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Volume 655: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what constitutional proposals he has received from the new Government of Malta.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he received a request from the new Prime Minister of Malta for independence for the island; and what was his reply.

I have received no constitutional proposals from the new Government as yet, but before taking office Dr. Borg Olivier made it clear that he will wish to raise certain questions with me.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a large body of people in the island holding the opinion that they would not want to enjoy a lesser status in the Commonwealth than that accorded to Cyprus, and will he agree that once the problems of viability and defence have been solved there is no reason why Malta should not be an independent State within the Commonwealth?

I am looking forward to an early meeting with the new Prime Minister of Malta. I do not think that I should comment on any particular issue before then.

Is the Colonial Secretary aware that the Prime Minister declared some time ago that the present constitution is unworkable, that he represents 50 per cent. of the electorate and that the Labour Party represents 30 per cent., all that 80 per cent. being in favour of independence and freedom? Will he now say that he is prepared to give these people freedom at a specific date and not make a general and vague statement?

No, Sir; I do not think that I can make a statement to that effect today.