§ Considered in Committee; reported, without Amendment.
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Julian Amery)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as the House knows, has returned from Aden, but he is at this moment engaged in the discussions on Cyprus. We have had a very full discussion on the principle underlying the Bill, and I am sure that the House will understand and approve my right hon. Friend's absence from our debate this evening. He feels bound to give his whole mind and time to the very vital discussions on Cyprus which are now taking place.
I made a full speech, as did my right hon. Friend, during the Second Reading debate. I shall not trouble the House at this stage with any further expresesion of my views. With your permission, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and by leave of the House, I shall endeavour, at the conclusion of the debate, to reply to any points which may be raised by hon. Members.
§ 7.7 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
The House will understand the reasons for the Secretary of State's absence during the concluding stages of our consideration of the Bill. We fully understand and appreciate that there are other calls upon his time. At the beginning of a week in which we shall see, I hope, the settlement of the Cyprus question which has been a matter of controversy, concern, and regret for us all, when the future of Cyprus looks like being settled in a way satisfactory to everyone concerned, it is most regrettable that a retrograde step should be taken with regard to another island in the Mediterranean which has long been associated with us. I hope that one thing at any rate will be borne in mind in all our considerations, namely, that it is very dangerous for Cyprus, for Malta or for anywhere else to use the term "Never" when we speak of these constitutional matters.
101 During the Second Reading debate, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) and I. supported by my right hon. and hon. Friends who had served on the Round Table Conference on the Maltese problem, joined in an appeal to the Government that they should withdraw the Bill. The effect of the Bill is to revoke and bring to an end the 1947 Constitution and return to rule by Governor and Council, to what I then described as the first form of colonial rule.
We asked the Government to withdraw the Bill. The immediate effect of their doing so would be that the Governor would be under an obligation to recall the Maltese Parliament at some time between now and the third or fourth week of April. We believe that if the Maltese Parliament were recalled the Maltese themselves might discuss the situation which has now arisen. We believe that the Government should make an effort also to elicit once more the help of every side of the House, either by reconstituting the Round Table Conference or in some other way in order to find before the end of April some better solution for the Maltese problem than what is embodied in the Bill.
I am sorry that the Government did not listen to our plea. We hear very often in this House about bi-partisanship in Colonial policy. Here was a splendid example of all parties in the House collaborating together in a sincere effort to find a solution of this problem might have met the desires and aspirations of the people of Malta, secured the interests of the people of this country and enabled an association of 150 years between us and the people of Malta to continue in terms of amity and friendship. The Government rejected that plea.
I said then that unless the Government were prepared to listen to the plea, accept it and make another effort to try to find a happier solution of this problem, we should have no alternative but to vote against the Second Reading of the Bill. I said then that we should regret having to do that, but that it was our plain duty to do it since we believed that the step taken by the Government was the wrong step in any solution of the Malta problem and might make, although we hoped not, the final solution more difficult than it was before.
102 One of the reasons that we did not discuss the matter on Committee stage was because it is a simple Bill which gives the power to free the Government entirely from the obligation laid upon them in the 1947 Constitution and, therefore, clears the way for what they have to do when this Bill becomes, if it does, an Act of Parliament. I hope that even now, at the last stage of this nearly twelfth hour, the Government will be prepared to take back the Bill and seek another solution. I am sure that is the right thing for them to do. If the Government decide to go on with the Bill and press it to Third Reading later this evening, I ought to tell the House that it will be our duty on Third Reading, as on Second Reading, to vote against the Bill, and take no part in the solution which the Government this day, by their own act, are seeking for the Maltese problem.
I hope that when the hon. Gentleman comes to reply to the debate—and I am sure that he will have the leave of the House for which he has asked to take further part in the debate—he will answer some of the questions which I want to put to him and which I know some of my hon. Friends will be putting to him in the course of the debate.
Before I come to the questions, I must refer to the fact that since the Second Reading debate the retirement of the present Governor, Sir Robert Laycock, has been announced. I feel on personal and other grounds very deep regret indeed that the period of Governorship of Sir Robert Laycock should come to an end in this unhappy way. He was Governor when I visited Malta, for the only time in my life, as a member of the Round Table Conference. He was most helpful to us in every possible way. I felt then and I think that he felt at that time that it might have been his very great privilege during his period as Governor to see a new chapter open up in the history of Malta and the relationship of the people of Malta to ourselves.
I think that I am not giving away any secrets when I say that the proposals we put forward or some such proposals, were proposals which his own experience had convinced him would provide the right solution for Malta. I pay tribute to the services that he rendered and express very great regret indeed that he should 103 be leaving Malta in these very unhappy circumstances.
A new Governor has been appointed and I do not envy him his task. The first question which I want to put is this. Is it proposed that the new form of Government by Governor and Council is to be introduced immediately or is it to wait until the new Governor takes up his position somewhat later this year?
Secondly, we understand from the statement made on behalf of the Government in this House and in the final statement issued in the last two or three months that what is proposed is that the Governor shall be assisted by a Council. That Council is to be composed in part of official members and in part by unofficial members drawn from among the people of Malta. I hope that the Under-Secretary will be able, when he replies, to tell us something more about the composition of this Council.
First, what official members are to be appointed to the Council to advise the Governor? Secondly—and this is very important— I hope that if the Government are determined to go on with this plan, as it seems they are, they will realise that in the political situation in Malta the choice of unofficial members drawn from the Maltese to be members of the Council can have very important political significance. I am being very plain and frank about this because it is very important. I said in the course of the Second Reading debate that one of the reasons—not the only one—why the last conference held in this country failed was because the Government insisted on bringing representatives of a party into the discussion which had failed to secure a single representative on the Maltese Legislative Council. It is very important for us to try to understand the matter from their standpoint.
It was quite clear that they regarded this as an affront. Objections were raised by the Maltese Labour Party of Mr. Mintoff and his colleagues and also by the Nationalist Party because they felt that this was a conference to consider the future of Malta and the only people entitled to be present were those representatives of parties in the Maltese Parliament who had been able to secure election by the votes of the people of Malta.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
The right hon. Gentleman will recall that 104 during the referendum which took place in Malta 20,000 people in Malta supported the view of the political party to which he is referring.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am not denying that, but however many supported it, it did not have a single member in the Legislative Assembly. The Maltese representatives took the view that at this conference the representation should be of those parties which had representatives in the Assembly. To draw a parallel situation in this country, there are other parties not represented in this House of Commons by votes. Supposing we were to consider the future of the House of Commons, would the hon. Gentleman call into those consultations parties because they ran candidates and had votes but were unable to secure representation? I sat on a Speaker's Conference to consider the future electoral laws of this country which consisted of Members drawn from this House. Would any hon. Member have thought it right for Mr. Speaker to invite some other parties, which shall be nameless for the moment but which had fought elections and not won them? What would have been said then? Let us remember that this is how the Maltese feel. I think that was a mistake.
I would ask the Under-Secretary whether it is proposed to appoint representatives on the Governor's Council from people who are actively engaged in the minority parties in Malta. I am putting this because it is an important matter. I therefore beg him to realise that if the Governor's Council is appointed it will look as if the Government have favoured some parties as against others. If they do that, I feel sure that there will be a Governor's Council, however long it lasts which will be regarded—and this is what matters—by the Maltese people as being composed of the Governor and stooges of the British Government. That, I hope, is the last thing that any of us would want in Malta.
The second question is a most important one and I would direct the attention of the Under-Secretary of State and the Government to it. The Government themselves said that they regarded this step as an interim Constitution. That would be the right word. They regarded it as a purely temporary expedient for, to quote the words of the Secretary of State "a relatively short 105 time". It is presumably to be followed by another effort to restore representative Government to Malta. How short is this period to be, and do the Government propose to take the initiative? If so, when? It is clear that if the Government are determined to take this step, the shorter this lasts the better. We shall not get the people of Malta to go on for any length of time under a Constitution in which they have no voice, and in which all those who are of representative character have no say at all.
If this is to be a temporary expedient for a very short time, how do the Government see the future? Have the Government thought about once more seeking the help of this House to settle this problem? Do they contemplate recalling the Round Table Conference and discussing such changes in Government and otherwise as have taken place since then? Do they propose any kind of constitutional conference? How do they contemplate approaching this problem? What steps do they propose to take? I hope that we shall get answers to these questions, because the matter is very important.
What ought we to say to Malta? When we end the Third Reading of the Bill we shall divide, and, when we have decided, that will be the end of the 1947 Constitution. There will be no Parliament in Malta. There will be a Governor and a Council, but political activity and agitation will go on with no constitutional medium through which to express itself. How dangerous this is anywhere; but how dangerous it can be in Malta.
I join with my hon. and right hon. Friends in wishing to send a message to the people of Malta that we hope that, in the trying circumstances, leaders as well as followers will take no step which might lead to violence. The lesson of Cyprus will be with us all. It is that, in the end, we have to come to a settlement round the table and find a way. Not only will the Maltese not be content to go on living under Governor's rule with a Council for any length of time, but they will not go on living under Colonial status.
This is vitally important. I do not think that anyone will disagree with that, not even the hon. Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn), who was a member 106 of the Conference and who expressed his disagreement in his Minority Report. I do not think he will deny that we learned that there was an almost universal desire among the people of Malta for the end of colonial status and for a constitution in which they would enjoy another status. Nothing has happened to change that; indeed, I think anti-colonial feeling is stronger now than when we went there three years ago. There is a desire for a status other than colonial status and it is deeper and stronger, and would be expressed with greater resolve and determination, than it was to us.
I hope that we shall send a message. I propose to say what we should say to the people of Malta now. We should send a message from here. If we could withdraw the Bill and could discuss the message we could send it as a Parliament, but we cannot speak as a House of Commons and still pass the Bill. I say, for my hon. and right hon. Friends to the people of Malta that we understand their desire to end Colonial status and that we accept this as our policy as much as theirs. It it our desire to work with them and in co-operation with them towards this end, and to cooperate with them through their elected representatives, elected by the people of Malta to express their views and their desires.
Many stall hold the view that in the special circumstances of Malta the best way by which their desire for a new status and for continued association with this country could be ensured was, and still is, on the basis of the proposal for integration made at the Round Table Conference. Nothing that has happened since has changed my view that that would be the best solution. It may be at the moment that that solution is not desired by the people of Malta, but I hope that in a period of time we could recapture something of the spirit of three years ago and that that might still be a possibility. I would not want to say anything to suggest that integration is dead. It is still a possibility, and, speaking for myself, I hope that it will be more than a possibility for the future.
In the end it is for the Maltese people themselves to decide. It may be that having regard to the experiences of the 107 past twelve or eighteen months, integration is not now on the agenda and it may not be on the agenda in two or three years' time. Let us be clear about the alternative. If the people of Malta are determined to end their colonial status and if we agree that it should end, the only alternative to integration is some form of independence. We cannot escape that alternative. Malta ought to be independent within the Commonwealth, but we cannot set our strategic interests against the demands of people for political in dependence. At the end we have to try to reconcile both. The great difficulty over the proposals for integration was to reconcile our interests with the needs, the desires and the demands of the people of Malta. In the end it is for them to decide and not for us.
The Under-Secretary of State is beginning his career at the Colonial Office. I had a short and very exciting period there. He knows that the initiative in colonial affairs does not now rest with this House; it has passed from us to the people in the Colonies. It is important to realise that. This is the lesson of all that has happened in the past few years. Everywhere is the spirit of nationalism, the desire for self-realisation, the desire to stand on equal terms with us. It is growing everywhere and is far too powerful to be ignored and resisted. It is an elemental, dynamic force, one of the great forces that change the face of the world.
Earlier we were speaking about the under-developed countries, and their desire to end Western domination and attain a standard of life equal to that of the West. There is a revolt against colonial rule and against poverty. If we do not take the right steps this can become a revolt against us. Our job is to make it not a revolt of their people against our people, but a joint revolt against conditions, a joint working together towards common ends and the nationalist spirit in the wider sense, but not of the Nationalist Party in Malta. The vast majority of them are determined to live on equal terms with us.
What will Malta say when it gets this Measure this week? Let us look at the situation. Here is an old country with its ancient, hallowed history in the heart of the homeland of our civilisation. Shortly Singapore will be registering the 108 next step towards elections and independence. Nigeria is to have independence in 1960. Cyprus will become an independent republic, we gather from the Press. Let us hope that we are on the way to a settlement there. God speed those who are trying to settle that problem. What is the message we send to Malta? It is, "Back you go to colonial rule, to be ruled by a Governor with a few nominated people."
Perhaps the Under-Secretary can tell us how many of the Colonies still left in the remains of the British Empire are still in that stage? With very few exceptions, if any at all, they have an elected element. They are all on the march towards independence and self-government and we believe and hope it will be independence in the British Commonwealth.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I agree, but I hope that we shall take early steps to set them on the road. What is the message we send to this ancient country in the heart of the homeland of our civilisation? What a tragedy it is. We discussed and went through the sorry history of the negotiations in the last debate and I do not propose to go over it again. All I say to the Government is, "You have taken this step; you have taken it yourselves. We and the Liberal Party—
§ Mr. Griffiths
We suggested to the Government that they should withdraw the Bill and that together we should find a happy solution. They turned that down on Second Reading. I repeat our readiness to join with them if they withdraw the Bill. If they do not, we cannot join with them in passing it. I hope that we can send the people of Malta the message that this stage will be one of short duration and that we shall take up the problem—where we left it—of providing a solution which will give them a dignity to which they are entitled.
§ 7.34 p.m.
§ Sir Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
With so much of what the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) 109 said I find myself in such complete agreement that I fee] all the more sorry that he has announced the determination of the party opposite to divide the House when so much that he said was just pushing against an open door.
The right hon. Gentleman will find on these benches, as on his, the sentiment reechoed that we want to see every one of our Colonies advancing into self-governing Dominions within the Commonwealth. We would echo almost every word of the message he suggested that the House should send to Malta. I believe that we echo his regret that this is not a bipartisan approach. But whose fault is that? I assure him that he will not find in the Conservative Party any reactionaries who glorify colonial rule, or who pretend that to give people good government is any better than to give them self-government. We fought a civil war for that very purpose more than 300 years ago. The period from 1629 to 1640 was one of the most prosperous that this country has had. But Parliament preferred not to turn our Constitution into an imitation of the French monarchy, but to run the risks of remaining a democratic institution.
That makes it all the more strange that the right hon. Member should divide the House on such flimsy grounds. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I intend to show that in my speech. Some of the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman were flimsy, such as saying that bringing Miss Strickland's party caused the breakdown.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I did not say that. I said that it was because one of the parties said that it would not sit jointly as representatives with the other party.
§ Sir G. Nicholson
I know that the general approach of the right hon. Gentleman to this problem is sincere, but if the other two parties had genuinely wanted to settle the question would that have stood in their way for half a second? Adding that flimsy pretext weakened the case of the right hon. Gentleman.
The right hon. Gentleman's main case, and the case of the Opposition as a whole, is that the right thing to do is not to suspend the Constitution of Malta, but to recall the Maltese parliament in April. How can we recall that Parliament if no party is willing to form a Government? If no party is willing to play, neither Mr. Mintoff, Dr. Borg Olivier, nor anyone 110 else, what is the good of calling the Maltese Parliament together? It would be sheer chaos, and the state of Malta would be worse than it is now. I cannot avoid the conclusion that there have been ulterior political motives in the opposition of the Labour Party to this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I say that in all sincerity, because their attitude towards Malta up to now has been exceedingly high principled and bipartisan.
I deeply regret that hon. Members opposite should have taken this line. Their ostensible reasons for dividing the House just will not hold water. After all, we have to take some steps to see that the ordinary machinery of government and law and order and of public administration go on functioning in Malta. If the Government withdrew the Bill, and left everything to April, the Maltese Parliament would be assembled and no party would be willing to take responsibility and the reins of government. I should not envy the position of the Governor on those terms. I was glad that the right hon. Member paid tribute to Sir Robert Laycock. He is an old friend of mine, and I am certain that he is heart-broken at the turn events have taken. Hon. Members on both sides of the House will join with the right hon. Member in thanking Sir Robert for what he has done.
I do not propose to make a long speech, because there is very little that can be said. We can express our deep regret at what is a retrograde step. We can express deep regret at the non-cooperative attitude of the Maltese parties, but, having said that, what is there but platitudes? I believe the people of Malta are in no doubt whatever that every party in the House regards this as a step backwards and that we hope it may be of short duration.
I have two things of more significance to say to my hon. Friends. First, there must be no parsimony. There must be no parsimony towards the new Governor and the new Administration. That is of most vital importance. I do not think that in saying that I can be accused of saying that I wish the coming form of colonial rule to wean the Maltese away from their constitutional aspirations. Nothing is further from my thoughts and I should be very sorry if it took place.
But it is our duty to the people of Malta to ensure that every effort is made to see 111 that the industrial and economic future of Malta is not hamstrung and hampered by Colonial Office or Treasury parsimony. The future of Malta depends not only on the constitutional co-operation of its inhabitants, but on the inducements that that island may offer for industrial development, within the dockyard, or anywhere else. Parsimony now might be fatal to that development.
Secondly, we must not let things drift. Just because it is a distasteful subject, one that causes all of us the greatest regret, we must not put it out of our minds after the passage of this Bill. Some people say that we should allow an indefinite period to elapse to let things settle down. Here I agree with the right hon. Member for Llanelly; they will not settle down. There may be a certain amount of passivity, but, once the spirit of nationalism, which I salute and admire, has bitten deep into the soul of a people it cannot die. I agree again with the right hon. Member that it is our duty to find a formula or constitution by which all conflicting interests can be reconciled as soon as possible.
I repeat, I deeply regret that the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members opposite propose to divide the House. I believe that they are doing no service to Malta, to the possibility of a bipartisan approach, or to the long-term interests of the Maltese people. I very greatly regret the necessity for the Bill, but there is no other alternative before the Government and the House.
Finally, in common with the right hon. Gentleman, I reiterate my conviction that integration is the ultimate solution.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Delargy (Thurrock)
It is difficult to follow the logic of the hon. Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson). On several occasions, he told us that he was overwhelmed with regret and grief for the people of Malta. He has said that the Bill is a backward and retrograde step; nevertheless, he thinks that we on this side are wrong to register our protest against it. With one point, however, I very much agree with the hon. Gentleman, namely, that the future of Malta now depends largely on industrial development and, in particular, the future of the dockyard.
112 The Under-Secretary of State has kindly undertaken to answer at the end of the debate any questions which we may put to him. He will recall that during the Second Reading debate I put several questions to him to which he did not answer on that occasion. I do not blame him for that. I know that it is difficult to answer in half an hour a debate which has gone on for several hours, and, of course, I had not given him notice of the questions which I raised on that occasion. However, fourteen days have elapsed, and I hope that in the interval the hon. Gentleman has been able to find the answers to those questions, which are causing great concern to many people in Malta.
I refer in particular to the future of the dockyard. On Second Reading, which I think was a fortnight today, I asked the hon. Gentleman whether, when the dockyard was transferred from the Admiralty to the firm of C. and H. Bailey, any other shipping firm had been approached. I asked whether tenders had been asked for. I asked him whether it was not a fact that a British admiral had been released from the Service in order to take charge of what will now be a commercial dockyard. If that is so, we should like to know the particular significance of it, because it is being said in Malta, rightly or wrongly, that the Government want to have it both ways; the Government want to play safe; the British Government wish to relieve themselves of their responsibilities to the dockyard but nevertheless have appointed, or caused Messrs. C. and H. Bailey to appoint, an admiral to take charge of a civilian dockyard so that if at any moment an emergency should arise and the Admiralty should require the dockyard to be a naval establishment again the admiral can so have arranged things that the alterations made will not be of such a radical character as to prevent the dockyard being reconverted to a naval establishment.
It has also been alleged that before the resignation of the Mintoff Government other shipping firms thought that Malta would be an excellent place for them to carry out their repairs, and they were willing at their own expense to build two new dockyards at Valetta, the building of which would have entailed an expenditure of about £2 million. It has been alleged that these firms, during the 113 crisis, when there was no Maltese Government and when the Maltese Parliament was not sitting, were approached and told, "You need not spend all this money. The dockyard will be transferred to a British firm. Why not transfer your custom to the British firm once it has been transferred to them?" If that is the case, it is a very disturbing allegation.
I should like a plain "Yes" or "No" to the question whether any shipping firms, British or Norwegian, which had previously been in touch with the Mintoff Government, will have any share in the development of the C. & H. Bailey dockyard at Valetta. These questions are important because—and this is all I shall say on the point, but I want to get the aircleared—there are people in Malta who have said that this political crisis, which we all deplore, was deliberately prolonged by the British Government in order to effect the transfer of the naval dockyard to a British private commercial firm.
It is said that had the Maltese Government been in existence at the time the Admiralty would have been obliged to consult the Maltese Government. It has always been regarded as normal that when land in Malta was not required for defence purposes it should be handed back to the people and the Government of Malta. People are wondering why the dockyard has not been handed back to the people of Malta. They wonder, as I have said, whether the political crisis was deliberately prolonged so that there would not be a Maltese Government to whom the dockyard could be handed.
I hope that the Under-Secretary will do his best to answer these questions which have caused agitation not only in the minds of my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself, but in the minds of very good people in Malta.
§ 7.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
The hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy) has emphasised the economic importance of the dockyard, and has described to the House the doubts which he has had. I have recently been to the island, but I heard nothing to confirm the doubts which he has expressed. The Admiral was appointed because he was one of the most popular officers ever to serve in the dockyard, one who knows the personnel well and works very well with them.
§ Mr. Delargy
I do not know with what attention the House will listen to the hon. Member on the subject of Malta. I remember his Second Reading speech. He had then recently returned from Malta, and he said that he had sounded opinion all over the place and gave us his solemn guarantee that the strike which was to take place the following day would be a complete flop, whereas, as a matter of fact, it was a complete success.
§ Mr. Wall
I propose to deal with that point in my speech. The hon. Member will find that it was somewhat of a flop when I quote the figures to him. The fact that Baileys have taken over the dockyard is an excellent thing. Surely it is better that a small firm, which will make Malta's dockyard its main aim and object, should take over the dockyard than that it should be placed in the hands of some enormous combine which has interests all over the Commonwealth.
Complaint has been made that foreign firms were not allowed to tender for the dockyard. Surely it is not suggested that Italian firms should be allowed to tender? Is it suggested that they would allow Malta to compete with Genoa or Trieste? I feel convinced—and I am sure the hon. Member for Thurrock will agree with me—that the success of Messrs. Bailey is vital to Malta, and any rumours which mitigate against that success will only do harm to the future of the Maltese people as well as to Anglo-Maltese relations.
The Bill ends the 1947 Constitution. Although both sides of the House cannot agree with the content of the Bill, they can probably agree in not regretting the passing of this Constitution. It was criticised by the Round Table Conference; it caused considerable trouble before Mr. Mintoff assumed power. When Dr. Borg Olivier was Prime Minister, he had considerable trouble with the British Government because of this Constitution.
This is largely because of the difficulty of running a diarchy, and of knowing where reserved subjects, such as defence, end, and Maltese subjects, such as agriculture, start. It was a bad Constitution, because it provided inadequate consultative machinery between the Maltese and the Government of this country and I think that the House should be very pleased that it has now been abandoned.
115 While not regretting the passing of this Constitution, we can probably all agree in deploring the reasons for its passing. We can deplore the Resolution passed in the Maltese Parliament in December, 1957; the failure of the Opposition to take over when Mr. Mintoff resigned; the April riots; the London Conference, at which the three parties would not agree to sit round the same table; and, finally, Mr. Mintoff's change-over from integration to a demand for independence.
During the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, I said that I did not believe that Mr. Mintoff had any mandate for independence, and that the Maltese people would not follow him in this demand. The hon. Member for Thurrock has challenged me about the day of mourning, which was to follow our Second Reading debate. The final figures for that day showed that 47 per cent. of Government employees were absent from their work. At the dockyard, 90 per cent. of the industrial workers were absent—as was, perhaps, to be expected —but only 8 per cent. of non-industrial personnel. Only 16 school teachers out of 2,000 were absent from the schools, but about 70 per cent. of school children attending the primary and secondary schools were absent.
One can, therefore, say that it was a somewhat of a fifty-fifty result, but it must be remembered that Mr. Mintoff did not say to the Maltese people, "Do not go to work." He said, "Stay in your houses. Fly your flags at half-mast. Drape crepe round the windows." Even in Valletta, where everyone was walking around in the streets, there was very little evidence of flags flying at half-mast, or other signs of mourning. There was a carnival atmosphere—people having a good time—although the children were not going to school because their parents were not sure that the riots of April would not be repeated.
In passing, I must say to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State that it seems unfortunate that Service schools, such as the Royal Naval School, should have set such a bad example as to close on the day of mourning. That is something that he might look into. It was not a good example to be set by a Service school in a fortress.
116 The second test of strength was the pre-Lent carnival, which Mr. Mintoff told his followers to boycott. I am informed, and all the Press supports the view, that that carnival was one of the greatest successes ever, and went off extremely well. All I have to add on this subject is that Mr. Mintoff is a sick man. One can only hope that he will do as, in one speech, he said he would—decide to take a rest.
The Maltese people know that independence would mean neutralism; a political status similar to that resulting from joining with Tito or Nasser, and an economic status similar to that of Jordan's. It would mean no dockyard at all, and no economic help from Britain. Malta has always been a bastion of Western civilisation, and would, I am sure, wish to remain with the Christian West in the future.
If independence is out, what happens next? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) has already asked this. He has said that this interim period, if it can be called that, must be short, and with that I heartily agree. I hope that the Government will remember the strength of nationalism in the world; and that the Maltese people are a very proud and patriotic race. Once we pass this Bill, Her Majesty's Government will be in complete charge of the affairs of Malta for a short time—I hope for not more than twelve months, or eighteen months at the outside. I hope that, during that time, they will give the Governor sufficient personnel and money to do the job properly and that the Governor will have the resources necessary to enable him to keep in touch with the people of Malta—
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I did not refer to the economic situation, though not because I think it unimportant. I agree with the hon. Gentleman, but, though we must find the money, the Government must realise how important it is that we must not appear to be more generous to Governor's than to Maltese rule.
§ Mr. Wall
I fully take that point, and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman, but when Malta has what he himself, has referred to as the lowest form of colonial Government, it is essential for the Governor, who is exercising the responsibility, to keep in touch with the people, 117 and to explain to them why certain things are being done. He can do that by broadcasting. I hope, too, that we will introduce television. I have to say to my right hon. Friend that there are television sets in Malta, but that the only programme they can get is the Italian one. Malta is in the Commonwealth. The people are bilingual. They speak English, and could well do with some English television broadcasts from within Malta itself.
The problem of the Advisory Council has been mentioned. I hope that the political parties will be asked to be represented on it, even though they may not wish so to be. I hope that, until there is a new, elected Government in the island, there will be no changes in taxation without representation—
§ Sir Peter Agnew (Worcestershire, South)
My hon. Friend speaks of no changes in taxation. Does he mean by that that for firms wishing to establish themselves there should be no fresh arrangements for tax holidays, in the meantime, to encourage them?
§ Mr. Wall
I was referring to personal taxation but it is a matter that I propose to develop later.
I hope that the Governor will have talks with the Maltese people, through the Advisory Council or anyone else, with a view to the earliest possible establishment of a new constitution; and that those talks will start, if not this year at least in 1960, so that Malta may govern herself again as soon as possible.
The hon. Member for Thurrock spoke of the importance of the economy, and my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew) has just mentioned a tax holiday. A very interesting paper has just been written about Malta by Sir George Dowty, in which he suggests that the way ahead for Malta is to stabilise the political scene, set up a progressive organisation that would encourage and help the industrialists, and then the economy should be reorganised as has been done in Puerto Rico by the Americans. Perhaps the House will bear with me while I expound on that theory.
Fifteen years ago, the island of Puerto Rico, belonging to the United States, presented such an economic problem as was thought to be insoluble. Like Malta, 118 Puerto Rico depends on only one industry—in this case, sugar. It is administered as a diarchy. Its people are bilingual. It is over-populated, and lacks adequate water, power and communications. The plan put into effect in Puerto Rico cost some £300 million. Allowing for the difference in the size of population, a similar plan for Malta would cost about £40 million.
The essence of the plan was twofold: Government help, where necessary, and an income tax holiday for ten years for firms establishing themselves on the island. The results have been astonishing. Since the tax holiday, Puerto Rico's public tax revenue has risen from £10 million to £70 million, and the island now owes the United States Treasury practically nothing. The per capita net income has increased by 73 per cent. Perhaps of even greater interest, the island is now self-governing, except in defence, foreign affairs and external trade.
I am sure that that picture is one which the whole House would like to see repeated in the George Cross island in the middle of the Mediterranean. I contend that if this economic help could succeed in Puerto Rico, it can succeed in Malta. Malta has great advantages. It has a deep-water harbour. There is a dockyard already in existence, and we have already started building a civil harbour. Malta has skilled workers, and is situated in exactly the right place to develop markets on the North African coast—which is developing every day—and in the Middle East.
I believe that the island should be given reasonable grants and loans, and, even more important, given a ten-year tax holiday to allow industry to become established. I should like to know whether that could be done under the Maltese Aids to Industry Act—Malta could then be built as a civilian economy as opposed to the present defence economy which now provides about 50 per cent. of its income.
The Report I have referred to ended by saying that success for this new economic structure depends on political stability. I hope that the House will bear with me another moment if I just develop this theme. Having abolished the Maltese Constitution by passing this Bill, we enter an interim period during which we have to think of the future. I suggest the 119 future is one of three alternatives. We have ruled out independence. There is integration, which many hon. Members on both sides of this House would still support, but which one must accept as unpopular in many quarters in Malta and in certain quarters in this country.
Then there is Dominion status. Dominion status has always been ruled out because it has been said that little Malta could never be equal to, for instance, Canada or Australia, and yet, as has already been said from the Front Bench opposite, we are now discussing the possibility of some such arrangement for the Island of Cyprus. One does not know, but if one is to believe the Press and Cyprus is to be an independent republic within the Commonwealth, then, if it is possible for Cyprus, it may be that in the future some such arrangement may be possible for Malta.
It seems to me, however, that the best alternative is what has been termed the Royal State of Malta, which, as I understand, means complete internal self-government under the Home Office or Commonwealth Relations Office. It means a special status for Malta with far better consultative machinery than existed under the Constitution which will end when this Bill becomes an Act. It means, I trust, that Malta will be included among the British islands—not the British Isles—like the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and that the Maltese will be treated as British subjects and citizens of the United Kingdom, which would, of course, be an enormous help to Maltese who may wish to emigrate. Those are three alternatives which, it seems to me, must be considered during the next year or eighteen months when the new, advanced constitution of Malta is being discussed.
When this new constitution comes into effect, one hopes—and I think that hon. Members opposite will join me in this—that it will see the introduction of an independent broadcasting system; that it will see the introduction of a police commission and a public service commission; that it will see the Auditor General put in a position in which he is not subject to political control; that it will see that financial assistance to the university will be channelled through non-political sources; and that it will see that emigration will be fully encouraged. I think 120 we can join together in all these desires, and I would suggest, as I believe I did in my Second Reading speech, that consideration be given to the re-creation, if I may put it in that way, of a second House, a senate, in Malta.
Hon. Members on both sides have joined in praising Sir Robert Laycock. Whatever the Maltese Labour Party may feel about him as Governor of Malta, I am quite certain that its members respect him as a man who has tried to do his best for the island. I think that the message which goes out from this House is one of good wishes and of thanks for what he has tried to do even though, unfortunately, the end of his term of office in Malta comes at what is a rather unhappy time, when we are debating the suspension of the Constitution.
I think that the House would also wish to join with me in welcoming Sir Robert's successor, Admiral Sir Guy Grantham. Admiral Grantham is excellently suited for the post of Governor of the island. He has been Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean. He knows the N.A.T.O. set-up. What is far more important, he knows the Maltese people, and they know him. I have been in Malta when Sir Guy and Lady Grantham were there, and I can assure the House that they are greatly respected already, I believe that they will come to be loved by the Maltese people during their term of office. We can all say to the new Governor that we hope that his term of office will prove, at any rate in its constitutional aspect, a happier one than that of his predecessor.
I conclude by hoping that it will not be long before we are again debating in this House Malta's affairs, and that, when we do, it will be in a far happier context.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Itchen)
This is indeed an unhappy occasion. As one of the back benchers who watched with admiration the efforts of the Round Table Conference of hon. Members on both sides to deal with this problem of Malta I should like to pay tribute to the good will, skill and statesmanship which went into those efforts.
I am certain, however, that all the members of the Round Table Conference, of all three parties in the House, must regret the step the Government are taking tonight. It is a pity that we should 121 have to divide the House on this issue, but, believing as we do, we can do nothing else. The responsibility is the Government's. I would echo the appeal made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) even at this late stage and ask the Government to refrain from taking a step which we believe is not in the interests of a good settlement, and to withdraw the Bill.
I intervene briefly in the debate because a few weeks ago I spent some five hours with Dom Mintoff and most of his Cabinet of Ministers who were over here kicking their heels in London when it ought to have been possible for the Colonial Secretary to have reached out to negotiate with this young, little Parliamentary majority and its Ministers. I want to convey one or two impressions I got from talks in which I tried to put to them many of the things which have been put again and again during the past two years.
The first impression I got from them was one of utter friendship for this country. Prime Minister Mintoff and the other Ministers, one of whom has been in gaol for political offences, expressed unqualified friendship for the British people. I am certain that members of the Government must express, even as they take this lamentable step tonight, the same friendship and admiration which we have held for the Maltese ever since the glorious part which Malta played when she earned her George Cross, and long before.
The second impression I got leads me to underline what my right hon. Friend said about the resentment that the elected representatives of the Maltese people felt at the invitation to Miss Strickland, who represents nobody in Malta, and who yet was invited as a representative when an attempt was being made by the Colonial Secretary to solve the problems of Malta.
§ Sir P. Agnew
There are precedents, in conferences to discuss the constitutions of dependencies, for inviting people to attend who do not command the allegiance of any exactly defined political party. I have in mind the India Round Table Conference held here in London in which Mr. Gandhi was invited to be a participant. That was not thought to be wrong. I think, indeed, that he made a contribution. It is not necessary to 122 command a lot of seats in a legislature to take a useful part in a conference.
§ Dr. King
If the hon. Gentleman thinks he is making a correct analogy between Miss Strickland, who has only a handful of supporters in Malta in spite of the fact that up to recently she owned the only newspaper which existed there, and Gandhi, who represented the unvoiced aspirations and the unrepresented opinions of almost the whole of the Hindu community of India, I think he is misjudging the position.
I would only say, to return to the point I was making, that I realised as I talked to those Ministers that they were adult politically and politically conscious. They, rightly, refuse to be patronised. They have learned their democracy from us. They resented the presence of someone who cannot get a single seat in the Maltese Parliament—as I am quite certain Archbishop Makarios, and, indeed, all Britain, would resent it if we took to the negotiations which are taking place now one of the League of Empire Loyalists or a member of the Communist Party. Dom Mintoff's Government had begun, in their own way, a programme of social legislation which showed them to be a mature political party entitled to the same respect and recognition that we should ask for a majority party in our own country. I shared that night with them a common enthusiasm for educational advance.
The third matter which I would try to convey is the intense love of freedom of the Maltese people. I had the unusual experience of being present when Mr. Mintoff and his Ministers spoke to a meeting of Maltese in Britain. It was as lively a meeting as Kinglake tells us the Greeks had right through their history in their passion for democracy, and as lively and argumentative as any English political meeting. Every Maltese there claimed to have opinions of his own, and claimed the right to express them, whether or not they agreed with those of Mr. Mintoff and his party. I liked that. And in spite of their differences, they were united in their patriotism as we are. The Maltese are a proud people and they have a great deal to be proud of, but by means of this Bill we are attacking their freedom, their conscience and their pride.
123 I am puzzled because in the debate hon. Members opposite have admitted during their speeches all the very things which are making us vote against the Bill. We are in a world where internationalism is needed more than ever before but where the force which we know as nationalism is stronger than ever before. We claim the right to it for ourselves. We would resent any interference with British freedom and self-determination, and we must learn that what we demand for ourselves we must be prepared to concede, in the last resort, to any other group of people, no matter how small it may be.
This raises the very difficult problem that those who love freedom and want independence are sometimes prepared to be badly governed by themselves rather than to be well governed by anybody else. When I was in Africa, a great African political leader said to me that many Africans would prefer to be badly governed by Africans than to be well governed by the British. It may be rather painful to us when the British sometimes with entire sincerity of motive, say. "We are doing this for you for your own good" and people respond by saying "Whether it is for our own good or not we wish to govern ourselves". But this is the force which is growing in the world today.
I believe that those hon. Members who do not want Malta to be independent do not want her to be independent for the best of reasons—that Malta has an unviable economy. One of my hon. Friends said to me that we should not be so unkind as to give Malta her independence, because it would be an economic disaster for the people of Malta. What ought to be taking place again and again is economic argument with the freely-elected representatives of the Maltese people. When I spoke to Mr. Mintoff and his friends they were quite convinced that what the Colonial Secretary recently called a Utopia was an achievable one with Malta as an entrepôt between the new nations of the Middle East and Europe. They imagined Malta as a neutral trading bastion in the Mediterranean. It seemed to them to make very good sense.
I believe that the economic picture which they have in their minds is impractical. If they are allowed to pursue it they might very well bring a great deal 124 of poverty and unhappiness to the people of Malta. But this has to be argued out with them factually in conference—a conference of equals, of one free people arguing with another group entitled to the same political freedom.
I am unhappy tonight because by means of the Bill the Government are taking a backward step, a step away from political equality. In the last resort, it is the Maltese people who must decide their own political destiny. No amount of argument or explanation can take us away from that elementary fact. If at present we propose to govern without their help and to invite into the Government only those whom the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew) would inaccurately regard as the Gandhis of Malta—only that tiny minority of Maltese people who were not represented in the last Parliament—we are polarising the difference that exists between us. It is a tragedy that, when there is still much good will on both sides, we are taking a retrograde step which will break down that good will.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Sir Peter Agnew (Worcestershire. South)
Sometimes the rules of order are most rigorously applied in the various stages of the passage of a Bill. On Second Reading, we are permitted to roam fairly widely with reference not only to what a Bill contains, but also to proposals which we would prefer to have in it but which are not there. But on Third Reading, especially when there has not been any Amendment in Committee, you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, or your colleagues in the Chair, sometimes compel us to adhere most rigidly to what is actually written in the Bill. Happily, we are not under that restriction today, and it is permissible to make a few more observations on the general theme of what we are doing by passing the Bill.
Although, unfortunately, I did not have the chance to hear the speech of the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), it appears to me that the main reason why he and his party are opposing the Measure and will vote against it is that they believe that by passing the Bill, by repealing the 1947 Constitution, with its representative institutions, a step backwards is being taken. In other words, a step is being taken further away from those conditions which, when they come. 125 we shall all be able to recognise—if we can attain them—as a slate of harmony between Britain and Malta and of happiness for the Maltese people in the enjoyment of freedom.
I believe that right hon. and hon. Members opposite sincerely believe that. I take precisely the opposite view. I believe equally sincerely that by passing the Bill we are not prejudicing the achievement of a good settlement for Malta. On the other hand, I believe that when the Bill becomes law that process will be facilitated. If the period which will shortly be entered upon is regarded as nothing else but a breathing space, and if, during that time, wise counsels—and, I suspect, many others as well—are proffered on what the ultimate solution should be, then, at the end of that time, proposals can be brought to the House containing provisions for a new and better and more liberal constitution than the one which existed before. But if we were to ask ourselves searchingly why it was necessary to repeal the 1947 Constitution, surely we have only to reflect upon the happenings of last April to realise that necessity.
The position then was that the party which held the majority of seats in the Legislature, and the head of the Government, Mr. Mintoff, resigned with the whole of the Cabinet. The constitutional processes were then set in train. Dom Mintoff was not willing to reconstitute his Government and re-form it. On the other hand, neither was the leader of the next largest party—the leader, as we might say, of the Opposition, Dr. Borg Olivier. Surely it is true that any constitution which contains representative institutions depends inevitably for its success upon the leaders of the political parties who have seats in it being willing to take the responsibility of office? Otherwise, the constitution cannot, and, indeed, will not, work.
§ Dr. King
The hon. Gentleman will agree that, when the leader of the majority party had refused to form another Government and when the leader of the Opposition had refused for his party, it meant that the whole of the Parliament was staying out in protest. They were quite willing to take on the whole of the Government, but the Parliament that they existed in was a Parliament with only limited powers, and if the leader of the 126 majority party in the Maltese Parliament had been offered full Government of Malta he would have taken it tomorrow.
§ Sir P. Agnew
The 1947 Constitution contained very full powers indeed so far as all the ordinary internal affairs of Malta are concerned.
I share the views of those who formed the Round Table Conference that in any future constitution of Malta the system conveniently known as the diarchy and personified in the existence of an entity known as the Maltese Imperial Government, headed by the Lieut.-Governor, should be swept away. In the common wisdom of all who contribute to a new settlement, something much better must be found, something which is not only more practical in its working, but which has the appearance and the seemliness of embodying more dignity for the Maltese people, who have now—and, so far as one can see, for a very long time will have—inevitably to submit—and I believe that they will submit with good will—to quite a large part of their small island being used for purposes of exterior defence and, indeed, imperial strategy. I believe that they will willingly do that, but, without going into details, I support the need, of which the Round Table Conference spoke in its Report, for better machinery than we have at present to do it. Perhaps the other functions of the Lieut.-Governor could be better discharged by a functionary to be known as the Chief Secretary, or somebody of that kind.
In the broadest way, we look to a constitution which will give the fullest opportunity for Malta to decide what its own future should be. It has been said from both sides of the House that it would be an injustice and a cruelty to inflict absolute independence upon Malta at the present time or in the foreseeable future, because the creation of that status of absolute independence outside the Commonwealth would carry in its train inexorably the cutting off of the aid year by year of millions of pounds which the people of this country as a whole recognise that they ought to give to Malta in an attempt to make it, over the years, but as soon as possible, a viable economy.
Even if Maltese politicians have said hotly that they would rather have absolute independence outside the Common- 127 wealth and look elsewhere for the assistance that they need, if they can get it, I feel sure that in this time of reflection, when they cannot give legal expression or power to their ideas in any legislature, a more reasonable frame of mind and a calmer atmosphere will develop. At the end of that time I feel sure that an arrangement can be made whereby Malta will have all the dignities of independent status, but yet be inside the Commonwealth and, therefore, qualify for the assistance which the people of this country only desire to have the excuse to give her.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
During the debate on Second Reading, I was able to speak for only a few minutes. It looks as though Third Reading will give me a chance to develop some of the arguments which I made in very concentrated form on Second Reading. I argued then that the real fundamental issue in this Measure is the status of the people of Malta, their resistance to being a subject people, their desire for human equality and their opposition to colonialism. I was delighted tonight to hear my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), speaking from our Front Bench, emphasising that this is the basic issue.
There are two ways in which that desire of the Maltese people for human equality could be recognised. The first was the proposal for integration with this country. That would have placed the people of Malta on an equal basis with the people in this country who elect our Members of Parliament here. When that proposal was made, when our Commission representing all the three parties in the House went to Malta, discussed the proposals with the representatives there and came back and reported in its favour, many in this House rejoiced at that recommendation and at that prospect. By sheer chance I was the first Member of Parliament able to welcome in this assembly the proposal for the integration of Malta with this country.
I regard it as a tragedy that this great imaginative and constructive scheme has not been realised. I shall not claim tonight that all the responsibility for failure rests on this House—some of that responsibility was on the part of Maltese 128 representatives—but I say emphatically that when the Government had received a recommendation from a comprehensive commission representing all three parties in this House, when it had the declared support of this House itself, it was the duty of the Government in that situation to put that recommendation into operation as soon as possible. So a very great responsibility rests upon the Government, and rests upon the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that there should have been such delay in accepting a recommendation made by the representatives of all three parties in the House. I believe we lost a tremendous opportunity, I believe we lost something which was not only important for Malta but which might have been a precedent in the integration of other peoples with our Parliament. I think the House has every right to condemn and to censure Her Majesty's Government for having failed to put that great, hopeful idea into operation.
If integration appears to be ruled out at the present time, what is the second alternative by which the people of Malta may realise their sense of human equality? What is the other method by which they can overthrow the sense of human subjection and alien occupation? What other method is there by which they can throw over colonialism? If the possibility of equal integration with this country is rejected, the only alternative is the independence of the Maltese people. Of course, when I use the word independence" I do not rule out independence within the Commonwealth.
Countries in the Commonwealth—India, Ceylon and Ghana—rejoice in their independence. They do not regard their association with Britain and the Commonwealth as a denial of that independence. Mr. Dom Mintoff has made it clear that when he claims independence he does not rule out membership of the Commonwealth in the same way that India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Ghana enjoy it today.
If those are the only alternatives, is it surprising that when the recent constitutional conference met in London, Mr. Dom Mintoff, the leader of the Labour Party, the majority party in the island of Malta, came to that conference and asked for independence? He asked for that independence in 1962, which is still 129 three years distant. The tempo of progress in Colonial territories today is tremendous. The Nigerians came to a conference in London last year, and they are to have independence in 1960. If independence is to be the alternative to integration for Malta, it was not unreasonable that 1962 should be suggested as the date.
The second reason why the Government should be condemned and censured is that when Mr. Mintoff made the proposal about independence in 1962 the Government refused to have any further discussions with him at the conference in London. They said, "If you are making that demand, we have nothing to say to you. We are not going to enter into any discussions whatsoever."
The demands of the Opposition party in Malta were not far removed from those of Mr. Mintoff. The only difference was that the Opposition party asked definitely that Malta should be made a Dominion within the Commonwealth. The difference between independence in the Commonwealth and the terms which the Opposition party used is very small indeed. It was a profound mistake when Maltese representatives came to London and asked for independence in three years' time, after the scheme of integration with this country had apparently been shelved, that the representatives of Her Majesty's Government should have refused to have any discussions with them regarding constitutional changes.
§ Sir P. Agnew
Is the hon. Member speaking from knowledge of the processes of the conference? Is he sure that the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as head of that conference, refused to allow Mr. Mintoff and his party any longer to attend the conference, or was it that Mr. Mintoff, because he was standing for independence, did not think it worth while to take part any longer in the proceedings of the conference?
§ Mr. Brockway
I have read all the minutes of the conference and the exchange of letters between Mr. Mintoff and the Secretary of State for the Colonies. One has only to read the minutes of the first meeting of the conference. When Mr. Mintoff made the demand for independence, the Secretary of State said, "If you are making that demand, then there is no basis for discussion whatever." That 130 first meeting was ended, not by Mr. Mintoff walking out of the conference, but by the Secretary of State walking out. I have read all the minutes in detail and am certainly speaking with knowledge and not with any illusions about the matter.
I go farther. I have said that the Government should be condemned because they declined to continue the discussions. I have read the speech which the Secretary of State made at the conference in which he argued that independence was impossible. We are living at a time, the Secretary of State is presiding over the Colonial Office at a time, when in every part of the world Colonial countries are moving toward independence—African countries, Caribbean countries, and many others.
I will not develop the point now, but there are only two groups of countries which are having difficulties in attaining their independence. One group consists of Colonies of strategic military importance, and the other of Colonies where there are European settler communities with certain privileges, economic, social and political.
It is argued that the Bill is necessary because in April last year the Prime Minister of Malta resigned and the Leader of the Opposition in Malta declined to take the Premiership, and that therefore the Government of Malta could not function. It has been suggested that because the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition in Malta refused to form a Government, the alternative was to postpone the Constitution.
That argument entirely overlooks the reason why both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition declined to become responsible for the limited powers which the Government of Malta has. There was a whole series of reasons. There were the difficulties about the dockyard. There was the reduction in the Government contribution by £1 million a year. There was the conflict about the pace at which social services in Malta should be lifted and made equal to those in this country. There was also the conflict between the Prime Minister and Governor of Malta about the control of the police force in the island. The Premier said, "If I as Prime Minister am not to have power over the police 131 force, I am not prepared to remain Prime Minister."
It was in all those circumstances that the Prime Minister resigned, and it was in similar circumstances that the opposition party declined to take responsibility for government. In these conditions, the argument is not that we should suspend Parliamentary Government in Malta altogether. The logic of that situation is that we should give the people of Malta more democratic rights and more Parliamentary power so that their leaders will not feel it necessary to resign.
In his speech to the Conference in London, a speech largely repeated in the debate here, the Secretary of State urged that it was impossible for Malta to become independent, for economic reasons. He listed the great economic aids which Britain had extended to Malta. I have been present in the House during many discussions on economic aid for Colonial and Commonwealth countries. Those discussions have been remarkable for the unanimity of the view that economic aid should be continued to countries after they cease to be Colonies, when they become independent and remain within the Commonwealth. That has been strongly urged from both sides of the House.
If Britain has given economic aid to Malta in the past, there is no reason why that economic aid should not be maintained for Malta when Malta becomes independent within the Commonwealth, as I am sure she would be prepared to do. I go further than that. I have some questions to put to the Under-Secretary of State about the economic aid which this country has given to Malta. I hope that he will be in a position to reply to them.
One of the major reasons for the breakdown in relations between our Government and the Malta Labour Party and for the resignation of Mr. Dom Mintoff from the Premiership was the reduction by £1 million a year of the financial aid which had been given. Since that time, the Government have had the responsibility of maintaining the social services and educational services in Malta. The estimate by Mr. Mintoff of his expenditure was based upon receiving that £1 million. During this one year, when the Government have been directly responsible for 132 the administration of Malta, have the social services been cut, has educational expenditure been cut, have the costs of the Government been cut? If they have not been cut, then the £1 million a year which was to be the reduction must have been continued, because Malta has been maintaining the expenditure upon which Mr. Mintoff based his estimates for this year, which included the £1 million which was withdrawn.
Whatever has happened about the £1 million, I am perfectly sure that the step which is being taken tonight to suspend the Constitution will mean that the Government will have to spend much more than the £1 million a year which they have saved. In these coming months, resistance by the Maltese people, even if it is non-violent resistance, will lead to a situation in the Island which will involve much more than that £1 million.
Britain's aid to Malta should not be based merely on the fact that she is a member of the Commonwealth and will, no doubt, remain a member of the Commonwealth. We have an obligation to Malta which is not less than the obligation we owe to any part of the world. If one looks at the history of the last two generations, the part which these little white islands in the Mediterranean have played for Britain and with Britain cannot be compared with what has been done by any other territory or people.
It is not merely a matter of the service which the people of Malta have given in wartime. Between the wars, Britain has utilised the islands for her own naval, military and defence purposes. We have keyed the whole of the islands to our defence, naval and military programmes. When we reach the stage of saying that the islands are no longer so necessary for those purposes, that the naval dockyards are not necessary for us and they can pass to civilian hands, that the island of Malta is not so essential even from the point of view of military transport, even though the N.A.T.O. Mediterranean headquarters remains there, there still rests upon Great Britain an absolute moral obligation, having used the island for generations for our military purposes, to provide the financial aid by which Malta may be transformed and converted to the new civilian purposes upon which its livelihood must depend. To take the view that these people have no right to 133 their independence because if they are independent they will not be able to exist economically is to overlook that moral obligation which this country has to the people of Malta because of the services which the people of Malta have rendered in the past.
I want to renew, perhaps a little more calmly tonight, a bigger proposal which I made during my brief speech on Second Reading. Malta has not only served this country. Malta has served the whole Commonwealth. Malta has served the whole of the West. Malta has served all those who believed in liberty and democracy. When we come to the point that the economy of Malta must be changed from a military basis to a civilian basis, I suggest that it is not only due to Britain but due to the Commonwealth, due to the West and due to the United States of America, to whom Malta rendered such great service, that we should give her an opportunity to live a new life on a civilian basis. I quite seriously put to the Under-Secretary that approaches should be made to other countries in the Commonwealth, to the West and to the Government of the United States that an international fund should be established which would enable Malta to be built on the necessary new lines of civilian economy.
An hon. Member opposite, in the only part of his speech with which I agreed, emphasised the great economic opportunities which Malta still has in its position in the Mediterranean, where fleets move East and West past that island at the rate of 40 boats a day, and the possibility of that island, near the developing countries of North Africa on the route to the Middle East, becoming a workshop for those territories. Those possibilities are there. I can see that dockyard not merely used for civilian purposes. I can see, under the kind of international fund that I have described, a great trading estates established in the island, similar to the trading estates that we have established in the depressed areas of this country. I believe that if that were done, the people of Malta might have an opportunity to become self-reliant, self-sustained people with an economy of their own.
I ask the Under-Secretary what he proposes at the end of this period under this Measure. When the Constitution is suspended and when the Council is formed 134 and all representative Maltese decline to take any part in it, what is to be the future of Malta? What is to be the proposal by which the Maltese people are to enjoy freedom.
At this moment a new hope is being awakened for three islands in the Mediterranean who are now claiming their right to freedom. One is Cyprus—and we all pray that the negotiations now proceeding may bring peace and freedom to Cyprus—the second is Malta the Constitution of which is now being destroyed, and the third is the little island of Monaco, where Prince Rainier—[An HON. MEMBER: "It is not an island."]—all right, it is a peninsula. It has a little strip of land joining it—is having to withstand the claim of its people to control that island.
§ Mr. Brockway
We do not want Malta to become another Cyprus. If it does not, that will be the consequence not of the policy of the Government but of the fact that the people of Malta are adopting methods of non-violent resistance.
I beg the Government to think of some new approach to the problem of Malta, even at this late hour, and not to proceed with the Bill. Let them agree to withdraw the Bill and in its place have discussion which will enable democratic co-operation to take place.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Sir Kenneth Pickthorn (Carlton)
I hesitated very much to speak, partly because I was not sure that I could think of anything that was in order. Having listened to the debate I hope that it is not unnecessarily controversial if I say that I still do not feel at all sure of what would be in order, and that I feel reasonably confident that I shall not fall into the condemnation of repetition. One other apology I would make and that is that I have neither eaten nor drunk for over six hours, so I hope that hon. Members will forgive me if I do not speak as politely as I should.
We have been told today, and we have just had a very long speech, all of it on the assumption, which has been more or less implicit in most of the speeches made today and on the Second Reading, that we all know not only which is progress in these matters but that we all attach the same meaning to words like "status" 135 and "colonialism". I am bound to say I feel it almost impossible to attach any meaning to those words. So far as I can attach meaning to them I am convinced that the more one assumes the importance of those concepts the more one makes absolutely inevitable that the concepts will be maleficent. No person can move through society preoccupied with his status, and having all his friends pitying him and sympathising with him about his preoccupation with status, without going wholly bad.
It seems very difficult to see how one society moving in other societies can do that either. We have been told today by several people that they are still as much as ever in favour of integration and for the same reasons. All that I thought I had better not talk about, but I think it must be in order now for me to say something about it.
Incidentally, I do not know what authority the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) had for telling us the inner mind of Sir Robert Laycock on this matter. I sometimes permitted myself to think I could guess what Sir Robert Laycock was thinking about it and I do not think it was always the same throughout the whole period, but I certainly should not have dared to take it upon myself to announce what Sir Robert Laycock's view was.
The main argument used for integration at the time when, according to the people who still believe in it now, the thing went wrong because of the fault of Her Majesty's Government was that here is a people who want to come nearer to us, who have more affection for us than can be arranged for by anything less than integration. It is very difficult after the argument put just now about the whole thing breaking off for want of £1 million —which I do not altogether accept—to come back to the argument about the overflowing affection upon which integration had to be based.
Another reason why the integration assumption seems to me to be more than questionable is this. We were told today, as we always are told, "Whether you like it or not, the whole tendency now is towards—" something or other, whatever the orator wants to put across. Recently it has continually been nationalism and independence. Those words are largely 136 used as if they were the same word. The nationalism of Malta—and there is a nationalism in Malta, a nationalism which I think is deeply respectable—perhaps the largest single factor in that nationalism is a particular kind of relationship to religion and to a particularly systematic and authoritarian religion.
One great objection, taken for granted integration as the solution, I always thought, and still think, was that it is really not possible with candour to promise to people who are going to be integrated in a constitutional Parliamentary omnicompetence where 51 per cent. of this House can do anything it likes, that at the moment it is possible to guarantee to the smaller partner coming into the integration that religious establishments shall remain as they were. If we did not guarantee that, the thing certainly would not turn into integration. If we in any way purported to or were in any way to be accused of having deceived any person we would have the worst possible results.
I listened for a long time to the hon. Member for Slough and—oddly enough —Eton (Mr. Brockway). I am sorry that he could not bear me half as long as I bore him because I wanted to explain one or two other things to him. Incidentally, I might explain to my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson) that I think he really is mistaken in his explanation of seventeenth century politics in this country. We ought not to go into that at great length.
The major reason, we were told just now, for the breakdown of the integration attempt was the £1 million. I do not think that that was the major reason. If that hurdle had been got over, I do not think that the thing would have come off, for the reason that I have indicated. The main reason was not the £1 million. The major reason was the claim by Mr. Mintoff that he should fix the sum. It was not that he fixed £1 million too high or £2 million too high, but the claim, "I am going to be integrated with you whether you like it or not, and what is more I shall dictate the marriage settlement." It was there that the difficulty arose.
Incidentally, about the alternatives, the hon. Member for Eton and Slough, unless my recollection has gone completely wrong, is mistaken about 137 the Dominion status. I have not looked anything up and I do not wager my mortal soul on this—I will apologise if I am wrong—but for what it is worth my recollection is that both in the questionings and takings of evidence, and so on, in Malta and in Lancaster House here—and the right hon. Member for Llanelly will correct me if I am wrong —it was Mr. Borg Olivier who said that what he wanted was Dominion status and that he was told by everybody at the Round Table Conference and by Mr. Mintoff that that was not on, that the nature of Dominion status was such that it could not be applicable to Malta. I do not absolutely swear to this, but I think I am right that it was agreed by everybody round the Round Table, except Mr. Borg Olivier and his own particular political friends—the rest all agreed—that the Dominion thing simply was not on, and almost all of the arguments of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough depended upon his getting that wrong.
I remember very well examining Mr. Borg Olivier when he was giving evidence in chief and his saying that every people has the right to self-determination. I said, "Every people, however small?" He said, "Yes", and I said, "Malta, for instance?" He said, "Yes, of course". I said, "Gozo?" He said, "Gozo is quite different". It certainly is quite different. Just now, when we were told about Monaco, that brought that little incident back to my mind.
We have been told that on this day of mourning Mintoff had 100 per cent. of the population with him, or at least 70 or 80 per cent. I understand that he had literally no success in Gozo at all, that the people of Gozo did not stay away from work, did not come out, did not put crepe round their windows—did not do any of these things. It is difficult to talk about equality in this matter without seeming either patronising or offensive, heckling or bullying, or the whole lot at once. Of course, all human beings are, in the light of eternity, equal; I have no doubt of it. Of course, any community which is conscious of nationhood is a nation equal with any other community conscious of nationhood, but we must face it that it is a different sort of consciousness when it is a community with a labour force of 80,000, which is 138 what we are talking about, and no resources at all except its strategic utility to someone else.
I am highly desirous that the Maltese should feel themselves as free and equal, as grandly human, as any people in the world, but I find it no great kindness to try to pretend that there is something we can do, by encouraging tourism or something of that sort, that will create a new sort of prosperity.
Two things have not bean mentioned. One is the Church—I am the only one to have mentioned the Church—and the other is emigration. We have not had a word on emigration from anyone during any part of this discussion, but surely that is a matter of very much greater interest to Maltese than anything else can possibly be. It has been the British connection that has made possible emigration in directions and upon a scale that would otherwise not have been thinkable.
I am quite clear that the appeal, if appeal it is, that has been put to us today not to pass the Bill is mistaken. I am quite clear that some kind of determination to govern, without necessarily those constitutional forms of agreement that would normally be required—something of that sort—has now become absolutely inevitable. I was rather shocked by hon. Members opposite, who very often talk a good deal about people being victimised, not seeming to be aware of the risk of victimisation of a little society like Malta—80,000 in one single union, with almost a single-party State—and the absolute necessity fox some kind of method of keeping the actual police work out of the hands of the day-to-day politicians. That was the thing, as some hon. Members opposite said, that really brought the end of the Mintoff Government.
I agree with everyone who has spoken today in very much regretting the necessity for this Bill. I do not believe that any of those who have suggested alternatives to it have so suggested those alternatives as to make it reasonable to think that the Bill ought not to be passed. Nobody would wish to be in exactly the place we are in now, but that is the place we are in, and I believe that that next step is absolutely indispensable.
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)
I had not intended to intervene in this debate, but things have been said here which, since they have been said, are better dealt with than left unmentioned. The hon. Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn) does not like the situation in which he and the Government find themselves. He therefore asks us to pass this Bill. Surely, it is just not good enough to say, "We are in a mess, and must get out of it", without considering how we have got into the mess. Because in that way we may well find out how best to get out of it.
The really sad thing about what we are being asked to do tonight is that if the Bill is passed we shall be marking an occasion rather than making one; marking an occasion of a very great failure. It is not enough to say, as many people do, to whom this remark about the failure of our Government is made, "Oh, but Dom Mintoff has been impossible." It may very well be. Each party to a matrimonial dispute always considers the other impossible, and from one point of view, of course, that is right: each of them is impossible in his or her own way. However, it does seem to me that here in a house of legislature we have to consider who is responsible, not only in the absolute sense, but responsible to us, and I have no doubt whatever that if that test is applied we have to consider the responsibility of this Government for this Bill.
It does seem to me that at the conference at Lancaster House the opportunity was taken by the Secretary of State to grind the Maltese people under the very thumb which he was asking them to accept as one giving them something. The Under-Secretary of State shakes his head. I am saying how it appears. This looks as though it was a pretext, this walkout by him—because it does look like a walkout. It looks as though the pretext has been taken of Mr. Mintoff's saying he wanted to consider complete independence, when there was not going to be integration. It seems to me that the Secretary of State, having previously come to the conclusion that Dom Mintoff was impossible, was taking that as a pretext for virtually putting an end to the negotiations.
That seems a great tragedy. It would, of course, be a tragedy—at least, some of us think it would be—for the Maltese 140 people if they were to become independent. But that is their affair. I do not believe that we ought, for strategical or any other reason, to hang on to people's territory if they do not want us to and if we cannot come to a sensible, business arrangement as to the terms on which we might hang on to that territory.
I remember an occasion when in this House there were loud cheers from the party opposite when it was said that the pilots on the Suez Canal were going to withdraw their services. There were hon. Members opposite who by their cheers quite clearly showed that they really believed that that canal could not be managed without British pilots. Is there not rather a danger that we may fall into the same sort of error as that, about the independence of Malta?
We may think that it would be a tragedy for the people of Malta to be independent. Nevertheless, if it is the wish of the people of Malta to be independent, though we may regret it, we should certainly do nothing to stand in its way. Let us seek to persuade them for all we are worth that a better course lies in another direction and that there should be an association with ourselves; but at any rate we have no right to seize the aspiration for independence as a pretext for putting an end to negotiations which otherwise would surely have led in the ordinary, commonsense of affairs, to a sensible settlement.
The greatest tragedy of all, as it seems to me, is that this is marking the end of what did seem like a really promising attempt to bring about the exact opposite of what so many peoples throughout the world are accusing us of being guilty of, namely, some malicious form of colonialism. Here we had a chance to show that we are not the vile colonialists so many accuse us of being, an opportunity to show that we really have generous sentiments, for the idea of integration was born of generosity. I believe it would have been of immense value to us in our dealings with other peoples in the world, if it had been shown that we really were prepared to come down to brass tacks and arrange the formal integration with us of a previously dependent people. That has gone.
§ Sir G. Nicholson
The hon. and learned Member is miles off the mark. We are discussing the Third Reading of the Bill 141 and he has not addressed himself yet to what the alternative to it is. He is asking the House to reject the Bill, and surely in those circumstances his task is to show what the alternative is. He has no right to say that the Government were not sincere in their offer of integration.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I am grateful to the hon. Member for his lecture. It is not unusual to be lectured by him in the House. It is an experience which many hon. Members have had, and, therefore, I can doubtless bear it tonight. Whose responsibility is it to show an alternative to the Bill if it is not the Government's? It is the Government's responsibility. One of the main reasons why we on this side of the House, and in particular my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), are justified up to the hilt in asking the House not to accept the Bill is that the Government have not held out any hope of what they propose to do next. I hope that we shall hear something of that from the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies tonight. We ought to be told how long the Government think that the state of affairs which they propose to bring about in Malta is to last, and to what it is to lead. What is their idea about the future of the island? Is their policy one of action or of wait and see? In the absence of information on that point, we are completely justified in saying that we shall have not lot or part in what the Government are doing.
§ Sir G. Nicholson
Is not the House entitled to hear the hon. and learned Member's mature wisdom? Both of us have been Members for a long time, and I know that his wisdom is mature, if nothing else. Are we not entitled to hear what is the alternative to the Bill?
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I do not want to deprive hon. Members opposite of the opportunity of speaking, but I would remind the hon. Member that I have given one very good reason just now. No plan for the future is held out. We are not told what the Government hope to achieve by having this form of government by Governor at present, whereas we on this side of the House have said that we would at once bring Parliament on to the scene again and try to get down to a proper talk round the table. We believe that the logic of the facts is such 142 that it would lead us even at this time, after the long mishandling of the affair by the present Government, to a sensible accommodation between the two peoples.
§ 9.23 p.m.
§ Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)
Like the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), the hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) is considerably more old-fashioned than Vice-President Nixon, because again we have been treated to one of those sneers at British colonialism. It is no good praising the Commonwealth and impugning British colonialism, because one is the product of the other. British colonialism has some faults, because it is a human institution; but it is the preparation for the Commonwealth. New nations of the Commonwealth have come about only because of British colonialism. If we had not had the Imperium we should not have had the Libertas.
I have not spoken on Malta before, but I have tried to acquaint myself with her affairs. Like many hon. Members on both sides of the House, I have learned to love the island and admire its people. As one of the observers from this House I watched the holding of the referendum when the Maltese approved integration with the United Kingdom, and I have visited the island since. Malta is a pillar of Christendom. It has been the scene of great deeds. Long before the Second World War, the knights came back from Rhodes and Cyprus to Malta. It is a bastion of the Commonwealth. Though the island's people are very poor, and their livelihood is precarious, it must be said that the standard of living in Malta today is higher than that of any other Mediterranean community; and that is due to one fact only—the British connection.
I supported Her Majesty's Government's policy of integration, which was the verdict of the Round Table Conference. Whereas some of my hon. Friends had their misgivings, I should have been prepared to welcome here the first Members of Parliament from an overseas territory since the loss of Calais. It was a pity that integration was not pushed through with greater momentum. It is a pity that the appearance was given, although it may not have been the fact, that 143 integration was delayed by financial haggling. It might be said of Malta and of the dealings between this country and another Mediterranean Colony that it is better, when you have a good plan, to stick to it and push it through quickly and with all the energy that you can command.
That is in the past. Since then, we have had the independence Resolution in the Maltese Parliament. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Mintoff, not for the first time, after that resolution had been passed. He told me much of the resentment which the Maltese people felt, and I ventured to tell him that we in this country also had our feelings and that we had been hoping for a union with Malta and now the Maltese Parliament had voted for independence. Recently, there has been a gloss upon independence. We were told it did not mean independence outside the Commonwealth. I am glad, although that was not the impression given at the time.
We are concerned tonight to pass the Bill. Like every right hon. and hon. Member on this side, I shall vote for it with a heavy heart, but the Queen's Government has to be carried on. I hope that two things will be done by Her Majesty's Government; first, that they will press on with all their energy with the measures proposed to advance the economy of the island; and, secondly, that at the earliest possible moment discussions will take place with the leaders of the Maltese people so that constitutional progress may soon be resumed, not only within the framework of the Commonwealth, but eventually, I hope, within the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Malta.
§ 9.28 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Julian Amery)
The debate today, like the debate on Second Reading, has shown that, whatever else the Round Table Conference achieved or failed to achieve, it has spread into the House a very high degree of understanding of the problems of Malta. I do not think that since the Simon Commission went to India, and instructed the House on the Indian problem, there has been such a comparable concentration of informed interest on one of our overseas 144 dependencies as there has been on Malta. This is something which we all welcome and which invests our debate this evening with rather more importance than it might otherwise have had.
In the debate on Second Reading we formed a court of inquest on the failure of the integration proposal. I do not want to repeat all the arguments that I put forward then. We do not believe that integration foundered on finance, on the question of the £1 million. Why it foundered is a matter which historians can investigate in years to come. Nothing will induce me to impute wrong motives to those with whom we negotiated in Malta. I pray that the time will come when it will be possible for us to negotiate in the same happy spirit with Maltese representatives as that which prevailed at the time of the Round Table Conference and thereafter.
I reject equally the allegation by the hon. Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) that we were lacking in sincerity. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies committed himself and the Government wholeheartedly to integration. Not all hon. Members of the House on either side were entirely in support of the plan, but the Government were committed, and any suggestion that we were lacking in sincerity only reflects on those who make it.
The failure of the integration proposal brought us back, to use a colloquialism, to square one. The Round Table Conference had said that independence, and, therefore, Dominion status, was not practical politics and that integration was the alternative course the conference thought practicable. When this was ruled out, clearly no long-term solution was open to us. What was necessary was to find an interim solution, and in the course of this interim either to return to the solution that had been accepted by the Round Table Conference or to evolve a new one.
Again, I leave it to the historians. I will not rehearse tonight all the reasons why the interim proposal failed. However, I say to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) that it was not because we walked out of the conference—we did nothing of the kind—or because we refused what Mr. Mintoff had proposed. 145 We made it plain that we did not exclude any long-term solution of the Maltese problem. All we said, and the general tenor of the speeches from either side of the House in the Second Reading debate confirm that, was that we could not base our interim proposals on the assumption that Malta would become independent in 1962. It was on this rock, as well as on the minor matters—important though they be—such as the safeguards for the police, that the interim talks foundered.
Then it has been said to us, "Should we not recall the Maltese Assembly?" The difficulty is that neither of the major parties in the Maltese Assembly has been prepared, under the 1947 Constitution, and with the new safeguards which we think necessary for the police, to accept the responsibility of forming a Government. This is not altogether surprising, because even at the time of the Round Table Conference we saw that the diarchy system had broken down, and last autumn's conference bore that out. The events of last year have shown that the 1947 Constitution is no longer workable, not because right hon. and hon. Members of this House think it unworkable, but because the two major parties in Malta are no longer prepared to work it.
That being the case, and having failed to produce an interim constitution—as I submit, not by any fault of ours—we are in a situation where the Government of Malta can only be carried on either under emergency regulations or by a Bill such as the one we bring before the House. Since life in Malta must go on, since there are urgent economic matters to tackle, we bring forward this Bill not because we want to do so, not because we like the idea of a return to direct rule, but because we have reached a stage in our political relations with Malta where there is for the moment no constitutional interim solution and no long-term solution
The logic of this seems to me to be plain. It seems to me to be inherent not only in the position of Her Majesty's Government, but in the position adopted by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. That is why I am bound to say that I deplored, during the Second Reading debate, their decision to divide the House, and I deplore it tonight. I am sure that it is not their intention, but I think—indeed 146 I am sure—that it is liable to be misinterpreted in Malta. It is liable to make the task of conciliation and of producing a long-term solution more difficult.
Having said that, I salute the right hon. Gentleman on his warning to the Maltese—
§ Mr. Amery
Yes, appeal against any resort to violence.
The hon. Member for Eton and Slough asked me about the aid to Malta. He asked me whether we had, in fact, reduced by £1 million the grant to Malta, as we had told Mr. Mintoff that we intended to do. The figures are as follows. In 1957–58, the grant was £6,077,000; this year, it is £5 million, a reduction of a little more than £1 million. We have made this saving without cutting services or employment. It has been effected by deferring new services, by rather more efficient administration in certain respects and by under-spending on the part of the Malta Public Works Department. I hope that that answers the question.
§ Mr. Brockway
The Public Works Department is the Department which carries out development, is it not? If the cut has been there, obviously it has been at the expense of the Maltese people.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Surely this will have increased unemployment, since a proportion of Maltese people were employed in the services which, I presume, have been cut back.
§ Mr. Amery
The services have not been cut back. There has been under-spending, which often occurs in departments. Certain new services which Mr. Mintoffs Government had envisaged carrying out were not, in fact, carried out.
The hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) spoke with great warmth of the friendly feeling which he had found in Malta and of the personal friendships which he recognised when he was there exist between many in the political life of Malta and in this House. I strongly support what he said on that score. I hope that nothing will be said to weaken the mutual respect in which the different political leaders in Malta and in this House 147 have so far held one another. That is why I deplore equally any criticisms of the leader of a small party in Malta who has played a great part in both war and peace in the life of the island.
The hon. Member seemed a little surprised—I hope I am not misinterpreting him—to have discovered the maturity of the Maltese leaders. He told us that they had a great love of freedom and that they were very adult in their approach to politics. That is only to be expected, of course; they were civilised when we were still running about in woad. It would be absurd for us to approach the Maltese problem in the belief that they were not fitted intellectually or morally for a good constitution. We firmly believe that they are. It is simply that certain economic problems have arisen which at the moment block the road forward.
§ Mr. Amery
It is very important that the hon. Member should realise, as I am sure the right hon. Member for Llanelly realises, that no one on this side of the House or in Her Majesty's Government thinks that the Maltese are not fitted to have a constitution. That is not the argument at all. The issue is not whether they should have good government from us or bad government from themselves, as the hon. Member tried to suggest. The fact is that we are trying to match certain economic realities with certain political aspirations. If the hon. Member will re-read the very impressive speech made by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) during the Second Reading debate he will see that the right hon. Gentleman argued just as strongly as we have argued the economic difficulties which stand in the way of a policy of independence and which have led to the present, temporary, I hope, impasse.
The right hon. Member for Llanelly asked me when the Bill would come into force. The answer is early in April and, therefore, before Admiral Grantham takes over as Governor. The new constitution will include safeguards—and this matter 148 was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall)—for a commission for the police and for a public service commission for the Civil Service. It will be as close as we can devise it in the circumstances to the interim constitution which was offered, but rejected, at the last interim talks—and of which copies are in the Library. I note my hon. Friend's point about the University and the Senate. I am not in a position to reply to him tonight, but I will certainly bear in mind what he said.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me what officials would be members of the Advisory Council. No final decision has yet been taken, but it is normal in councils with official representation for the Chief Secretary, as the official responsible for the co-ordination of the machinery of government, to be a member, the Finance Secretary, as principal financial and economic adviser, and the Attorney-General to have seats.
There are no reasons that I can see why that long-established precedent should not be followed, but that is not necessarily the whole representation. At any rate, there would be those three members and I should have thought that there might be others including Maltese serving in the Administration. What about other members of the Advisory Council? The right hon. Gentleman spoke very strongly against including members of the Constitutional Party. I think that he allowed himself to refer to the leader of that party as a "British stooge".
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
May I put the question again? In the circumstances of Malta, is it proposed to ask the other parties, beyond the two who have said that they will not join the Council, to join? I said that if that were done—and I understand that there is more than one party involved—such a party would be regarded as "stooges" of the British. I did not refer to anyone as a "stooge".
§ Mr. Amery
I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has cleared up the point, because it is a very great mistake to attribute the term "stooge", as has sometimes been done by hon. Members opposite, to the Constitutional Party. That party has a long tradition and I can remember, as a child, hearing of the difficulty which Lord Strickland, when he was Prime Minister, used to give my father 149 when he was occupying the office which the right hon. Gentleman has also held in his time.
I do not want to make a definite statement tonight about who is to be invited to serve on the Council. This is a matter on which we shall want the Governor's advice. My expectation is that it will probably be non-political in the broad sense of the term. We shall endeavour to see that it represents the main interests of Malta—labour, commerce and the professions and the island of Gozo. It is quite likely that, including Maltese officials, it will have a Maltese majority, and I should have thought that its advice would be of greater significance than is sometimes the case in so-called advisory councils.
The right hon. Gentleman asked how long the situation was to continue and my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson) said that he hoped that there would not be any drift and that we would not allow this new phase into which we are moving to continue for too long. It is the clear wish of Her Majesty's Government that this period of direct rule should be as short as possible.
There are certain urgent decisions to get through about the economic life of the island and about things like setting up the public service commissions of which I have spoken, but our hope is that the period of direct rule will be very short. Naturally, we also hope that it will give time for new thoughts to form among the political forces in Malta and perhaps for new elements to make their voices heard. We trust that it will be a short period.
The right hon. Gentleman asked what would happen then. There are two tasks before us when we come to end the period of direct rule. In all probability, we shall, first, have to devise an interim constitution. I doubt whether a final solution can be developed until some measure of constitutional freedom is restored to Malta. I may be wrong; it may be that we can jump to a final solution right away, but my expectation is that we should, first, have to devise an interim plan which would recreate the essentials of political life in Malta from which a long-term solution could emerge.
How shall we arrive at this stage? It may be that it can be done by talks with 150 the political parties, such as we tried to have in London this autumn. That is certainly the easiest way to proceed, but it did not succeed on this occasion so it may not be the most satisfactory way. There is a long tradition in Malta of calling together a National Assembly. Past constitutions in Malta have tended to evolve from a National Assembly. This is a much more elaborate affair, but it may well be that it is a way by which one could arrive at a solution.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke about reconvening the Round Table Conference. We certainly do not exclude this, but the right hon. Gentleman will have in mind that the reason the Round Table Conference was called into being, and the reason that my right hon. Friend advocated sharing responsibility between the Government and the two Opposition parties in that particular inquiry into Maltese affairs, was that it was contemplated at that time that there would be —there was, at any rate, the possibility of it, and that is what we were looking into—the integration development which would have led to Maltese coming to this House.
It was because of the interest of this House as a House of Commons in the Maltese evolution that my right hon. Friend first set up the Round Table Conference. Whether it would be an appropriate vehicle for solving the deadlock between the Maltese parties is another question; but, as I say, it is not one which we exclude. In all these matters we shall have to be very largely advised by the Governor, the present Governor, that is, and his successor.
I should like to join the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly in giving our salute to Sir Robert Laycock for the magnificent job that he has done. A gallant soldier in war, he has shown himself a considerable statesman in Malta. Those of us who were on the Round Table Conference, and who had the privilege of being briefed by him, will remember both the objectivity of his judgment and the strength of his advice. Whatever else may be said in this debate or in the House of Commons, it is certainly not his fault if the integration plan did not go through. I would say, further, that if it had not been for his decisive intervention in April last year there might well have been bloodshed in 151 Malta. In saluting him, we salute his staff, also, who have been through a rather difficult time during these last years.
Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who were on the Round Table Conference will remember, also, the new Governor, Sir Guy Grantham. He was then the N.A.T.O. Commander in Malta. He knows the island and its people well, and I am bound to say that I came away from my first meeting with him with a feeling of great confidence in him. He is well known in the island. He is intimate with the problems of the dockyard. Of course, he has been chosen on his merits, but the fact that an admiral is going to Malta is, I think, a sign of the Royal Navy's continuing interest in the island.
The hon. Member for Eton and Slough spoke today, as did another hon. Member during the Second Reading debate, as if our defence interest in Malta was falling away. This is not so. It is merely that the change in the organisation of our defence forces makes a smaller call on the labour force in Malta than it did in the past. The strategic importance of the island in terms of naval power, and perhaps even more in terms of air power, has not declined. There is another sign of the Admiralty's continuing interest in the island, and that is the release by the Admiralty of Admiral Hubback, in this case to act as general manager of the new company which will run the dockyard in Malta.
I was asked a question the other day by the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy) and again today on this subject. I want to say a word or two on it. There is a big practical job to be done in Malta following the decision of the Royal Navy not to use the dockyard to the extent that it has used it in the past. Until 1960, the Royal Navy will take up 100 per cent. of the dockyard capacity, and in the years after that, as far ahead as we can foresee, at least 30 per cent. It will still be a very big element in the employment of the dockyard.
The hon. Member is, of course, aware that the complex of the dockyard and the base divides itself itself into two parts. There is the base employing a little under 6,000 people and the dockyard employing very much the same number. The 152 base will remain a naval base and continue to give steady employment to between 5,500 and 6,000 people.
The problem that we are considering at the moment is the dockyard—the separation of the yard from the base and along with that the development of secondary industries within the dockyard area, and we trust, the extension of the harbour facilities by the creation of a deep water harbour. The question has been asked: by what right have we given the lease of the yard to a commercial company? We would, of course, have preferred to have co-operated in this with an elected Maltese Government, had there been one at the time. We sought to do so with Mr. Mintoff, but we were not successful. The problem was not one which we could allow to drag. Had we allowed it to drag there would have been serious mass unemployment and hunger, and, in spite of the constitutional crisis, we simply could not allow this crisis to drag on.
The questions have been asked: why did we go to Bailey's, and, were others asked? The answer is that others were asked. The Admiralty approached the shipping conference in this country. They had discussions with the consortium of Vickers-Armstrong and Smith's Dockyards. They went out and looked at the problem. The proposal which they put up was not one which we thought satisfactory from the Government's point of view, and that proposal was not proceeded with. There was no other response except that from Bailey's.
The question has been raised: was there a possibility of a foreign interest taking a hand? Mr. Mintoff had talks, at the time of his Government, with certain Scandinavian shipping interests, but those talks were inconclusive. It is our judgment, and we were kept informed of these talks, that it is sheer imagination to think that foreign interests are eager to jump in. We envisage the participation of Maltese interests in the Bailey's operation. It was on my right hon. Friend's persuasion that the Admiralty agreed to release—and they did it rather reluctantly—Admiral Hubback to be managing director of the new company to be formed in Malta.
There is nothing mysterious or sinister about this and it is quite untrue to suggest that we prolonged the constitutional 153 crisis to get this through. We are going to put a substantial financial stake into the dockyard. Details of all this are still under negotiation. They will be announced probably in April, and the announcement then made will deal with the legal points raised by the hon. Gentleman and by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew) in an earlier debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Farnham said that he hoped that there would be no parsimony from our side. I can give an assurance on that. The sums offered to Malta for the next five-year period may create some feeling in other Colonies.
My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and the hon. Member for Thurrock had a short passage of arms about the results of the day of mourning. It might be of help to the House if I gave them the information that is in our possession on this subject. The day of mourning was on the initiative of the Malta Labour Party. The General Workers' Union was not actively associated with it, and the Nationalist Party was neutral. A directive was given by the Malta Labour Party that the population should stay away from work, that transport should cease, that people should stay indoors and that black crepe should be draped on the houses.
The result was what I can only call a qualified success. Not much black crepe was in evidence. It was a fine day, and the people showed a marked reluctance to stay indoors. There was, indeed, rather a holiday atmosphere. Transport was, on the whole, normal. Some of the shops had closed, but many were open and did fairly brisk business. The Services school closed, because it was pessimistic about the appearance of transport, but the dockyard nautical school seemed to be better informed and, being optimistic about transport, remained open.
The key to the matter was the attitude of the industrial employees and the civil servants. Civil Government staff to the extent of 92 per cent. attended, and Army employees up to 66 per cent. In the naval establishments 10 per cent. of industrial and 96 per cent. of non-industrial staff attended. With the Royal Air Force, the figures were 54 per cent. 154 of industrial staff and 92 per cent. of non-industrial.
The second round in the demonstration which Mr. Mintoff tried to lead the island into was the Carnival. He gave orders for the boycott of the three-day celebration. The first day was a wash-out, literally, because it was pouring with rain and the celebrations were cancelled. On the second day, there was a good attendance. The third day was Shrove Tuesday, and the attendances were unusually large.
The right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) has said that the message we were sending to Malta was that we were going back to direct rule. It is not because we want to do it. It is because we see no practical alternative. No right hon. Gentleman from the Front Opposition Bench has suggested one. I do not blame them for not having done so, but I ask them to accept our assurance that in the present situation we cannot see any other way than the one that we are adopting. What the long-term outcome will be it is very hard to say. The right hon. Gentleman said we should return to integration, but we cannot force integration. My own view is that all we can do is to repeat that integration remains a valid basis for discussion.
The hon. Member for Eton and Slough said that if integration fell away there was no choice but independence. The objections and difficulties which independence presents on the economic side are enormous and I will not, at this late hour, try to rehearse them. I would only repeat that the hon. Member for Eton and Slough should read again the speech made by his right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). He would then see the difficulties of a policy of independence. Indeed, the speeches from both sides of the House in the Second Reading debate constituted a tremendous appeal to Mr. Mintoff not to press on with his policy of independence. I can only trust that the people of Malta will heed that advice.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 273, Noes 220.157
|Division No. 43.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Gammans, Lady||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Gibson-Watt, D.||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Glover, D.||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Godber, J. B.||Marshall, Douglas|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Goodhart, Philip||Mathew, R.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Gough, C. F. H.||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Gower, H. R.||Mawby, R. L.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Balniel, Lord||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr.R. (Nantwich)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Barber, Anthony||Green, A.||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Barlow, Sir John||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Barter, John||Gurden, Harold||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Batsford, Brian||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Neave, Airey|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Hay, John||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Noble, Michael (Argyll)|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Bingham, R. M.||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Osborne, C.|
|Body, R. F.||Hobson, John(Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Page, R. G.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hope, Lord John||Partridge, E.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hornby, R. P.||Peel, W. J.|
|Braine, B. R.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Horobin, Sir Ian||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Howard, John (Test)||Pott, H. P.|
|Bryan, P.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hughes, Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Profumo, J. D.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hyton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Redmayne, M.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Iremonger, T. L.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Clarke, Brig, Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Joseph, Sir Keith||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Kaberry, D.||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Kershaw, J. A.||Russell, R. S.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Kimball, M.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Lagden, G. W.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Lambton, Viscount||Sharples, R. C.|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Shepherd, William|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Leavey, J. A.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Leburn, W. G.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon. N.)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Speir, R. M.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Longden, Gilbert||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Duncan, Sir James||Loveys, Walter H.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Storey, S.|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Erroll, F. J.||McAdden, S. J.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Finlay, Graeme||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Forrest, G.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Teeling, W.|
|Fort, R.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Temple, John M.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Freeth, Denzil||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Maddan, Martin||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Thompson, R, (Croydon, S.)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone,||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Wall, Patrick||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Turner, H. F. L,||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Vane, W. M. F.||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Webbe, Sir H.||Mr. Legh and|
|Vickers, Miss Joan||Webster, David||Mr. Edward Wakefield.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Hoy, J. H.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Albu, A. H.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hunter, A. E.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Probert, A. R.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Baird, J.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Randall, H. E.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Rankin, John|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Janner, B.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Benson, Sir George||Jeger, George (Goole)||Reeves, J.|
|Beswick, Frank||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Reid, William|
|Blackburn, F.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Rhodes, H.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Boardman, H.||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Kenyon, C.||Ross, William|
|Boyd, T. C.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Short, E. W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||King, Dr. H. M.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Lawson, G. M.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Ledger, R. J.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Lewis, Arthur||Snow, J. W.|
|Champion, A, J.||Lindgren, G. S.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Chapman. W. D.||Logan, D. G.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Sparks, J. A.|
|Cliffe, Michael||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Coldrick, W.||MacColl, J. E.||Steele, T.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||MacDermot, Niall||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||McInnes, J.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||McLeavy, Frank|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Mahon, Simon||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Swingler, S. T.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Deer, G.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Mason, Roy||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mayhew, C. P.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mellish, R. J.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Edelman, M.||Messer, Sir F.||Thornton, E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mikardo, Ian||Timmons, J.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mitchison, G. R.||Tomney, F.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Monslow, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Moody, A. S.||Wade, D. W.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mort, D. L.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||Weitzman, D.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moss, R.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Moyle, A.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)||Mulley, F. W.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Wigg, George|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R,||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Wilcock, Group Capt, C. A. B.|
|Grey, G. F.||O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oliver, G. H.||Willey, Frederick|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Oram, A. E.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Grimond, J.||Oswald, T.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Hale, Leslie||Owen, W. J.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Paget, R. T.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hannan, W.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hastings, S.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Hayman, F. H.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Woof, R. E.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Pargiter, G. A.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Parker, J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Parkin, B. T.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Holmes, Horace||Paton, John|
|Houghton, Douglas||Peart, T. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Pentland, N.||Mr. Poperwell and Mr. Pearson.|
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.