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Orders of the Day — African Territories

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st July 1957.

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Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon 12:00 am, 31st July 1957

Twenty minutes to three in the morning is a little too early for me to be absolutely certain that I have been able to take in all the points made by the two hon. Members opposite who have spoken. Therefore, I give the undertaking that I will study what they have said at a more reasonable hour of the day. I will try and answer very speedily some of the points made by the hon. Member for Eton & Slough (Mr. Brockway), because he was kind enough to give me advance information of what he was going to say. I cannot deal with the detailed points raised by the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stone-house), because I did not know that he was going to make them. That does not mean that they were not interesting or that I shall not consider them.

I think I ought to put on record, because I would not like it misunderstood by people in the Colonial Territories, that although between them the two hon. Members opposite have spoken for nearly an hour, they are the only two Labour Members present in the House. There is no one on the Opposition Front Bench at all. I think I ought to make it quite clear that there was not a Member on the Front Bench opposite to listen to what the hon. Members have been saying.

I do not think that I can comment on the constitutional problems in Kenya at this time. The House knows quite well the Government's view, which is that it is a problem that must be thrashed out locally. I am glad to know that it is in action at the present time. There were some lengthy discussions in London.

Both hon. Members opposite raised the matter of the establishment of a United Kingdom military base in Kenya. The hon. Member for Wednesbury read out the latest Answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence, which I am afraid I had not seen. If my right hon. Friend, whose problem this is, says that he has nothing to say on the subject, I certainly have nothing to say about it at this time of night except to assure the House—and this is important—that no final decisions have yet been taken and that on questions of this sort my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies will be consulted before any decisions are reached.