HC Deb 03 March 1959 vol 601 cc203-4
43. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on developments in Malta following the suspension of the constitution providing for the election of a Parliament; and which Maltese citizens have been selected to serve on the Governor's Council.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The 1947 Constitution is still in force, but a new Constitution is being prepared and will be introduced in the near future. An important and serious development was a not last Friday at the dockyard, on which I am circulating a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

As regards the second part of the Question, the membership of the Gover- nor's Council will be announced when the new Constitution is ready.

Mr. Brockway

What is the use of the Prime Minister in Moscow saying that British imperialism is obsolete when he destroys democratic institutions in Malta in this way? Is not the right hon. Gentleman yet able to say whether "stooges" have been found in Malta to sit on the fatuous Council which he is establishing?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, perhaps not surprisingly, is a travesty of the facts.

Mr. Wall

Is not the future of Malta entirely dependent on its economic prosperity, and are the present activities of the late Prime Minister conducive to the future prosperity of Malta?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

No, they certainly are not.

Following is the statement: There were disturbances in the Naval Dockyard last Friday at noon which lasted until 2.30 when the situation was brought under control. During these disturbances, some damage was done and I regret to say that the Admiral Superintendent and the Captain of the Dockyard, when they attempted to intervene, were first stoned and then assaulted. It is thought that the trouble was started by a number of apprentices and young workers, including members of the Young Labour League. They seem to have used as their pretext the issue on Friday morning of an Admiralty notice, the text of which was as follows: H.M.G.'s Dockyard in Malta will be transferred to the management of Messrs. Bailey on 30th March. The Admiralty regret that they will not be able to retain your services after the 29th March and that you will be discharged on Admiralty books on that date. Arrangements have been made for you to enter the service of Messrs. Baileys if you wish as from 30th March. The wages and conditions of your employment will be those offered by the firm. The Admiralty take this opportunity of thanking you sincerely for your past services and of wishing you all good fortune in your new job. A number of rioters have been taken into custody and investigations are proceeding. Precautions are also being taken against the possibility of further disorder. Although riots of this character damage facilities and must inevitably endanger confidence, what has happened does not in any way affect the decision to transfer the dockyard to Messrs. Bailey, with whom it is hoped to agree final details in time for the transfer to take place on 30th March. as announced.
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