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Title: The naughty European twins of empire : the constitutional breakdown in Malta and Cyprus 1930-1933
Authors: Frendo, Henry
Keywords: Constitutional history -- Cyprus
Malta -- History -- British occupation, 1800-1964
Constitutional history -- Malta
Colonies -- Europe
Issue Date: 1998
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Frendo, H. (1998). The naughty European twins of empire : the constitutional breakdown in Malta and Cyprus 1930-1933. The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, 3(1), 45-52.
Abstract: "No Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the commencement of this Act shall extend, or be deemed to extend, to a Dominion as part of the law of that Dominion, unless it is expressly declared in that Act that Dominion has requested, and consented to, the enactment thereof." Thus reads article 4 of the Statute of Westminster, which gave effect to certain resolutions passed by the Imperial Conferences held in 1926 and 1930, and which rendered obsolete earlier provisions of the Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1865. Article 7 of this latter landmark, nevertheless, laid down that the term "colony" would refer to practically "all of Her Majesty's Possessions abroad in which there shall exist a Legislature." That Legislature was presumed to "signify the Authority, other than the Imperial Parliament or Her Majesty in Council, competent to make Laws for any Colony." As exceptions that Act mentioned only the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and India. At the same time that Britain was proclaiming, defining and generally extending Dominion Status rights as enshrined in the Statute of Westminster in 1931 to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and Ireland excluding Ulster, representative government in Cyprus (dating from 1882 when Gladstone was prime minister) was being revoked. The constitution and legislature were suppressed, parties abolished, the press censored, and agitators deported. Malta's responsible government, granted in 1921, had been suspended in 1930 and once restored in 1932 was similarly headed for revocation by 1933. The Nationalist cabinet, returned in a landslide victory in the 1932 general elections, was dismissed together with responsible government. In both these colonies without a legislature, London, through the agency of the resident Governor, ruled supreme. Advisory, nominated, or supposedly executive councils introduced subsequently under new provisions in 1933 and in 1936 in Cyprus and Malta respectively were generally treated with contempt: not many respectable citizens came forward to accept nomination or to serve in such circumstances.
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