HC Deb 02 June 1964 vol 695 cc916-7
38. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the Colonies if he will now make a statement about constitutional changes in Bechuanaland.

Mr. Sandys

As a result of discussions initiated by the Resident Commissioner during the second half of last year representatives of all political parties and other important groups in Bechuanaland formulated unanimous proposals for the revision of their Constitution.

The British Government are in general agreement with these proposals and have decided to introduce a new Constitution on these lines. The details are set out in a White Paper published today.

This represents an important step towards independence of Bechuanaland which we have no wish to delay any longer than is necessary.

Mr. Thomson

While thanking the Minister very much for that statement, and while wanting to read the White Paper before making a final comment, may I ask whether he can give some indication of when the general elections are likely to take place which are to follow these constitutional changes?

Mr. Sandys

Next March.