HC Deb 08 February 1962 vol 653 cc591-2
6. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when the conference on the review of the Constitution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland will be resumed; and what will be the basis of representation of Governments and political parties.

Mr. Braine

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) on 16th November.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is it proposed to hold up the constitutional review until a general election in Northern Rhodesia is held on the basis of a new constitution? How long is that delay likely to be?

Mr. Braine

As the hon. Gentleman will recall, my right hon. Friend said in his statement that until elections have taken place the review might be held up, and that we must also consider what should be the interim steps. I do not think that I should say anything further now, having regard to the fact that my right hon. Friend is now in Salisbury reviewing the whole situation with the Federal Prime Minister.

Mr. Healey

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that 14 months have passed since this conference was adjourned? Is this not a terrible indictment of the Government for their dithering over the situation in Northern Rhodesia in this past year?

Mr. Braine

Nothing of the kind. This is a very delicate and difficult problem. It is essential that we get the right answer.

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