Constitution

Oral Answers to Questions — Nyasaland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1959.

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Photo of Mr James Johnson Mr James Johnson , Rugby 12:00 am, 23rd July 1959

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now make a statement upon the proposed changes in the Nyasaland Protectorate Constitution.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I would refer the hon. Member to my statement during the debate on Central Africa yesterday.

Photo of Mr James Johnson Mr James Johnson , Rugby

Although the information was extremely belated last night, nevertheless we on this side welcomed it. But can the right hon. Gentleman say why he said two things in particular last night? He said that there would have to be an increase in the number of official members. Why must he keep the officials more than the unofficials, which obviously means that the Africans will still continue in their somewhat minor position in the whole Legislative Council? Secondly, why did he say that he would not extend the life beyond May, 1960? Why did he fix that particular date?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

On the first point, I said that during the interim period it was important to preserve the official majority, and I still believe that to be true. In regard to the prolongation of the life of the Legislative Council, I said that I hoped that it would not be necessary for the prolongation to extend beyond one year. Those are the actual words I used.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Can the Colonial Secretary say whether these nominations will be made by the Governor or by the African Provincial Councils?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Why should that be so when the African Provincial Councils are now nominating the African members?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

In the present circumstances in Nyasaland it is clearly inappropriate for normal procedure to prevail, but I have clearly said that the intention is that it should be an interim period only, and in order that Africans may be associated with it during the interim period we have devised this machinery.