HC Deb 15 December 1954 vol 535 cc1765-6
24. Major Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a further statement regarding the transference of responsibility for Maltese affairs from his Department to the Home Office.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

My hon. and gallant Friend will be aware that I had proposed that this matter might be discussed in London between Her Majesty's Government and the leaders of the Maltese political parties. The Prime Minister of Malta has now accepted the suggestion that such discussions should be held. I hope that it will be possible for these talks to take place in the New Year, after the elections which are now impending in Malta.

Major Wall

Will my right hon. Friend say whether this offer carried with it pay, allowances, and social services, equivalent to those of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

All that has been said about the Home Office offer so far is that it would involve transfer from the Colonial Office to the Home Office. It would, I think, be unwise to speculate in advance about the advantages and obligations in pay, social services, taxes or anything else which may emerge from those discussions upon the offer, to which I look forward with the greatest possible interest.

Mr. J. Griffiths

While I agree at once that in the circumstances in Malta the wisest course is to have all-party discussions, having regard to the narrow majority there, may I ask whether, when the meetings are held, the agenda will permit of discussions of future constitutional changes without any limitations?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As soon as I know definitely when the leaders of the various parties are coming, I think I had better have a little time to draw up the agenda. I shall then be ready to give the fullest information to the House.

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