Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Rhodesian Copper Belt (Subversive Activities)

– in the House of Commons on 25th November 1942.

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Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what were the subversive activities for which the leaders of the North Rhodesian Mineworkers' Union have been imprisoned; and whether it is now illegal in Northern Rhodesia for the organised workers in a particular industry to concern themselves with the working conditions of the same industry in other countries?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer to his Question of 21st October, which indicated the nature of the subversive activities in question, and also made it clear that the men concerned were detained on account solely of their activities as individuals, and not as officials of the Mineworkers' Union. As regards the second part, the answer is in the negative. It is the policy of the Government to promote all legitimate trade union activities.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the Undersecretary of State did not state the nature of the subversive activities, but merely said that the activities were subversive and that they were trade union activities?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

If the hon. Gentleman will look at the answer to which I have referred, he will see that my right hon. Friend gave a long and quite detailed reply, and one of the statements he made was that certain threats made by these gentlemen were accompanied by the implication of a resort to arms.