HC Deb 26 February 1963 vol 672 c1076
26. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made in implementing the decision to form a South Arabian Federation; and what political parties have and have not now agreed to co-operate in the working of the new Constitution.

Mr. Fisher

The Federation was inaugurated in 1959 and Aden became the twelfth Member State on 18th January this year. Of the two major political parties in Aden, the United National Party is in favour of the new Constitution, while the People's Socialist Party has denounced it.

Mr. Sorensen

Is the Under-Secretary aware that in fact the People's Socialist Party represents a very considerable body of opinion in Aden? What has been done to try to induce this party to cooperate in the formation of a Federation? Has anything been done, for instance, to guarantee a very wide franchise?

Mr. Fisher

I answered a previous Question on the franchise earlier this afternoon. Of course, it is true that the People's Socialist Party represents a large number of people in Aden, but although that party has denounced the new Constitution it is by no means certain that it will refuse to work it or refuse to take part in the next elections in the Colony. Therefore, I think that we should wait and see how the working of the Constitution develops.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Without abandoning in any way our doubts about the present form of association between Aden Colony and the Sheikdoms of the Federation, may I ask the Under-Secretary to assure the House that, in order to promote democratic development in the Sheikdoms, he will be generous in giving them social and economic aid?

Mr. Fisher

That is certainly our objective and we wish to encourage those trends.

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