HC Deb 19 December 1961 vol 651 cc1109-10
18. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken to protect the interests of Malta in any Common Market discussions; and what steps are being taken to obtain the views of Maltese business men on this subject and to keep them informed of progress in the matter.

Mr. Maudling

My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in his statement to the representatives of the Six Member Governments on 10th October suggested that our dependent territories should be given the opportunity if they so wish to enter into association with the Community on the same terms as those which will in future be available to the present associated overseas countries and territories. In this or other ways it is hoped to protect the vital interests of the dependent territories. The Maltese Government has been consulted and is kept informed of developments. But in view of the confidential nature of the negotiations it is not possible either in Malta or elsewhere to keep business men informed of details of the negotiations.

Mr. Teeling

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have just come back from Malta and that when he refers to the Malta Government that does not include any Maltese? Does he realise that the vast majority of the people who are interested in Malta are not being told anything about it, especially those politicians and leaders of parties who will be fighting a General Election next February? Does he not think that the Colonial Secretary there, or whoever is responsible, should take the trouble to keep the Maltese informed and not just the Government of Malta?

Mr. Maudling

That is another argument for having a General Election in Malta as soon as possible and getting a Government established.

Mr. Healey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that under the terms of the Rome Treaty, if we succeed in entering the Common Market, we shall be obliged to allow Sicilians into this country free of control, whereas, under the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, the Government will be compelled to institute control over Maltese immigration? As Secretary of State for the Colonies, is he not ashamed of that situation?

Mr. Maudling

The hon. Gentleman is better aware of both the principles and the practice of the Treaty of Rome than would be implied from that supplementary question.