HC Deb 24 October 1961 vol 646 c722
20. Mr. Woodnutt

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give an assurance that contracts for the development of the dockyard in Malta will be placed before the Maltese elections are held.

Mr. Maudling

I cannot give the assurance for which my hon. Friend asks about the timing of the placing of contracts which is in the hands of the company concerned.

Mr. Woodnutt

Bearing in mind that the dockyard is the very backbone of Maltese economy, does not my right hon. Friend agree that if there were an election before these contracts were placed there would be no feeling of security among the Maltese people? Is it not desirable to make certain that the elections are not held until that development programme starts?

Mr. Maudling

I do not think the two things will clash, but, as I say, we cannot dictate to the company the timing of its activities. In placing the contracts, it is limited to a list of approved contractors and we must leave the matter in its hands.