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Southern Rhodesia (Electoral Arrangements)

Volume 439: debated on Monday 23 June 1947

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he proposes to disallow the proposed alteration in the electoral arrangements in Southern Rhodesia, whereby two out of the 10 new Members of Parliament shall represent native interests and natives be no longer eligible for the common voters' roll, as falling within the category of discriminating legislation.

I understand that a Motion on this subject is at present before the Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly, but has not yet been voted on. The question raised by my hon. Friend will not arise unless and until legislation is proposed by the Southern Rhodesia Government.

Is my hon. Friend aware that according to the information which has reached this country, including Press reports in Southern Rhodesian newspapers, the proposed alteration of which I have complained has been moved as an Amendment to a Motion by a Private Member, by the Prime Minister and Minister of Native Affairs? Is he also aware that great concern is felt all through the Commonwealth at the approximation of Southern Rhodesian native policy to that of South Africa and of the powers of disallowance reserved to His Majesty's Government?

Is the Minister aware that proposals in Southern Rhodesia are thoroughly retrogressive, and would he use his influence to see that the franchise is made more consistent with modern democratic principles?