HC Deb 02 July 1968 vol 767 cc1277-8
3. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what consultations he plans to hold with the administration in Hong Kong with a view to modernising its existing political structure; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Whitlock

None. It has already been stated in the House on several occasions that, because of Hong Kong's special position, constitutional development towards self-government is not possible. I have nothing to add to that statement.

Mr. Rankin

Is my hon. Friend aware that that is a very disappointing statement? Does he not realise that Hong Kong's present political structure is based on a series of laws which were introduced to deal with a period of social upheaval very recently? Does he think that that is in keeping with the democratic views that we in this Parliament hold?

Mr. Whitlock

I can only repeat that there cannot be normal constitutional progress towards self-government, but the Hong Kong Government have been exploring the possibilities of developing, in the sphere of local government, measures which will enable the people of Hong Kong to participate to a greater extent in the conduct of the affairs of the Colony. There has been no great demand for that on the part of the people of the Colony themselves, who have not responded to a recent major exercise to get them to register as voters.

Mr. A. Royle

Is the Under-Secretary aware that his statement will be welcomed in Hong Kong? Will he bear in mind the possibility of appointing a Chinese elected representative on the urban district council as one of the nominated members of the Legislative Council?

Mr. Whitlock

That is something we could look at.

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