HC Deb 20 May 1953 vol 515 cc2072-4
47. Mr. M. Lindsay

asked the Prime Minister what steps he is taking to resolve the difficulties which may prevent Malta participating in the Coronation.

49. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Prime Minister why arrangements were not made for the Prime Minister of Malta to be represented at the Coronation with the Prime Ministers of the other member countries of the Commonwealth.

68. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been drawn to complaints by the Prime Minister and Government of Malta, as a result of which that Government have decided not to be represented at the Coronation; and if he will make a statement on the subject.

The Prime Minister

Her Majesty's Government, and I am sure all Members of the House, would be very sorry indeed if Malta were not represented at the Coronation, particularly in view of the Island's imperishable war record which the late King recognised by the award of the George Cross. I have therefore sent a message to the Prime Minister of Malta saying how much Her Majesty's Government hope that he and his wife will be present. I have made certain suggestions to him designed to accord him all dignity and respect as the representative of the George Cross Island. I have not yet received a final reply from Dr. Borg-Olivier, but I hope to be able to tell the House what has been arranged before we separate for Whitsun.

Mr. Lindsay

Is the Prime Minister aware that his reply will give the greatest satisfaction in view of the fact that it would be a tragedy if Malta could not take part in the celebrations?

Mr. H. Morrison

May I supplement that by asking the Prime Minister if he is aware that we on this side of the House are encouraged by his reply? This is an occasion when it is desirable that nobody should manifest any undue stickiness on the matter, and I am glad that the Government have rather modified the line they had taken. We all very much hope that this Island for which we have a deep respect as a result of its war record will be able to be represented at the Coronation.

The Prime Minister

I am making every effort in that direction.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his statement will give a great deal of satisfaction to those people who realise that the dignity, traditions and importance of this gallant George Cross Island are not to be measured by its size?

The Prime Minister

We sometimes have used that argument in our own case.

Mr. Wyatt

Would not it be appropriate if on this occasion all the Prime Ministers and chief Ministers of territories within the Commonwealth should proceed together in the same part of the procession, because this would illustrate the great diversity and variety of the Commonwealth and show that we recognise that the Commonwealth is a changing and evolving entity?

The Prime Minister

I think that shows how imperfectly the hon. Member understands the complexity of these problems.