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Hong Kong

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 7 February 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Blaker), has now sent a reply to the delegation of urban councillors which met him to discuss democratic elections to the Hong Kong urban council; and if he will make a statement.

I wrote to the leader of the delegation on 28 January explaining that I am still considering the question and will comment further in due course.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if the Hong Kong Government have any plans to give more power and authority to the urban council.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list the powers and responsibilities of the Hong Kong urban council.

These are set out in sections 24 and 25 of the Urban Council Ordinance. Briefly, they cover public health and hygiene and cultural and recreational facilities. I have arranged for copies of these sections to be placed in the Library of the House.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if there are any plans to extend the geographical area for voting purposes for the Hong Kong urban council.

There is no residential qualification for the franchise, apart from residence in Hong Kong for three years.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the number of people qualified to vote in the last election to the Hong Kong urban council; how many voted in the elections; and what percentage of the total eligible these figures represent.

In 1979 it was estimated that some 440,000 people were eligible to vote. 31,481 registered to do so and 12,426 actually voted. The last figure represents 39·47 per cent. of registered voters and 2·82 per cent. of estimated eligible voters.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations the Hong Kong Government have received from bodies calling for more democratic reform of the urban council.

The Hong Kong Government have received no formal direct representations from such bodies in the last year.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish in the Official Report the system of appointment to the Legislative Council in Hong Kong.

Appointments are made by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Governor of Hong Kong in accordance with the Royal Instructions to the Governor of Hong Kong (article XIII).

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will request the Hong Kong Government to introduce elections to the Legislative Council, similar to the system which applies in the Portuguese colony of Macau.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish in the Official Report the qualifications required of citizens of Hong Kong in order to allow them to vote in urban council elections.

The qualifications are set out in part I of the first schedule to the Urban Council Ordinance. I have arranged for a copy of the relevant extract of the Ordinance to be placed in the Library of the House.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will consider seeking to lower the age for voting in elections to the Hong Kong urban council to 18 years.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the latest estimated population of Hong Kong; and how many of these are eligible to vote in elections to the urban council.

The estimated population of Hong Kong at the end of 1979 was 5,017,000. The number eligible to vote, in elections to the urban council was estimated in 1979 to be about 440,000.