HC Deb 26 January 1960 vol 616 cc101-3
The Solicitor-General

I beg to move, in page 13, line 24, at the end to insert: 16. Subsection (8) of section forty-four (which extends the meaning of the expression "His Majesty's dominions" so as to include British protectorates) shall have effect, and be deemed always to have had effect, as if after the word "protectorate" there were inserted the words "or protected State". This is a clarifying Amendment to pave the way to consolidation.

It is not clear whether the expression "protectorate" in Section 44 (8) of the 1938 Act, which lays down that any reference to "His Majesty's dominions" should be construed as including a reference to any British protectorates can be legitimately construed as also embracing those States which are more properly described as "protected States".

The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) will know well that the line of demarcation between protected States and protectorates is very difficult to ascertain in law, but there is quite plainly a difference in status. It is to make sure that there is no doubt that the use of the word "protectorate" in the 1938 Act includes protected States as well that I move the Amendment.

Mrs. White

I do not think that we should have any objection to the Amendment, but I confess that I am a little puzzled. The Solicitor-General did not give us any sort of illustration of what he has in mind. It is true that we are not meant to be discussing constitutional law with this Bill, nevertheless I should like to know whether I am right in supposing, for example, that if, as many of us at least on this side of the House hope, Nyasaland reaches a point of self-government in the relatively near future, the kind of situation which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has in mind would apply, in view of the fact that a protected State would then be a self-governing State. Otherwise, I am not quite sure why we have to change "protectorate" to "protected State".

If we are making this alteration and it has any significance, we ought to have a little more information about what exactly is intended, because normally we use the words "British Protectorate". I find it hard at the moment to think of any territory within Her Majesty's Dominions which could be called a protected State. Perhaps we could have the point made a little clearer. We might be told whether we are meant to look forward or whether there are already some territories which might be called protected States and which would otherwise not be included in our legislation. We ought not to accept the Amendment without having made more clear to us what we are asked to do.

The Solicitor-General

Perhaps I ought to have given examples to make the point more clearly. I can give an example of a Protectorate. First of all, Bechuanaland is a Protectorate. On the other hand, parts of the former Federated Malayan States in 1938, which is the date of the Act we are amending, were protected States. Others, like Penang and Malacca, were clearly covered by the expression "His Majesty's dominions". But without having to look back to 1938 I can give examples of what are clearly protected States even today. Tonga is one and Brunei is another. One can broadly say that they were those States which were represented by Sovereigns at the Coronation.

Mrs. White

That would bring in Buganda. Is Buganda a protected State in that sense?

The Solicitor-General

I will stick to the ones which are quite certain, namely, Brunei and Tonga. The hon. Lady may have misunderstood me earlier. We are not saying that "protectorate" shall include "protected States." What we are saying is that "Her Majesty's dominions" shall include not only Protectorates but protected States for the purpose of the Clause and consolidation.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 13, line 48, at end insert:

The Cinematograph Films Act, 1957

20. In subsection (2) of section eight the words "to which the said Act of 1938 applies" shall be omitted, and for the words "that Act" there shall be substituted the words "the said Act of 1938"—[The Solicitor-General.]