§ 2.35 p.m.
§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is intended to clarify the position concerning the establishment of a civilian dockyard at Malta before legislation is introduced for a new Constitution for the island.]
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COLONIAL AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF PERTH)
My Lords, the dockyard is, of course, now in civilian hands and is being run as a commercial yard. As regards the development of the dockyard, Her Majesty's Government are aware of the importance of reaching a settlement in the negotiations with Messrs. Bailey (Malta) Limited, especially in view of the impending introduction of the new Constitution. General agreement has, in fact, been reached on the scope of a larger conversion plan, and the provision of finance for this new plan is now under discussion with the Company.
§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, may I ask my noble friend whether he is aware that a number of Members of your Lordships' House, and I imagine also in another place, who have a great affection for the island and its inhabitants, would welcome the opportunity of a debate on this subject? We have had no discussion on Malta for years. It is not a Party political matter and perhaps the subject could be indicated to the usual channels.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
My Lords, I have no doubt that that could be arranged through the usual channels, and I will draw the attention of my noble 1220 friend the Leader of the House to my noble fiend's remarks.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS BOROUGH
My Lords, the noble Earl is no doubt aware that the Opposition have had a motion Order Paper, under "No data name", for some little time. It is only a question of making arrangements.