HC Deb 09 April 1948 vol 449 cc29-30W
Mr. Wilkes

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any changes in the Constitution of Northern Rhodesia are contemplated; and whether any proposals are being examined to abolish communal electorates since this system in its application in southern Rhodesia tends to perpetuate colour and racial discrimination.

Mr. Creech Jones

The Northern Rhodesia (Legislative Council) (Amendment) Order in Council, 1948, provides for certain constitutional changes which will come into force in the near future. These are the introduction of a Speaker as President of the Council in place of the Governor; the substitution of two European elected members for the two nominated unofficial members at present representing interests other than African interests; and an increase from three to four in the members representing African interests, of whom two will be Africans selected by the African Representative Council. There will thus be African members on the Legislative Council for the first time.

The only proposals for further constitutional reform which have been made are those of the unofficial members of the Legislative Council, to which I referred in my reply on 3rd March to my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid). These proposals are at present being examined by the Governor. They do not provide for any alteration in the electoral arrangements.