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Oral Answers to Questions — Political Rights of Women (Convention)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 1957.

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Photo of Hon. Evelyn Emmet Hon. Evelyn Emmet , East Grinstead 12:00 am, 27th November 1957

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is the Government's intention to ratify the Convention on the Political Rights of Women during the sitting of the Assembly of the United Nations; and if he will give the reasons leading to their decision in this matter.

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Oswestry

No, Sir. Although Her Majesty's Government support the principles embodied in this Convention, they are not able to adhere to it. The main reason, as my right hon. Friend informed the hon. Lady on 25th March, is the absence of a Territorial Application Article.

Photo of Hon. Evelyn Emmet Hon. Evelyn Emmet , East Grinstead

I understand the difficulty is the position of women in some of our Colonial Territories. Would it be possible for my right hon. Friend to see how far that difficulty is as great as it was and consult the Colonial Secretary to see whether steps could be taken to bring those conditions into such a state that we can now sign the Convention?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Oswestry

I am sure it is my right hon. Friend's intention to try to bring about that state of affairs. He has consulted the Colonial Territories concerned, but it would be quite wrong in present circumstances for the Government to undertake this obligation when the conditions in those Territories do not conform with this Convention.