Lieut.-Colonel J. WARD
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, with reference to the Resolution passed by a largely attended public meeting in Hong Kong in January, 1919, for a more popular form of local government and the reply of Viscount Milner, while Secretary of State for the Colonies, that, before coming to any decision, he was awaiting the Report of the newly-appointed Governor, Sir R. E. Stubbs, on the subject as soon as he should have had time to make himself conversant with local conditions, such Report has been received; if so, did it recommend any concessions; and, if so, what reasons does he assign for his decision not to make any alteration in the numbers or mode of selection of the unofficial members of the Legislative Council of the Colony?
Yes, Sir. The Report of the Governor was received in October last. He stated that there was no general demand in the Colony for any constitutional change. Though his own opinion was that the present Council is large enough, the Governor was willing that there should be some increase in the number of unofficial members of the Legislative Council on condition that there was a corresponding increase in the number of official members. He favoured the election of non-Chinese unofficial members except in the case of the member representing the Chamber of Commerce. In view of the Governor's statement as to the general feeling in the Colony, Lord1706W Milner, after giving the matter careful consideration, stated in reply that on the whole, he was inclined to think that no change in the constitution of the Legislative Council was called for at the present time, but added that the Governor would no doubt raise the question again if and when he considered more definitely that a change was desirable. My right hon. Friend sees no reason to depart from the decision of his predecessor.
Lieut.-Colonel J. WARD
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if recent sales of real estate in the commercial centre of the city of Victoria, Hong Kong, show that values have advanced during the past 20 years by 300 to 400 per cent. solely through the pressure of population; and, as this condition of things increases the cost of living and imposes a serious and unnecessary burden on the trade of the Colony, will he endeavour to expedite the negotiations between the Colonial Office and the War Office for the surrender of the military lands in Queen's Road which now prevent the extension of the business area in that direction?
I am aware of the great increase in the value of real estate in the centre of the city, and am endeavouring to expedite the negotiations in question.