§ 15. Mr. Awbery
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if the Blood Commission on the Malta Constitution has completed its work; and when he expects to make a statement on the position.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
No, Sir. I expect to receive the Report about the end of the year, and the Government will consider its recommendations urgently.
§ Mr. Awbery
Is the Minister aware that, because of the terms of reference, the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party of Malta have refused to give evidence and that his conclusions will therefore be based on the evidence of about 10 per cent. of the population of Malta? What does he propose to do to correct this?
§ Mr. Macleod
I doubt whether the hon. Member is quite right, because those parties refused to give evidence before they saw the terms of reference and they could scarcely have been decided by that. I very much hope that they will give evidence, and I can say the same as the Prime Minister said about the terms of reference of the Monckton Commission—they are free in practice to receive evidence from any quarter, and I hope that they will do so.
§ Mr. Woodnutt
Does my right hon. Friend agree that, as he has already stressed the importance of economic and political advancement going together, and as Malta is definitely not economically viable, it would be of considerable help to him, the House and the people of Malta if he extended the terms of reference of the Blood Commission or appointed another Commission to go thoroughly into the present economy of Malta and to report?
§ Mr. Macleod
Certainly the economic factor, particularly as it concerns the dockyard, is of the first importance, but I do not think that it would be wise to extend the terms of reference of the Blood Commission in the way suggested. I should like from them—and I am sure we shall get a good one—a blueprint for the next stage of constitutional advance in Malta.