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Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

Oral Answers to Questions — Commonwealth Relations – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th May 1961.

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Photo of Mr Roland Robinson Mr Roland Robinson , Blackpool South 12:00 am, 4th May 1961

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement about the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference to be held in London later this year.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

As the House knows, the Seventh Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference will be held in London in September.

The Queen has graciously consented to open the Conference in Westminster Hall on Monday, 25th September. Members of both Houses will be invited to attend this ceremony. Her Majesty has also given permission for the Conference to hold its other sessions in the Royal Gallery.

This Conference will be of great importance; and I am sure that hon. Members will join with the United Kingdom branch of the Association in giving a warm welcome to our fellow Members from overseas and will do all they can to help make this meeting an outstanding success.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Do I understand that all hon. and right hon. Members will be entitled to attend the Conference? Are they to be selected, and, if selected, who is to select them, and on what basis?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The United Kingdom branch will be on the same footing as other branches, that is to say, there will be a delegation from the United Kingdom to the Conference. The delegation will be chosen by the usual procedure by the United Kingdom branch.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

That is precisely what I was getting at. For a Conference of this sort, hon. Members are at the mercy either of the executive of the C.P.A. or of some other body which is to select the delegates. I am not speaking for myself, but is it possible to make an application so that one who has views about the Commonwealth and its development may attend?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should address his inquiries to the United Kingdom branch. As for the executive, we had a meeting yesterday—I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was present—when we elected the new executive, so the right hon. Gentleman has had his opportunity through normal democratic processes to choose the executive which will be responsible.

Photo of Mr Hilary Marquand Mr Hilary Marquand , Middlesbrough East

May I officially from this Box say that on this side of the House we warmly welcome the statement which the Secretary of State has made? We are sure that it will be welcomed, not only throughout the country but throughout the Commonwealth, where people will be particularly pleased that the Head of the Commonwealth is to open the proceedings.