HC Deb 30 April 1975 vol 891 c454
11. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the constitutional conference on the Seychelles.

Miss Joan Lestor

Good progress was made but differences remained over an independence constitution. In the circumstances, I could not recommend new elections, nor that Her Majesty's Government should impose a solution. But Her Majesty's Government have agreed the next steps, including a coalition Government, an Electoral Review Commission, and a timetable for independence, subject to parliamentary approval, by 30th June 1976. A White Paper will be published soon.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Will the hon. Lady outline the political timetable that she has in mind leading up to independence? Will she say what discussions have taken place about the defence of the islands after that date?

Miss Lestor

At present we envisage that the coalition Government will be formed in June and that the interim constitution will be introduced in September. The Electoral Review Commission is to be asked to report to my right hon. Friend in December in time for the renewed constitutional conference that will probably take place in January. On the question of matters of defence, those discussions will take place the next time the whole matter is discussed.

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