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Orders of the Day — Malta Independence Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale 12:00 am, 23rd July 1964

Of course he did not say it, because he took his responsibilities much too lightly. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say, "I am not required to make statements of that nature". He could have phrased it more elegantly, but the substantial point remains. He knows perfectly well that it is possible in a few months for there to be a change of Government in this country and that when negotiating on matters of this kind he should take that into account. The authority of a Government dealing with such matters as this is not so great in the last week or two of a Parliament as it is at the beginning of a Parliament. If he does not understand that, he does not understand democratic processes.

The right hon. Gentleman should have made clear to the Prime Minister of Malta that when he introduced this Bill and the Constitution in the House of Commons it would be open to us to make Amendments. He did not do that but made a bargain outside. He pretty well admitted that to me. It was a quite improper thing for him not to have made clear that especially in these circumstances, the House of Commons might wish to make Amendments.