the main recommendations of the Coussey Committee Report, subject only to certain reservations, before giving an opportunity for the Report to be debated in this House.

Mr. Creech Jones

As I said in my despatch on the Report, I considered it advisable to let the Governor have immediately the views of His Majesty's Government on the main recommenda- tions so as to help forward the examination of the Report in the Gold Coast. Some time must, however, elapse before the proposals are implemented and during this period Members will no doubt be able to raise the subject at a suitable opportunity.

Mr. Cooper

When matters of such fundamental importance to the constitution of a Colony are involved, as is the case with this Report prepared by the Coussey Committee on the Gold Coast, is it not important that an opportunity should be provided for a Debate in this House before the Government finally commit themselves or even accept all or any part of the Report?

Mr. Creech Jones

I have raised no objection to a Debate. It is a matter for Members themselves, through the usual channels, to obtain what facilities they think desirable and proper in the House.

Mr. Keeling

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain how it was that five days after he sent his despatch to the Governor accepting the recommendations, the Leader of another place said he would consider having a Debate before any commitments were entered into? Should not the Lord Privy Seal have been informed that the commitment had already been made?

Mr. Creech Jones

I think that the procedure followed in another place is precisely that which was followed in 1944 regarding the Gold Coast Constitution discussions. There has been no change in the procedure normally adopted.

Mr. Dumpleton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his very prompt response to this Report has created a very favourable and helpful impression in the Gold Coast?

Mr. Creech Jones

Yes, and I think that on the whole the Gold Coast has received the Report with very great calmness and is giving it most serious consideration. It would be unfortunate if anything said in this House were to provoke difficulties.