HC Deb 28 October 1953 vol 518 cc378-9W
88. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will publish a list of all Colonies and Protectorates under British jurisdiction, showing those which enjoy full adult suffrage in local and national elections without any distinction of sex, race, creed or colour; those which have no such form of election; and those which have some limited form of adult suffrage, indicating the limitation at present in force, together with any reasons for such limitation.

Mr. Lyttelton

Following is a statement on the law concerning voting qualifications in elections to territorial Legislatures. In the case of local government elections similar information is not readily available, but I am sending to the hon. Member copies of the latest surveys made of local government in the Colonies.

1. In the following territories there is full adult suffrage in elections to territorial Legislatures:

  • Barbados.
  • British Guiana.
  • Falkland Islands.
  • Gibraltar.
  • Gold Coast.
  • Jamaica.
  • Leeward Is.
  • Malta and Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Windward Is.

2. There is no elected membership in the Legislatures and, consequently, no franchise, in the following territories:

  • Aden (Colony and Protectorate).
  • Brunei.
  • Cyprus.
  • Hong Kong.
  • Fed. of Malaya.
  • North Borneo.
  • Nyasaland.
  • St. Helena.
  • Sarawak.
  • Somaliland Protectorate.
  • Tanganyika.
  • Uganda.
  • Western Pacific.
  • Zanzibar.

3. Limited adult suffrage in elections to territorial legislatures exists in the following territories. The limitations take a variety of forms, e.g. residential, literacy, financial or property holding; geographical (i.e. elections are restricted to certain areas); sex or communal.

Bahamas (financial and sex).

British Honduras (income and/or property).

Bermuda (property holding).

Fiji (communal).

The Gambia (geographical).

Kenya (communal).

Mauritius (literacy, armed forces or business premises).

Nigeria (payment of tax, and, in the North, sex).

Northern Rhodesia (in practice, communal).

Seychelles (payment of tax or residential).

Sierra Leone (geographical).

Singapore (residential; British subject; or place of birth).

The reasons for the limitation of suffrage vary from territory to territory. The question of removing existing limitations is invariably considered when Constitutions are reviewed.