HC Deb 20 December 1966 vol 738 cc1192-3

3.50 p.m.

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)

On 7th November, this House gave leave of absence to five of its Members to present, on its behalf, a bookcase containing Parliamentary and constitutional reference books to the Parliament of Singapore.

The delegation consisted of the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Captain W. Elliot), my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dulwich (Mr. S. C. Silkin), the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson) and myself. We were accompanied by Mr. A. C. Marples, the Clerk of Committees of this House.

It is my pleasant duty to report that our mission has been accomplished. The Singapore Parliament was not sitting at the time of our visit and the presentation took place at an informal but very well-attended meeting of Members and guests in the Library at Parliament House where the gift had been installed. Since our return, Parliament has met and a Resolution of thanks has been agreed to in terms which I shall hand to you, Mr. Speaker. I hope that, in accordance with precedent, you will direct that this Resolution shall be entered in the Journal of this House.

So much for the formal aspect of the duty entrusted to us. But I know that all my colleagues in the delegation will want me to tell the House how warmly we, their representatives, were welcomed in Singapore. Everywhere we went we were received with great kindness and hospitality. We had opportunities to meet the President, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and many other members of the Government and of Parliament. We were able to appreciate the energy with which the problems of industrial development, housing and education are being tackled. We spent a most interesting day with our Forces in Singapore. Despite the short time at our disposal, we were able, by the use of helicopters, to see something of the work of all three Services and we were very impressed by what we saw. We are grateful to all who helped to make our stay in Singapore so enjoyable and especially to the Speaker, who did so much to help us.

Mr. Speaker, the gift we presented on behalf of this House is a token of a very real friendship. To have been a member of the delegation was an unforgettable experience and we were left in no doubt about the close ties that exist between this country and Singapore and the value that is attached to the British presence there.

Mr. Speaker

I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) for his report. I believe in the importance of missions such as the one on which he has just reported and I am sure that the House would want me to thank him and his colleagues for carrying out the mission entrusted to them.

I will see that the Resolution which he has brought to the House will be entered in the Journal of the House.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Following is the Resolution:

Resolved, That this House expresses its warm appreciation of the generous gift of a bookcase and books which it received on the 16th November, 1966, from a delegation of the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a token of friendship and good will on the part of the House of Commons and people of the United Kingdom towards the Parliament and people of Singapore to commemorate the attainment by Singapore of independence within the Commonwealth.