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Ceylon (Constitution)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 26 May 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is in a position to make any statement with regard to constitutional reform in Ceylon?

Yes, Sir. His Majesty's Government stand pledged by the assurance given to Ceylon Ministers in 1941 that as soon as possible after the war the question of the reform of the Constitution would be further examined. With the object of defining more precisely their intentions in this matter, His Majesty's Government have now authorised the Governor of Ceylon to make a further statement. In view of the length of the statement, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate the text of it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

In view of the very unsatisfactory situation that has arisen in this Colony, and the fact that the old Constitution never has worked satisfactorily, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider setting up a Royal Commission at the earliest possible moment to consider the amendment or revision of the Constitution?

I entirely agree with what the hon. and gallant Member has said about some of the aspects of the present Constitution. He will find the suggested procedure set out in the statement. What His Majesty's Government would prefer is that, subject to certain broad principles, the people in Ceylon should themselves put up their idea of a Constitution, and then after the war they and we can discuss the details.

Following is the statement: