HC Deb 20 February 1969 vol 778 cc762-3
Q5. Mr. Hooley

asked the Prime Minister what further consideration he has given to the form of the test of acceptability of the "Fearless" proposals which would be approved by Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister

On the test of acceptability I have nothing to add to my supplementary answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath) on 21st January.—[Vol. 776, c. 247.]

Mr. Hooley

Does the Prime Minister agree that the trial of Mr. Sithole is a calculated attempt to terrorise the African leadership and African public opinion in Rhodesia and renders a genuine test of acceptability in that country quite impossible?

The Prime Minister

I have no idea what calculations enter into the minds of the authorities in Rhodesia. What is clear to me is that the whole House has insisted, so far as the test of acceptability is concerned, on freedom of expression in Rhodesia. The recent expulsion of a highly respected international journalist from Salisbury, without any reason given, throws doubt on their willingness to agree to free expression of opinion.

Sir C. Osborne

Since even moderate opinion in Rhodesia will never accept the Privy Council proposals, as they regard the Privy Council as an alien body, and since it is necessary to win over the moderate opinion in Rhodesia, what alternative suggestion has the Prime Minister to the Privy Council proposals?

The Prime Minister

I say to the hon. Gentleman in his presence, as I did in his absence, that I think that while he was in Rhodesia he made some extremely helpful comments, as did his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) yesterday, which the whole House welcomes.

On the second guarantee, the second safeguard against retrogressive amendment to the constitution, I dealt with this fairly fully on Tuesday in answer to Questions by the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) and the Leader of the Opposition. A number of us went into this very fully in the statement after "Fearless" and after the Salisbury talks which followed "Fearless".