HC Deb 08 February 1962 vol 653 c593
9. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what request he has received from the Government of Cyprus for a modification of the Constitution.

Mr. Braine

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 7th February.

Mr. Wall

Does my hon. Friend agree that the rights of the Turkish minority to its share in the Civil Service and to its own municipal councils is laid down in the Constitution, which cannot be altered except with the consent of the guaranteeing powers? Is it not far better to tackle this question on the basis of good will rather than of making threats to have the Constitution changed?

Mr. Braine

I agree with the latter sentiment. Article 182 of the Constitution provides that certain basic articles cannot in any way be amended and that amendments to other articles require two-thirds majorities of each of the two communities—Greek and Turkish. The Constitution, of course, forms an essential part of the Cyprus settlement.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, in practice, a number of the provisions of the Constitution have proved themselves unworkable? Will he assure the House that the British Government, as one of the guaranteeing Powers, look sympathetically at changes which have become necessary in order to make democratic government work in Cyprus?

Mr. Braine

Cyprus is an independent member State of the Commonwealth. In any case, there has been no request from the Cyprus Government for a revision of the Constitution.

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