asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Singhalese members of the Ceylon Legislative Council have declined to serve on the reforms committee on the ground that the committee is only intended to delay the promised reform of the Constitution; whether he is aware that the Ceylon National Congress has approved of the action of the members of the Legislature; will he state the grounds on which the Government acted; and whether the Colonial Office were aware of the Singhalese attitude when the committee was set up?
The information at my disposal is not yet complete, but it does not bear out the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion. The Resolution in favour of the appointment of a Committee of the Legislative Council to discuss the allocation and distributions of seats in territorial electorates was proposed by the leader of the elected members of the council, and was carried without a Division. I am aware that the National Congress is opposed to the policy of the appointment of a committee, and I understand that seven elected members, who had previously approved of the appointment of the committee, have declined to serve on it, giving as their reason the absence of information as to the future composition of the remainder of the Council. The Governor informs me that the committee is now sitting, and that there is no ground for the statement that there is any strong feeling in Ceylon in the matter.