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My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson), in his contribution earlier this evening, said, rightly, that although this is the final debate in this House on Malta before the independence of Malta, after independence there will be a good number of occasions on which Malta or our relations with Malta, will be debated. Therefore, this is an occasion on which one must assess the responsibilities, before the debate is concluded.
The Minister, although in a sitting position, denied some of the allegations made by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot), particularly those relating to his dealing with the House. I would remind the Secretary of State that, if he reads HANSARD tomorrow, he will find that on the important point whether or not he could accept our Amendment he raised his arms at one stage and said, "No. I could not possibly go back on all this." That was the statement he made, as nearly verbatim as possible. That truly gives point to what my hon. Friend had been underlining, that the Secretary of State had adopted a position in which he obviously had entered into arrangements with another Government regardless of what the House might finally do about the arrangements which he had proposed. If he had not, what was the meaning of, "I could not possibly go back on all this"? Till the House had passed this Bill, and sent it on its way to becoming an Act, no arrangement could be finalised. By using a phrase like "I could not possibly go back on all that" the right hon. Gentleman clearly stated that he had entered into binding agreements. Note that the right hon. Gentleman is not contradicting the quotation I am giving. Hon. Members will see in to-morrow's OFFICIAL REPORT exactly what the Secretary of State said.