HC Deb 28 June 1950 vol 476 cc2269-70
13. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Convention Peoples' Party has for the third time in succession won all seats in the municipal and legislature elections in Accra and the Gold Coast; whether, in view of this indication of the support of people, he is now prepared to urge the Governor to release the leaders of this party from imprisonment or to extend to them treatment as political prisoners; and whether he is now prepared to accept in principle the right of the Gold Coast to democratic government on the basis of Dominion status, which is now claimed not only by the Convention People's Party but all representative sections of the people.

Mr. Cook

My right hon. Friend is aware that the Convention Peoples' Party won all the contested seats in the Accra Town Council elections, the two town council by-elections at Cape Coast and the by-election at Cape Coast for a seat in the Legislative Council. As to the treatment of prisoners, I have nothing to add to my right hon. Friend's reply of 5th April.

A very full statement of His Majesty's Government's policy in regard to constitutional development in the Gold Coast was contained in my right hon. Friend's predecessor's despatch of 14th October, 1949, which was published in Colonial Paper No. 250. My right hon. Friend is in full agreement with this and has nothing to add to it.

Mr. Brockway

Has the Under-Secretary received a document from the prisoners describing the appalling conditions under which they are suffering in the gaols there; and in regard to the second part of my Question, will he take some warning from what happened in India previous to the granting of independence there, and speed the efforts to secure self-government for the Gold Coast?

Mr. Cook

In the reply to which I have referred, the Secretary of State told my hon. Friend that he would bring to the Governor's notice any representation received. So far, none has been received, but a copy of the Question and answer has been sent to the Governor. The question of the conditions in the prisons is at present being considered.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Can my hon. Friend say under what powers these people are imprisoned; whether they have been charged with any offence, and whether they have been brought to trial?

Mr. Cook

Yes, all the prisoners referred to were convicted of breaches of various laws, and the convictions and sentences were upheld on appeal.