HC Deb 01 December 1964 vol 703 c204
2. Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what proposals he has for the alteration and improvement of the Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881.

The Minister of State, Commonwealth Relations Office (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes)

Precise proposals were put to Commonwealth Governments several months ago, but we have not yet received the comments of all the Governments. This is, of course, an extremely complex matter. Meanwhile, I should prefer to treat as confidential the various proposals which we are in process of discussing with the Commonwealth.

Mr. Smith

Does not the hon. Gentleman remember that when I taxed my own side on the subject some 18 months ago the then Opposition indicated that if they were in power they would treat this with the utmost urgency and would amend the Act? Does he think that this should now go ahead despite the confidential nature of the discussions, and would he get in touch with the Commonwealth Governments concerned so that we can have a Bill before us in this Session?

Mr. Hughes

We are anxious to complete a review of the Act as soon as possible, and other Commonwealth Governments have been urged to let us have their views at an early date. I hope that it will prove possible for us and the rest of the Commonwealth Governments to move forward in step with each other. I think that that would be the view of hon. and right hon. Members.