HC Deb 26 April 1909 vol 4 cc160-2W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that on 24th March, when a Bill was under consideration in the Legislative Council of Jamaica for the extension of the franchise, an amendment moved for the providing of the enfranchisement of women on the same terms as men was lost by three votes, owing to the action of the Governor, Sir Sydney Olivier, in ordering the official and non-elected members of the council to vote against this amendment; whether Sir Sydney Olivier, as the representative of the Imperial Government, took this step on his own intiative or by the direction of the Colonial Office; whether any communications have passed between the Governor of Jamaica and the Colonial Office in reference thereto; and whether, having regard to the recorded opinion of this House in favour of the extension of the franchise to women and the action of the Governor of a Colony without responsible government, in using his position as the representative of the Imperial Government in opposition to female suffrage in that Colony, the Colonial Secretary has any, and, if so, what, explanation to give to the House of Commons in reference to the conduct of Sir Sydney Olivier in this matter, and the attitude of the Colonial Office in respect to that conduct?

Colonel SEELY

The Secretary of State has had no official correspondence with the Governor upon the subject referred to in my hon. Friend's question, and no official Report of the proceedings in the Legislative Council has yet reached him. From the reports in the Press, it appears that the Bill in which it was proposed to introduce the amendment in question was a Bill to amend the Registration of Voters Law, passed last year. The amendment was introduced without notice, and the Governor declined to accept it. Two of the elected members voted against it.