§ 24. Mr. Stonehouse
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what restrictions are now imposed by the Government of Northern Rhodesia on the United National Independence Party; and when they will be withdrawn.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
The Northern Rhodesia Government has imposed restrictions on the United National Independence Party only in the Western Province, where local branches have been declared unlawful. Some members of the party's National Executive have been restricted from entering that Province. The restrictions will be withdrawn when it is considered possible to do so without prejudicing public security.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these restrictions encourage extremists and extremism and handicap the moderate leaders of U.N.I.P.? Surely it would be to the advantage of peace and order in that area of Northern Rhodesia if the responsible members of the National Executive Committee of U.N.I.P. were allowed to go there?
§ Mr. Macleod
The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) will not, of course, expect me to agree with what he said. I am convinced that these measures—nobody was detained—have 712 proved to be an effective use of the fire-brigade powers. I am quite certain that if we had not had that legislation an emergency would have had to be declared. I think that this is eloquent proof of the value of this precaution.
§ Mr. Marquand
In view of the disastrous events in the Congo, would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is better in British territories in Central Africa at the present time to consult with the elected and chosen leaders of democratic parties wherever they may be found, whether in Northern Rhodesia or Southern Rhodesia, and not to lock them up in prison?
§ Mr. Macleod
I am not quite sure what the right hon. Gentleman means by the words "lock them up in prison". I made it quite clear that under these regulations nobody has been detained without trial, so that does not arise. I believe that the restrictions avoided an immensely dangerous situation following the death of Mrs. Burton, and that we averted a very great tragedy indeed by the action taken.