HC Deb 09 December 1953 vol 521 cc1973-4
39. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is to be the agenda when the Nigerian Constitutional Conference reassembles in Lagos in January.

Mr. Lyttelton

I would refer the hon. Member to paragraph 33 of the Report of the London Conference on the Nigerian Constitution. More detailed elaboration of the agenda will no doubt be for the Conference's Sterling Committee.

Mr. Johnson

Will the Minister agree that it would be a major disaster if the Action Party of Mr. Awolowo in the West were to boycott the Conference? May I ask now in all sincerity if he will widen the basis of the talks to include the Lagos question. In the event of the Western Group of Mr. Awolowo and the Northerners coming to some agreement before January with the good will and co-operation of the Governor, would the right hon. Gentleman do that?

Mr. Lyttelton

I know that the hon. Gentleman wishes to be helpful on this matter, but I do not think he should press me on the question. I would remind him that the Lagos decision is supported by the overwhelming majority of the Nigerian people and that it will have to be for the Conference to consider—a Conference including representatives of all parties—whether it is prepared to reopen the question.

Mrs. White

Is the right hon. Gentleman proposing to preside over this Conference?

Mr. Lyttelton

The answer is "Yes."