HC Deb 05 March 1947 vol 434 cc61-2W
64. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a further statement on constitutional changes in Hong Kong.

Mr. Creech Jones

On 1st May my predecessor announced in this House that His Majesty's Government had had under consideration the means by which, in Hong Kong, as elsewhere in the Colonial Empire, the inhabitants of the territory could be given a fuller and more responsible share in the management of their own affairs. He went on to say that it was thought that one possible method of achieving this end would be by handing over certain functions of internal administration to a Municipal Council constituted on a fully representative basis but that the Governor had been asked thoroughly to examine these important issues in consultation with the representatives of all sections of the community in Hong Kong.

The Governor and his advisers held these consultations and, after considering other alternatives, he came to the conclusion, with which I agree, that

  1. (a) a Muncipal Council should be set up in Hong Kong on the widest representative basis possible. The majority of the members will be elected, and the Council will gradually assume as many of the present functions of the Central Government as can appropriately be assigned to it. The Municipality will include Kowloon, but not that area of the New Territories outside Kowloon which by reason of its rural character is not entirely suitable for immediate inclusion in the area to be administered by the Municipal Council:
  2. (b) the constitution of the Legislative Council should be modified with the object of securing on that body a more direct and a proportionately increased representation of the unofficial community. Under his recommendation, which I have accepted, the official members will be reduced to seven, and of the eight unofficial members two will be directly nominated by the Municipal Council, and one each by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and the unofficial justices of the peace. The remainder will continue to be nominated by the Governor.

His Majesty's Government are satisfied that these measures constitute the best means of achieving their genuine desire and intention to give the people of Hong Kong a practical and effective share in the management of their own affairs.