HC Deb 09 July 1957 vol 573 cc201-2
56. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what advice has been given by Her Majesty's Government to the Governments of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland on the formal proposal of the Federal Prime Minister that the members of the Northern Rhodesia African Representative Council and of the Nyasaland African Protectorate Council, respectively, should be deprived of their powers to nominate African members of the Federal Parliament in the event of African representatives being elected by other means.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Her Majesty's Government advised the Governors of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland that no objection was seen to the passage of a Resolution by each of the Legislative Councils that they did not object to the introduction of the Federal Constitution Amendment Bill. When African representatives are elected by other means it will represent a great advance, because it will mean that they have been elected on their own merits by voters of all races. In such circumstances, there would no longer remain the same necessity for reserved seats, and Her Majesty's Government saw no objection to the introduction of a Bill containing the provision that in those circumstances reserved seats should be progressively removed.

Mr. Brockway

Is not this a very serious matter indeed? Is it not the case that under the new proposals the maximum number of African representatives would be one-third of the legislature and this would involve the disappearance of any representation of the African Councils and even of the African Affairs Board? In view of the statement by Lord Chandos that no alteration of the constitution would be accepted without the numerical support of the majority of the people of Central Africa, is not this a betrayal of the African population?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Most certainly not. I should have thought that all those who have the welfare of Africans genuinely at heart would rejoice to see the time when their members take their places, elected by other people and on their merits.

Mr. J. Johnson

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether any objection to this change has been voiced by the members of the African Affairs Board inside the Federal Government?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

To the best of my knowledge, no, but I shall take steps to bring the fact to the attention of the House if I am in error on that matter. In Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland African members made protests against this, as the hon. Member knows.

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