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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 William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin 12:00 am, 23rd July 1964

I am now going to deal with my right hon. Friend. I appreciate the great difficulties which my right hon. Friend had had to deal with in Malta, and I know now that he desires that, Malta having been given independence, it will make the very best of independence and of the constitution which we have given it. I am sorry to say that in certain respects I do not think the Constitution is all we could have done, had we had a little more time. But I remember this, that once we have given sovereignty to a country there is nothing to stop its people, and there is nothing to stop the Maltese people, from altering the Constitution as they think fit when the time comes.

What I would say, in conclusion, is that I hope that what we have given to the people of Malta in this Constitution will be a good start to the future of the Island of Malta; and if it is not all they desire, they will become free and independent, and may they model their Constitution and their ways in the ways of free discussion—and not in those ways which hon. Members opposite have alleged and because of which I started by attacking hon. Members opposite.

I remind those hon. Members on the other side, and some of my hon. Friends, too, that that way, the way of free discussion, is the true basis of democracy—