HC Deb 27 July 1979 vol 971 cc499-500W
Mr. George

asked the Lord Privy Seal what discussions have taken place with the Government of Canada on a new British North America Act; and if he will make a statement on the procedures to be followed in this Parliament if a request for patriation is made.

Mr. Luce

No discussions have taken place with the Canadian Government on this matter. The British North America Acts, which contain the constitution of Canada, can be amended in certain important respects only by Act of the United Kingdom Parliament. The Canadian Prime Minister has expressed publicly his intention of working with the Provincial Governments of Canada towards an agreed package of constitutional changes which could lead to a request that this power of amendment should be a matter of Canadian competence and should no longer be exercisable by the United Kingdom Parliament. If a request to effect such a change were to be received from the Parliament of Canada it would be in accordance with precedent for the United Kingdom Government to introduce in Parliament, and for Parliament to enact, appropriate legislation in compliance with the request.