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Constitution And Financial Assistance

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 18 November 1965

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1.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement about constitutional progress and financial assistance for Gibraltar.

The present constitution of Gibraltar was introduced just over a year ago after full consultation with the political leaders in Gibraltar. It is the view of Her Majesty's Government, which is shared by the elected members of the Gibraltar Legislative Council, that further constitutional change is not at present desirable.

As regards financial assistance, I would invite the hon. Member's attention to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Overseas Development on 4th November to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor). It was also agreed to make available £100,000 as a special grant-in-aid of Gibraltar's budget for the current year.

Is it not a fact that the £1 million already promised to Gibraltar has been earmarked for buildings and schools? Will the hon. Lady assure the House that the development of Gibraltar will not be held up by lack of finance? Is she aware that the Spanish Government have now said that they will agree to talks with the British Government without any preconditions and will she see that these talks start quickly?

In reply to the last part of the supplementary, the hon. Gentleman knows that this is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. As to development, we are, of course, in close touch with the Gibraltar Government and, in any case, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Overseas Development deals with development matters.