HC Deb 12 February 1963 vol 671 cc1116-7
Q8. Mr. G. Thomas

asked the Prime Minister what representations he has received from Malta concerning the dockyard situation there and whether he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

None, Sir. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies will be making a statement tomorrow or on Thursday.

Mr. Thomas

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government's handling of this problem and their treatment of the George Cross Island are creating very much concern? Is he further aware that it is regarded as a breach of an honourable undertaking that the Government are now throwing in jeopardy the employment of people in Malta? Will he undertake that the American Bethlehem Steel interest will not take the place of the Government's interest in this matter?

The Prime Minister

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be willing to await the statement which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies will make either tomorrow or Thursday.

Mr. Wall

May we have an assurance that whatever action Her Majesty's Government decide to take will be with the knowledge and support of the Maltese Government?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend has been in close touch with the Maltese Government throughout, and the Minister of State went to Malta to consult them on this matter.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Prime Minister aware that during the last day or two there have been profound changes in Malta? Is he aware that it has been reported that the Maltese Government are now to take over the dockyard from Messrs. Bailey's? As this is such a fundamental change affecting Malta very considerably, will the right hon. Gentleman make an early statement?

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend hopes to make a statement on that question and other matters tomorrow or Thursday.

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