HC Deb 15 December 1954 vol 535 cc1755-6
13. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will arrange for an all-party delegation to visit Malaya at an early date to report on the military and political situation in that Colony.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As the hon. Member knows, a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Delegation of five Members of this House has recently come back from a visit to South-East Asia, which included, of course, Malaya. I do not, therefore, feel that a further delegation would be opportune in the near future, but I will not lose sight of this suggestion.

Mr. Brockway

May I ask, very seriously, whether the right hon. Gentleman would not agree that the test of democracy in Malaya will be the success or failure of the new Government? In view of that Government's difficulties, because of the heavy cost of the emergency, in raising finance for education, and for social and economic progress, is it not desirable that there should be an all-party delegation—such as that which went to Kenya—which could report to this House proposals which would give that new Government a real chance?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I should certainly say that the way the next election goes is a pointer, but I should not judge the future of democracy in Malaya, any more than I should in this country, on the results of a single election. I would also remind the hon. Gentleman that Malaya will shortly be rather busy in the constitutional field. There are State elections going on; there will be Federal elections in July or August, and elections in Singapore in April.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that it would be very desirable, when these elections are over—I appreciate the point of not butting in while the elections are on—and when constitutional advancement begins to operate, that a delegation of this kind should be considered?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am prepared to consider that suggestion, in consultation with the Government.