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Malta (Periodical)

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 27 April 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the weekly periodical, "World News and Views," has been confiscated on being posted to a British citizen in Malta.

Responsible government was restored to Malta under the Constitution of 1947, and it would not, therefore, be proper to answer this Question, which relates to a matter falling within the competence of Maltese Ministers.

Could the Minister discuss this matter privately with the authorities in Malta, in view of the fact that they are preventing a periodical entering the country which has quite a wide salt' in this country and therefore ought to be welcomed there?

I could not undertake to interfere with the way in which Maltese Ministers carry out responsibilities imposed on them by Parliament.

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. How is it that a Question is allowed to be put to a Minister and he is able to say that he is not responsible for it? It seems an important point, because other Questions have been refused. If the Question has been allowed, surely the Minister has a responsibility and should answer?

This is not a self-governing Dominion. It is a Colony and the Minister is responsible for the Colonies.

If the Minister is responsible for the Colonies—which, of course, is the reason why the Table accepted the Question—surely he has some responsibility, however indirectly, for looking into the matter?

The Minister's answer was that he had no power. If he refused to answer, I should accept that, but I submit that he has responsibility, although he said he had no power.

If it is a matter concerning a court of law and is sub judice, of course the Minister has no power.

Since Parliament gave self-government for internal affairs to Malta, is it not true that the Minister has no responsibility for internal affairs in Malta?

May I ask the Minister what progress is being made in reviewing Press ordinances in the Island of Malta arising out of the suppression of newspaper bulletins?