HC Deb 21 March 1956 vol 550 cc1241-2
49. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement regarding the Coutts Report which has advised elections upon the common roll for the Zanzibar Protectorate.

53. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what decision has been reached on the recommendations of Mr. W. F. Coutts regarding constitutional changes in Zanzibar; and, in particular, regarding the allocation of the six nominated members to represent racial groups in the Legislative Council.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I would prefer not to make a statement at the present time, as the Report has only recently been published and is still being considered by His Highness the Sultan's Government. But I am very happy to be able to tell the House that, following the publication of the Report, the Arab leaders in Zanzibar have agreed to resume co-operation with the Government. Copies of the Report have been placed in the Library.

Mr. Johnson

While welcoming the action of the Arab leaders, does the Minister not think that Mr. Coutts has given a good lead in advocating the common roll electors' lists? Perhaps, when the Minister thinks a little longer about it, he will consider extending this lead into Kenya, where there is also a plural society.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am always ready to listen and to learn, and I think that Mr. Coutts is a remarkable man.

Mr. Bevan

When the right hon. Gentleman says that copies of the Report are in the Library, has he any idea of the number of copies? Now and again it is almost like a secret service to try to get some of these documents.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am sorry if that should be so. If at any time the right hon. Gentleman lets me know, I will always see that many more copies are available. If there are not sufficient available now, I will certainly add to them.

Mr. Brockway

While welcoming the acceptance of the principle of the common roll generally in Zanzibar, may I ask whether, before a decision is reached, the right hon. Gentleman will examine the proposal to maintain racial group representation among the nominated members and whether he will take steps to eliminate this also?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I do not think I should add to what I have said, at least until the Zanzibar Government and Legislative Council have expressed their own views.

Mr. Rankin

Why cannot we get the Report on the green form, just like the other Reports?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I will certainly consider that if there is sufficient desire.

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