HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc195-6
Mr. Callaghan

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statment on the disturbances taking place in Malta.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)

There have been a number of demonstrations in the last few days and there was a strike yesterday, organised by the General Workers' Union. A number of incidents have been reported, although these were not of a major character. The police dealt very efficiently indeed with the demonstrators and the situation was back to normal this morning.

Mr. Callaghan

Would the Colonial Secretary convey to the dockyard workers that the House shares their anxiety about the future of their jobs, but that it is not our view that violence will in any way solve this problem and that, in fact, it can be solved without resort to rioting? Would he tell us how the suspension of public meetings will affect preparations for a general election? Is it still the intention of the Government, as I hope it is, to carry on preparations for a general election at the earliest possible moment, so that these matters can be brought to public issue?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I will certainly convey what the hon. Gentleman has said in the first part of his supplementary question. I share the sentiments he expressed.

The Constitution provides for elections in the normal course of affairs, and there will, of course, be elections, but I think that the House will agree that as long as the present disturbances continue there are bound to be delays.