Oral Answers to Questions — Anguilla

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1970.

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Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury 12:00 am, 20th July 1970

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the future of Anguilla.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

The Commission appointed jointly by the last Government and by Mr. Bradshaw to inquire into the Anguilla problem has not yet completed its work. When its report is available, we shall review the situation in consultation with the State Government and the Anguillans.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Will my right hon. Friend reassure the House that the Government hold to the undertaking that the Anguillans will be administered in a way which they want? Secondly, will he take early steps to eradicate the rather shameful expedition by the previous Administration to this peaceful island?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

In reply to the first point raised by my hon. Friend, a satisfactory settlement can be achieved only by consultation and agreement, and we stand by the assurance in this sense which was given to the Anguillans by the previous Administration. As to the second point, we must see how we get on.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Surbiton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the Wooding Commission on Anguilla to report; and if the report will be published.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten). Subject to the agreement of the St. Kitts Government, to whom the Commission's report will also be addressed, I would expect the report to be published in due course.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Surbiton

However wise and reasonable the Wooding Commission's Report is—and I am sure it will be—it is unlikely to be acceptable to both sides, because of the wide gulf between them. In view of that, can we have an indication of my right hon. Friend's views on the problem, which was so badly mishandled by the last Government?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

Without saying anything about what happened before, I think that it would be unwise to comment in advance of the report. I had better wait and see the report and then see whether we can do better than the previous Government did.