HC Deb 25 November 1970 vol 807 cc460-1
The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. William Whitelaw)

I beg to move, That an humble address be presented to Her Majesty praying that Her Majesty will give directions that there be presented on behalf of this House a gift of a Parliamentary library to the House of Assembly of St. Vincent and assuring Her Majesty that this House will make good the expenses attending the same. It may be for the convenience of the House if I also deal with the Motion relating to the gift of a mace to Mauritius.

The gift to Mauritius follows the now established tradition of the House of Commons, with which we are glad to comply, of sending a gift to the legislature of a Commonwealth country to mark the country's attainment of independence within the Commonwealth. The gift to St. Vincent is to mark that country's achievement of complete internal self-government and associated status with the United Kingdom.

Hon. Members may recall that on 12th March, 1968, in reply to a Question, the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, informed the House that Her Majesty's Government would propose that the House should offer an independence gift of a mace to the Mauritius Legislative Assembly. It has fallen to the present Government to make such a proposal, and this we are pleased to do.

The House may also recall that in the same year gifts of Parliamentary Libraries were presented on its behalf to a number of former British dependencies in the Caribbean to mark their attainment in 1967 of complete internal self-government and associated status with the United Kingdom. In October, 1969, the Island of St. Vincent became an Associated State, and it is now proposed that the House should make a similar presentation to the St. Vincent House of Assembly. The Parliamentary authorities in both countries have, of course, been consulted and they welcome the proposed gifts.

For the convenience of hon. Members, it is hoped that the mace will be on display in the House between 7th and 11th December. The Library of Parliamentary reference books for St. Vincent is a duplicate of the set presented to the other Associated States.

If the House accepts the Motions, arrangements will be made by Mr. Speaker for small delegations from the House to present the gifts. We understand that St. Vincent's presentation can conveniently be made in January and the Mauritius presentation in March, 1971.

I therefore commend the Motions to the House in the expectation that they will be accepted as an expression of our friendship and good will towards the legislatures of Mauritius and St. Vincent.

Question put and agreed to.

To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of Her Majesty's Household.

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