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Maltese Civil Service

Volume 388: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1943

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21.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whther he will reconsider his refusal to give facilities to attend the annual conference of his trade union in this country to Mr. R. G. Miller, the representative of the Maltese civil servants employed by the Admiralty, War Office and Air Ministry in Malta, in view of the bad effect of this refusal on the morale of the Maltese people, a large proportion of whom are engaged in Government service, and desire to maintain trade union organisation in their island and contact with members of their organisation in Britain?

I sympathise with the desire of the Civil Service Clerical Association to welcome a representative of Malta at their annual conference. But in view of the heavy pressure on available transport facilities between this country and Malta, I regret that I do not feel justified in supporting the association's request for the provision of a return passage for Mr. Miller.

Is the Minister aware that this is the first time since the war began that the association have asked for these facilities for a member of their staff? Further, is he aware that the association regard direct consultation with Mr. Miller as important? Will he reconsider his reply?

I cannot reconsider my reply. I did consider those factors, and I am anxious to help, but the hon. Member must realise the extreme difficulty of communications and transport from Malta. In the present circumstances it is quite impossible.

Will the Minister see that all the transportation available is reserved for the serving men who have done such gallant work in Malta?

Is the Minister aware that Mr. Miller has rendered yeoman service in Malta, that he has lost two sons there as a result of bombing, and that he is a first-class servant of the Admiralty in Malta?