HC Deb 21 July 1960 vol 627 cc693-5
1. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement about the proposals for constitutional development in Malta.

6. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will now state the constitutional changes proposed for Malta.

8. Mr. Callaghan

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action he proposes to take on the report of the Minister of State's recent visit to Malta.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Iain Macleod)

I shall make a statement on this matter before the House rises for the. Summer Recess.

Mr. Wall

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, as the House has given a Second Reading to the Cyprus Bill, there is bound to be pressure for constitutional advance in Malta, and may we hope that the promised statement will give an indication of political advance for the Maltese people?

Mr. Macleod

It will cover the matters dealt with in Questions Nos. 1, 6 and 8.

Mr. Brockway

While welcoming the announcement that a statement is to be made before the end of the Session, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the passing of the Cyprus Bill on Tuesday, whether he will refrain from making any declaration that Malta is never to have self-determination, recognising that the people of that island are demanding independence?

30. Mr. Awbery

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now state his proposals for introducing representative government in Malta; if he will now formally declare that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to grant independence to Malta; when he expects that Malta will achieve independence; and what plans he has for assisting in the island's future economic development, following the report made by the Minister of State as a result of his recent visit.

Mr. Iain Macleod

As regards the first three parts of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to my replies to Questions Nos. 1, 6 and 8. As regards economic development, my right hon. and noble Friend was able to see something of the progress being made under the five-year Development Plan, to which Her Majesty's Government are contributing £29¼ million. The plan, which was introduced last autumn, is not due for review until next year.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that the failure to bring about a conference between himself and representatives of the Maltese people is due to the fact that he has not made a categorical promise of independence for Malta by an early date? Will he proceed to do this and then ask for a conference of the Maltese representatives with himself?

Mr. Macleod

I think we can discuss the answer to that better on my statement next week. No one who has examined the position in Malta over the last few months, and the intransigence which has been shown in at least one quarter there, really believes that it is the fault of Her Majesty's Government that we have not so far been able to arrange a settlement.

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