Amendment proposed, in page 4, line 3, at end, insert:
shall (a) themselves provide in the programmes all items of current news, and."—[Sir L. Plummer
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ 3.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)
I propose to make some comments on two of the speeches that were made in the debate last evening before it was interrupted by the operation of the Guillotine. I regret very much that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) is not in his place. [HON. MEMBERS: "He is."] I apologise.
§ Mr. Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
. Does the right hon. Gentleman wish me to offer him any comment or advice?
§ Mr. Edwards
I looked for the right hon. Gentleman in the usual place and I did not know that he had moved up. My general impression was that, in these days, he was moving down. Be that as it may, the right hon. Gentleman is here, and, therefore, I shall be much more free to say what I want to say in relation to what, coming from him, I thought was one of the most disgraceful speeches I have ever heard him make in the House.
The right hon. Gentleman said yesterday that he was almost persuaded to support the Amendment but for the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer). I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman ever had any intention of supporting the Amendment, but that that was a piece of window-dressing as a preliminary to an attack upon my hon. Friend. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] The right hon. Gentleman then proceeded completely to misrepresent, as I thought, what my hon. Friend had said, and, having 2299 misrepresented my hon. Friend's case, he went on to destroy it. Although he said that he wanted to smear no one, I thought the right hon. Gentleman deliberately went out of his way to indulge in a smear of which he ought to be ashamed.
After all, the right hon. Gentleman— and I say this very seriously—when he was Minister of Health, commanded from all sides of the House the highest degree of respect. He was then talked of as a future Prime Minister, but, apparently, in these days, he has politically degenerated to such an extent that, no matter what comes from his own Front Bench, he is always prepared to cover it up with a lot of dreary drivel, and go out of his way to insult hon. Members on this side of the House.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman has read his speech, and that he feels thoroughly ashamed of it. I thought that the speech of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) dealt with any substance that might have been in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove, and I will leave it there.
Coming now to the Assistant Postmaster-General, we had a masterpiece of dissembling. I was astonished at the hon. Gentleman's adroitness in moving from one position to another and in abandoning all the safeguards which his right hon. and learned Friend had given to the House, and doing it all in the interests of his commercial friends, for whom, apparently, he spoke.
The hon. Gentleman said that, if the Authority presented news itself, it would have to have an outside broadcasting unit and an editorial staff, and, apparently, he regarded that as something that ought not to exist. He evidently thought that the Independent Television Authority ought not to have studios, and ought not to have any programme capacity at all. That was his view, but the hon. Gentleman went on and said that, if we laid a direct responsibility on the Authority itself to put out news, it would be tantamount to not trusting the Authority. But he regarded it with an element of trust, apparently, in saying that the Authority should be able to send out news itself. He first said, "We are not trusting the Authority," and then declared that it was 2300 to have facilities for doing so. That is, indeed, cockeyed logic.
The hon. Member went further when my right hon. Friend the former Home Secretary put a point to him very clearly. He said that, in exceptional circumstances and as a last resort, the I.T.A. itself could provide the news. How is it to present the news if it has not studios and the authority to employ an outside broadcasting unit.
I am wondering which line the hon. Gentleman will take. The 1953 White Paper provided that £750,000 should be spent on studio facilities to enable the Independent Television Authority to handle news, political broadcasts, religious broadcasts and children's programmes. There is already provision in the Bill for the Authority to do it. How does the hon. Gentleman deal with the matter? Let me take what he said to my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), yesterday:Does the hon. Gentleman mean to say that the last alternative that the Authority is to consider is broadcasting the news itself?.The Assistant Postmaster-General replied:I should say, yes. I am quite happy to admit that."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 2239.According to that statement, the Independent Television Authority will have studios and an outside broadcasting unit and, in the last analysis, will have authority to give the news. Is that what the hon. Gentleman really means? That is what he said in answer to the interjection of my right hon. Friend in this Committee. He now shakes his head and seems to indicate that that is not what he really meant.
Although that is not what he meant, it is provided in his own White Paper that the Independent Television Authority would have these facilities in order to put out the news. Now, when we say they should have this authority, and when we want to make it obligatory upon them to use it, the hon. Gentleman has all sorts of reasons for not agreeing to our Amendment. The Assistant Postmaster-General has said it is not intended that the Independent Television Authority shall have programme-making capacity. Where does the truth lie in that statement? Perhaps the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove will observe that his hon. Friend is applying the method that he 2301 mentioned, which was, "Aim high, aim low and then hit the target." There is so much dissembling in this matter that we do not know where we are.
Is not this the position? The Independent Television Authority cannot handle news on its own? The hon. Gentleman knows they cannot and his answer to my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields was quite misleading. I do not want to be harsh about this matter, but the hon. Gentleman knew when he gave that answer and after we had dealt with two Amendments, that the Independent Television Authority was being robbed of the right to issue the news itself.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
We had been given an undertaking that the news was to be impartial and objective.
The Bill lays it down, and it appears in previous speeches and in the White Paper, that there are certain things that the Independent Television Authority will have to do for itself so as to ensure impartiality. An assurance that there would be impartiality and objectivity in regard to news was given in the House of Lords to try to calm the opposition that was rising there among friends of the Government's supporters, and the I.T.A. was to be given £750,000 a year to handle these things itself. To ensure that it shall have such facilities the Bill provides for them in Clause 2 (1, b).
Now we are told that it is not to be allowed to do so. That is what we have been arguing about. The hon. Gentleman is handing the I.T.A. completely over to the programme companies. The people who will handle the news will probably be the programme companies. Apparently that is the position that the hon. Gentleman takes up. How is the Independent Television Authority to be independent if it is completely in the hands of the programme companies?
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)
Is not the matter made worse by the fact that there is every reason to believe that some of the great national newspapers may themselves become programme companies or interested in programme companies? Have we yet had any denial from the Assistant Postmaster-General that the "Daily Mail" or the "Daily Express" groups or some other group 2302 may become programme companies and be interested in giving biased and impartial accounts of the news?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
That intervention emphasises what I have been asking. It is proved now that the I.T.A. cannot give news itself. If the hon. Gentleman persists in saying that it can, would he look at the Amendments that he has put on the Order Paper? He will see that this matter is to be handled entirely by programme companies and that the I.T.A. will not be a programme company. News will be handled by a second or third party.
We are not told whether the programme company that handles it will be paid for by the I.T.A. or by advertisers. Is the programme company when broadcasting the news to put out advertisements and get money in in that way? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Are we coming back to the question, "Why should there be any news at all?" a point we discussed earlier in the debate, and is now being raised by someone who was not then present? If so, the Guillotine did not perform its task efficiently.
The Government appear to have resiled from the undertaking which they originally gave. They are changing the nature of the Bill as they go along. They are robbing the Independent Television Authority of any independence it may have had. In the later Amendments, especially, they are taking away from the Authority the right to handle the news. That is contrary to the statement made by the hon. Gentleman yesterday.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. David Gammans)
If it wishes to do so, the Independent Television Authority can, in fact, handle the news. I said that last night in answer to the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). It has been given the money to do it.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
I do not withdraw. I would ask the hon. Member to keep that in mind when he discusses his own Amendment. We shall then see whether or not he can substantiate the word he has now used.
2303 We are completely dissatisfied with this position and we shall express that dissatisfaction in the Division Lobby.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 209; Noes, 232.2305
|Division No. 109.]||AYES||[4.1 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Grimond, J.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Adams, Richard||Hale, Leslie||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Albu, A. H.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Pannell, Charles|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Parker, J.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R||Hamilton, W. W.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hannan, W.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hargreaves, A.||Popplewell, E.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Porter, G.|
|Bence, C. R.||Hastings, S.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bern, Hon. Wedgwood||Hayman, F. H.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Benson, G.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Beswick, F.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. R. (Rowley Regis)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Herbison, Miss M.||Pursey, Cmdr H|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Holman, P.||Reeves, J.|
|Blackburn, F.||Holmes, Horace||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Holt, A. F.||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Houghton, Douglas||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Boardman, H.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Ross, William|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Royle, C.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Brookway, A. F.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon E.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Short, E. W.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Janner, B.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent, N.)|
|Chapman, W. D.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgfield)|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Collick, P. H.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Snow, J. W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Keenan, W.||Sorensen, R. W|
|Craddook, George (Bradford, S.)||Kenyon, C.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Steele, T.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||King, Dr. H. M.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Kinley, J.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Daines, P.||Lawson, G. M.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Carmook)||Stross, Dr Barnett|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Davies, Rt. Ho. Clement (Montgomery)||Lewis, Arthur||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lindgren, G. S.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Davies, Harold (Leak)||MacColl, J. E.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Deer, G.||McGhee, H. G.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mclnnes, J.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Dodds, N. N.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Thornton, E.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||McLeavy, F.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Usborne, H. C.|
|Edelman, M.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Warbey, W. N.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Manuel, A. C.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Edward, W. J. (Stepney)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mason, Roy||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mayhew, C. P.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Messer, Sir F.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Milkardo, Ian||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mitohison, G. R||Willey, F. T.|
|Folliok, M.||Monslow, W.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Foot, M. M.||Moody, A. S.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Forman, J. C.||Morley, R.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moyle, A.||Willis, E. G.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Mulley, F. W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huylon)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Murray, J. D.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Nally, W.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Glanville, James||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Oldfield, W. H.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C||Oliver, G. H.||Yates, V. F.|
|Gray, C. F.||Oswald, T.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Padley, W. E.||TELLERS FOB THE AYES:|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanetty)||Paget, R. T.||Mr. Hoosod and Mr. Rogers|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Altken, W. T.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S>||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Orr-Ewing, Chares Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Hay, John||Osborne, C.|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Page, R. G.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Heath, Edward||Perkine, Sir Robort|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Higgs, J. M. C.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hill Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Hirst, Geoffrey||Pitkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Horobin, I. M.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Black, C. W.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Redmayne, M.|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Hurt, A. R.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Boyd-CarpentBr, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H||Iremonger, T. L.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Bullard, D. G.||Johnson, Howard (Kempton)||Russell, R. S.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Kaberry, D.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Kerby, Capt. H. B||Schofied, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Carr, Robert||Lambert, Hon G||Scott, R. Donald|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Lambton, Viscount||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Channon, H.||Langford-Holt, J. A||Shepherd, William|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Leather, E. H. C.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfiled)||Smyth, Brig. J G. (Norwood)|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Lindsay, Martin||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Craddoek, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Linstead. Sir H. N.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Speir, R. M.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Longden, Gilbert||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Lucas, Sir Jooelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Stevens, G P.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Storey, S.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. MoA||McAdden, S. J.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Dormer, Sir P. W.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Summers, G. S.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Duthie, W. S.||McKibbin, A. J.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Maclean, Fitzroy||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C N.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Tilney, John|
|Finlay, Graeme||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Fisher, Nigel||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Turner, H. F L.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Turton, R. H.|
|Fort, R.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Vaughan-Morgan, J K.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Marples, A. E.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W)|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (HilIhead)||Maude, Angus||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Gammans, L. D.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Mediicott, Brig. F.||Ward, Miss I (Tynemouth)|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Mellor, Sir John||Wellwood, W.|
|Glover, D.||Molson, A. H. E.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Godber, J. B.||Moore, Sir Thomas||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Cough, C. F. H.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Cower, H. R.||Neave, Airey||Wills, G.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||NichoHs, Harmar||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Nicholson, Godtrey (Farnham)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Mr. Studholme and Major Conant|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D|
§ Dr. Edith Summerskill (Fulham, West)
I beg to move, in page 4, line 3, at the end, to insert:shall(a) themselves provide in the programmes all items intended for the entertainment or education of children under the age of sixteen, and.The purpose of this Amendment is to protect children from the most harmful effects of commercial television. We on this side of the Committee have appealed frequently to the Assistant Postmaster-General to protect the public at large from what we regard as the evil consequences of commercial television, but he has proved obdurate. I am this afternoon asking the hon. Gentleman at least to be selective, and to protect what we consider is the most impressionable section of the community from what might be the harmful effects of this new medium of propaganda.
It might well be asked whether advertisers will be interested in children as customers—because, no doubt, as has been mentioned on many occasions, the programme contractors will have in mind the interests of the advertisers. It is quite clear that children as spenders will not be of much interest to advertisers, but children as forming a pressure group are very important.
An advertiser can produce a most attractive advertisement advertising, let us say, biscuits, jellies and all kinds of things which children are fond of, and they will endeavour to persuade their parents to buy these products. I have no doubt that small boys will not be attracted by advertisements for soaps or detergents, but these other things like sweets, biscuits, lemonade, orangeade, and so on will appeal to them. This being so, the programme contractor will then be concerned with the kind of item which will attract the child's attention.
Clearly, the advertisement will fail in its object unless, in the first place, the child is attracted to the screen. There we find the difficulty. I do not think that the Assistant Postmaster-General could argue that the programme contractors would not be concerned with the kind of unhealthy sensational item which would attract boys and girls who long for novelty. Unless he introduces an item of this nature then, as I say, the advertisers will not be interested.
2308 I know that it has been argued that films do not have an adverse effect upon children. I think there has been a very high-powered committee set up to investigate this subject and that they have reported and came to the conclusion that films of an unpleasant character do not affect the child. This is a debatable point. Let us remember that in the past a child went to the cinema perhaps only once a week. Now we are discussing a medium of propaganda which will be brought right into the child's home.
Indeed, so far as the cinema is concerned, a small child is protected. I think that an unaccompanied child under 16 is not allowed into the cinema when certain films are being shown, so there is some measure of protection for that impressionable person. What protection is there here? A child can arrive home and, sometimes even in the absence of the parents, can turn a knob—
§ Dr. Summerskill
I congratulate the hon. and learned Gentleman's brother-in-law on having a key and being able to use it at the right time. But surely the hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that that is exceptional. Could we tell all the owners of television sets that they must have a key and ensure that on certain occasions the set is turned off? 1 think the hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that that is quite impracticable.
I ask hon. Members who are interested in this matter at least to help us to protect children. It has been argued that commercial television has no harmful influence, but surely there will always be a temptation for children, for whom I am pleading, to go to the television set. It is highly undesirable that children should stay up late at night and look at television, but it is happening in nearly every house in the country. I hope that the time will come when children, and their parents, will be more selective, and that parents will be firmer and will say that the right thing to do is to go to bed.
Most hon. Members opposite are parents, and I think they would agree that it is not so easy to control one's children. It is a little difficult to ask parents of strong-minded infants to enter 2309 into an argument with their infants every night of their lives—because that is what it comes to. I hope that the time will come when the child will get a little tired of television and will decide to go to bed.
My argument is that when commercial television is introduced, the programme contractors will have an incentive to put on sensational items—the blood-and-thunder stuff with which we are familiar. Can any hon. Gentleman argue that that is desirable? It is not desirable. Can we as a nation afford to allow children, perhaps every day of their lives, to look at films which we would consider undesirable? I do not want to repeat myself; I said this on Tuesday, but do not let us ignore it. Our prisons are overcrowded, with three prisoners in a cell. Our reformatories are packed. Our newspapers are filled every day with the lurid details of crimes committed by near adolescents.
Can we ignore the fact that this medium of propaganda is very important, not only as entertainment but for educational purposes as well? The adolescent is very near the child. We are discussing a form of propaganda to which the child will be subjected during its impressionable years. Therefore, I ask the Committee to consider carefully the advisability of introducing this veto and placing upon the Authority the responsibility for providing these items. I hope that the Committee will consider this Amendment in a responsible way and will accept it.
§ Sir Robert Grimston (Westbury)
The question of children's programmes in television has caused some disturbance of thought among a number of people, but I must say that the speech of the right hon. Lady the Member for Fulham, West (Dr. Summerskill) dismayed me, because I do not believe that the moral fibre of this nation will be strengthened by the State always having to step in between parents and their children. I speak as a father, and I believe it is up to parents to take some responsibility in this matter.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
Would the hon. Gentleman favour the abolition of film censorship on those grounds, so that no "H" certificates were given to films?
§ Sir R. Grimston
No, I should not. The right hon. Lady said, in the case of films, that children can go to the cinema. 2310 She emphasised, however, that television comes to their homes. Parents cannot always go to the cinema, but they are the authority in their homes, or ought to be. so that the two cases are not analogous.
We are discussing in the Amendment films specially provided for educational purposes or for such programmes as Children's Hour on the B.B.C. There is nothing to prevent children under 16 from seeing any film in their homes if their parents permit it, but we are here dealing particularly with Children's Hour. In passing, I read the other day of protests in all directions about a blood-and-thunder film put on by the B.B.C. which could have been seen by any child under 16, so that the safeguard does not seem to be in having control by a State authority.
We on this side of the Committee support the Bill which is to set up an Authority to overlook these matters. The Amendment says that the Authority should itself be the only body to produce Children's Hour films. We believe that the Authority will have sufficient standing and power under the Bill to see that the programmes which it commissions for Children's Hour are proper programmes. We must trust the Authority. It is no good setting it up if, whenever such a question of this arises, the Opposition say, "The Authority will be unable to exercise control in seeing that the programmes which it commissions are proper."
§ Mr. F. Blackburn (Stalybridge and Hyde)
The hon. Member is restricting himself entirely to Children's Hour. What about the schools broadcasts? Would not they be a matter to be considered in this connection?
§ Sir R. Grimston
I am sorry. I was using the Children's Hour to illustrate my argument. The Amendment would cover the schools programmes, but I cannot for the life of me see why a programme contractor should not be able to produce a programme for schools. I cannot understand that point of view. These contractors may well produce excellent programmes, perhaps not better than but certainly no worse than those of the B.B.C. I cannot see why they should be prevented from doing so.
As we are setting up the Authority, we should leave it to the Authority to overlook and to settle the business of 2311 the programmes provided for Children's Hour and, possibly, for the schools. While I appreciate that there is some genuine misgiving in this matter, I think we should trust the Authority, which yesterday we strengthened by some Amendments which we passed.
§ Miss Alice Bacon (Leeds, North-East)
I rise to support the Amendment, which has a two-fold purpose. First of all, it seeks to ensure that no educational programmes are run by commercial firms and, secondly, it seeks to ensure that no programmes intended for the entertainment of children under 16 are run by advertisers.
§ Miss Bacon
Particularly in view of what was said by the hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston), I should like to pay tribute to the B.B.C. for the excellent standard of all their children's programmes, whether they are schools broadcasts or Children's Hour broadcasts. As a teacher, I often listened to the schools broadcasts, and I do not mind admitting that nowadays, if I have time at weekends, one of my most popular diversions, as I am sure it is with many adults, is to watch Children's Hour on television. Like many adults, I find great entertainment in the little people called Mr. Turnip, Hank, Sooty and others.
It is not realised that the B.B.C. goes to enormous trouble to ensure that programmes are suitable for children. When I was a teacher I often listened to the schools broadcasts, and I can say that between the B.B.C. and the teacher there is a personal touch which can never exist between an advertiser and a teacher.
§ Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
A programme contractor. The hon. Lady has twice said "an advertiser." The two are quite different.
§ Miss Bacon
The B.B.C. has people whose special job it is to travel round the schools to ensure that programmes are suitable for children. In my area there was an organiser for the north regional area who not only kept in touch with teachers by letter to see whether the programmes were suitable, but often came to the schools to watch the children 2312 as they listened to the programmes. This cannot be done by any other body as it can be done either by the B.B.C. or by the Independent Television Authority. Even if the provision of good programmes were the principal objective, other people could never be allowed into the schools as the B.B.C. is allowed into them.
I know that hon. Members opposite will say that it is a matter for the teachers and that they need not put these programmes on; or that the local education authorities can say that the programmes are unsuitable and may not be used. I believe that unless we take steps to ensure that no educational broadcasts of this kind are provided, otherwise than by the Television Authority, we shall be taking the debate about commercial television into every local area, every local council and every local education authority. We should ensure today that this does not occur.
I turn to the entertainment, or Children's Hour. My right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, West (Dr. Summer-skill) mentioned some of the things which can happen—the kind of horror films which we could have; but I think the worst effects of allowing these programmes to fall into the hands of commercial interests will be that commercial television for children under 16 will become the greatest nuisance which parents have ever known in this country.
We all know what will happen. When we are watching that delightful programme, "The Appleyards," we may have another family on commercial television, and it may be said that Tom Appleyard or his equivalent was sucking sweets made by such-and-such a firm. We know that pressure will be put on parents to buy the things which are being advertised.
At present, competitions are run on many of the Children's Hour programmes, and all the children are asked to do is to fill in a postcard and post it to Lime Grove. In future, children may be asked to enclose so many coupons from a certain packet of sweets or biscuits in order to ensure that they can enter the competitions. 4.30 p.m.
Hon. Members opposite may say, "Switch it off." I am sure many hon. Members opposite are parents, and if they have tried to switch off a television set 2313 when their small boys or girls want to see the continuation of a serial which they saw the week before they know exactly what happens. It is very difficult in these days for parents to discriminate between particular advertisements. Just as it is difficult for adults to discriminate, it is impossible for children under 16 to discriminate.
The B.B.C. has a very high standard in this matter because its object is the provision of good entertainment and good education for children, whereas the advertisers wish to sell their goods, so there is a different approach and an approach which can be harmful to the children. I therefore say to the Assistant Postmaster-General that it is not much to ask that all programmes for children under 16, whether they be of an educational character or for entertainment, should be run by the Independent Authority and not by any other body.
§ Mr. J. E. S. Simon (Middlesbrough, West)
The right hon. Lady for Fulham, West (Dr. Summerskill) said that this Amendment was designed to deal with the position of children as a pressure group. I think that those who are parents will know very well what she means, but I do not believe that many of us would describe it in such forbearing or felicitous terms. The hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Miss Bacon) said that the set-up proposed in the Bill would be the greatest nuisance to parents. Is that not all quite fanciful? After all, parents, like politicians, very soon learn to resist pressure groups. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] As I have no wish to incite controversy, perhaps I had better confine my observations to parents.
It is certainly true that parents have to resist the pressure of children. There is an equal pressure for sweets, and it is as easy to lock up the television set as it is to lock up the sweets cupboard. It is said that locking-up should be exceptional. Children, normally, do what they are told, or should do. They can be trained, and if it is necessary action can be taken to prevent their looking at things which are unsuitable. It is exactly the same problem that parents have to deal with, not only in the sphere of television which is a comparatively small choice, but in literature, the cinema, and so on.
2314 There are many publications designed especially for children which are quite unsuitable, in the opinion of many parents, for their children, and parents see that they do not get into their children's bands. We do not propose to legislate to tell parents what they should do in the way of bringing up their children in that respect. The right hon. Lady said, "Should we tell the parents that they must lock up cupboards?" Of course not. We believe that the prime responsibility of bringing up children, especially in this sort of moral choice, rests with the parents, and it is because certain people think that they know better than the parents how to bring up their children, what they should look at and what they should not look at, what they should do and what they should not do that this Amendment has been put down.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
In view of the opinion which the hon. and learned Gentleman has expressed, does he also contend that we should get rid of the age of admission to public houses?
§ Mr. Simon
I certainly would not do anything of the sort. That is a very different problem. The first difference is-that this is what is going on in the home. In the second place, there is a great deal of difference between alcoholic drink and reading matter and looking matter. We do not say that because children are not allowed into a public house we should impose a censorship on comics, on the "Rainbow" or "Tiger Tim" or other publications—of course we do not. We recognise that there is a sensible line to be drawn, and the place to draw it is at the door of the public house and not at the front door of people's homes.
The argument was fanciful enough even when applied to parents, but with respect to the hon. Lady it is far more fanciful when we apply it to schools. After all, what is easier than for the school teacher to switch off a programme which she knows to be unsuitable for children. That is the first thing she does. It is directly within the scope of her authority, and it is quite fanciful to talk about it coming into the sphere of the local education authority. Of course it will not. It is the school's teacher who will decide what to put on and what to turn off, and if she feels it difficult to make the decision herself, she can always refer it to the head teacher. For 2315 these reasons, I trust that my right hon. Friend will resist the Amendment.
§ Mr. Ralph Morley (Southampton, Itchen)
The hon. and learned Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. Simon) has overestimated the powers of parents to resist pressure from their children. I remember that during the time I was an acting teacher a parent sometimes came to me and said, "I cannot manage our Johnny, and I hope you will give him a good talking to." Sometimes the parent asked me to give Johnny more than a good talking to—a temptation which I always resisted. It would be a very great temptation to parents to keep their children quiet for a time by allowing them to watch the screen whatever may be the nature of the film portrayed on the screen.
I think that the hon. and learned Member overrates the powers of the teacher in this direction. He says that it would be easy for the teacher to turn off the set if a film were being shown which she thought was not suitable for her class to see. But often the teacher does not know what the film will be like before it actually starts. The teacher says to the children, "In a quarter of an hour's time you are to have a nice treat and see a nice film" and then the film starts and the teacher is horrified by the type of thing which is portrayed and she turns it off. She cannot get away with that very easily so far as the children are concerned. It would make her very unpopular and the children would be very disappointed.
I am intuitively strongly opposed to any form of censorship of the cinema, books or plays so far as adults are concerned. But children are in a different category. The child's character is not yet formed and the child has to be protected. We protect the child so far as the cinema is concerned. The child is not allowed to see some films at all and is not allowed to see others unless accompanied by an adult. I think that we should give some protection to our children in the matter of television films shown at home.
I am certain, from my experience as an acting teacher for many years, that films do have a very strong influence on children. We can see it in minor matters— 2316 in their gestures, in their language, the slang they use, and the Americanisms they employ. There is no doubt that the film has a very strong influence in minor matters. I believe, also, that the film has a very strong influence on the deeper emotions, to which I will refer in a moment.
I do not think that sex films make much impression upon children until they reach their 'teens. Sex films, for the most part, pass over their heads and are not understood. However, sadistic films, films of violence and cruelty, make a very strong impression upon children. Children are at one and the same time attracted to sadistic films and repelled by them. There seems to be some latent sadism in many children that, to a certain extent, makes sadistic films attractive to them.
Unless there is a competent body of men and women to censor the kind of films to be shown at home on the television there will be a temptation to those who use films for advertising purposes to show sadistic films and films portraying violence so as to attract the greatest number of children as the watchers of the programmes. It is extremely important that we should not permit children to see films of a sadistic nature, or films which portray violence of any kind.
The films to be shown at home need not necessarily be educational or instructive films. Educational and instructive films can be shown at school. The films shown at home should for the most part be amusing and entertaining. The child does not want to be educated and instructed all the time. He also wants to be entertained and amused, and so we want films that are entertaining and amusing but that in no way do harm to the developing character of the children or that may lead them into wrong paths. The Amendment would ensure that the films to be shown would be of the right sort.
The chief harm the commercial film does to children is through setting before them a wrong pattern of what is valuable in life, giving them a wrong sense of values. Commercial films seem always to imply that to be happy one must be successful, and that successful people are those people who are the richest, most powerful and most popular. Also, they imply that to be rich and powerful and 2317 popular one need not have a prolonged education or much study or be industrious, that to be rich and powerful and popular all that is necessary is to be good looking and to be lucky.
§ Mr. Morley
Yes, and to do the other fellow down.
Our commercial films are saturated with the materialism of the United States of America, which gives the children the wrong idea of what are the best values in life. We want the children to understand that one can be happy by leading an ordinary, quiet, useful life, without being extremely prosperous, extremely rich or extremely popular. The values that are portrayed in films for children should be those of or based on those of the Greek civilisation from which our civilisation is derived, and those films for the children should show that the best thing to do is to strive for the good, the true and the beautiful.
I believe that the Amendment is more likely to ensure the showing of the right type of films for the children at home than is the Clause as it stands.
§ Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
All of us who are parents—and I am the father of four sons—look at these Amendments with care and consideration, but I think we all wonder whether they do not go too far by suggesting that the I.T.A. will be able to control the quality of the programmes only if it creates the programmes itself. I see no reason at all why the I.T.A. should not act as censor, to use the word of the hon. Lady the Member for Leeds, North-East (Miss Bacon), without itself creating programmes. The programme companies will create the programmes and the I.T.A. can watch the quality of the programmes.
As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. Simon) said, the first responsibility must rest with the parents. I understand all the difficulties about persuading one's children to keep away from the television set, but we cannot allow the State always to be the only responsible body to say what programmes and at what times programmes shall be seen in the households of this country. The responsibility must 2318 remain with the parents, and I thoroughly agree with my hon. and learned Friend about its being the parents' responsibility to lock up the set. Indeed, I once wrote a letter to the Press on this subject, suggesting that there should be locks on television sets. If a little aid to parental authority is required, a padlock is a very useful adjunct.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
It has been suggested that programme companies, because they are governed by commercial interests, will not put on high-quality programmes but will put on horror programmes. That has not been found to be the case in other media of entertainment, and I do not see why it should be found to be so only in this medium. I should have thought that the finest entainment that has ever been produced for the children of any generation was that of Walt Disney's films. They were produced and exhibited by commercial companies for commercial purposes, yet no one who has seen "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" or "Bambi"—
§ Mr. Follick
Even "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" had to be altered on account of a horror sequence—horror considerations.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
Good sense prevailed. An alteration had to be made.
I have no doubt that the I.T.A. could also make suggestions for a change in a film to be televised. I am simply trying to make the point that commercial interests do produce very high quality entertainment that gives very great pleasure to the children. This is true not only of the cinema, but of books. Some of the children's books printed these days are excellently produced, with fine illustrations, and they are second to none.
§ Miss Bacon
Surely there is a difference between commercial interests and commercial advertising. Walt Disney's films are not accompanied by commercial advertising.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I am glad that the hon. Lady has made that point even though it draws me somewhat aside from my argument. 2319 The commercial interest that is the creator of the programme is separate from the advertiser. That distinction is written into the Bill. Hon. Members have several times referred to the advertisers as creating the programmes. Nothing could be further from the truth than that suggestion. Some people thought and perhaps still think that there should be sponsored television, but the Bill separates the advertiser from the creator of the programme.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
Does the hon. Gentleman contend then that the children's programmes should not be paid for by advertisements but directly by the I.T.A., or that the programmes should not be for advertising purposes but for entertainment purely?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
The I.T.A. can be relied on to set up its own standards and to make its own rules. It is to be provided with £750,000, and if it thinks fit it will commission programme companies to produce children's programmes without any advertisements in them. That may well come about, but I still do not accept the idea that the I.T.A. must itself create the children's programmes.
I come to the second part of the Amendment dealing with education. Many of us understand that the potentialities of television, particularly as an education medium, are tremendous, but there are very considerable problems to be overcome. To start with, as someone has already rightly said, it is difficult to keep large classes of children in order even in daylight. One can imagine how much more difficulty there would be in a blacked out classroom.
One can imagine, for instance, how much easier it is in a blacked out classroom for a boy at the back of the form to insert the spike of a compass into his nearest enemy. Children cannot be properly supervised in a blacked out room, and until we have more brilliant pictures and bigger pictures we shall not make much progress with television in the schools.
The U.S.A. has over 100 sound broadcasting stations devoted entirely to educational matters. I believe that for some years to come sound broadcasting may be the better medium for education 2320 and that we should go ahead rather slowly with these experiments in the educational medium until we have overcome the technical difficulties and worked out a system which is generally acceptable to the schools and the country. But surely that does not mean that at this stage, when we are starting an experiment, we should say that the I.T.A. must be the only people to create educational programmes. Surely we can rely on their good sense.
I should like to summarise what I have said on this issue. As more television comes into the homes, it becomes even of greater importance that parental control should be exercised and should govern the. children as to what they see and what they do not see. As the hours of television are increased, children, of their own free will, become much more selective. When there was only one hour of children's programmes a day, my children used to look at them. Now that there are longer hours of children's programmes, they become highly selective and switch off within two minutes of the start of something that bores them and they turn to something else.
I think that children will become even more selective. Parents are a second line and should govern what the children look at. Behind both those filters, as they might be called, remains the I.T.A. Surely it can be relied on to see that the standard of entertainment is first-class, every bit as good as the B.B.C. I hope, therefore, that my right hon. and learned Friend will resist the Amendment and will rely on the I.T.A.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
The hon. Member has made a very interesting speech. Would it be "fair to conclude from it that he would not altogether be against a provision that children's programmes should not have advertisements in them? Leaving aside for the moment the question of who puts on the programmes, would that be a fair deduction from what the hon. Member said?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
We must feel our way on this. We should be taking far too much on our shoulders in trying to lay down a hard and fast set of rules of what the I.T.A. should or should not do. Let us see the way it develops. Do not let us write these rules into a Bill which, 2321 after all, is brought forward in a fairly experimental form and at an experimental time.
§ Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Test)
Nobody on this side dissents from hon. Members opposite in the general point of view that parents have tremendous responsibilities for their children. Nothing we have achieved in the welfare State abrogates from parents' responsibilities. In all aspects of life we have secured certain protective charters for English children, not as some negative things but as a positive way of helping both children and parents. And so we do not put forward the Amendment in any negative way.
Each of the hon. Members opposite who has spoken so far has almost given us our case, because they have suggested that there will be items in the commercial television programmes from which wise parents would do well to protect their children. One after another has said, "We must lock the doors of the set to prevent our children seeing these programmes." I wonder sometimes how often the B.B.C. is going to be criticised for its rare lapses of good taste, how often the single use of a bloody documentary has been used as a means of attacking the enormous range and quality of the B.B.C's. programmes, on the one hand, and why all American films should be put under the protective umbrella of Walt Disney, for whom everybody in the House has a tremendous affection, on the other.
The Government ought to accept the Amendment wholeheartedly. It is in the spirit of the Clause. The Clause itself accepts the principle of the Amendment, because in subsection (2, a) the Government's own Bill asks the Authority toprovide parts of programmes for the purpose of securing the inclusion in the programmes of items of particular classes which in their opinion are necessary"—we believe that children's programmes are necessary—… and cannot, or cannot as suitably, be provided by programme contractors.Because we believe that this kind of programme cannot be suitably provided by programme contractors, in the Amendment we name and instruct the Authority to provide it. 2322 I do not want to paint lurid pictures of the kind of television programmes that are shown to children in America—I have never seen any of them and I have never been to America. Any impression of mine would be tendentious, and I think we should be blaming a set of programmes partly because they were American—and Americans have their own way of life—and partly because they were not so much American as commercial. But we can judge the kind of programme that we are afraid of by considering the parallel problem of what is going on as far as British children in the cinema are concerned.
I am very pleased that the Home Secretary is present this afternoon. I know he shares the interest of the Departmental Committee on Children and the Cinema which reported to him some time ago. I hope there will soon be regulations to protect young children against the worst features of the cinema. The Committee's Report—it was not a party Report—showed wholeheartedly that children who are exposed to fear, violence, cruelty, sadism and all the glamour and unhealthy atmosphere of emotion in a darkened room, can be hurt. It speaks of thecontinual exposure to such filmsas undermining thechild's social sense and may from its beginning vitiate his training for citizenship.It speaks of the distortion of history and biography, the over-simplification of problems and the deepest harm that is done, not by the more lurid and violent aspects, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Itchen (Mr. Morley) pointed out, by the pervasive effect of continual harping on false values, in which tragedy becomes horrific and comedy becomes slapstick and farce.
That is not because of something particularly vicious in film-makers. It is part of the mark of the commercial culture in which we are bringing up our children. Commercial culture consists not only of the best books, poems and works of art, to which the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing) referred, but it also consists of the worst films, books and pictures. We seek to prevent the addition to a group of bad cultural influences on our children of a new one—the worst children's television.
2323 As far as children are concerned, Gresham's Law that the worst does drive out the good, seems to be true. (HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I speak with some feeling. I rarely refer to my own professional experiences before I entered the House, but for 25 years it was my task to attempt to convey to young boys of 17 and 18 years of age something about the value of a word, the great and permanent sublimity of Homer and Shakespeare, the detailed examination of a logical argument in good prose, the splendour and majesty or the charm of a lyric, and all the rest of our precious heritage in English literature.
The world outside, with its tremendously powerful impact of sensationalism, was the enemy of the teacher in that task.
§ Dr. King
If that is true of the grammar school master, teaching maturer children of 16, 17 or 18, how much more difficult is the task of the infant teacher and the junior school teacher, competing against this commercial culture outside.
It is bad enough that after a few years in school, children will be flung into this culture to make their own way. It is bad enough that they are subjected to it outside the classroom during their school life. What we seek to prevent is that part of the programmes of the new powerful instrument of television shall itself contribute to fight against the invaluable work that is going on inside the schools. I should have thought that the commercial interests interested in this Bill would have conceded us this Amendment.
I do not agree with my right hon. Friend's suggestion that there is an advertising sales market among children. They will get their ice cream, their dolls and their cowboy suits independent of any advertising. Already we have the vast experience of a non-profit making, noncommercial B.B.C., both sound and television, to show us what excellent work can be done. We are inclined to take things for granted. From Derek McCullough and 2LO days onwards through the history of the B.B.C., there has been a steady and marvellous development in children's programmes, to which Lord Hailsham, in another place, paid a moving tribute in a recent debate.
2324 I have a little grandson, and for two years I have watched him wait eagerly for just before two o'clock when the programme devised for the little ones comes on the radio. Anyone watching his wrapt attention would know that behind that programme were capable, skilled people achieving something really good and fine and really remarkable. In this case, I suggest we leave the task to the experts. Teachers do know something about their job.
The B.B.C. has 20 years of devoted service in building up programmes and programme treatment. Above all, the problem of entertaining and educating children is the problem of doing so for entertainment and education alone and from no other angle, and this makes it absolutely essential that this part of the television programme should be reserved for the Authority itself. Probably nowhere in the world except in the Soviet Union is there anything offered in the way of children's radio entertainment so fine or so magnificent as what we are providing in this country.
I wonder whether anyone outside the schools of Britain knows, for instance, how vast is the network of radio education that we have built up during the past 20 years. Television is going to be important for our children and it will be a greater influence than sound broadcasting. Its powers are quite colossal, and I suggest that we harness them from the start for the children so that later we do not have to face in commercial television the kind of problem we are facing in the commercial cinema, where a Government committee has to report on measures necessary to protect our children against the worst influences of the cinema.
This is not a spoilsport Amendment. Anyone who has seen the infra-red photographs of little children with their hands over their eyes, cowering in the corners of their seats while looking at films which were supposed to give them entertainment, would realise how necessary it is to protect our children against something which is unpleasant. It is not that we want to shove nasty medicine down their throats because it is good for them, but we want to preserve our children against something which is not only harmful but which, in itself, is nasty and painful.
Anyone who has seen the contrast from the infra-red photographs of children 2325 looking at films they ought not to see and the eager, happy children looking at the right kind of film which has been created for their proper entertainment would know that this Amendment which we on this side of the Committee are submitting is on the side of true happiness. I hope that the Home Secretary, who knows the effect of the cinema on the children, will support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Gammans
I thought it might be of advantage to the Committee if at this stage I indicated the Government's general attitude towards this Amendment. First of all, I should like to welcome the right hon. Lady the Member for Fulham, West (Dr. Summerskill), and I hope she will find time to participate further in these discussions.
There is no difference of opinion between us as to what we want to do. We all want to protect the children from undesirable influences. We are all alarmed at the amount of juvenile delinquency. The post-war boom, if that is the right word to use, in juvenile delinquency is alarming to all of us. The only thing that should give us a little reassurance is that this year, I believe, the figure has gown down by 14 per cent. I hope that tendency will continue and that the boom may prove to be a phase in the immediate post-war period.
There is no difference in our aim, but the right hon. Lady bases the whole of her case, as did hon. Members on the other side of the Committee who followed her, on two assumptions. The first assumption is that a programme contractor cannot be trusted to put on anything by way of a programme except something harmful. These are the words she used, "Blood and thunder, sensational, and harmful stuff." If that assumption is correct, what she is seeking to do is the correct and logical thing.
The second assumption she made was that if a programme contractor did that then the Independent Television Authority would have no power to stop it. The hon. Member for Itchen (Mr. Morley) was talking of a supervisory body, and he thought that there ought to be one. The fact is that there is one. The whole object of the Independent Television Authority is that finally it should be responsible for what goes out on the air 2326 and should act exactly in the very capacity he has suggested.
If the two assumptions of the right hon. Lady were true, then I think we should be driven to doing exactly what she wants, whether it was convenient or inconvenient, whether we thought it desirable for other reasons or not. But I cannot accept those assumptions. I cannot accept the assumption that a programme contractor cannot be trusted. If we accept that assumption, then we get to the ghastly state of affairs in which we are impugning the interest and reliability of a very large section of the population of this country.
If any programme company were to put out an undesirable programme, I cannot think of any quicker way by which it would do itself harm and do harm to the product which it was advertising either at the beginning or the end of the programme.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
May I ask the hon. Gentleman two questions? Is it the idea of the Authority to see that the programme contractors have proper regard to the children's needs and interests, and, if so, why is there not a word about it in the Bill?
§ Mr. Gammans
If the hon. and learned Gentleman will wait, I am going on to deal with the powers of the Independent Television Authority, and I hope I shall succeed in convincing him that those powers are adequate. Before I do that, however, may I deal with the point raised by the hon. Lady the Member for Leeds, North-East (Miss Bacon) who was interested not so much in Children's Hour but in educational programmes. There are no such programmes yet on television, and we do not yet know how this particular line will, in fact, develop.
Even supposing that an educational programme were put out by a programme company, would there be a risk—and I will not put it any higher—of its being a bad one? Why should the hon. Lady assume that there would be, I cannot imagine. I do not think there is any history to justify it. One of the finest publications produced in this country is the "Children's Newspaper." Who produces it? It is produced by private enterprise. It is not a State-run enterprise.
§ Mr. Gammans
Let us assume that the hon. Lady's fears have substance in them and that this programme is an undesirable programme. If there are television programmes in schools, I am assuming that they will be supervised by a teacher; indeed, there would be pandemonium if they were not. Can we not trust her to switch off the programme?
§ Miss Bacon
Could the hon. Gentleman answer this question? Would he, then, agree to the people who will run the programmes under this Bill being allowed entry to the schools in the same way as are the B.B.C. representatives?
§ Mr. Gammans
If it is decided that there are to be educational programmes by the new Authority—and that has not yet been decided—I should hope that it will have the good sense—it certainly has the power—to set up an education committee of some sort. I should think it would be foolish if it did not do so.
§ Miss Bacon
Is the hon. Gentleman now suggesting that an authority of some kind, other than the B.B.C. or the Independent Television Authority, representing the commercial interests, shall now have the power to go into the schools?
§ Mr. Gammans
No, I am not suggesting that. What I am saying is that these programmes—[Interruption.] May I intervene in this debate? As I was saying, what I imagine will happen, if it is decided by the Independent Television Authority to sanction programmes for schools, is that it will set up an advisory committee. I should imagine that that would be the way it would be done. But we are jumping several steps ahead of the point we are discussing.
If the Opposition hold the view that anything put out by a commercial company must be bad, must be vicious, must pander to the lowest, it is clear that nothing I can say here this afternoon will shake hon. Gentlemen opposite. If they hold that view, I am sorry. I do not believe it to be true, I do not even believe it to be expedient. I cannot imagine 2328 anything more foolish, but, if that view is held, we must part company.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
If the hon. Gentleman is so prepared to trust programme companies, why does he set up the Independent Television Authority to control and check them?
§ Mr. Gammans
That is a fair question, and I will give the answer. We are launching forth into something altogether new. The normal attitude in this country towards a new venture is to proceed with caution, and that is exactly what we are doing.
§ Mr. Gammans
I cannot answer everybody at the same time. The idea is that there is a general desire of the people of this country that we should proceed with caution, and that is the justification for this Authority.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall (Colne Valley)
Surely the Government proceeded first, then had second thoughts, and the caution came very late in the day?
§ Mr. Gammans
No, from the very beginning we thought of a controlling body. It has merely taken a different form.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The hon. Gentleman said that on grounds of self-interest the programmes would not be bad because, if they were, the advertisers would not sell their goods. This shows one of the basic weaknesses of his case, that all the time in these children's programmes those who produce them will be looking over their shoulders at the advertisers and at the advertising interests. Therefore we say that, since it is not a programme whose motive is to educate the children, it must be basically dishonest and not good for the children.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Gammans
I am not in the least ashamed of accepting the imputation of enlightened self-interest in any walk of life. With more enlightened self-interest the world would never go to war or do many other foolish things. If I cannot convince the right hon. Lady that these people are not bound to be rascals, I am 2329 sorry, and I must let it go at that. Now I come to her second point: what about the responsibility of the Authority? I said just now that, if the programmes were unsatisfactory, the Authority has the power to stop them.
What are the powers of the Authority? There are two. The first is to arrange for the provision of programmes necessary to secure a proper balance, where it is convinced that they cannot be provided by companies. So the Authority has the power now, if it wishes to do so, if it considers it necessary, if it is convinced that the programme contractors cannot do it. What I am not prepared to do is to make that power obligatory. The second duty laid upon the Authority is to ensure that nothing offends against good taste or decency and that no offensive matter is put on.
Do we trust this Authority or not? The Opposition must be prepared to take a stand one way or the other on this point, because we are about to discuss a number of Amendments where our case rests upon the powers that we have given to the Authority. Do hon. Gentlemen opposite really think in their hearts that the Authority is not to be trusted? If they do, they should say so. If they really believe that we shall appoint a body of men and women to this Authority who are not to be trusted to carry out these powers, in honesty they ought to say, "We do not trust you. We do not believe that if the right men and women are appointed, they will do their jab."
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
How can the hon. Gentleman take up that attitude when he himself has said already that he does not envisage the Authority spending any money on studios. Does he not trust it?
§ Mr. Gammans
Well, on studios. What I have said is that if the Authority cannot get these programmes in any other way, it can arrange to put on the programmes itself. What is more, it has the money to pay for them. If hon. Gentlemen opposite are going to say, "We do not think you are appointing the 2330 right men and women," or if they are going to accuse the Government of deliberately appointing the wrong lot, they should say so, because the point is whether the Authority will or will not be a trustworthy body and whether it will take seriously the responsibilities laid upon it.
How do I envisage that this will work? That is a fair question. The way I imagine that the children's programmes—and also the educational programmes, if they come to this country—will work, is something like this—
§ Mr. Mitchison
Before the hon. Gentleman gets on to that point, will he reply to my question? Has the Authority any special responsibility about children? If it has, why is there not a word about it in the Bill?
§ Mr. Gammans
It has an overall responsibility towards everybody because of the Clause I have just referred to. I do not think there is need for special responsibility towards children. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Not if there is an overall responsibility closely defined, and what could be clearer than the Clause I have just referred to? [An HON. MEMBER: "As vague as anything."] Could anything be more comprehensive? How will it work? I do not know, because I am not to be a member of the Authority and neither is anybody else in this House; but I imagine that what the Authority will do will be to ask the programme contractors what are their ideas about children's programmes, and how they propose to put them on.
Is there to be any advertising attached to them? There may be or there may not. I do not see anything basically wrong in having selected advertisements at the beginning and end of a children's programme.
§ Mr. Gammans
I do not know about the schools; that will be for the local authorities to decide. But I cannot see anything intrinsically wrong with having children's advertisements selected by the Authority. I would remind hon. Members that the whole code of advertisement has not only to be agreed by the Authority but approved by the Postmaster-General.
2331 I imagine that what would happen would be that the Independent Television Authority would go to the programme contractors and say, "What are your ideas for a children's hour?" If those ideas were satisfactory and the programmes conformed to these very exact standards which we have laid down, the Authority would approve of them. If they did not, the Authority would not approve, and either there would not be a children's hour connected with that station, or the Authority would commission its own programmes and pay for them out of the money provided by Parliament. I cannot imagine anything more watertight than that.
I do not want to make an ordinary party debating point on this matter which is so important. Our interests on both sides of the Committee are identical. I do not want anything to go out on the air that is likely to be harmful to children. What Government would want to run the risk of allowing such programmes to go out? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yours."] I do not know whether I have convinced the right hon. Lady the Member for Fulham, West. Possibly I have not, but I cannot accept the assumption that anything that goes out from the programme contractors must necessarily, without any qualification, be a rotten programme. Neither can I accept the assumption that the Authority has not sufficient power to deal with such a question if it were to arise. Because I believe that the Amendment is quite unnecessary to achieve the end that we both have in view, I am afraid that I shall have to resist it.
§ Mr. Blackburn
I do not think that the Committee has ever listened to a more unsatisfactory speech than that which has just been made by the Assistant Postmaster-General. It seems quite evident from the general tenor of his speech that he does not really appreciate the seriousness of this problem. Yet every speech from the other side of the Committee has emphasised the dangers that exist here, because hon. Members opposite say that there must be more parental control, that parents can switch off or look up the television set or that teachers can switch off. Do they imagine that a teacher will switch a programme on and in the middle, on finding it most unsatisfactory, switch off?
2332 Surely it is our duty to protect the children. I am very sorry that the Minister of Education is not present. She ought to have attended a debate of this importance. The Government say, "No." I never knew a Government which was so good at using so many words and saying "No." The Assistant Postmaster-General entirely evades the problem when he says, "Do you not trust the advertisers?" Why has he put all these restrictions in the Bill if he trusts the advertisers? Surely we are not going to have television programmes for children, either at home or in the schools, which are dependent upon the whims of advertisers.
If speakers on the other side of the Committee come forward every time to say, "Do you not trust them?" we are getting no nearer the solution of this problem. That kind of response does away with the whole basis of argument. There are dangers here, and it is our duty as a Committee to take these necessary precautions. The Government have taken certain precautions in the provisions of the Bill, but they have not taken enough. We want to make quite certain that no advertising money shall be used on television programmes for children either at home or in the schools.
Hon. Members are quite aware of the report that has been published on children's programmes in America, and it is the fact that recently the first public corporation for the provision of children's television has been set up in America. If everything was so wonderfully satisfactory when it was left to the advertisers to provide programmes why has that public corporation been set up? In view of the time, I leave the matter there, but I appeal to the Government to look at it again. In spirit they may be with us, but they are not prepared to give way. The only Amendment on which the Government gives way is an Amendment from the pressure group on the back benches opposite.
§ Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)
As a teacher and colleague, as a member of the Royal Society of Teachers and of the National Union of Teachers, of the hon. Members for Itchen (Mr. Morley), Test (Dr. King) and Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Blackburn), whose speeches I greatly admired 2333 in many respects, it might be helpful if 1 were to put the point of view that we want on both sides of the Committee, first, to avoid bad programmes and, secondly, to have better programmes by giving greater variety. Where we differ is on the means of achieving these ends.
The right hon. Lady the Member for Fulham, West (Dr. Summerskill) seeks to achieve them in the Amendment, by giving a monopoly to the Independent Television Authority as the sole authority to create programmes for children, in parallel with the B.B.C. In contradistinction, we on this side of the Committee are anxious that the Independent Television Authority shall operate first as a selector of all that is good that is submitted to it by other creators of art in this field and, in default, that the Authority should have permission to do it itself if it is not satisfied with what is created. In other words, it is the general issue whether if one wants a job done in the field of art one should do it oneself or sit at the centre and select from what is submitted to one from as wide a circle as possible.
If it were an issue of providing art for children and we set up an art-producing authority, it would not be producing the best art if it were the only art authority which should create pictures for children. The Authority is in a far better position if it can select from as wide a field as possible. That seems to be the general principle within the field of book publishing, where a teacher is far better served in selecting from as wide a field as possible than would be the case if we had
§ a single publisher who alone produced that which the teacher might use.
§ I believe that that is the real solution to the problem of providing what both sides of the Committee desire, which is first to ensure that nothing bad goes over the air. If Clause 3 is not wide enough, let hon. Members opposite move an Amendment having a specific reference to children's programmes among the safeguards provided in Clause 3, but in ensuring that the best be made available let the Television Authority have the widest possible field of selection.
§ Miss Bacon
I am sure the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) would not wish to mislead the Committee. He mentioned at the beginning of his speech that he was a teacher and a member of the N.U.T., but I understand that his experience has not been in teaching in a school with children under 16 years of age. I hope he will also make clear that he was not speaking on behalf of any professional body of teachers, because the only professional body of teachers which has given any opinion on this matter was wholeheartedly in favour of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Pitman
I should not like to mislead anyone. I said that I am a member of the Royal Society of Teachers. So far as my teaching experience is concerned, it certainly has not been in an infant school, but I have had a certain amount in secondary schools.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 207; Noes, 226.2337
|Division No. 110.]||AYES||15.30 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Adams, Richard||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich>|
|ALBU, A. H.||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Edelman, M.|
|Allen, Scholefietd (Crewe)||Carmichael, J.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse>|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly>|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Champion, A. J.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Baird, J.||Chapman, W. D.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Clunie, J.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Bence, C. R.||Collick, P. H.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Benson, G.||Cove, W. G.||Follick, M.|
|Beswiok, F.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Foot, M. M.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Crosland, C. A. R.||Forman, J. C.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Blackburn, F.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Freeman, John (Watford)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Daines, P.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N|
|Blyton, W. R.||Daltott, Rt. Hon. H.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Boardman, H||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Gooch, E. G.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Davies, Ernert (Enfield, E.)||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Grey, C. F.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Deer, G.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Delargy, H. J||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Hale, Leslie||McLeavy, F.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, w.)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Hamilton, W W.||Mann Mrs. Jean||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Hannan, W.||Manuel, A. C.||Slater, Mrs, H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Hargreaves, A.||Mayhew, C. P.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgfield)|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Messer, Sir F.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Hastings, S.||Mikardo, Ian||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mitchison, G. R||Snow, J. W.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Moody, A. S.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Morley, R.||Steele, T.|
|Holman, P.||Moyle, A.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Holmes, Horace||Mulley, F. W.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Houghton, Douglas||Murray, J. D.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Nally, W.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Hudson, James (Eailng, N.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oldfield, W. H.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Oliver, G. H.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Oswald, T.||Thornton, E.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Padley, W. E.||Turner-Samuels, M|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Janner, B.||Paling, WilI T. (Dewsbury)||Viant, S. P.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Pannell, Charles||Watkins, T. E.|
|Jager, Mrs. Lena||Pargiter, G. A.||Weitzman, D.|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Parker, J.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Parkin, B T.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Plummer, Sir Leslie||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Popplewell, E.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham).||Porter, G.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Keenan, W.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Willey, F. T.|
|Kenyon, C.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Pryde, D. J.||WilIiams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Kinley, J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Willis, E. G.|
|Lawson, G. M.||Reeves, J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwiek)||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Lewis, Arthur||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Ross, William||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M||Royle, C.||Yates, V. F.|
|MacColl, J. E.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mclnnes, J||Short, E. W.||Mr John Taylor and Mr. George Rogers.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Glover, D.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Godber, J. B.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Gomme-Duncan, Col A|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Gower, H. R.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Crouch, R. F.||Grimond, J.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Harden, J. R. E.|
|Beach, Mai. Hicks||Davidson, Viscountess||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolten, E.)||Deedes, W. F.||Harris, Reader (HestoH)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Digby, S. Wingfield||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Donner, Sir P. W.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Birch, Niget||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hay, John|
|Bishop, F. P.||Drayson, G. B.||Heath, Edward|
|Black, C. W.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Duthie, W. S.||Hill, Mrs. S. (Wythenshawe)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Hinchingbrooke, Visoount|
|Beyle, Sir Edward||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Erroll, F. J.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. w. H.||Finlay, Graeme||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Fisher, Nigel||Horobin, I. M.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence|
|Bullard, D. G.||Fort, R.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Hurd, A. R.|
|Carr, Robert||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gammans, L. D.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Charsson, H||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Moore, Sir Thomas||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Mott-Radclyfle, C. E||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Neave, Airey||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Nicholls, Harmar||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Kaberry, D.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Speir, R. M.|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Nugent, G. R. H.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Stoodart-Scott, Col. M.)|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Storey, S.|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Osborne, C.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Page, R. G.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Perkins, Sir Robert||Studholme, H. G.|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Summers, H. G.|
|Longden, Gilbert||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Pitman, I. J.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Price, Henry (Lewisnam, W.)||Tilney, John|
|McAdder., S. J.||Profumo, j. D.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|MeCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S||Ramsden, J. E.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Retfmayne, M-||Turton, R. H.|
|Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Remnant, Hon. P.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Renton, D. L. M.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Ridsdale, J. E.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Macmillan), Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Walker-Smith, D. C|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Maitland, Comdr. J, F. W. (Hornocastle)||Roper, Sir Harold||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Russell, R. S.||Wellwood, W.|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Marples, A. E.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Maude, Angus||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C||Scott, R. Donald||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Mellor, Sir John||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Shepherd, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Vosper and Mr. Wills.|
Amendment proposed: In page 4, line 5, to leave out "themselves provide parts of programmes," and to insert:
arrange for the provision of parts of programmes otherwise than as aforesaid."—[Mr. Gammans.]
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. James H. Hoy)
For convenience, the Committee might deal, at the same time, with the hon. Gentleman's Amendment in page 4, line 11.
§ Mr. Edward Shackleton (Preston, South)
Are we not to have an explanation of the Amendment from the Government? It may be that the Assistant Postmaster-General has been confused by the decision which escaped the notice of the Committee, and to some extent, the notice of the Chair, when we were supposed to be discussing this Amendment with the Amendment relating to studios. On that occasion the Chair ruled that the discussion should be related to studios only.
The Government have given no reason why the Authority should not itself provide programmes. It was part of the undertakings given by the Government in 2338 this House and another place that the Authority should be free to put on its own programmes in order to obtain a proper balance. Now, as a result of doctrinaire prejudice in favour of private enterprise—hon. Gentlemen opposite have never ceased in this debate to justify their actions by saying that it is better for private enterprise to do the job—the Government are going back upon an undertaking which was understood to be specific by people who are interested in the matter, namely, that the Authority should be free and in a position to put on its own programme.
Now the Authority will no longer be free to do so except in time of emergency. It will have to put the programmes out to contractors. This will cost more, and it will run away with more of the taxpayers' money. This Measure is characteristic of many of the Government's actions. This is the most scandalous action that the Government has taken in regard to the Bill. The Government realised the real measure of criticism and complaint which existed in the country. They made certain concessions to assuage public feeling. Then, because 2339 of the criticism of hon. Gentlemen opposite and, in particular, certain gentlemen outside the House who are particularly interested in the development of programme companies and who have said that they are not interested in the Bill unless they have a big opportunity of making profit, they have now given everything away because they are afraid that their scheme will break down.
The Government have produced no justification at all for what they are doing. The Assistant Postmaster-General, who knows that he gave no adequate explanation to the Committee last night, calmly says "I beg to move," and leaves it like that. I hope that the Committee will be given some explanation. We may not have time to divide on the Amendment. However, we have every intention of opposing everything in the Bill that we consider evil and of voting for everything which we think it would be good to have in the Bill. There are other Amendments of this type on which we shall divide if we can. It is part of the general Guillotine process that we have not adequate opportunity to discuss all these matters.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Gammans
The only reason why I did not rise to explain this Amendment was that I was under the impression that what I said yesterday on a similar Amendment covered it. For the sake of the Opposition, I did not want to waste any more time than need be wasted, and I was hoping that that would be accepted by the Opposition. I hope that the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackle-ton) will accept what I have to say in that spirit.
The only object of the Amendment is to clarify not so much what is to happen, but the Government's intention towards the Bill. We want to make it clear that the normal method of providing programmes will be through programme contractors. The hon. Gentleman suggested that we had altered something fundamental. We have altered nothing fundamental. We always anticipated that the normal method of providing programmes would be through programme contractors. We have now tried to remove any doubt that there may be on that point. There is nothing particularly significant about the Amendment; 2340 all it does is clarify the Government's intentions.
I do not think that hon. Members always realise that the programmes on the B.B.C. are not all prepared by the B.B.C. itself; the B.B.C. commissions the preparation of many programmes. That is exactly what is to be done in the case of the Authority.
§ Mr. Gammans
I am about to tell the hon. Gentleman, and he must not anticipate my speech. The idea is held that every programme which goes out over the B.B.C. network is produced by the B.B.C. It is nothing of the sort. The B.B.C. has its own staff, but an enormous percentage of its programmes are commissioned from other persons. For instance, in the case of sport, the B.B.C. does not have its own team of tame runners or boxers to put on. Programmes are also transmitted from West End theatres. The idea of commissioning programmes, is not at all new. What the Government are doing here is to give what we consider to be the right emphasis upon our intentions in relation to the Authority and that is our only reason for the Amendment.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
We have not time to deal with what I regard as a gross betrayal. The hon. Gentleman cannot deny his own words. In the White Paper of November, 1953, we were told that the Authority would have the right to produce its own programmes. It could buy or contract for programmes prepared by outside bodies, but the right to produce its own programme was an essential part of the plan.
The hon. Gentleman has denied what he said yesterday. He said yesterday that the Authority would be entitled in the last resort to put on its own programmes. The effect of the Amendment is to take that right away from the Authority. If the hon. Gentleman is going to trust the Authority, about which he has made so much play, ought he not to trust it in this matter, or is he going to tell it that it cannot do anything at all for itself? This is where the hon. Gentleman is meeting himself coming back.
I notice that he has just been looking at the 1953 White Paper. The only conclusion that I can reach is that the Autho- 2341 rity, which was intended to perfect the new use of the medium of television, is now being delivered completely into the hands of the programme companies, that the log-rollers from the back benches opposite have got their way and that the element of decency in the Cabinet has been entirely thwarted by the tactics of hon. Gentlemen opposite.
I am sorry that we have not time to divide on this Amendment. The fact that we do not divide is no indication that we are not feeling very gravely disturbed by what is being done by the Amendment.
§ Mr. Philip Bell
The point to which—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, and I will give you something to think of, too. I was glad to hear the "compliments "that were paid to the Cabinet —[HON. MEMBERS: "To some Members."]—Yes, to some Members. I hope you—I hope hon. Members—will tell the other half—
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
On a point of order, Mr. Hoy. The hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) has been referring to you. I wonder if you have been guilty of any of these things with which he charges you, or whether now, at this late stage, the hon. and learned Gentleman should be corrected?
§ The Temporary Chairman
The hon. and learned Gentleman ought to refer to "Hon. Members" and not address the Chair as "you." But I did not interrupt him because I understood that the Committee wished to make progress.
§ Mr. James Simmons (Brierley Hill)
On a point of order, Mr. Hoy. Is it in order for the hon. and learned Member to accuse you of pulling off a good trick?
§ The Temporary Chairman
It certainly would not be in order, but I thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman was having words with hon. Members opposite. Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman will now address himself to the Amendment.
§ Mr. Bell
I wish to voice a few remarks about the repetition that is going on. The issue is abundantly clear. On 2342 one side we want programme contractors to do the job. That principle is attacked by hon. Members opposite who have put down various Amendments. The arguments have been exhaustively examined. They are not strengthened by repetition, or possibly even by speeches. I do not think that they are assisted much by referring to persons who take this view as holding doctrinaire views. The hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) talked about doctrinaire views.
The point at issue is quite clear. I only intended to rise in order to say how unnecessary it is to make these continual, very ineffective, very ungallant, very unskilled and not particularly witty attacks upon the Assistant Postmaster-General.
§ Mr. Shackleton
May I draw the attention of the hon. and learned Member to the fact that I was quoting from a speech made outside by Lord Hailsham?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)
I beg to move, in page 4, line 10, at the end, to insert:in particular (and so that such items shall not be provided by programme contractors) items of a religious character, and.According to the proposals of the Government the programmes shall not be provided by the Authority. But the Authority may, according to the intention of the Government, none the less provide parts of programmes for the sake of a "proper balance" and because there are some things which, in the words of the Bill,cannot … be provided by programme contractors.In this Amendment we provide that programme contractors shall not produce programmes—we do not say "may not" but "shall not"—or parts of programmes of a religious character; and that they be entirely separated from such a function.
With the development of public advertising in the last few years, as applied to religious organisations, there may be for some a temptation to adopt an easy attitude towards programme contractors. Even in the field of religion one knows of the illuminated cross, the floodlit dome, the hoardings, and Billy Graham, and all that can be seen in connection with public advertising where religion is concerned. None the less, there is a great 2343 underlying seriousness about this matter on the part of the majority of the community.
I say that, generally, all hon. Members—including those who are not associated with any particular church or religious organisation—would not care to see any easy attitude adopted regarding the right of advertising contractors to use religious questions in order to make money. Where advertising contractors are concerned the making of money is involved, and if there is any association of religion with the money-making process it is generally to the detriment of religion. For that reason the necessity to keep the two entirely apart is of first-class importance.
I speak as one who wishes to see continued the growing seriousness regarding religious questions, and the opportunity for their more effective consideration in a widening sector of the community. I believe that will be prejudiced if we do not come to a clear understanding that there is no scope for the advertising contractor where religious questions are concerned.
It was the dictum of Lord Reith that religious broadcasting should be of such a character that what was broadcast would be—to use his words—within the main stream of Christian tradition.That was as Lord Reith saw it. But now we are going further.
There have been television broadcasts recently making clear what is Mohammedanism and Buddhism, and what the Jewish religion stands for. They were very effective broadcasts. I think that they have given rise to understanding and sympathy and of tolerance for other religious beliefs which is one of the finest attributes of our modern British democracy. Indeed, in my judgment, the impressive and effective portrayal of beliefs which we do not accept—but which we ought to understand when they are held by so many of our fellow citizens—has been the finest part of the work of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
It is not a field, however, in which it is in any sense appropriate to introduce innovations by advertising contractors. I know there are possibilities in that 2344 direction, and that the advertising contractor could make something out of it if he were permitted to enter that field. But I should not like to see him there, with any dramatic flashes which he might provide from the Scriptures and religious history.
I have been deeply moved by the dramatised versions of the Prodigal Son, the story surrounding the life of Everyman, or what I would call the apology for Pilate that was televised on a recent Sunday, although I did not feel very much impressed when the Red Sea was divided on the television screen—yes, actually divided—so that we could see the Israelites go through. I think that sometimes one can perhaps go a little too far.
I am quite certain that this work of bringing dramatised versions of great religious events in human history in a new and better light, and perhaps a more sympathetic light, to the masses of the community has been very well done, and that it should continue to be done, by an indpendent corporation which takes the advice of a religious advisory committee. Although I think that work could be improved, this is not the time to raise that question. It could be made more representative of many trends of thought, but still the job has been done extremely well, and there ought to be no risk at all of this type of work coming into the hands of the programme contractors.
With these considerations in mind, I ask the House to deal with this Amendment sympathetically—and more than sympathetically, as a matter of duty, considering that we are speaking here for a Christian nation. I know that the religious community with which I am connected does not care to involve itself at any time in what may be called the formalisms of religion, and accepts the view that from all manner and condition of men a religious message may come, according to the way in which the spirit moves men and women to give that message.
I am only saying that the programme contractor's particular job is in a field far removed from religion and that it will be an ill thing if we should leave any possibility of his entering into the religious field. Although I should like to take a much longer time in moving the Amendment, I confine myself to saying 2345 that this is a matter about which I feel very seriously, that I hope we shall not permit this great work to come within the purview of the advertising contractor, and that it should be a matter only for the Corporation.
§ Squadron Leader A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)
The subject of this Amendment is one upon which there can be no party opinion, but it is a matter upon which we should spend a few minutes with very deep concern. We always listen to the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) because on those subjects upon which he speaks he always engages our sympathy, because we know that he expresses views which are sincerely held. I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman about this Amendment, and I think that he has overlooked one or two facts in our modern world, in which this particular job is being done unexceptionably.
I should like to say a word or two about the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew), and I hope he will not take amiss anything I now say. The hon. Gentleman has presented a number of programmes, extending over the past few weeks, by means of which other religious points of view have been put before us. Let us get down to fundamentals. The hon. Gentleman is, in fact, a programme contractor himself, and he receives fees from the B.B.C. for producing these programmes.
In fact, to use the words of the hon. Member for Ealing, North, the hon. Gentleman is making money out of these religious programmes. I have not heard anybody in this House or outside complain at all of the merits of these programmes, or of the sincerity with which they have been presented, and I should like to ask the hon. Member for Ealing, North why, if the hon. Member for Woolwich, East can present programmes in that way, the hon. Member for Ealing, North should feel that other people in the community would be actuated by baser motives?
My second point is this. For many years now, the cinema industry, both here and abroad, has produced religious films—films of very deep sincerity—and, again, I have never heard any criticism of the merits or otherwise of those films. I know that there may be different points of view on this issue, but I think that the 2346 moral force which is found among people in this country will be sufficiently strong to prevent any exploitation of religion for private profit motives, and for that reason I do not believe that it is necessary to provide a sanction in this Bill in order to prevent it
§ Mr. Mayhew
I am sure that both sides of the Committee appreciate the spirit of this discussion. As reference has been made to me, perhaps I may be allowed to say a word or two. I would distinguish between doing a job for payment and putting on a programme with the intention of giving the best possible programme in the circumstances.
Fundamentally, I am wholly opposed to commercial television, but I think that if those who have the responsibility of making the programmes the best they possibly can have to keep looking over their shoulders lest it might be thought that there is a different motive, I am sure that the integrity and standard of the programmes will decline.
I hope very much that the Assistant Postmaster-General will accept this Amendment, because I think we can reach an agreement satisfactory to both sides of the Committee. As I understand it, there will be religious broadcasts in a different class from all other forms of broadcasts. That is the issue, and I understand that an assurance has already been given that there will be no advertising in any way at all. I therefore hope that that will mean that the Assistant Postmaster-General will accept the Amendment, because it seems to me that it will be most appropriate not to have these programmes produced by the programme contractors.
After all, we have to ask ourselves what qualifications the programme contractors will have which the Authority will not have. What are the differences between programme contractors and the Authority which, fundamentally, make them, rather than the Authority, the best people to do that job? The outstanding difference—and I am not complaining about it, is that the motive behind the programme contractors is to make profit. That is to their advantage, from the point of view of hon. Members opposite, and, to some exent, to their disadvantage from our point of view, but no one denies it.
The second difference is that the profits come from commercial advertising, be- 2347 cause the Authority is not expecting to get much revenue. The third difference between the programme companies and the Authority—and this goes all the way through this Bill—is that the Government consider the Authority to have a higher standard of social responsibility than the programme contractors. These are the three essential points on which the programme contractors differ from the Authority. They are less qualified to undertake this work than the Authority itself, and I am, therefore, hoping that on those grounds, the Assistant Postmaster-General will accept this Amendment.
In any case, perhaps the hon. Gentleman would make quite clear who bears the cost of these programmes, under whatever idea he has in mind. How do they differ, in finance and other ways, from other programmes and will any money be made out of giving these religious programmes? Surely this is a case where the Government can bow to the universal will and let hon. Members vote according to their consciences. If ever there was a case for a free vote it is on an Amendment like this. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept the Amendment, remembering that a similar Amendment was put down by hon. Members behind him and, if he cannot accept the line we are taking, that we can decide this matter without party considerations.
§ Captain Orr
I appreciate the tone of both the speeches that have been made. I share the anxiety of hon. Members that religious broadcasting on television should be of the character which we all want to see, and that no features which a person of deep religious feeling would regard as repugnant should enter into them. I have almost an interest in this matter, in that my father is a clergyman. One must always be careful in those circumstances.
The fears expressed by hon. Members opposite are, I think, quite unnecessary. What they want is already provided for, in a way, in the Bill. If they will look at the top of page 6 of the Bill they will see that the Authority shallin particular, appoint, or arrange for the assistance of, a religious advisory committee representative of the main streams of religious thought in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands to advise the programme contractors and the Authority on 2348 any religious services or other matter of a religious nature.…Let us look at the position. Suppose there were no Authority at all. Suppose a programme contractor were compiling a programme; he would probably decide that it would be proper to put on religious broadcasts, and that the British public and British viewers would not care to see advertising connected with them. It would be very likely that the religious, broadcasts he put on would be in no way repugnant to the people he expected to be looking at them, and that there would be no advertising connected with them. The contractor would probably carry those broadcasts as a non-commercial item, and almost an obligation upon him, in order to raise the prestige of his programmes. I would not put it beyond a programme contractor that his motive might sincerely be to forward a particular religious belief.
As we are to have the Authority, there will be an additional safeguard. As a condition of any contract that the Authority may make with a programme contractor who leases the transmitter from it, the Authority may say, "Before we lease the transmitter to you we insist on your putting on a certain proportion of religious broadcasting every week, including a service on Sunday morning," or whenever it may be. "We also insist that there shall be no advertising in those broadcasts and that you shall take the advice of the religious advisory council envisaged in the Bill. We are prepared to pay you the cost of putting, on those broadcasts."
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
This may not be a good opportunity to discuss the principle, owing to the limited time at our disposal on this Amendment, but how can the Authority lay down that condition? It says, "We insist upon your having a haft-hour religious broadcast on Sunday." The programme contractor decides what it will be. He says, "Very well. I shall put on the Hollywood story of the Crucifixion, with Miss Rita Hayworth as the Virgin Mary." If the hon. and gallant Member agrees with that, I have lost the power to argue with him. If the contractor is now to decide the suitability and appropriateness of the programme and not the Authority, why should not the-Amendment be accepted?
§ Captain Orr
The answer to the hon. Gentleman is that the Authority can make conditions in the contract and will have ample power to see that the conditions of the contract are carried out. It can insist, if it wishes, that the religious programmes put on by the programme contractor shall be in accordance with the wishes of the religious advisory committee envisaged in the Bill. It will be easy for the Authority to make that a condition of the contract.
§ Mr. Hale
Perhaps I can make my views clear in one sentence. We shall get one of two things: either the Authority will say to the programme contractor, "These are our conditions, and you must submit your religious programmes to the religious advisory committee for approval by them," in which case the Authority is doing it and the programme contractor has no rights in the matter; or the Authority will not do it. In the latter case it is clear that the programme contractor can please himself about what to put on. The only condition will be in the allocation of time.
§ Captain Orr
I do not think it would be quite like that. In one case, the Authority will lay conditions upon the programme contractor, who will use his equipment and his staff. If the Authority has to do it, it will have to use its equipment and its staff, which will be there simply for religious purposes. If we permit the Authority to have studios, equipment and staff for one particular purpose it will eventually say, "These have been provided partly out of public funds and it would be wrong to keep them idle except for putting on religious services every Sunday. We ought to use them during the week." In other words, the Authority would tend to become another B.B.C.
We feel that the Authority cannot carry out its full duty of seeing that religious television is presented in a way which the people and the churches of the country will approve without having all the paraphernalia of studios, equipment and staff. The issue between the two sides of the Committee is not on the character or quality of religious broadcasts, but on whether the Authority shall do it or shall insist that the programme contractor shall do it; in other words whether private enterprise shall do it or not.
§ Mr. Shackleton
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is in favour of religious broadcasts by private enterprise?
§ Captain Orr
Yes. What is wrong with that? I hope that my hon. Friend will resist the Amendment for the reasons that I have given.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
Our Amendment seeks merely to do something which the whole country thought would be done. It was thought that in order to secure a proper balance the Authority would itself be responsible for the provision of certain programmes, and that one of its responsibilities would be the handling of religious services and so on. The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) said that in that respect our fears were unnecessary.
§ Mr. Ross
I took the hon. Member's-words down. He said that our fears were unnecessary. If we are religious at all we must have such fears, and in view of the speech in which the hon. and gallant Member tried to justify the Government's action it is very necessary that we should express them. He might be correct in saying that our fears are unjustified but not that they are unnecessary.
On the earlier Amendments we were told that we should trust the Independent Television Authority. On later Amendments we were told that we should trust the programme contractors. That is what we have again been told by the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South with regard even to religious services. We have been told that we have to trust the programme contractors with matters relating to news. We have to trust them; with the education and the proper entertainment of our children. If the speeches from below the Gangway opposite are representative it seems that there is nothing which the party opposite is not prepared to hand over to the programme contractors.
I think it is disgraceful. I am sorry that the Home Secretary has left his place. It is very noticeable that the Secretary of State for Scotland has never appeared on the Front Bench during the whole of the debates on the Television Bill. He probably remembers when the first television station in Scotland was opened, and he had the Moderator of the 2351 Church of Scotland by his side. They did not think then that even religious services were to be handed over to people whose interest in providing programmes, it has been admitted by the hon. Member for Down, South, is purely monetary.
If there is one thing with which the programme contractors should not be connected it is surely religious matters. It is all very well to say that they will provide nice services. Their job is not to provide one part of a programme but the programme for a whole day. They will decide where they will put in the religious matter from the point of view of building up a climate which is suitable for the advertising that is coming immediately afterwards. That will be their whole approach, even to religion.
I wonder if there is nothing sacred to hon. Members opposite? I ask them to forget for a minute their purely mundane interest. I appeal to the Assistant Postmaster-General to say that our fears are justified—they are the fears of millions of people and of the churches in this country—that he respects them and will accept our Amendment.
§ Sir R. Grimston
When my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper) raised a point concerning the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) he did so with an inoffensiveness which I hope to equal. Nevertheless, I was interested in the reply of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East because I think it showed how his mind works on this subject. I believe that he produces a series of religious broadcasts for the B.B.C. I understood him to say that were he asked to do the same thing for a programme contractor—paid by the Television Authority from the £750,000 which is being allocated for that purpose—he would feel that he could not do it because—apart from his own particular programme—the programme contractor was tainted by advertising revenue. I think I am putting the point fairly.
§ Sir R. Grimston
Then I take it that were he asked he would accept a commission to do a broadcast for a programme contractor?
§ Mr. Mayhew
I was not trying to drag myself into this debate at all. I do not 2352 want to discuss my personal views, but if I must answer, I say that I should certainly not appear on commercial television, especially for a religious series—no.
§ Sir R. Grimston
Perhaps he knows as much about offensiveness as he knows about groundnuts.
I am talking now about the hon. Member for Woolwich, East. He feels that he could not accept a commission from a programme contractor who derives part of his revenue from advertising. I wonder if he would extend that refusal to the writing of a religious article for a newspaper, which can only sell at a certain price, because of its advertising revenue? It seems an extraordinary attitude. I cannot believe that he would refuse to write a religious article for the "Listener," which is a B.B.C. publication and which can only circulate at its present price because of its enormous advertising revenue.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I understood my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) to deny that he said anything whatever about his particular views in this matter. The hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston), has now spent many minutes discussing what appears to be a purely personal question affecting my hon. Friend. May I ask, Mr. Hoy, if the hon. Member should not direct his attention rather more closely to the subject matter of the Amendment?
§ The Temporary Chairman
The hon. Member for Westbury must, of course, accept responsibility for what he is saying, but I think that he might come more specifically to the matter now under discussion.
§ Sir R. Grimston
The hon. Member for Woolwich, East was good enough to say that he would not accept a commission from a programme contractor. I am 2353 trying to show that lie is very inconsistent. II he would accept a commission from a newspaper, the revenue of which is based on advertising, he is applying to commercial companies in broadcasting an ethic he would not apply to the Press. That is inconsistent, and is one of the reasons why I say that this Amendment should be rejected. That is the trend of my argument, and I think that it is perfectly logical. What we on this side of the Committee are arguing here is exactly what we have argued on every Amendment since last night. That is the basic difference between the two sides of the Committee.
§ Mr. J. Hudson
Before the hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston) leaves this monetary point, which seems to have impressed him very much, I wonder if he would agree that, on the authority of a recently prepared statement by the Rev. Francis House on B.B.C. religious broadcasting, those engaged in broadcasting the services receive no payment at all? Those engaged in the technical job of preparing the means by which the message may be put over are, of course, carrying out paid work. When the hon. Member was speaking I felt that an emphasis was being placed on the matter that was not fair to the tremendous amount of purely voluntary work now done in connection with religious broadcasting.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Sir R. Grimston
I am sure there is a great deal of voluntary work going on, but I think it is not denied that there is some religious broadcasting, particularly in the form of plays, to which the hon. Member for Woolwich, East referred, which is paid for. The hon. Gentleman did not himself deny that he was being paid for the programme that he is now doing on television. I do not want to put emphasis one way or the other. We are back again to exactly the same arguments that we have already had. Hon. Members opposite wish the State authority to do the broadcasting, and we say that it is reasonable, proper and right that a programme contractor should be able to.
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
With respect to the hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston), this is not the same question that we have been discussing on other Amendments. It is quite a different ques- 2354 tion and, indeed, it is a much more fundamental question. It is not a question of whether one person or another person would be prepared, in certain given circumstances, to accept a fee from a programme contractor or from the B.B.C. for talking about religion. I am perfectly prepared to accept that under either publicly-run television or privately-run television there might perhaps be perfectly sincere and objective addresses on religion.
I do not disguise from myself the fact, for example, that Bishop Sheen was one of the most successful persons appearing on television in the United States. I do not deny the possibilities of perfectly objective talks being given about religion under any system of television. That is not the issue. The issue here is quite different. The reason why I am hoping that the Assistant Postmaster-General will accept this Amendment, which is an entirely non-party one, is this. One of the difficulties which face us in this Committee is that we do not yet know how the Authority is going to run these programme contractors.
From all that we have heard, there may be different programme contractors for different days of the week.
§ Mr. Fletcher
The hon. and gallant Gentleman says "Heaven forbid," but I am saying that we do not know. Is there going to be more than one programme contractor for London alone?
§ Mr. Fletcher
Is that so? I do not know. Can the Assistant Postmaster-General help us? Is there going to be one programme contractor or more than one in London?
§ Mr. Gammans
I am not quite sure what this has to do with the Amendment, but as I have been asked the question I will answer it. That is a matter which the Authority must decide.
§ Mr. Fletcher
We are completely in the dark.
I think it is right to say, however—and this is my information from discussions which have taken place with the Post Office—that one method which the Post Office is already considering is to 2355 enable various programme contractors, perhaps two or three, to put on programmes for different days of the week.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I agree that it is in the Bill, but I should like the Assistant Postmaster-General to help us if he can.
Either there is going to be one programme contractor in London, in which case there will be a monopoly, which I gather hon. Members opposite do not want—a monopoly competing with the B.B.C.—
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)
At the moment I do not follow what this has to do with the Amendment.
§ Mr. Fletcher
It will become apparent in a moment, Sir Rhys. Or else, if there is going to be more than one programme contractor, then the various programme contractors will have to divided among themselves the time available.
How is Sunday to be dealt with as compared with the other days of the week? I am concerned with what I think the whole country is concerned with—to ensure that the programmes that are transmitted over any alternative television service on a Sunday are different from those which are transmitted on the other days of the week. Since television was introduced, the B.B.C. has made a praiseworthy effort, which has been universally appreciated, of differentiating between the tone of Sunday programmes and the tone of programmes on the other days in the week.
One of the essential features of the B.B.C. sound and television broadcasts is that far more attention is given to religious services on Sundays than on any other day of the week, and I hope that that feature will continue under any system of alternative television. I should like to know, therefore, whether the same programme contractor who is entrusted with the responsibility of providing programmes on the six weekdays or on some of the six weekdays is also to be responsible for providing programmes on a Sunday—
§ Mr. Fletcher
—or whether there are to be two or three different programme contractors.
If there is to be a kind of "fair shares for all" arrangement for the applicants to become programme contractors, how is Sunday going to be dealt with? Is Sunday going to be dealt with on the same basis as the other six days of the week? If so, we shall find that the programme contractor responsible for Sunday—when, as my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) says, there is a larger audience than on any other day of the week—will be driven to put on more commercial, more competitive and more attractive programmes in order to attract the greater potential advertising revenue there is on a Sunday compared with any other day of the week.
I am not contesting the general issue. I am advocating the case for preserving the essentially English characteristics of Sunday. I am not speaking as a Sabbatarian. I was one of those who did not support the Motion relating to Sunday games.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I may be a complete simpleton in these matters, but on this occasion I am appealing to what I regard as the finer and better instincts of hon. Members opposite. As my hon. Friend says, they were in the forefront in seeking to prevent Sunday games in Battersea Park.
What are they going to do about the preservation of our Sunday, particularly as it affects everybody in the home—because far more people are in their homes on Sundays than on any other day of the week. That is the day when the family are all together in the home. Is a programme contractor going to be given the opportunity of competing for the Sunday audience on the same basis that other programme contractors will be able to compete for the audience on weekdays? If so, that will be the end of the distinctive kind of television services that at present the B.B.C. transmits on Sundays.
2357 If a programme contractor is given the whole of the available time on a Sunday and has to attract the maximum advertising revenue, how will that contractor be able to provide the kind of religious services to which the listeners and the viewers have been accustomed on Sundays? How will the B.B.C. television service, with its present edifying programme of religious services, be able to compete with a purely commercialised programme on Sunday.
Whatever else is done about religious broadcasts during the week, it is absolutely essential that the Authority should reserve to itself complete responsibility for all Sunday programmes. Whatever may be the context of Sunday programmes, if we are to preserve the English Sunday that will be the day when there must be a solid and substantial ingredient, as there is now, of religious services. The Authority can do that and still provide the rest of the programme. This is the real test. Even if the Government are committed to commercialising television, and perhaps vulgarising it—they say they will not do that, but let us assume that they do that on the six other days of the week—I urge them to reserve to the Authority the sole responsibility for Sunday programmes.
It is no answer to say that the British Council of Churches or another religious advisory body is to be consulted about religious services. It will be consulted for an entirely different reason; namely, in order to ensure that there is a balanced presentation of the views of different religions both during the week and on Sunday. That is essential. In a country which has benefited from religious toleration for so many centuries, it would be intolerable if one denomination were given preference over any other.
§ Mr. Philip Bell
Is that not stating rather narrowly the task of the religious advisory authority? It is stated that it will advise:…or any religious services or other matter of a religious nature….It is not merely the rationing of religious services; it is more than that.
§ Mr. Fletcher
That does not give the body any power to ensure that any religious service at all will be broadcast.
§ Mr. Fletcher
There is nothing in that to secure the objective which those of us who are supporting the Amendment have in mind.
In view of the arguments which my hon. Friends and I have advanced, I hope that the Assistant Postmaster-General will give most sympathetic consideration to the Amendment.
§ Mr. Pitman
Clause 3 says:It. shall be the duty of the Authority to secure that …the programmes maintain a proper balance in their subject-matter….Does not the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) feel that the Authority is thereby bound to ensure that on Sundays the subject-matter is of a different character from that on Mondays?
§ Mr. Fletcher
That is utterly useless. It does not provide any safeguard at all for the objectives that we have in mind.
§ Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
I am glad that the Amendment has been discussed without any party rancour. It is obviously a matter into which party politics does not enter.
We previously discussed the influence which television might have on education in future. It was generally said in the Committee that the influence might be very great indeed. With all deference, I feel that there is no facet of our British life which is likely to be more effected by television than religion. I believe it is true to say that the outstanding feature of the Coronation Service was the impact which the religious service had upon the homes of this country.
The authorities who were consulted advised at the beginning that the Coronation Service should not be televised because they did not feel that the people could be trusted to treat it in the reverent spirit to which it was entitled. They were, fortunately, overruled by the general feeling in the House that the service should be televised. The service was televised, and surely the lesson was that our religious leaders are personalities of tremendous impact. For the first time in this country 20 million people knew what the Archbishop of Canterbury looked like, and they respected him and wanted to know more about the whole religious service and the religious background. The power of religion can be 2359 brought into every home in the country through the medium of television. Therefore, all of us are anxious to ensure that the television service is in responsible hands and will not in any way be abused.
I am opposed to the Authority being responsible for the creation of religious programmes for the same reason for which I was opposed to its being responsible for the creation of the news programmes, the education programmes and the children's programmes; namely, because it ties up a very considerable staff and it is necessary to have a lot of equipment for a relatively small purpose, which is uneconomic.
Moreover, if the Authority were itself the only creator of religious programmes, it would have to be excessively cautious. Hon. Members will remember that one of the themes running through the Beveridge Report was the slight disadvantage suffered by the B.B.C. in that it had to be desperately careful not to represent minority opinions on religion, and the need for it to fall over backwards in order not to be controversial about religion meant that some of the colour went out of religion and its religious programme. I believe that by leaving the religious programmes to be created and presented by the programme contractors from churches all over the country and fed into the I.T.A. transmitters in that way, we shall get the diversity of treatment and the freshness of outlook which is absolutely essential if we are to keep religion alive in this country.
I hope that my hon. Friend will resist the Amendment. It is all for the good of religion that we should have the stimulation of fresh outlooks and fresh minds. I believe that the impact of religion in our homes will have a very much greater effect if the Amendment is resisted.
§ Sir L. Plummer
One of the arguments adduced for the rejection of the Amendment is that, if the I.T.A. were to be responsible for broadcasting religious services, it would tie up a considerable amount of equipment and occupy the time of a large number of staff. Supposing that were true—and I do not deny it—does it matter?
§ Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
I ought to have added the point that it would create a second B.B.C, which leads to the suppression of minority opinion.
§ Sir L. Plummer
I accept what the hon. Gentleman says about the tying up of staff and equipment for the purpose, but I do not accept his argument that the proposal would lead to a second B.B.C. If it did tie up a considerable amount of equipment and occupied the time of a large number of staff, would it not be worth it? Is not the projection of religious tenets worth some sacrifice and effort?
I can see the point made by the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing). It is different from the point made by his hon. Friend the Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston), who pursued the course which he has followed throughout the Committee stage of going on the side of making as much money as one can out of this situation. As to the grim dilemma which men have faced throughout the ages as to whether they should choose God or Mammon, nobody is surprised if the hon. Member for West-bury chooses Mammon. The hon. Member for Hendon, North put the point with infinitely more sincerity and much more palatably to the Committee.
Surely the needs of the day are that religious understanding and appreciation should be available to everybody, and to say that this cannot be given because the equipment and staff are going to be swamped, is to deny the needs of the country. I put it to the Assistant Postmaster-General that this is really, despite what the hon. Member for West-bury has said, not a party issue. There was until yesterday on the Order Paper a most important Amendment put down by the hon. and gallant Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Colonel Gomme-Duncan). I do not know what pressure was put upon him to take it off the Order Paper. I cannot imagine what influences got him to take it off. He was supported by another hon. Member from the Government benches.
There is in the House, as outside it, a real feeling that the attitude of the Government towards Sunday broadcasting is one that is really objectionable. Sunday will be the big day in commercial television. It is the big day in radio and the big day in television today. That is what 2361 the advertiser wants. Luxembourg, Athlone and other sound stations put on their biggest programmes on Sundays. It costs more to buy time on a Sunday than on any other day of the week.
I am not going to argue that we do not want a continental Sunday in this country. I think that is a cliché which means nothing at all. But I do argue that if the advertiser is to create the climate for the commercials he must be all the more determined to do that at a time when he is having to pay a high rate for the time he is occupying. If he is doing this on a Sunday he will not be ready to put on programme which he regards as not being of the right kind for the commercials and not appealing to the broadest mass of the listeners. No one is going to put on a programme which appeals to the few. The medium will be too expensive. It must be a programme that appeals to the greatest number of people. If the advertiser finds that religion is not appealing to the greatest number of people, he will not use it.
Therefore, we shall get on Sundays something which I am certain the Home Secretary, at least, does not want to be produced. As I say, this is a non-party issue. I do not believe that hon. Members on the Government benches want to go to their constituents and tell the members of the churches in their constituencies that they have voted in favour of advertisers being allowed to put on religious broadcasts on Sundays. I do not believe that they will want to do that. I do not know why they are giving support for that line. I can understand some hon. Members opposite who have admitted to having an interest in this business arguing like that, but it is a sad state when it is argued by hon. Members, like the hon. Member for Westbury, who have confessed to having no interest in this at all. What saddens the Committee is the spectacle of an hon. Member such as the hon. Member for Westbury supporting so retrograde a Clause as this.
§ Sir R. Grimston
I think that I owe an apology to the hon. Member who made some references about me, but I must give it to him that he knows more about being offensive than he did about groundnuts.
§ Mr. Philip Bell
When dealing with matters of religion one has to tread very 2362 carefully indeed and say nothing to hurt anyone's susceptibilities. I give way to no man in my loyalty to my own particular religion, and I approach this matter from the point of view of whether it helps the preaching of the word of God. That is the test.
One of the things which interested me about this Television Bill was whether it would provide another avenue for passing on an important message to mankind. This service certainly will provide another angle, and our only dispute is how the message should be put across. On the one hand, I agree with the hon. Gentleman who said that this matter must be delicately handled. He said that the board of the I.T.A., which is to be composed of people not chosen for any religious capabilities, should organise, carry out, and select the principle religious items which are to be broadcast. That is one point of view. I believe it to be founded on the view that this is such an important matter that no risk should be taken. That is the argument which has been used about children, about news and about everything to which people attach great importance.
I appreciate that argument, but it depends upon believing that this body itself, by going straight and direct, so to speak, at its objective, is better placed than any other agency or means for securing its objective. It endeavours to give it duties such as the B.B.C. carries out. One difficulty which I see is that it is likely to make it stereotyped. That is to say, the whole idea of how a religious item should be presented, may be kept in a very narrow form because of the precedents set by the B.B.C, and there may be unwillingness to make experiments.
§ Mr. C. R. Hobson (Keighley)
Would the hon. and learned Member agree that it would be very difficult for the Unitarians, for instance, a rather small but important sect, to get time on the air for their services?
§ Mr. Bell
I do not think that it would be very difficult. I am not, however, well-instructed on this. I do not know how much time they get at the moment. I am afraid that they are rather crushed out. I think that under the system proposed they will have a better chance, as I will explain in a moment.
2363 For instance, television at the moment does not use the hours between six and seven p.m. for any religious ceremony at all. I should have thought it possible, if people were reasonable and not too jealous of each other, for any religious body to buy time from a programme contractor in order to put out their particular programme. What is the objection to that?
A particular denomination, such as the hon. Gentleman has referred to, could say, "We have an important preacher here, there is a big congress going on, there is a special message from an annual conference. But it is not thought good enough news for the B.B.C." Some programme contractor, however, who has got this time available, could say to the supporters of that body, "We can give you the time." How does Bishop Fulton Sheen in America get his time? He has had great success. When he first got the time, it was said, "He is dead; his time coincides with that of some famous American comedian." But now he "owns" that hour, and. no one else can go on when Bishop Sheen is on the air.
§ Mr. Blackburn
Is not this in conflict with the White Paper, which says that for religion there shall be a central religious advisory committee, with regional committees?
§ Mr. Bell
We are not arguing about that. We are talking about what I would prefer to see done.
The theory I am discussing at the moment is that the whole set-up, and not merely the allocation of available tune, but the whole presentation, the person to present it and the method of presenting it, is to be entirely in the hands of the Authority. That is suggested by those who think that if the programme contractor does it he will do something wrong. I am not quite sure what he will do wrong. I suppose it is thought he will not make the religious broadcasts sensibly or delicately, that he will broadcast in a way that the organisations of religion do not like. Is that really likely?
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Hudson
There is another possibility. At present the B.B.C. is carrying out a great religious programme in the schools. A million young persons are 2364 attending weekly programme services of the B.B.C. There are very great difficulties involved in that because the religious services in the schools must con form to some carefully agreed syllabus that has been worked out between the education authorities and the Churches. Suddenly to let into that religious teaching—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Gentleman seems to be going rather wide of the Amendment. What the Amendment is concerned with is whether the responsibility should rest with the Authority or the programme contractors.
§ Mr. Hudson
I was putting the point that the contractors and advertisers could not possibly know enough about the difficulties involved to enable them to carry out such a delicate piece of work, and that it ought not, therefore, to be left to them.
§ Mr. Bell
I am not quite sure that I follow the hon. Gentleman's point. The point I was making was that everybody in England, thank goodness, realises that religion is a very sensitive and a very real thing, so that I find it difficult to conceive that anybody would broadcast on religion otherwise than seriously and delicately, without consultation with that religious body most directly concerned with the broadcast. The hon. Gentleman was talking about advertisers, but it is not they but the programme contractors who will put on the programmes. If a programme contractor, in association with one of the religious bodies, puts on a religious programme, to whom would they be appealing? Suppose a Roman Catholic service or programme were to be broadcast. The broadcast would not be made to edify the Methodists. It would be put on primarily for Roman Catholics.
Is it really seriously suggested that a programme contractor who decided to put on a Roman Catholic religious ceremony would broadcast it without the advice, without the knowledge, of the Independent Television Authority? It really could not happen. If a programme contractor, who may for the purpose get his funds from a denomination, broadcasts a programme of that denomination, how can he degrade the very material he is, so to speak, selling? It does not seem to me to be a real possibility.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I am rather worried about the position of comparatively small denominations. Is it the hon. and learned Gentleman's view that it is right—it seems to be permissive in the Bill—for any denomination to buy as much time as it thinks fit, and as it can afford to pay for, from the programme contractors?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The Amendment is concerned with whether religious programmes should be in the hands of the Authority or the hands of the programme contractors.
§ Mr. Mitchison
On a point of order. My point is this. It seems to me that if it is a question of buying time for these services the character of the seller and the interests of the seller are very relevant. If it is a question of how much the programme contractor can get then the programme contractor is in a very different position in that respect from the Authority. It is my submission, therefore, that this point is relevant.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
It would certainly be relevant if that were the question, but the point of the Amendment is whether religious broadcasts should be in the hands of the Authority or in the hands of the programme contractors.
§ Mr. Mitchison
With great respect, Sir Rhys, does not that necessarily involve this consideration? If these broadcasts are in the hands of the Authority, it is the Authority that will sell the time, whereas if they are in the hands of the programme contractors it will be the programme contractors who will sell the time. I very respectfully submit that my question was relevant, and that although, of course, the hon. and learned Gentleman is not bound to answer it, he would be in order if he did.
§ Mr. Bell
The danger of what I would call the financial interest is, I think, resolved. If there were more competitors for time than could be accommodated in the time available, the Independent Television Authority would have to put 2366 on a tariff and say there must be maximum charges. Then, within those limits, the programme contractors could furnish what was required. I do not myself see any reason why, because the programme contractors, so to speak, promoted or put forward religious programmes they would be in a better financial position than the Authority. The amount would be only reasonable, anyway.
I would impress on the Committee that it is not really true that hon. Members are ashamed to go back to face their constituents because they vote for profits for advertisers. I can conceive myself of a religious body saying, "We want to get money for a denominational home for children, and one way of doing it would be to advertise the home, buy time on the air to advertise it, and get money in that way." People advertise not merely to sell goods but for charitable purposes; and an advertiser does not necessarily seek to sell goods but to get good will.
I hope that I have at any rate as much right to be described as a person who has a proper respect for religion as have hon. Gentlemen opposite; yet I see nothing incompatible with that right in saying that the programme contractors might be allowed to promote religion. The subject would be under the supervision of the I.T.A., with the advice of the advisory committee. I think that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, when they say there is something incompatible, wrong their fellow countrymen. Do they not feel that they do? I find it difficult to believe that they do not.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I and, I am sure, all my hon. Friends are delighted to see the Home Secretary back on the Treasury Bench. We realise that he is a very busy man and has other duties to perform, but this is a very important Amendment. We are therefore very pleased to see him here. We hope that before we finish this debate we shall be able to persuade him, if we have to go to a Division, not only to permit a free vote on his side, but to persuade his hon. Friends to vote with us.
I have listened to all the speeches in this debate. My task in speaking in it has been greatly lightened by my hon. Friends. They have left me with nothing to do but to underline some of the more salient and, in my view, overpowering 2367 arguments that they have used. Speakers keep on saying, and I hope it is true, that this is a non-party issue, but I am sorry to say that I cannot say that some of the speeches that have been made from the other side have been non-party. It does seem to me that most hon. Members opposite have failed to realise what it is we want to do and what the Bill will do if we do not alter the wording of this Clause.
What does the Clause do? It sets forth the powers that the Authority is to have. Chief among the powers and duties of the Authority is to hand over to programme contractors, as they are called, practically all of the time, which the Authority will have for broadcasting. The object of the Amendment is quite simple. It is that the one thing the Authority shall not do is to allow any programme contractor to broadcast any item dealing with religion or a religious service. I should have thought that that is such a simple and proper provision to put into the Bill and that there would be little or no argument in any part of the Committee about it.
Fortunately, in this country we do not mix our religion with our politics. We do not have, as on the Continent, parties which are made up entirely of people of one religious persuasion. Therefore, there can be no harm whatever in the Home Secretary allowing us on a matter of this kind, which touches the conscience of us all, a free vote when we come to decide this issue.
I was delighted to see on the Order Paper a similar Amendment by hon. Members opposite. If the Assistant Postmaster-General replies, he may be able to tell us why those hon. Members have seen fit to withdraw their Amendment. It was, at any rate, evidence that the feeling on this matter is not all on one side. In fact, it will be seen from the Amendment we have tabled that Members of the Liberal Party have joined with my hon. Friends on this side in support by putting their names to our Amendment. As I have said, it is obvious that some hon. Members opposite have also—at any rate, up to yesterday—put their names to a similar proposal. That is evidence beyond dispute that in every quarter of the Chamber there is a feeling that when we touch religion we should not allow 2368 it to be commercialised in any shape or form.
I was very sorry that some hon. Members opposite took the view they did and used my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) and his very fine broadcasts on religious topics as evidence that we on this side did not always act as we appeared to preach. There is, however, no analogy here. What we object to is not that religious services or religious items are broadcast, or that there are B.B.C. discussions on religious questions. What we object to is that such services or discussions should be bound up with and be part of an advertisement for some commercial undertaking.
That brings me to my main point. It is said that these broadcasts will be given voluntarily—at least, so I understand, for I do not know to what extent the hon. and learned Member for Bolton East (Mr. Philip Bell) speaks for his right hon. and learned Friend on the Front Bench. I know that I should be out of order if I attempted to argue the matter with him, but my understanding is that religious services will not be bought, although they will be put on by the programme contractor.
What I and my right hon. and hon. Friends on this side would like to know is, who is to pay the programme contractor for putting on the religious services? It seems to me that if the programme contractor puts on a religious service, he puts it on as an item calculated to attract those people who want to hear that religious service. But the programme contractor has to make his costs somewhere and must pay his way somehow, and he must do it surely, by putting into the programme somewhere an advertisement. If not, what is his motive, and who will pay him for putting that religious broadcast on the air?
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Bell
I may be wrong, but surely the members of the organisation who are interested in that particular religion would subscribe. That is how Bishop Fulton Sheen did it. They bought the time for him originally.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I take it, Sir Rhys, that I am not allowed to discuss that matter on this Amendment, but perhaps I may be permitted to say this. If what the 2369 hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East says is true, it opens up vistas that make it all the more important that the Amendment should be passed. Without it, surely, certain religious organisations which happen to have more money to spare than others would be able to buy time on the air for their own religious services, whereas other smaller religious organisations would be quite unable to compete. I do not want to go into that issue, because I do not want to touch on religious differences or to assume for the Government that they accept what the hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East said in his speech.
What we object to is this. It is not that in this instance those who put on the religious service—the programme contractor—are not to be trusted. We are not basing our case on that ground. It may well be that the programme contractor is to be trusted. He would realise that he is dealing with religion and that people take their religion and their spiritual views seriously; and if he had any sense—I take it he would have sense—he would move very cautiously. We do not object on those grounds.
What we object to is the juxtaposition of an advertisement, however nicely it is put, with a religious service. The mixing of the commercial and the spiritual in this way seems to us quite wrong. Therefore, we beg of the Home Secretary to think again before he allows this to remain in the Bill.
We are shocked that the views expressed by some Members opposite should be accepted, so we understand, by their leaders on their Front Bench. One hon. Member who spoke a little earlier used, as an illustration of the innocuous kind of thing he imagined the programme contractors would put on, the broadcast of the Coronation Service. There is no analogy there. I listened in to quite a lot of that service. Whilst we were waiting for Her Majesty to return from tine Abbey, some of us went upstairs and saw the service on television. But so far as my memory serves me, I did not hear any advertisement for pills or somebody's cough mixture in the middle of that service; and yet had it been put on by a commercial contractor, who must make his profits somewhere and who must pay for his overheads, in some shape or form both on Sundays and on week- 2370 days, whether the programme is an entertainment of an ordinary kind or a religious broadcast, he must naturally work in a commercial advertisement.
We think it is quite wrong that religion should be used in this way, and I am sure that on reflection the Home Secretary, whom in many directions we on this side admire, will realise that what we are putting forward is reasonable and is certainly not put forward simply for the sake of wasting time. It is in line and marches with the feelings of many thousands of honest and decent people who do not want to see a programme contractor, who is, after all, in the business to make a profit, make one out of this kind of thing. I would therefore ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman for an assurance that he will look at this matter again to see if he can meet us, if not tonight, then between now and the Report stage.
None of us could say that it would be impossible for a programme contractor, for example, to take one or other of the Bible stories and weave it into an advertisement. And if he did so thousands, nay, millions, of people would be shocked. It would be impossible, except through the Advisory Council which is to be set up and which will have no control whatever over the programme contractor himself, to do anything about it. We do not want to make it possible for some programme contractor who is irresponsible in his outlook to have this power within his grasp. Therefore, as I say, we beg the right hon. and learned Gentleman to think again and to ask his own followers to support us in this Amendment, because we believe it is in accord with the views of the vast majority of the people of this country.
§ Mr. Gammans
I always find, as I am sure most hon. Members do, that the House of Commons is at its best when discussing a matter of this sort, and we get that curious division across party lines when something stirs our religious emotions. There is nothing in the world which causes more feeling and more emotion than the discussion of religion. We are lucky in this country that, unlike some of our Continental neighbours, we do not have those deep religious differences that divide us politically, and we manage to discuss these matters in a spirit of toleration.
2371 Nevertheless, anything to do with religion is bound to arouse feelings of deep emotion. I should like to congratulate the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) on the way he opened this debate and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) on the way he wound it up for the Opposition. There is general agreement on both sides of the Committee as to what we want to do. I wish the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) would carry on his meetings somewhere else. I thought he was interested in this matter.
We are all determined that there should be no commercialism whatever attached to these religious television programmes. Nobody should make any money out of them, and there should be no discrimination. We feel that advertisements ought not to be associated with a religious service. I have met no disagreement on that point. In fact, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley said, what he wanted to be assured about was that there was not to be any mixture of commercialism and religion. We are all interested to achieve that, and we do not worry much whether it is achieved by one means rather than another.
I accept what the right hon. Gentleman said, that the Opposition are not doctrinaire on this point and that what they want to get is an assurance that these undesirable things can be avoided. I do not suppose they are doctrinaire on the words of their Amendment. What I want to be able to show to the right hon. Gentleman—we have thought out these things very carefully—is that the arrangements we have in force will, in my submission, deal adequately with the matter.
§ Mr. Gammans
I said the arrangements we have in force, and by that I meant the arrangements in the Bill which, as they stand at present, will, in fact, prevent the evils that all of us want to stop.
When we first brought out a White Paper on this subject, our feeling was 2372 that anything to do with religion might have to be excluded from television altogether. The Committee may remember that stage. In other words, we thought it was best to leave it alone. But the view was put forward—and I think quite rightly—that it would be a pity to keep our television programmes entirely secular. That was the right attitude to adopt, and, therefore, we tried to see if there was a way by which we could allow religious programmes to be televised and at the same time avoid all the disadvantages of commercialism to which we all so strongly object.
We consulted the British Council of Churches, and I believe the arrangements that we have now placed in the Bill have the general support—I hope they have— of that Council. Let me make one point before I come to what we propose to do. Some hon. Members have been talking about these broadcasts as though they were sound broadcasts. I do not know whether television is, in fact, going to play much of a part in religious broadcasting. It has not up to now. I think it is six weeks, or something of that order, since the B.B.C. last televised a religious service, and as far as I know it is not doing one this week either.
The reason for this is that we have not yet discovered how this new medium can be adapted to religious broadcasting. I am not saying that it will not do more, but it is not doing much now. Therefore, what we are talking about is nothing of a very extensive nature. One hon. Gentleman spoke about religious broadcasting in schools. He was thinking in terms of what the B.B.C. has done in sound and not in television.
What are the conditions under which religious broadcasting will be done? The first is that no religious body should be allowed to buy time or advertisements. To allow them to do that would be quite impracticable.
§ Mr. Gammans
But if time is bought for advertising it is bought on behalf of somebody. That is our intention.
§ Mr. Shackleton
The hon. Member is misleading the Committee. Perhaps he will read his own version as put in the Bill. We have studied it carefully, and it does not say what the hon. Gentleman said at all.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
We do not want to hear about the Government's intentions. We have heard that many times.
§ Mr. Gammans
No, that is not the answer. We will not allow any religious body to advertise or buy time.
§ Mr. Gammans
Yes, most emphatically, I say both. That is not what has happened in other countries. In America, in particular, religious bodies can advertise and buy time. I do not want to argue whether that is desirable or not. The Americans would argue that it is desirable and that it has led to very fine sermons. We are not going to have it here, however. There is not going to be any advertising or buying of time by religious bodies.
The second thing is that we are not having advertising associated with these services. One hon. Gentleman suggested —I imagine it must have been facetious —that a service might be interrupted to advertise soap.
§ Mr. William Keenan (Liverpool, Kirk dale)
There is a point about which I have been very concerned, in spite of the assurance that we have had. I believe it will be possible, unless this Amendment is accepted, for an advertiser or an advertising agency to present a programme to a religious body and 2374 simply say that it was presented with the compliments of the South Down Peace Society, the Bolton Trotters, or somebody like that.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Gammans
In the first place that would be sponsoring in its crudest form, and in the second place it would mean that advertisements were being permitted on behalf of a religious body. I want to meet the Committee in every way I can. If hon. Gentlemen feel that the Clauses I have referred to in the Bill do not make this matter clear, I shall be happy to meet them—but I cannot meet them on the point that the job should be done by the Authority—and I want also to try to show them that their fears are unnecessary.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Before the hon. Gentleman leaves that question, he has said that no religious television programme will be associated with an advertisement. I do not think it is in the Bill, but the hon. Gentleman has said so several times. In what way will the religious programmes difier from the ordinary programmes so far as association with advertisements is concerned?
§ Mr. Gammans
The ordinary programme can have an advertisement in an actual break within it, or at the beginning or at the end. That is allowed for in this Bill. The Bill would not, however, permit any advertisement in a natural break in a religious service. [An HON. MEMBER: "Or at the beginning or at the end?"] Or at the beginning or at the end.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
This is an interesting point. The contractor is not there because he likes the colour of anybody's eyes; he is there, quite naturally, to make a profit. He will make his profit not out of the programme, but out of the advertisement. If he puts on a religious broadcast and if, as the hon. Gentleman says he is not allowed to put in any advertisement either in a natural break in the middle—which is when there is a moment for silent meditation for prayer —or at the beginning or at the end, why should he want to put on a religious 2375 broadcast at all? Where does he make his money?
§ Mr. Gammans
He may not want to do it. May I develop my theme? The second point is that there will be no advertisements whatever. There will be no commercialism associated in any way with a religious service. I think that one hon. Member talked about people looking over their shoulders for sales. There will not be any of that in connection with a religious service.
Now I want to refer to the method which we propose to adopt. It is virtually to use the Religious Advisory Committee of the B.B.C., which has been in existence for some years. Incidentally, the B.B.C. was under no obligation to set up such a committee, but it did so, and, if I may be allowed to pay it a tribute, that committee has done an astounding job of work. Remembering how difficult it is to get agreement between religious sects, I think it has done a superb job of work and, so far as I am aware, it has done it in perfect harmony. It is purely advisory.
§ Mr. Hobson
There has been difficulty even with the B.B.C. Religious Advisory Committee. Take the case of the Unitarians who, since its existence, have had only one broadcast. That is the kind of danger about which we are concerned.
§ Mr. Gammans
We must either have full liberty or some kind of control, for we cannot have both. Hon. Members who would like frequently to see a religious service by the Unitarians obviously cannot agree with any system which purports to have control.
We hope that the I.T.A. and the programme contractors will be able to use the services of the Religious Advisory Committee in the same way as the B.B.C. That is the one advisory committee which we have specified in this Bill shall be set up. It may be argued that as this is an advisory committee people can ignore its advice, but that is not a very worthy suggestion. So far as I am aware, the advice of the Religious Advisory Committee has never been disregarded by the B.B.C.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Has the Assistant Postmaster-General satisfied himself that the B.B.C. committee would be prepared to advise the programme contractors, which are just money-making concerns?
§ Mr. Gammans
What that committee is interested in is to see that there is a proper balance of religious programmes and I do not think that its members would take the narrow point of view taken by the right hon. Gentleman; anyway, I hope they would not do so. What they are interested in is to see that a certain type of religious programme is put over the air at a particular time and that a proper balance is kept. I was asked a question by the right hon. Gentleman as to how this would work out. It could work out in various ways. The first is that the I.T.A. itself may decide to commission services to be done for it, and would pay for them. It is not necessary for the I.T.A. to have its own outside broadcasting unit. It has exactly the same power and control if it commissions a job to be done as if it does it itself.
§ Mr. Gammans
It certainly would not cost more than having a series of outside broadcasting units doing something perhaps only once in six weeks. That would cost the earth. It would be far better to put the job out to contract. The point is that it has full power under this Bill to do exactly what the right hon. Gentleman wants, but he would make it compulsory; it could also commission these programmes to be done by some outside body; and it has the money to pay for them. One of the reasons we gave for granting the £750,000 was that we foresaw that this might arise. I can hear the Opposition saying, "We would like the Authority to commission such a programme, but where is the money coming from unless there is advertising revenue?" It was to insulate the Authority from any taint of commercialism that this House voted £750,000, and it is from that money that these services can be commissioned.
I imagine that these services would be of a type recommended by the Religious Advisory Committee, and that its advice would be accepted. But that is not the only way it could be done. The service could be put on by the programme contractor. The right hon. Gentleman took my point that if the programme contractor did it, he would not make any money out of it. I agree.
§ Mr. Gammans
Yes, he would lose money, and he would also be subject to a further restriction. He could not advertise during the service, he could not advertise at the beginning of the service, he could not advertise at the end of the service. He might take the sordid commercial attitude, "That is a dead loss and I will not do it." On the other hand, he might not. I have no idea what would be the attitude of the programme contractors. They might say, "We would like to do this, we have made money in other directions." Not everybody is commercially sordid.
§ Mr. Gammans
That is exactly how it is done in other countries. I ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to study experience elsewhere. It may well happen in that way. I do not say that it will, but if it does not happen in that way the Authority is in a position to do it itself and to pay for it.
§ Mr. Mitchison
The hon. Gentleman said that no advertisement could be inserted at the beginning or the end of religious programmes. There are some rules about advertisements in the Second Schedule and I cannot find that rule among them.
§ Mr. Gammans
The rule to which the hon. and learned Member is referring is the rule which also provides that the Postmaster-General roust agree with the Authority on the intervals that are to be observed between advertisements, and that is why it is there.
I made a fair offer to the Committee and said that these are our intentions. If hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite feel that we have not drawn these provisions tight enough, we are prepared to consider suggestions, though I say that the way to do these things is not the way which hon. and right hon. Members opposite suggest in the Amendment. Their way would lead to endless expense, and for that reason we cannot accept it. They 2378 have said that there should be no commercialism. We accept that. They have said that no one is to make money out of religious services. We accept that. And we agree with them that there should be no discrimination between one religious body and another.
§ Mr. J. Hudson
Does the term "religious service" cover any religious portrayal? Will the Assistant Postmaster-General keep out the portrayal of the Wedding Feast at Cana for the purpose of exploitation?
§ Mr. Gammans
We are not going to keep anything out, but we shall accept anything that the Advisory Committee recommends us to accept, just as that Committee advises the B.B.C. I contend that the various provisions of the Bill and the safeguards which we have offered to the Committee are more than adequate to secure the end which we all have in mind.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
Will the hon. Gentleman give us a firm undertaking that what he has said about safeguards will be introduced into the Bill before it leaves the House of Commons for another place? Whilst we accept all that he says and do not question for one moment that the Government intend that these rules should be followed, we have no guarantee whatever that, once the Bill becomes an Act, many of the fears which we on this side of the Committee envisage will not become a reality.
When I spoke in the debate a short while ago I tried to speak as far as I could in a non-party sense, hoping on behalf of my hon. Friends to obtain some sort of unanimity in this matter, particularly since we realise that some hon. Members opposite went so far as to put a Motion on the Order Paper on this subject. This is a non-party matter which exercises the minds of many hundreds of thousands of people. The hon. Gentleman has told us that we need have no fears. If the Government intend that what he said shall be put into the regulations, why not put those things in the Bill before it leaves this place?
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Gammans
I appreciate the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman has spoken, but we cannot accept the Amendment in its present form. If, however, he feels that there are ways in which the 2379 undertakings which I have not given but underlined today could be more clearly expressed on a matter about which we all feel passionately, I suggest that he should put an Amendment on the Order Paper for the Report stage. I claim that the Bill is water-tight in this respect, but if hon. and right hon. Members opposite do not feel that that is the case we will consider with the utmost sympathy any Amendments that they may move on the Report stage.
§ Mr. Ede (South Shields)
I know that the Assistant Postmaster-General has endeavoured to meet us, but nobody knows better than the Home Secretary the difficulty of drafting Amendments to meet points of this kind. I would suggest that the Government might go as far as to say that they will consult us between now and the next stage of the Bill to see if we can find a form of words that will give us the assurances that we want and yet will be in a form that the Government can accept.
I am quite sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will realise that on this matter there is a great deal of anxiety. My right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) spoke about hundreds of thousands of people, but I believe that millions of people in this country are concerned about this aspect of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson) has raised one matter two or three times. In an appendix to the Beveridge Report will be found the evidence that was given by the General Assembly of the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches with regard to the treatment it had received from the Religious Advisory Committee. Although that Committee has been a little more liberal lately, it appears in the main to have concerned itself with the orthodox churches.
It is one of the heaviest duties laid upon the Home Secretary to safeguard civil and religious liberty. In these days it is no use ignoring the fact that the humanistic approach to these problems by people like Sir Gilbert Murray and others is a form of approach that ought to be available through the medium of broadcasting, but which has not been available. On the assumption that we can have this kind of consultation, so 2380 that we may secure words that will be acceptable to all parties, the approach made by the Assistant Postmaster-General in his final speech might well be a way in which agreement could be reached.
§ Mr. Tom Brown (Ince)
I have waited patiently throughout the debate to say a few words on this vital question. We are agreed on both sides of the Committee that the question of religious broadcasts is of paramount importance to the people. That is one reason why we on this side of the Committee desire to be ultra-cautious about who is to be responsible for and in charge of the broadcasts. We are not considering the matter from a denominational point of view. That factor has not come into the debate so far, and I do not think it will do so now.
We have to remember thatPure religion before God and the Father is this, To visit the Fatherless and widows …, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.If we follow that Biblical injunction we shall not introduce commercialism on a Sunday into a religious broadcast. In the first words of his reply, the Assistant Postmaster-General uttered some true words when he said that this House is always at its best when discussing vital problems. I agree with him wholeheartedly, but I cannot reconcile myself to the belief that he was sincere in his arguments as to why he is resisting the Amendment we have put forward.
He has certainly changed a little in direction, because he said it was the intention of the Government. We have had similar expressions before; we have had assurances before; but the Government have failed to carry out their intentions and have failed to fulfil the assurances given. The hon. Gentleman said that he would prefer us to put forward another Amendment on Report stage, but the responsibility to submit an Amendment is upon the Government, not upon this side of the Committee. Be it remembered that this is their Bill, not ours. The responsibility is on them. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not going to ride off on that statement.
I want to refer to the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) very briefly. We are talking about religious broadcasts and, as I listened to 2381 the arguments he was putting forward in the concluding part of his speech, I was led to think about these words, "The insidious poison that has crept into the mind of the hon. Member and is sapping the moral fibre of his existence is the ambition to make money at all costs." The hon. Member got his sheet anchor from the Bill. He said that we shall have a religious advisory committee.
In Clause 3 (3) it is stated:The Authority may appoint …not, "shall appoint"or arrange for the assistance of, advisory committees to give advice to the Authority and to the programme contractors "—
§ Mr. Brown
Just a moment, I did not interrupt the hon. and gallant Gentleman when he was speaking—on such matters as the Authority may specify, and the Authority shall, in particular, appoint, or arrange for the assistance of, a religious advisory committee representative of the main streams of religious thought in the United Kingdom, …There is no definiteness about that. I challenge the hon. and gallant Member to say that that is definite. First, there is the word "may." Then they have to consult an advisory committee, which will give advice, but the programme contractors can refuse to accept the advice. We are led to a strange vacuum when we try to define what the advisory committee is to do.
This matter is vital. It has caused a great deal of comment in the country. I again appeal to the Assistant Postmaster-General and to the Home Secretary— upon whom a great responsibility rests —to take back this provision. Do not force "us into the Lobby in support of our Amendment against the Bill because this is a very vital matter. It will have great repercussions in the country if the Government refuse to accept the Amendment or to accept our advice.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir David Maxwell Fyfe)
I wish to say three things. The first is that it will be a sad day for this country if the occasion should arise when any Opposition ask any Government to consult them on a matter touching religion 2382 and that request is refused. Of course I shall be very pleased to consult with the Opposition on this matter before the Report stage. I say that quite irrespective of whether the Opposition decide to divide or not. That offer is a firm one and is open whatever view they take. I want to make that clear first.
My second point is that I shall give very serious consideration to everything that has been said in this debate because I realise that here we are dealing with r. subject on which we all feel strongly. It is one of the most important aspects, if not the most important aspect, of our national life and whatever qualms right hon. and hon. Members opposite have felt, these are matters which must be considered very carefully.
I am not in a position to give an undertaking, which the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) asked for, to incorporate words in the Bill. A collective undertaking of that kind I cannot give because I must first consider how it would fall out. I want to make that point clear because I do not want hon. Members opposite to think that I am giving an undertaking in order to avoid a Division. I am not doing that and I am afraid I cannot go so far as the right hon. Member suggested. My hon. Friend has tried to state our objectives and we now have the opinion of the Committee; we shall consider very carefully to see whether anything further is required to marry our objectives and the contents of the Bill.
The third point has nothing to do with the points that I have been making, but I am sure that on this I am speaking for the whole Committee when I say we were delighted to hear—again I think I can break the rules by saying "our hon. Friend," no matter where we sit in the Committee—the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. T. Brown) addressing the Committee in his forthright way.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 188: Noes, 203.2385
|Division No. 111.]||AYES||[7.59 p.m|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Palmer, A M F|
|Adams, Richard||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W-)||Panned, Charts|
|Albu, A. H.||Hamilton, W. W||Pargiter, G A|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hannan, W.||Parker, J.|
|Allen, Scholefteld (Crewe)||Hargreaves, A.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.J||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Baird, J.||Hastings, S.||Popplewell, E.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Hayman, F. H.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W)|
|Bence, C. R.||Henderson, Rt. Hon, A. (Rowley Regis)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Herbison, Miss M.||Pursey, Cmdr H.|
|Benson, G.||Hobson, C. R.||Reeves, J|
|Beswick, F.||Holman, P.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Houghton, Douglas||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Hudson James (Eating N.)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Ross, William|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hughes Hector (Aberdeen N.)||Royle, C.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Boardman, H.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Bowles, F. G.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E|
|Brockway, A. F.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Short, E. W.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Brown, Thomas (Inee)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Champion, A. J.||Keenan, W.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Chapman, W. D||Kerryon, C.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Clunie, J.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Collick, P. H.||King, Dr. H. M||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Kinley, J.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lawson, G. M.||Steele, T.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Crossmart, R. H. S||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lindgren, G. S.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Daines, P.||Liplon, Lt.-Col. M.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||MacColl, J. E.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||McGhee, H. G.||Thornton, E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Mclnnes, J.||Tomney, F.|
|Delargy, H. J.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Turner-Samuels, M|
|Dodds, N. N.||McLeavy, F.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E)||Warbey, W. N|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphitty)||Mann, Mrs Jean||Watkins, T. E.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Manuel, A. C.||Weitzman, D.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mayhew, C. P.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Messer, Sir F.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Follick, M.||Mikardo, Ian||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Foot, M. M.||Mitchison, G. R||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Forman, J. C.||Moody, A. S.||Willey, F. T.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morgan, Dr. H. B W||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Morley, R.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T N.||Moyle, A.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mulley, F. W||Willis, E. G.|
|Glanville, James||Murray, J. D.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Gooch, E G.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C||Oldfieid, W. H||Woodbum, Rt. Hon. A|
|Grey, C. F.||Oliver, G. H||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Oswald, T.||Yates, V. F.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)||Padley, W. E|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Paget, R. T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Grimond, J.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Mr. Holmes and Mr. J. T. Prict.|
|Hale, Leslie||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Aitken, W. T||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Birch, Nigel||Channon, H.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Bishop, F. P.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoal (Tiverton)||Black, C. W.||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bossom, Sir A. C.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr J. M||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon J A||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Boyle, Sir Edward||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert|
|Barlow, Sir John||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow W.)||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Beach Maj. Hicks||Billiard, D. G.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F C|
|Ben, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Burden, F. F. A-||Crouch, R. F.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)|
|Bennett, Wllliam (Woodside)||Carr, Robert||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Lambert, Hon. G.||Renton, D. L. M|
|Donner, Sir P. W||Leather, E. H. C.||Ridsdale, J. E-|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A L||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Duthie, W. S.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Ropner, Col Sir Leonard|
|Finlay, Graeme||Longden, Gilbert||Russell, R. S.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R F.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W|
|Fort, R.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Scott, R. Donald|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Shepherd, William|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||McKibbin, A. J.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Snaddon. W. McN.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Soames, Capt. C|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Glover, D.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Speir, R. M.|
|Godber, J. B.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Stanley, Capt, Hon. Richard|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Gower, H. R.||Marples, A. E.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Storey, S.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maude, Angus||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maudling, R.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L C||Studholme, H. G.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Mellor, Sir John||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Molson, A. H. E.||Thompson, Ll.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Moore, Sir Thomas||Thorton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Hay, John||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Heath, Edward||Nabarro, G. D. N||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Neave, Airey||Turton, R. H.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nicholls, Harmar||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nioolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P||Nugent, G. R. H||WakefieId, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Orr, Capt. L P S||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Orr-Ewing, Chares Ian (Hendon, N.)||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston. super-Mare)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Osborne, C.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Page, R. G.||Wellwood, W.|
|Hudson W. R. A. (Hull N.)||Perkins, Sir Robert||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Peto, Brig. C H. M||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Hurd, R. A.||Pickthcrn, K W. M||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian dark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Pitman, I. J.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Pitt, Miss E. M||Wills, G.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Price, Henry (Lewisham W)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ramsden, J. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Mr. Redmayne and|
|Kaberry, D.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Mr. Robert Allan.|
§ Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hills borough)
I beg to move, in page 4, line 10, at the end, to insert:in particular (and so that such items shall not be provided by programme contractors) items dealing with matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy, and.This Amendment is associated in some measure with an Amendment which we started to discuss last night and was disposed of this afternoon dealing with the question of who should be responsible for news programmes in the new television service, if and when it is set up. During that discussion some confusion arose, and as we have to distinguish between what is a news programme and what can properly be called controversy, I think it desirable that the whole matter be cleared up.
2386 As in the previous Amendment, the aim in this Amendment is to establish a service which would compete with the B.B.C. In the Amendment dealing with the setting up of a news service, which we wished to put into the hands of the Authority, we on this side of the Committee said that we wanted competition. I am sorry that hon. Members opposite, who have said a great deal about competition during our discussions on this Bill, voted against the setting up of a competitive service. Although it would be out of order to go back and discuss all the aspects of that matter, there are some which are germane to this discussion.
There are very good reasons why the Authority and not the programme companies should be responsible for an alternative news service, just as they should be 2387 responsible, in our view, for all aspects of industrial and political controversy on current affairs. The controversy of which we speak is to a very large extent comment upon news, the things that are happening at the time, and there has to be some association between the presentation of news and the controversies about current affairs and political and industrial questions which go on the air.
One of our reasons for wanting the independent news service to be run by the Authority in competition with the B.B.C. was that we should be able to guarantee its objectivity and impartiality. We heard a lot of misguided views from the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) who, clearly, had not the faintest idea how a news service operates and proceeded to give us a mixture of completely cock-eyed views about comment and news and all the rest. I am rather sorry to see that he has returned to the Chamber. I hope he will not confuse this issue in the way he confused the other one.
§ Mr. Darling
We believe that the best way to guarantee the objectivity of the news service and the objectivity and proper balance of controversy is to have both news and comment in the hands of the Authority.
There are two germane and very practical factors which were not mentioned in the previous discussion on news. One of them is the question of cost. It is a very expensive business to run a news service, far more expensive in the case of television and sound radio than in the case of newspapers. One of the biggest difficulties of a news service in this field is the re-writing and compression of news, comment and controversy in order to get it into a very short space.
The whole news of the world which is given out in what is thought to be a 15-minute news bulletin by the B.B.C.—it is actually 13½ minutes—is equivalent to a column and" a half of "The Times." It is necessary to employ a large number of sub-editors than there would be on a newspaper in order to get that compression without leaving anything out and to present the news fairly and honestly. It is an expensive business because staff is ex- 2388 pensive. I do not think that any programme company could support the necessary expenditure on staff. For that reason, the news service should be in the hands of the Authority.
The second factor relates to controversy. The only constructive suggestions which have come from the other side of the Committee were those made by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr). He said that the Authority could hand the task of the presentation of news to the programme company. I assume he was also referring to programmes dealing with controversy, for he would be consistent in doing so. In regard to news upon which controversy and comment would rest, he said that if it was expensive and there were difficulties, the programme company could hand the business over to an agency to provide it with the news.
Two things have to be considered in this respect. One is films as distinct from spoken news. I imagine from the arguments of the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the films would be prepared by the staffs of existing news film companies. If it is too expensive for the programme company, that does not provide any competition with the B.B.C. We want something far stronger in competition, something which will stand up to the B.B.C. news service and provide effective and efficient competition in the alternative service.
The other suggestion relates to the sound news on television which is presented with pictures and maps, and is that it should be taken from an agency. The hon. and gallant Gentleman mentioned Reuter and the Press Association, That is one agency. Does he suggest that one agency should get a monopoly? Even the B.B.C. does not do that. The B.B.C. takes its news from all the agencies in addition to having its own reporters and correspondents.
§ Captain Orr
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that for the purpose of providing competition, the Authority should be empowered to set up an agency comparable with Reuter?
§ Mr. Darling
Not at all. This is how the confusion begins. We are suggesting that in news, comment and controversy the Authority should do precisely what 2389 the B.B.C. and the newspapers do, and that is to take its news from existing agencies, supplementing it with its own staff if it wishes to do so. At all events, it should take its news from the regular sources of supply—from Associated Press, B.U.P., the Exchange Telegraph and the Central News—and not merely from one agency. In order to shuffle out of the question of costs, which is very important, the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggested that one agency should have a monopoly of the news.
Because they have not faced up to the technical questions involved in establishing an alternative service to that of the B.B.C, the Government will all the time find themselves pushed into the monopoly situation. They will be in the same position with regard to the political programmes in the second service dealing with controversy—if any go out.
I had some years' experience in the job that we are now talking about, and it is from that experience that I speak. I do not have to declare an interest because, of course, I am no longer employed by the B.B.C. I spent seven or eight years in the B.B.C. news division, and, because I was a specialist correspondent, I had to play my part in giving suggestions and information to those who were responsible for putting controversial programmes on sound radio.
To ensure that balanced programmes go out, that controversy shall be fair and honestly presented and that no one will have any quarrels about the presentation—although there may be quarrels about the views expressed in the controversy—the B.B.C. has to maintain a very expensive staff. It is not an easy job to go round the country finding the right sort of people in order to make sure that all issues will be dealt with and that there will be fair presentation, and it is also an expensive task.
Also—this is one of the most important points—in order to ensure that there will be fair presentation and to make sure that there will be no pressure upon the B.B.C.—this will apply whatever form the alternative service takes —the staff responsible for putting on the programmes must be protected from pressure by any interests who might wish to interfere with the programme.
§ Mr. Darling
I must disagree with my hon. Friend about that. The staff are very strongly protected. Hon. Members opposite have paid tribute, just as my hon. Friends have, to the quality and integrity of the B.B.C. in these matters. The main reason why the quality and integrity of the B.B.C. is so noticeable and is so appreciated by everyone is that the staff are protected.
Right from the beginning of any work in this field—however it may start, from news items or suggestions that may be made by the men and women who provide the ideas and scripts—the men and women on the staff who are responsible for the performance of the programme are protected by the B.B.C. from any outside pressure whatsoever. I myself have had experience of that protection, and, when one is trying to report fairly an unofficial strike of some magnitude, the reporter concerned is subject to a great deal of pressure. Always, in my experience, I have been protected by the B.B.C.
It is a difficult matter to explain, particularly in the short time available, just how the staff are affected by this protection, but the fact is that they know that they can do an honest and straightforward job and that it does not matter if they offend somebody in doing it; the B.B.C. will protect them and look after them far better than any newspaper correspondent is protected. This perfect freedom which the staff have in this matter is, I am convinced, the reason why the B.B.C. programmes are of the standard which they are.
I was supposed to be an expert on industrial affairs, and I attended meetings at which the people responsible for the current affairs programme in the B.B.C. were present. I was always impressed by another factor—the freedom which they had to bring forward their own ideas without any influence or pressure being put upon them whatever. This freedom arises from the fact that they all know that they are protected by the B.B.C. from commercial, political, religious or any other influence, and that is the secret of good broadcasting and good television. It is essential that the staff shall be free to bring forward their ideas, to be creative and initiate ideas, without any interference whatever by outside pressure.
§ Captain Orr
Would the hon. Gentleman suggest that the staff of a newspaper are not protected from outside pressure?
§ Mr. Darling
I quite agree that I made a slightly ambiguous statement in my hurry. The pressure that is naturally put on newspaper men is somewhat different to the pressure put on people in the B.B.C. Everybody reading the "Daily Herald" knows that it is not an independent newspaper, but that it is the paper which will express the Labour point of view. People buying the "Daily Express" know that they will get what may best be called an anarchistic view of things. The "Daily Mail" is a Conservative paper.
The people reading these papers know what they are going to get, but, in the case of the B.B.C, there should be no proprietor's angle, and, therefore, in order to avoid any bias whatever, the job of the B.B.C. is much more difficult and the freedom which people on the staff receive because of the protection of the B.B.C. against outside influence, is greater in that regard than the protection of a newspaperman, who has the consideration of the proprietor's slant in his mind.
I feel convinced that the programme companies proposed in this Bill cannot guarantee that impartiality which is so important in order to protect itself from the pressure and influence that will come along, because the people who are likely to influence the programme company are the people who are paying it, and the staff of a programme company, if in charge of a controversial programme, would be under this direct pressure and influence as the staffs of an independent authority like the B.B.C. are not so influenced.
We may be told that that influence is there, but that we can discount it, because, in any question of a controversial programme, the programme company will see that all views are balanced; that, when a certain amount of time is given to a Conservative speaker, the same amount of time will be given to a Labour speaker. When they bring the two sides together, it is not so important, but, when it is a case of a programme expressing controversial views, we cannot guarantee and trust the programme company that they will properly balance it.
2392 There are grave dangers in this arithmetical measuring of balance, and I should like to take an example from the B.B.C. itself—one concerning my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton). My hon. Friend was invited to give a talk on gardening, and he is almost as good a gardener as I am, but the poor B.B.C. had to go and find a Conservative speaker to talk about something in order to restore the balance.
I can best bring out the danger of that kind of thing by quoting from a recent article in the "New York Herald-Tribune." After the trouble arose when President Truman replied to the business that had been created over the Henry Dexter White case, and Senator McCarthy insisted on the programme company giving him time to reply, this report said:The networks gave Senator McCarthy not only equal time but actually more time than Mr. Truman. The Senator was on the air a full thirty minutes, whereas Mr. Truman used only about twenty. Once he had control of the country's vast broadcasting facilities, the Senator veered far afield.Consequently, that placed the programme companies in America in a situation in which all kinds of other people came in and asked for time to talk about this controversy on the air. After summarising all the difficulties that arose, this report says:The broadcasters must abandon the notion that the stop-watch can be substituted for sensible discretion in handling editorial matters.We believe that only the Authority is in a position to do this. The report goes on:Without the exercise of editorial judgment, the 'equal time' credo in broadcasting can lead to distortion and false values in news reporting, just as easily as it can be conducive to fairness. The simple act of the broadcasters in deciding to make such powerful facilities available constitutes news in itself and may decisively influence the nation's course. Reporting news is one thing; making it, is quite another.That is why we want these matters to be under the control of the Authority. We on this side of the Committee have said again and again that we do not trust the programme companies to carry out the directives that may be laid down, with all the good intentions in the world, in this Bill; not because we think that they will be run by thugs and scoundrels, but because the programme companies cannot escape the pressures that will be put 2393 upon them by the people who pay for the programmes. Those pressures will, in our view lead to the kind of bias distortion and difficulty in the presentation of controversy that may well be brought about by quite good motives.
My hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) raised the question of Mitchell and Butler's interfering with the posters that the Road Safety Committee put out. They did so with the best motives. They were asking advertisers to obey the rule of the advertising profession that there shall be no "knocking copy," as it is called. Those good intentions led to suppression. The railway authorities, because of the income that they get from advertisers, were susceptible, and therefore the good intentions led to suppression. That is only a small matter. All kinds of pressures will come from the business interests.
Suppose the programme companies were only to be in charge of news. That would be a profound mistake, and even at this stage I urge the Government to think again about it, not only on the point of principle but from the technical point of view of whether we can afford to run a news service in competition with the B.B.C. The programme companies will be under those pressures, and without the exercise of editorial judgment all kinds of difficulties will arise. Editorial judgment cannot be exercised by a company or a group of people who are susceptible to business pressure. We believe that that judgment ought to rest, and can only rest, upon the Authority itself.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Captain Orr
We have listened to a thoughtful and very interesting speech from the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling), who spoke with great experience and great sincerity upon this subject, about which he obviously knows a very great deal. I should like to join battle with him upon the grounds which he has chosen himself, first with regard to the presentation of news and comment on the news.
I should like to have seen an obligation put upon programme contractors to produce a news service which was accurate, and I should have preferred to see that comments thereafter should be brief. The Government have decided, in their wisdom, that the news service shall be 2394 unbiased. Indeed, they have gone very much further than that. If the hon. Member will look at Clause 3 he will see that an obligation is put upon the Authority to seethat due impartiality is preserved on the part of the persons providing the programmes as respects matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy;He will further see, in paragraph (g) that the Authority has to ensurethat no matter designed to serve the interests of any political party is included in the programmes.
§ Mr. G. Darling
That is precisely the point I was trying to make. With all the good intentions in the world, the programme contractor may find that something has been put out which is biased. Only if the Authority comes in can the matter be put right. If the programme company tries to put it right, it might make matters worse. Therefore it is better to have an Authority that does the job right from the beginning.
§ Captain Orr
If the Authority does it from the beginning there will be nobody to step in and put it right.
§ Captain Orr
Then surely we can trust it to see that the programme contractors carry out their obligations. I do not see the difference.
§ Mr. Darling
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and gallant Gentleman again, but unless the Authority is putting out the programme all that it can do, when the programme contractor is doing the job, is to correct what has gone out. The Authority cannot do anything with the programme until it has gone out because it will not see it beforehand.
§ Captain Orr
It is comparatively simple to correct something after it has gone out. I cannot really see any great difficulty in that.
There is an obligation on the programme contractors, there are penalties provided in the Bill—which we consider to be much too high—and the possibility of losing the contract, which would be a sufficient deterrent in itself to any programme contractor against offending the rule. I am perfectly certain that any programme contractor will be exceedingly 2395 careful what he does. I should have said that the Bill was so restrictive as to make the presentation of interesting news almost impossible. I should have liked the emphasis to have been the other way and for very much greater freedom to have been given to the programme contractors to produce really interesting news.
The hon. Member for Hillsborough said that because of the cost and the very large staff involved, the news service and items of industrial interest and so on should be provided by the Authority.
§ Mr. Follick
Would the hon. and gallant Member not agree that news given out as he would wish it might affect the Stock Exchange and cause a panic there?
§ Captain Orr
News always has a tendency to affect the Stock Exchange, dependent on what the news is.
The hon. Member for Hillsborough argued that, because of the cost and the large staff involved, the task should be performed by the Authority. I say that for that very reason the task should not be carried out by the Authority. If it requires a very large organisation, very considerable staff and a considerable amount of equipment to provide a television news service, I should have said that that was an argument against the news being provided by the Authority. I should have thought that the proper way to provide the news was for the Authority to go to someone who has, or who could call upon, the staff. It would be very much better for the staff to be provided by private enterprise than by the Authority.
The proper way is to put an obligation upon the programme contractor to provide so much news a day, or so many hours of news in a week and then let him get on with it, governed by the Bill's provisions about impartiality and objectivity. It may be argued that that might put an immense burden upon programme contractors. I agree that it probably would put a burden upon them, but I am confident that any programme contractor would say that it was money well spent.
He would agree that to have a news service added great value to his programme, that one of the things people want to have is a good news service, a good, interesting, sparkling commentary 2396 upon matters of the day, up-to-date documentary films of events—not, like some B.B.C. newsreels, of happenings two days out of date. That is greatly in the interest of the contractor, and there is no reason why he should not himself bear part of the cost of producing such a service and providing the staff. That, in the long run, would be less expensive on the public purse than having the Authority take unto itself the staff and the equipment.
It would be less expensive to the taxpayer to do it through the programme contractor. [Interruption.] Am I taking up too much time?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
I do not wish to be impertinent, but I thought it was right to remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that there is a Guillotine, and that a number of my hon. Friends wish to speak. No one wishes to curtail the hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech, but I thought I should draw that fact to his attention.
§ Captain Orr
I understand the reason for the right hon. Gentleman's intervention.
I shall conclude by saying that this sort of service should either be given in the way that I have suggested or it should be provided by some special agency. I am not thinking of some of the agencies already in existence. I was thinking that some of the programme contractors might have that obligation put upon them, and that they should get together and form a joint agency for the presentation of news. That is the sort of thing I have in mind for the provision of telefilms of the news, and so on. I think this service should be provided by the programme contractors, and not in any circumstances by the Authority itself.
§ Mr. Blackburn
I think that the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) dislikes this Bill as much as we on this side of the Committee do, but whilst we are trying to improve the Bill, according to our lights, the hon. and gallant Gentleman has been spending his time trying to defend the Government. I shall try to be extremely brief in what I have to say because my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) has already made a comprehensive and excellent speech on this matter, and has already answered the 2397 arguments of the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South.
What seems to me to have emerged very clearly from our deliberations is the difference between the two sides of the Committee as to the amount of work which will be put into the hands of the Authority and the amount which will be put into the hands of the programme contractors. We believe that news and matters concerning education, religion and politics should be in the sole control of the Authority. The Government believe that these matters should be put in the hands of the programme contractors.
I have a feeling that the Government intended, in the first place, that these matters should be in the hands of the Authority but that they have been subjected to so much pressure from the benches behind them that they have now changed their minds, and that the more forcibly we state our point of view the more determined are they to believe that they are correct. We are dealing with politics in this Amendment, and I think everyone will agree that it is dynamite. If there were any suggestion of unfairness there would be a great deal of trouble throughout the country.
Our agument is not that we believe that the members of the programme contractors or the advertisers are wicked but that undesirable pressures will be brought to bear upon them. The Home Secretary may say that there are in the Bill sufficient safeguards to allay our anxieties. The Assistant Postmaster-General, when he was replying to the previous Amendment, said that instructions would be given that there should be no advertising in religious programmes. But that is not stated in the Bill. He said there would be no advertising at the beginning or the end of those programmes, but I think it would be rather difficult to decide whether an advertisement was inserted at the end of one programme or at the beginning of another one.
There is also the question of the payment for these programmes. In a previous debate I was concerned about who was going to pay for these programmes, but the Assistant Postmaster-General made it quite clear that the Authority would pay the programme contractors. What would be the position if the programme contractors said, "The amount 2398 that you are offering is not enough. We want more"? Has the Authority power to say, "You have got to put the programme on at our price"?
So many difficulties are likely to arise when authority is divided in this way and so much pressure can be brought to bear by the advertising agencies that it is dangerous for such a position to exist. We believe that only by leaving the matter entirely in the hands of the Authority can we avoid unnecessary controversy. It is essential, in a matter of this kind, that unnecessary controversy be avoided.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Squadron Leader Cooper
It is well known that I have personal reservations about the Bill, and the case put forward by the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) and the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Blackburn) coincides largely with the views I held when the White Paper was published. But I think their fears are exaggerated because, as I read the Bill, the safeguards in Clause 3 and other Clauses of the Bill are adequate to meet the situation which they envisage. I say sincerely that if I did not believe that I should not hesitate to vote against the Government on this issue. I have a great deal of faith in, and respect for, the integrity of the Home Secretary, and when he assures us that these safeguards exist, that is sufficient for me.
I wonder whether the fears which have been expressed have underlying them other fears which have not been brought to light. For example, in the political field, is it feared that the Conservative Party can dispose of greater funds than the Labour Party and, therefore, will be able to buy more time? I gather that some hon. Members opposite assent to that.
My experience is that the funds of the Conservative Party are at present at a very low ebb, and I believe that the Labour Party is in similar low water. There is, however, a difference: we are not able to dispose of substantial political funds from either the Co-operative Society or the trade unions, and it therefore seems to me that if one side of the House is to be seriously embarrassed, through lack of funds in putting these programmes forward, it will be the Conservative Party.
§ Mr. Blackburn
If there is the slightest danger of either side acquiring funds and using them in this way, is it not important that the sole control should be in the hands of the Authority?
§ Squadron Leader Cooper
If the hon. Member will read Clause 3 again he will find that there are sufficient safeguards. The responsibility for ensuring that there is no partiality in this respect is laid upon the Authority.
Throughout the years, we in the Conservative Party have said that the B.B.C. is vary Left Wing, and some hon. Members opposite, in all sincerity, have said that the B.B.C. is very Right Wing. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) has said so, and the view has been expressed by many other people.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Some of us remember what took place in 1926, and again in 1931. That is the fundamental difference between hon. Members, even between hon. Members on this side of the Committee.
§ Squadron Leader Cooper
I do not think it is necessary to go back into political history, but on both sides of the Committee we can show examples where, in our view, the B.B.C. has acted with bias on one side or the other, and probably all parties have suffered from that at one time or another.
If that be so, even with an organisation such as the B.B.C, which is a public corporation, with all the safeguards which it is supposed to have—df it can lay itself open to charges such as that—it is going to be very difficult indeed to put into words the safeguards which the hon. Gentleman feels are necessary for the new Authority. Therefore, it seems to me that we have to look at the general powers of the I.T.A. —powers given to it in this Bill—and we have to recognise that the people who are to be appointed to positions of trust in the I.T.A. are to be people of responsibility from all walks of life.
We must place some faith and trust in them to do this job properly. If we say to them, "We are going to appoint you to this position of high responsibility, but we do not trust you, and we are going to watch you with hawk-like eyes," that is not going to make for the best working of this organisation.
§ Mr. Blackburn
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is misrepresenting the case which has been put forward, and I do not think that he would wish to do that.
§ Squadron Leader Cooper
I am surprised to hear that observation from the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) because we served together in the Royal Air Force, and I believe that at one time he was miscalled an intelligence officer.
§ Squadron Leader Cooper
The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. I was never an interpretation officer, I was a navigator in aircraft, and I did manage to get my aircraft where it was supposed to be and to get home as well, which is not always the sort of thing which hon. Members opposite can do.
I want to say this very sincerely. The I.T.A. is something quite new that we are setting up, and we must try to let it operate with the feeling that we, on both sides of the House, trust its integrity. If we are going to set it up and feel all the time in our hearts that we cannot agree with it or that we distrust everything that it is going to do, it seems to me that this whole experiment will be doomed to failure.
§ Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
As I listened to the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper) speaking about his wartime experiences as a navigator, I could not help thinking how he would have felt if he had received a homing beacon from his home station by courtesy of Bile Beans, "Calling F for Freddie 31, F for Freddie 31, Vector 230—by courtesy of Bile Beans." It really would not work.
§ Mr. Benn
Hark the Herald Angels sing,Beecham's Pills are just the thing,which is supposed to have been written in a hymn book given to the church by Sir Thomas Beecham.
2401 On the whole, I do not trust advertising for accurate information, but that is irrelevant to this particular debate. We are considering one of the most difficult of all the problems which this new Authority has to face. I declare my interest is such in the matter that for one year I was what is called a producer in the B.B.C. and responsible for passing on what subjects should be covered for overseas broadcasting and for picking the people who should do it. I know from that experience how very difficult both these questions are. It is particularly difficult in this case because we are not really considering a normal medium of communication like a newspaper. Anyone can set up a newspaper. The "Recorder" was a gallant attempt to challenge control by other national dailies. What we have to decide is not a purely competitive system at all, but who shall be able to get to the microphone, or the camera in the case of television. The Independent Television Authority, with, say, its only one programme in London, will, therefore, be responsible directly or indirectly for selecting people to talk about controversial matters. It is really an intensely difficult problem.
We have only to look at the B.B.C.'s handling of this—I do not claim that it is perfect—to realise how very cautious this country has been. Hon. Members will no doubt recall that, when the B.B.C. was first set up, no controversy of any kind was allowed on the air, no controversy about politics and no controversial religious discussion, because it was felt that this would upset the susceptibilities of people and that one could not be certain of being fair. That, I think, was too cautious. Indeed, in 1928 the Government reversed it, but still it showed with what great trepidation controversy was approached in a monopoly, or near monopoly, broadcasting system.
Many remnants of that caution are still with us. The B.B.C. could not put on a programme last week or at any time in the last two or three months discussing commercial television because the House of Commons was considering it. The Home Secretary supports this view. Indeed, my own Front Bench, representing the Labour Party on these matters, supports the view that there should not be discussion or comment about a thing two weeks before Parliament discusses it. We 2402 know perfectly well that with the Leader of the House announcing the next week's business only on the previous Thursday, no producer would dare put on a programme of anything that might remotely come before the House of Commons for fear that it may be listed in the business of the House for the following week. I think that that is wrong, but it is a view which is held by the Home Secretary in collective Cabinet responsibility and by my right hon. Friends.
The other aspect is balance. If the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) gives a literary talk on the Third Programme, my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) has to be interviewed at a local flower show; there must be a balance. A Liberal must never be allowed to talk about beekeeping without a Tory talking about fish. Again, that is in a way ridiculous. It shows the immense care which must be taken in approaching the question, because there is the risk of building up a personality from one party or another and that this would have an adverse political effect.
The B.B.C. also have a rule, which is difficult for them to maintain, that they will not build personalities. They are frightened of building a personality, and they will never have another "Radio Doctor." I say this with no disrespect to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food. He was a brilliant broadcaster and I used to set my simple rules of health by listening to him every Friday morning. But there is a considerable political impact when a man who has built up his reputation by advising the public on health enters the political arena. It was an enormous advantage to the Conservative Party when, in his first political broadcast, the hon. Gentleman was able to emerge on a new front. Therefore, we ought to approach this matter with much care than the Government have done in their present proposals.
I have been reading the report of the Federal Communications Commission, a very long report on the subject of editorialisation by commercial companies. The Commission says that it cannot be stopped and that a man cannot be prevented from giving a slant to has news comment if he has private control of it. The Commission also says— 2403 this seems very important in view of what the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) said—that one cannot look at fairness afterwards. Fairness and objectivity have to go into the product while it is being made and before it is put out.
One cannot object afterwards that the news reader put a smear in his voice when he gave the Leader of the Opposition's answer to the Prime Minister; and yet that makes all the difference. News readers are trained to take the colour out of what they say, because of the risk of giving a slant, a smear and a bias. Whatever may be said about the B.B.C. news readers the B.B.C. has the enviable reputation that if people can say, "I heard it on the wireless," they believe it. which they will not say of newspapers or any other medium of communication. That is the real risk we have to face; that in the choice of persons to broadcast and in the choice of subjects to be broadcast, in the treatment and in the accompanying advertising, there are grave dangers of bias entering into it.
Take, for example, the question of subjects. If a programme contractor happens to do all the advertising for the Imperial Tobacco Company, can one trust its comments on the latest results of the research into cancer and lung smoking? I do not think so. If I heard an advertisement for British Railways saying, "Travel to the sunny South for your holidays by rail" and then, "We are now presenting the news bulletin," I would not think them to be impartial in their statements about the present strike. which includes so many men in my constituency, because they would be interested in it.
Programme contractors get their money from the advertisers and, whether they mean to be influenced or not, they are bound to be influenced by the business from which they derive their income. The hon. and gallant Member for Ilford. South spoke about political bias. I do not suspect the Tory Party are going to buy up half the day and put out pictures of the Minister of Housing and Local Government opening the door of the 50,000th house. What I do fear is that Messrs. Tate and Lyle's Mr. Cube is 2404 going to develop a campaign which, of course, would have very great political consequences. I say quite frankly that I do not believe the programme contractor would have the courage to take an absolutely independent line.
We are discussing here something which may never happen. There has never been any television news in this country. I do not know how many hon. Members have been to America and have seen television news worked. It is a very revealing thing. One can go into the back room and see the news coming off the tape. They never bother to check it. There is a sensational story about a fire in Cleveland, Ohio and they interrupt the programme to put it over. There is no checking. Then one sees a man reading the news and making a commentary. The commentary I used to listen to finished up with the news reader taking a huge bite out of a luscious hamburger in order to advertise a series of drive-in cafes in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was quite easy to follow, but that is not the way we get our news broadcast. It is not 'the way to build up a reputation for objectivity and for impartiality.
In terms of public consequence this is a much more serious matter than religion, which is a private matter for an individual to decide, or even of children's programmes, because it strikes at the whole tradition of British impartiality in broadcasting. I do not think the Home Secretary would deny that the B.B.C, with all its faults, has made a very good job of handling political and industrial controversy, and I think its methods ought to be continued. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough that we ought to have competition in news, although the competition can come from only one source. But let us not, in our passion for getting competition, throw over the methods which have been so very good. It is only the way that the B.B.C. does it that makes the news objective.
I think the Home Secretary should meet us on this. We have constant promises from the Government that they will meet us, that this is a non-party Bill, and they say they are anxious to meet all objectors. But. to the best of my knowledge, they have not accepted a single Amendment from this side of the Committee, though they have from the 2405 Tory side of the Committee. Amendments have been put in good faith by hon. Members on this side of the Committee, but so far in vain.
I have come to the conclusion that the Government are determined to press this thing through simply because they have no open mind on the matter. They are determined to open up the field of television to their commercial friends. I do not think that anyone is advocating it dishonestly, but there are strong commercial interests, and the only way to test the sincerity of the Government is by seeing whether they will accept the public interest against the many private interests.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I shall try to be as brief as I can because I know that hon. Gentlemen opposite wish to discuss at least one other topic tonight. Apart from the peroration of the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn), die discussion on this Amendment has been remarkable in that it has not been an attack on the contents of the Bill but on the practical problem inherent in the Amendment. I only mention, to put it on record, that on this point there are the two provisions in Clause 3 (1), paragraphs (d) and (f). Paragraph (d) deals with news, and paragraph (f) specifies that due impartiality is to be preserved on the part of the programme company in respect ofmatters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy;Then there is the proviso to that subsection which permits, first, party political broadcasts from the point of view of including the whole, but not some only, of a series of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and, secondly, theinclusion in the programmes of properly balanced discussions or debates where the persons taking part express opinions and put forward arguments of a political character.We have certainly tried to meet this point.
Then I come to the argument advanced in a serious and interesting way as to the practical possibility. I recognise the point made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) and repeated by the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn), that in this country we are only in the initial stages of television news. I must not delay too long on the news because that aspect is only introductory to this 2406 Amendment, and I am only referring to it out of deference to the hon. Member for Hillsborough, who mentioned the point.
There is a danger with regard to television news which I am sure the hon. Gentleman recognises, and which I have always felt. There is a temptation to give more space in television news to a subpect for which there is a film or something else ready, and to which a background can be given. That is a difficulty which seems apparent to me. It is worth considering.
I put to hon. Gentlemen for their consideration the question whether we do not want competition in the sense of having someone specialising in trying to get the most interesting news and background programmes in television; in fact, I think that the hon. Gentleman rather desired that as an objective. Therefore I should like to see the programme contractors, when they are deciding how they are going to spend their money, going out for this point and, if necessary, establishing the services that will provide telefilms, or the like.
Again there is a relevance in the fact that we are considering television. Broadly, in television, as opposed to sound radio, a programme that includes a number of people and discussion and argument has a greater appeal. In fact, I would go further and say that it is almost necessary to have a number of people and discussion in the majority of television programmes. That eases the difficulty which the hon. Gentleman mentioned, because it is simpler to keep a balance in programmes of that kind.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
Certainly. And we are getting every day a more highly-developed and more critical public opinion on that point, so that it would become more difficult if one were to overweight the programme one way or another.
Although I listened with great interest to the catalogue of difficulties which the hon. Member for Hillsborough and the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East have put forward, I cannot help feeling that they exaggerated them in some degree. I have great hopes of the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East. His 2407 exordium today was cautious and conservative to a degree. That is very reassuring to us on the Government benches, but I feel that on this occasion he has been a trifle over-cautious and over-conservative and that he has overestimated the difficulties.
I have dealt with the matter so far from the point of view of the programme contractors. A programme contractor who tried to give a biased or weighted programme would find that he suffered by so doing. The other point concerns the position of the Authority. The Amendment asks that the Authority should do all this. There is the economic aspect, which I am sure the hon. Member for Hillsborough will appreciate, that if we make the Authority do certain things while not covering the whole field, costs and overheads will be greater in proportion. However, I do not want to put the case on that basis, although obviously it would have to be considered.
The interesting point is whether one gets a better check if one puts the responsibility direct on the Authority or if one puts it on the programme contractor, who then works under the Authority. I should have thought it best that the programme contractor should have the obligations under the subsection which I have indicated, and it is then for the Authority to see that the contractor keeps within the provisions of that subsection.
It is not so important that one fault should be completely corrected by a succeeding programme, though naturally one would wish to see that done. The tremendously important thing is that we should have a second body which would see that the faults are not repeated. We have tried to erect such a body, and also to give it sufficient teeth. That is why it is important that there is not only the power to terminate but the power to exact a penalty, because we want to make the Authority able to enforce its views. I do not think there will be any doubt in any quarter that we ought to secure that, in conducting controversy, impartiality shall exist.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Shackleton
Is there anything in the Bill to prevent the programme contractors broadcasting their own views?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I think there is. I could find it for the hon. Member, but I do not want to occupy time now in doing so. I will show it to him later if he is in any doubt.
I say we have provided sufficient safeguards. There is a double safeguard in the position of the programme contractors, but, if there were any doubt about that, the Authority could step in and see that the matter was put right. Therefore, I ask the Committee to accept this as the healthiest and most potent way of getting lively programmes and seeing that impartiality is retained.
§ Mr. G. Darling
It may be that, as a result of the rules and restrictions— which I admit are in the Bill, although I think they will be inoperative—we may prevent programme contractors and advertisers accepting news programmes. In those circumstances, if this Amendment is not accepted, the Bill will prevent us doing what we want to do— setting up a news service in competition with the B.B.C.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I do not agree that it will prevent a news service, and, if I were closer to order, I should like to develop that point a little more. In answer to the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) the provision about which he inquired is in Clause 3 (2).
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
We are dealing with an extremely difficult problem. I would be the first to admit that. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman will know, we put this point of view in relation to news, we put it in relation to children, in relation to religion, and now we put it in relation tomatters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy.We say that these matters ought to be in the hands of the Independent Television Authority. The right hon. and learned Gentleman posed the question of whether it was better to have the check on the Authority or the indirect check on the programme company beneath. I should have thought it would be far more effective to have the check on the Authority in the first instance rather than upon the programme company.
We object, first, to these controversial matters being in the hands of programme 2409 contractors. We say that the programme contractors are people who move in the commercial world. In regard to many things which would be the subject of controversy, either consciously or unconsciously, they have a bias. Their bias would naturally be expressed in the form the comment took or the choice of people who would engage in the controversial programme. I should have thought that obvious.
The second point is that not only do we object to these items being in the hands of the programme companies, but we object to them being the subject of advertisement association. They are not being used for the purpose of enlightening or entertaining; they are being used for the purpose of inducing people to watch a certain advertisement. What the programme contractor will seek to do is so to frame this item on his programme as to have the maximum effect in selling the goods associated with the programme.
The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) seems to have a lot of inside information about this matter. He seems to think there will be one programme company which may consist of a number of sub-companies. They will not only get news, but will arrange for the comment on the news. I cannot imagine a programme company arranging a controversy in which there would be debated the virtues of commercial television with speakers opposing commercial television with the same vigour as those who supported it. The company would try to choose the best spokesmen to put the case for their side and the weakest spokesmen to represent the other side.
They could not be charged with not preserving the balance. They could not be charged with bias because the number of speakers would be equal. It could be argued that the programme was balanced. I should have thought that programme companies were the last kind of people to be allowed to select controversial matters for television programmes.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
If they saw that a programme company was providing first-rate speakers on one side and inferior speakers on the other, would it not be open to the Authority to say that the company was not preserving a true balance?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
I do not think that a programme company would do anything so obvious. They would be much more subtle. But by one means or another they would achieve a thing which the programme contractor wanted. I say this is quite the wrong way to handle these matters, which may be the subject of bias, whether conscious or otherwise.
The matter might be argued from the point of view of the consequence to our industrial life. How are we to handle industrial relations in this regard? Suppose there is an unofficial strike, how is that to be handled? Are these people, with no knowledge of industrial relations, the proper people to handle such a situation? That could do extreme damage to our home economy. Suppose that we had a political crisis. I imagine that most programme contractors would not view with equanimity successes achieved by hon. Members on this side of the Committee. I do not think I am doing them an injustice when I say that most of them tend to be Tory.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
We are talking about programme companies brought into existence by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and naturally they will be predominantly Tory. Would it be right to leave the handling of a political crisis to people of that type, who would have a certain bias? I am not trying to score party points. If the converse were true, if we had brought these companies into existence and they were predominantly Labour in outlook, the arguement put by hon. Members opposite would be the same as I am now advancing. I am trying to look at this as objectively as I possibly can.
Let us take the question of balancing the programme. Is it suggested for a single moment that a programme contractor who has a contract indirectly with a great brewing company would be likely to stage a controversy about the evil consequences of an over-indulgence in alcohol? If he did stage a programme item about it, would there not, quite reasonably, be an unjustifiable bias in one direction? There is the difficulty. I am sure that the Authority, if it had to handle it itself, would find it extremely difficult.
2411 It is far too dangerous to put this sort of thing into the hands of independent programme contractors. It would be far better to place a direct responsibility upon the Authority itself, so that the Authority would be answerable to the Postmaster-General and to this House for a proper balance in handling what is, on any account, an extremely difficult situation.
Those are our points of view about this matter. I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will take into account what has been said on this Amendment, over and above what was said on the earlier Amendment. It may be possible for us to have discussions on the matter. However, we feel that this is a matter which can have very serious consequences upon the mind of the nation. As the Guillotine is operating tonight and as we want to proceed with our business, we do not, in the circumstances, propose to divide the Committee.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Gammans
I beg to move, in page 4, line 11, after "items," to insert:arrange for the provision, otherwise than aforesaid, of, or, if need be.This is consequential upon Amendments of a similar type which I moved earlier in the debate. I shall not take up the time of the Committee by saying anything more about it.
§ Mr. Shackleton
We regard the Amendment as an objectionable betrayal of the Government's original proposals.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Gammans
I beg to move, in page 4, line 13, to leave out "lack, or."
This is consequential upon what my right hon. and learned Friend said last night. He was asked whether he would accept the Amendment, and he said that he would.
§ Mr. Shackleton
The Government did not indicate last night that they would accept the Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] This is an even greater and more objectionable change.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman considered putting in the interpretation Clause a 2412 definition of "temporary"? He said he would consider the point.
§ The Chairman
I recollect what was said last night. The Home Secretary clearly said that he would accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I beg to move, in page 4, line 21, after "and," to insert:notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this subsection—(c) the Authority shall themselves provide any item showing or reporting a Royal occasion, and the Authority.The object of this Amendment is to reserve to the Authority the right to broadcast on Royal occasions, and the definition of a Royal occasion will be found on the Order Paper in an Amendment to Clause 16. The primary object of the Amendment is to protect the Royal Family and the television screen from any association with commercial advertising, and the surprising thing is that we need to move such an Amendment at all.
We have had quite recent experience of what commercial broadcasting can do when broadcasting on a Royal occasion, notably in the broadcast of the Coronation in the United States of America, which would be far better described as the "J. Fred Muggs" broadcast. Millions of people in this country were deeply shocked by that broadcast, and I think they will watch with considerable interest the attitude of the Government on this question.
On this subject, hon. Members may recall that only a few weeks before that celebrated event, the Assistant Postmaster-General said in this House:Let me assure him …that the Government are very much in earnest about sponsored television, and earnestly hope to see it in operation at the earliest possible opportunity."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd April, 1953; Vol. 513, c. 1470.]That was three weeks before the Coronation, and, in the broadcast of that ceremony in the United States, an ape appeared on the screen, interrupting the broadcasting of the Coronation ceremony. Since then the Government's attitude has changed for the better—
§ Mr. Mayhew
J. Fred Muggs is an American advertising chimpanzee who interrupted the Coronation broadcast in the United States.
I say we should be grateful to this animal. It is not every day that such a great contribution to human culture comes from the animal kingdom as the persuading of a Government that sponsored television is not quite correct; and it is not every Government that can be taught the elements of civilisation by an ape. We must do everything we can to make certain that any conceivable chance of this sort of thing taking place in this country shall be avoided. This will be secured by the Amendment.
We have been told already that the things which go on in America will not necessarily go on here, and that British advertising is different from American advertising. I am not at all sure that that is so. It is not the actual type of advertising here that matters. Any form of commercial advertising is most inappropriate in televising a Royal occasion, and it is no good hon. Members saying that we do things better over here and that our chimpanzees are better bred and better trained. We want no commercial advertising of any kind in relation to any Royal occasion.
I cannot see why we need to make a change in this country in the matter of televising Royal occasions. I should have thought that, in the matter of televising Royal occasions, the record of the B.B.C. is extremely good. Who can doubt that the Coronation ceremony and the ceremony of last Saturday, when Her Majesty returned to London, were most admirably done by the B.B.C?
There were, of course, viewer research reports after the Coronation ceremony. Viewers were asked whether they thought the Coronation Service was done "completely satisfactorily," "satisfactorily" or "not satisfactorily." Out of every 100 people asked, 98 said that it was done "completely satisfactorily." Among the other 2 per cent, are the Assistant Postmaster-General and the Government. They are not satisfied. They were not satisfied with the way in which the B.B.C. handled the Coronation, and they want to change it. They were not satisfied with the performance last Saturday.
The Bill destroys the system which presented the Coronation and the Queen's 2414 return. The Government wish to take away the B.B.C.'s monopoly, which is a vital element in the success of running a Royal occasion. There was no jostling for position in the Abbey with so-called competitive television firms. The B.B.C. had a monopoly and it did the job extremely well. I doubt whether anybody not sitting on the Government Front Bench would not wish our Royal occasions to be broadcast in the same way and up to the same standard as on the occasions I have mentioned.
§ Mr. Mayhew
It was not interrupted by commercial advertisements.
My point is that whereas 98 per cent. of tie British people were completely satisfied with the B.B.C.'s handling of the Coronation, the Assistant Postmaster-General and the Government were dissatisfied, and have brought forward a Bill which changes the whole system. They are doing it because of their purely doctrinaire belief in private enterprise. For them, the only thing wrong with the Coronation ceremony was that there was no money in it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh‡"] If the Coronation ceremony and the television broadcast of it had been "competitive," to use the Assistant Postmaster-General's expression—if there had been a cut for somebody and if it had been a programme with advertisements, presumably they would have been satisfied. That is a doctrinaire approach.
What is the Assistant Postmaster-General going to say? I ask him not to tell us what he has told us so often before, that this is a matter for the Independent Television Authority to decide. We are getting a little tired of the shuffling out of his responsibility by the Assistant Postmaster-General. He may say that he does not like the idea of advertisements on Royal occasions, just as he said he did not like the idea of the advertisement and commercialisation of religion. It is no use for him to say that he does not like these things unless he takes the necessary action and puts appropriate words in the Bill.
2415 Actions speak louder than words in these matters. We are not going to allow the Assistant Postmaster-General to shuffle out of his responsibility like that. I am sure that he will say that he deplores commercial advertisement and commercial contractors being concerned with Royal occasions. He will then go on and be very careful to leave a loophole whereby precisely that sort of thing can be done. I feel certain of that. This will be the thin end of the wedge.
None of us on this side of the Committee expects that at the beginning the commercial people will not tread very warily indeed. I am not worried about the first year or the second year so much as about what will happen later. They want to get a foot in the doorway, gain the right to broadcast Royal occasions commercially, then bit by bit the wedge will be pushed in until we have the situation which exists in the United States, where nothing is sacred and where even the Coronation ceremony is interrupted.
We see even today how the Government will yield to pressure from private interests. When this system is established, and the commercial people have their stations and programmes, have built around themselves all kinds of advertising, manufacturing and trade interests, and their public relations system is working, imagine the pressure they can then put on the Government. If once we allow a loophole in this Bill for commercial interests to broadcast commercially these Royal occasions the pass will have been sold, and we shall eventually have the situation that exists in the United States of America.
Fortunately, we can hope that before that time a General Election may change the whole prospect of these people who are looking forward to making a great deal of money from commercial television here. If the Assistant Postmaster-General resists this Amendment that, too, could have an effect on the General Election which will be fought. I can think of no better way of illustrating the mercenariness of the Conservative Party than by pointing to their attitude on this matter.
I shall, myself, have no compunction at all in taking every opportunity of drawing the mural from the Government's attitude on the commercial 2416 broadcasting of Royal occasions. If that is done, I am sure that in many parts of the country it will cause considerable embarrassment to the Government. Even though the Assistant Postmaster-General may feel that he cannot accept the Amendment I still want him to tell the Committee what is to be the association of Royal occasions with commercial advertising.
We have had a debate today on the association of religious broadcasts with commercial advertising. The Assistant Postmaster-General gave a firm assurance that there would be no commercial advertising within, or at the beginning or at the end of any religious broadcast.
If he cannot accept the Amendment then we want from him at least the same assurance that not only in regard to the Coronation, Trooping the Colour and the Cup Final, but on other occasions when the Royal Family are present, there shall be no advertising either at the beginning, in the middle or at the end. We ought to watch with care the Government's attitude on this point. There have been very few occasions when the prestige of the Monarchy has been higher—or the prestige of the Assistant Postmaster-General lower. On this occasion I hope that he will see his way to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Gower
In moving this Amendment the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) suggested that should any Royal occasion be reported by any body other than the Independent Authority it was inevitable that there would be something similar to the appearance of Fred Muggs. He was overlooking two ample safeguards in the Bill as it stands.
First of all, any attempt by anybody to insert such advertising as may have appeared in some other countries, in the reporting of a Royal occasion would be regarded by the British people as an affront and a slight. It would be most unwise for anybody to put such a thing in their programme. That is the first safeguard.
§ Mr. Gower
I will come to that. Secondly, there is the safeguard contained in the wording of the Bill itself. I 2417 do not wish to repeat the words ad nauseum, but I think that they are particularly apposite to this Amendment. Clause 3 (1, b) says:… that nothing is included in the programmes which offends against good taste or decency or is likely to encourage … or to be offensive to public feeling…I should say that those words entirely meet the point of this Amendment. The only difference is this. The hon. Member for Woolwich, East wants to make the Authority a sort of pale shadow of the existing B.B.C. In other words, he only wants us to have the sort of report which the B.B.C. gives us at present. The more imaginative approach, perhaps the more inspired camera work which may result from some new kind of approach, is to be denied to the people of this country.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Shackleton
Will the hon. Gentleman say how much more imaginative he would have liked the Coronation broadcast to be?
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels
My hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) was dealing with the question of omitting advertisements from these occasions.
§ Mr. Gower
I shall deal with that point later. In reply to the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton), I would say that I should imagine that the Coronation was a particularly easy occasion to televise. It is significant that not only was it very well done by the B.B.C, but it was particularly well done by the commercial cinema companies in this country. I am sure that it will be admitted that there was nothing to offend any sensibility or decency in the recording of the Coronation as seen in our cinemas all over the country.
On balance, we on this side of the Committee also want the Royal occasions to be free from this kind of thing, but we are satisfied, and I hope my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General is also satisfied, that there is an adequate safeguard in the general public opinion, and if that should be inadequate there is in additional safeguard in the Bill.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
I must say that I cannot agree 100 per cent, with the mover of the Amendment, because I believe that the handling of the Coronation television broadcast by the B.B.C. is open to some criticism. I thought it was rather long and that it should have been cut by about two-thirds. I think that the B.B.C. unduly prolonged the boredom of a large number of people in this country who dutifully turned on their television sets because it was the patriotic thing to do.
I went to Scotland hoping to escape from the Coronation. I have a television set, and I thought it was my patriotic duty to invite my neighbours who did not have television sets, and so I sacrified myself in the interests of the Coronation. I look back upon the Coronation broadcast with some sense of boredom. I was saved by a small boy who was bored with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The little boy rescued me, and I was able to go out into the fresh air and the sunshine.
I tried to imagine how it might have been if we had had commercial television. When the Royal carpet came into view there would have been some commentator saying, "This carpet cost £5,000. Buy your carpets on the instalment system," and so on. Then in the interval we might have had somebody saying, "They have all gone for refreshment now. They are only being kept alive until the end of the performance by drinking Nicholson's gin."
§ Mr. J. E. S. Simon (Middlesbrough, West)
I wonder if by any chance the hon. Gentleman has read the Second Schedule to this Bill?
§ Mr. Hughes
I am dealing only with the potential horrors of commercial television.
I hope there will not be another Coronation in my lifetime, but I can conceive that one of these Royal occasions might be so commercialised and vulgarised that it would cause considerable offence, for I do not believe the commercial interests in this country have any respect for Royalty. I have more respect for the privacy of the Royal Family than they have, because I do not want to see the Royal Family exhibited in this way at all.
§ Mr. Hughes
I do not know why hon. Members seek to divert me to the Schedules from the realities.
This Amendment would enable us to prevent commercialism from exploiting Royalty. Indeed, commercialism would exploit anything. I can quite see that future Royal occasions could be commercialised. Supposing we had had a television camera at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh this year. I have no doubt that, ignoring all the susceptibilities of the Scottish people, commercial television would have used the whole of the Assembly at Holyrood this week to sell White Horse or Haig whisky. That is the sort of thing we are in for with commercial television. There might be a Royal funeral and a firm of undertakers would come along and cash in.
I do not know whether hon. Members opposite realise that this might lead to the spread of Communism. Supposing there had been a television examination of the inside of the Royal Yacht, showing the Royal carpets and the furniture, and supposing all the apparatus had been duly described over the air for the benefit of the advertisers. The same commercial parasites and exploiters would try to exploit every kind of religious, political or social occasion. Of course, if a good television reporter had got going on the Royal Yacht, costing £2,100,000, that would have spread Communism all over the country. I do not think the Assistant Postmaster-General undertands what he is in for. If he wants to spread Communism, all very well.
I have no doubt that the television interests know the psychological point at which to break in with their advertisements and slogans, and I can quite imagine that when we were all singing the National Anthem with great pleasure, after the second line someone would say, "You will sing better if you use such-and-such a firm's lozenges." I do not understand why hon. Members opposite do not agree with the Amendment and why they intend to go into the Lobby against it.
§ Mr. Gammans
I am sure we are all grateful to the hon. Member for South 2420 Ayrshire, who has enlivened the debate with a piece of clever nonsense.
§ Mr. Gammans
Well, piece of nonsense.
I should like to welcome back the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew). I know he has been ill, and I know it must have been a terrible thing for him not to have been able to take part in our earlier debates, for he has taken this matter very much to heart. I hope we shall have him with us for the rest of the Committee stage.
This is the last of a series of Opposition Amendments the object of which is to extend the scope of the Authority at the expense of the programme contractors. This happens to be their philosophy but it does not happen to be ours. They would like these different types of programmes not to be provided by the programme contractors but made the responsibility of the Authority. We have never disguised from the Committee that our view is a different one. We have always held the view that the provision of programmes would be the responsibility of the programme contractors, under certain safeguards. I do not blame them for putting forward this Amendment, but I am sure that they will not expect us to accept it.
§ Mr. Gammans
We all recognise that Royal occasions require special handling. They come in a very special category, and we have to satisfy ourselves that the safeguards against an occasion like that being abused are in fact adequate. As the hon. Member for Woolwich, East said, it is the aim of all of us to protect the Royal Family, and I think that we all support the idea—I hope we do—that such occasions should not be associated with advertisements. That is quite definite. I think that is adequately safeguarded in paragraph 3 (b) of the Second Schedule.
The Authority and the Postmaster-General have to agree on, or, in default of agreement the Postmaster-General himself has to determine, the periods between advertisements and the classes of advertisements which are to be subject to special rules. As the Postmaster-Genera? 2421 is responsible to this House, if he does not exercise these rules according to the wishes of the House, he can, of course, be called to account. I would suggest that the safeguard against mixing up Royal occasions with undesirable advertising is a very full one.
§ Mr. Mayhew
If advertising is prevented, will the hon. Gentleman explain how, in that case, programmes are paid for by the programme contractors? He failed to explain that in the case of religious broadcasts. What about Royal occasions—where does the money come from?
§ Mr. Gammans
I do not think that I failed to explain that in the case of religious broadcasts. I explained to the House that the Authority had £750,000 annually at its disposal, and it was out of that money that it could pay for religious broadcasts, if it wished to do so, and it could equally well pay for this.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
That, surely, was not the point. I was here during the debate on the religious broadcast Amendment. Although what the hon. Gentleman now says is quite correct, he did not, so far as I can recollect, indicate that a programme contractor would do it for nothing or would get the money from the Authority. The programme contractor would have to face the overheads and have to recoup himself in some way.
§ Mr. Gammans
I am sorry if I did not make myself clear. Let me put it clearly, beyond any shadow of doubt. In the case of a religious broadcast, if the Authority decides to commission a religious broadcast, it can pay for it and has the money to pay for it.
§ Mr. Gammans
If it did it through the programme contractor, it would be in order to prevent that very type of broadcast being associated with advertisements. It would prevent what I think was in the right hon. Gentleman's mind when he said, "Would it mean that if a programme contractor did it he would be out of pocket? "I said that he might be out of pocket, but need not be out 2422 of pocket because the Authority would have the power and the money to pay for that broadcast itself, and to commission the programme contractor, or, it may be, some other company, to provide that actual broadcast.
I shall not convince hon. Members opposite of the reasons why we cannot accept their Amendment, but I hope I can convince them of something that really matters in this connection. That is, that there will be no undesirable advertising connected with Royal occasions.
§ Mr. Gammans
The safeguards in paragraph 3 (b) of the Second Schedule are adequate. [Interruption.] I hope I do not have to read the Bill to hon. Members opposite. I imagine that by now they know it inside out.
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels
Paragraph 3 says quite clearly thatAdvertisements shall not be inserted …but it does not stop there. It then goes on to say,otherwise than at the beginning or the end of the programme or in natural breaks …That is not eliminating advertisements.
§ Mr. Gammans
Power is here given to the Postmaster-General to lay down rules about advertisements. We stipulate that if there is disagreement between the Postmaster-General and the Autho- 2423 rity, the Postmaster-General has to decide; and, because he is the Postmaster-General, he is subject to the authority of the House and can be questioned.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
This is something new that is being introduced. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Should it not be in line with normal Parliamentary procedure? If, on his own authority, the Postmaster-General introduces something which is consistent with the Bill, when it becomes an Act, should he not lay it on the Table of the House or submit it to the House in some other way for confirmation or otherwise before it is put into operation?
§ Mr. Gammans
The hon. Member can get the information for which he asks in a quite simple way. All he has to do is to put down a Parliamentary Question and he will be informed of the rules which have been agreed between the Postmaster-General and the Authority regarding advertisements on these special occasions.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
That is not quite the undertaking, is it, which was given by the Home Secretary? This question was put to him when we discussed the Money Resolution. Did not the right hon. and learned Gentleman undertake to consider whether the rules should be published to the House?
§ Mr. Gammans
I cannot remember that, but I will certainly look it up. If my right hon. and learned Friend said that, of course that undertaking will be honoured. I do not want in any way to evade responsibility in this matter. But I want, if I can, to convince the Committee that so far as advertisements are concerned, the fears of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East about Mr. J. Fred Muggs coming here are quite unfounded. I hope the hon. Member will agree that the subsection would not admit Mr. J. Fred Muggs or any other ape.
Where I think we disagree—or where I hope we disagree—is not on the question of advertisements. It is on the question as to whether, to preserve the dignity proper to Royal occasions, the job must be done by a public body. That, I gather, 2424 is the basis of the Amendment. There is a feeling by Members opposite that no one else can be entrusted with the job. That is a fair point of view; I do not quarrel with it, but I do not agree with it. I do not agree with it, not because I disagree with it in a sort of vacuum but because I know from experience that it is simply not true.
The idea of hon. Members opposite is that, especially when there is an advertisement content, private enterprise cannot be trusted with any matters of taste, decency or, as one hon. Member said, even honesty. Is that a right or fair thing to say? Does it fit in with our way of life? I imagine that hon. Members go to the cinema when they get the chance —I do—but what happens there? What do we see every day of our lives? The Royal Family on the cinema screen. It is not of course done by advertisements, but it is done by a private enterprise company which makes money out of it. Is it done with bad taste? Has any hon. Member of this House ever seen the Royal Family portrayed on the cinema screen except with good taste?
The Coronation has been referred to in this debate. [Interruption.] There is no question of advertisements in this matter. I thought I made that perfectly plain to hon. Members, and I thought J had convinced the hon. Member about that aspect of the Amendment. We are now considering the issue of whether a public authority has the good taste to deal with a Royal occasion. There has been talk about the Coronation. I must state quite clearly that I was not among the 2 per cent, but among the 98 per cent, who thought the portrayal of the Coronation on television was a superb performance. It was what we expected. We are not changing that. All we are doing is to have a bit more of it. What one hon. Gentleman was suggesting—I do not think he meant to suggest it—was that the object of this Bill was to destroy the B.B.C. But the B.B.C. will be still with us.
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels
There is nothing in this provision prohibiting advertisements of that kind. Is the Assistant Postmaster-General endeavouring to tell the House that he is going to prohibit advertisements? If that is so why does he not put it into the Bill?
§ Mr. Gammans
We shall draw the rules to cover a whole variety of occasions of which this happens to be one. There must be some rules and regulations about advertisements—I can think of other occasions as well as Royal occasions—and the paragraph in the Second Schedule is meant to cover all such occasions.
§ Mr. Gammans
That paragraph covers such occasions, and covers them adequately. I do not want to repeat this over and over again.
I have said it already, but there are safeguards which I think fully cover all the reasonable points that are in the hon. Gentleman's mind. First there is paragraph 3 (b) and then there is Clause 3 (1) (b) which says:… nothing is included in the programmes which offends against good taste or decency … or to be offensive to puiblic feeling…Any programme that went out on television which did any of those things that we have heard mentioned tonight would be highly repulsive to good taste and to public feeling in this country, and would get, and fully merit, all the effects of the penal Clauses which we have not yet discussed, but which in the Bill are very extensive.
We have put safeguards and penal Clauses into the Bill which apply to no other medium. Nothing like them applies to the cinemas, and yet the cinemas turn out films of Royal occasions on the satisfactoriness of which we all agree. That is simply because of the cinema industry's own good taste. The stage is not subject to such safeguards nor is the B.B.C. Why is it that this medium should have something far more drastic imposed on it than any other? I have far more faith in the Authority and in the good sense of the British people than have hon. Members opposite.
How do I think Royal occasions will be portrayed on the television screen? If arrangements satisfactory to the Authority cannot be made, it can arrange to have these things done direct, and pay for them. That was one of the main reasons why we pressed so strongly for the inclusion in this Bill of the £750,000 which hon. Gentlemen opposite opposed and voted against. We thought it was 2426 essential, so that the Authority should have money which it did not get from advertising revenue, and so that Royal occasions could be portrayed as the result of a direct transaction paid for by the Authority, and so that there would be no question of the programme contractors coming into the matter in their ordinary capacity.
I doubt if this Amendment is necessary, because I am convinced that, just as the cinema companies have shown good taste in this matter, so the programme contractors will show equally good taste. I hope I have convinced hon. Gentlemen, unless they wish to push this Amendment forward as a doctrinaire point— [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh‡"] Oh, yes, unless they wish to open a back door to make the Authority into a programme company. If that is their motive, I cannot agree, but if they have genuine misgivings, I hope that the explanation I have given will satisfy them.
§ Mr. Shackleton
The Assistant Postmaster-General said he had great faith in the English people, but he has a greater faith than the English have either in him or in the commercial television people whom he is bringing into being. One of the difficulties in the conduct of this debate is the ignorance of the Government on the issue of the difference between cinemas and television. This is the twentieth time a Government spokesman has asked, since cinemas can do it, why should not the commercial television people? The reason has to be given again and again, namely, that people pay to go to the cinema by buying a ticket of admission whereas the commercial television people will have to depend on advertising for their revenue.
Again, the Assistant Postmaster-General said that the Opposition opposed the £750,000 annual subsidy to the I.T.A. We opposed it because we said it was not enough. The I.T.A. will have to repeat the miracle of the loaves and fishes on many occasions if they are to make this paltry subsidy cover all the purposes for which the hon. Gentleman says they will require to use it.
Our contention is a simple one, that the provisions and the safeguards in this Bill are not enough to protect Royal occasions, indeed many other occasions, from the desecration that was imposed by the American commercialisers during 2427 the Coronation broadcast. There is one extraordinary thing, that from the Front Bench opposite, not by the hon. Gentleman but by the Minister of State at the Foreign Office, there was a firm suggestion that the complaints about the American handling of the Coronation were unfounded and were part of a smear campaign.
§ Mr. Shackleton
Since the hon. Gentleman wants it, let me quote from the American newspapers on the subject, from reliable commentators working for private enterprise concerns, which will commend itself to the hon. Gentleman. Mr. Jack Gould of the "New York Tines" said that at varying times during the day both networks displayed a callousness in the injection of commercials that denied description. They even referred to Ed. Murrow's programme.
§ Mr. Osborne
Would the hon. Gentleman now quote what the British Ambassador reported on this matter?
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Shackleton
That is precisely what I am about to do. I have not the exact words, but I think I am rendering them fairly. The Minister of State quoted a statement by the British Ambassador saying that the programmes were handled with decency. [HON. MEMBERS: "Dignity."] That is com pletely untrue, and I should like to know whether the Minister of State has made any apology to the B.B.C. or anyone else for the reference to the smear campaign. He knows, and so does the Assistant Postmaster-General, that the Ambassador's report which was quoted in the House of Commons did not represent the facts. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Let me ask—
§ Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
Is it in order, Sir Charles, for an hon. Member to insult Her Majesty's Ambassador in Washington and say that he was not giving the facts correctly?
§ The Chairman
I understood that the the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) was quoting.
§ Mr. Shackleton
I was very careful to say that it was the Minister of State's quotation of the Ambassador. It was the hon. Member who asked me to quote, and I said that that statement was not in accordance with the facts. If the Government side is so touchy on this matter, I should like to know whether the Minister of State or the Government have apologised to the B.B.C. It is in fact well-known that they have apologised to the B.B.C. for a gross misrepresentation of the facts in the interest of the commercial televisers in this country. We do not trust the commercial televisers in this respect, and we are not satisfied with the performance of the Assistant Postmaster-General or the Government in protecting us and the Royal Family from this type of thing.
§ Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
The history of this case is quite clear. Her Majesty's Ambassador in Washington reported that the Coronation broadcasts were handled with dignity and that they did considerable benefit to the prestige of this country. The hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) and many other hon. Members opposite have sought to make capital out of this affair. I believe that the hon. Member for Woolwich, East has toured the country with a chimpanzee on his shoulder. The lengths to which he will go to misrepresent the facts are apparently unlimited.
We believe that the only programme on which the chimpanzee appeared was a very early morning programme on a small number of American stations in a news commentary illustrated by some still photographs. I regret to say that a certain amount of misrepresentation started by the hon. Member for Woolwich, East —and he is very closely allied with the B.B.C—has unfortunately been taken up by the Press in this country. Only two evenings ago the "Evening Standard" reported that the Coronation—
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I always understood in Committee that when the Chairman called one to speak one was entitled to speak. In view of the amount of misrepresentation on the part of hon. Members behind him, I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should tell his hon. Friends that they should speak more 2429 briefly and a little less heatedly. It is no good the right hon. Gentleman getting so annoyed.
We feel that commercial interests in this country which produce films like "A Queen is Crowned" did immense credit to the Coronation ceremony in this country and in every civilised part of the world, and we believe that they will handle Royal occasions with the complete dignity that is fitting to such occasions. We recognise that I.T.A. has been provided with funds which will entitle it to make sure that on Royal occasions there are absolutely no advertisements associated with the programme. I am afraid that the right hon. Member may shake his head—
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
Why should I sit down? We have had some extremely provocative statements from the other side of the Committee, and I do not think it wrong that we should reply to them on this side. For a year we have seen a campaign carried out, and this phase started after the Coronation. The Coronation was an outstanding event in this country. It was handled by the B.B.C. with very great success and very great dignity. We believe that the films of the Coronation made by commercial interests were of equally great credit to this country and to the dignity of the occasion. We believe that if commercial programme companies handle Royal occasions with that same dignity they would increase the renown which this country and the Royal Family have throughout the world.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I think it is a great breach of the ordinary traditions of the House when a Government imposes a Guillotine and Government supporters speak to within 10 minutes of the operation of the Guillotine. If that spirit is to be typical of the spirit in which commercial television is to be run, we are in for a very bad time.
We have heard the usual story from the Assistant Postmaster-General; we have been hearing it all day. He says, "Of course we agree with the Opposition. We do not want these things comercialised. We do not want the Crown commercialised or in any way mixed up 2430 with advertisements, but we are afraid we cannot accept your Amendments. Please trust us." We have had experience of trusting the Government in regard to commercial television, and we have had experience of the way in which the Government give way to pressure in this matter. The first White Paper, which was defended by the Home Secretary with his personal word in this House, contained a clear, specific and categorical pledge that commercial television would have nothing to do with religion or politics. That has now been abandoned. It was a clear pledge and it has been abandoned.
We want pledges—not in the mouth of the Assistant Postmaster-General, but in the Bill—because we have had experience of these things. The Assistant Postmaster-General spoke about the Second Schedule and the guarantees that would give us, but there is no mention of Royal occasions in the Second Schedule. Nor did the hon. Gentleman give any idea of how he will define a Royal occasion. Does a Royal occasion only mean the Opening of Parliament or a Coronation, or is it the attendance of the Queen at a Cup Final or at Wimbledon? Whichever meaning is given to the phrase will make a great deal of difference. The hon. Gentleman gave no indication at all, and he cannot ask us to accept the spoken word of the Government when we have not been able to accept their written word in the White Paper.
A lot of people have said that it is not a Royal occasion when the Queen goes to a Cup Final but that only the Opening of Parliament and similar functions are Royal occasions. At a Cup Final there will be a natural break just after the Queen has shaken hands with the teams, and in the natural break there can be an advertisement for beer. Another natural break will occur when the Queen has presented the cup to the winning team, and that break could be accompanied by an advertisement by a firm making deodorants.
Will the hon. Gentleman provide in his rules that on no occasion when the Queen appears will it be in juxtaposition with an advertisement? Is that what the hon. Gentleman meant when he said that we could trust him? Does he mean—it is ' an important matter—that on no occasion shall the Queen, or a leading member of the Royal Family, appear in juxtaposi- 2431 tion, or near juxtaposition, to advertisements? Can he tell us that?
§ Mr. Gammans
I shall be delighted to tell the right hon. Gentleman. The rules under which advertisements will be allowed in connection with the appearance of the Royal Family, or other special occasions, will be drawn up and it may be agreed as between the Postmaster-General and the Authority, which does not as yet exist. Those rules can be subject to Parliamentary discussion in this House.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
The Assistant Postmaster-General says that the rules do not yet exist. But the Second Schedule exists, and it may be put into that. Would he put into the Second Schedule a simple sentence saying that neither the Queen nor any member of the Royal Family will appear in juxtaposition to any advertisement on television? Will he answer that?
§ Mr. Gammans
I will give a promise to consider what the right hon. Gentleman says, but I cannot give a categorical answer.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I do not think the Government can object if, when we go into the country we feel that we must point out that they will not give pledges of this kind at all.
§ Mr. Gordon-Walker
The Assistant Postmaster-General has had three White Papers, two Bills and seven or eight Amendments of his own on the Order Paper. Surely he has had time to consider these things. Surely they are not new to him. If they are, it shows how badly the Government have handled the matter. But presumably the hon. Gentleman has considered this for months, together with the Lord Privy Seal, the Home Secretary and others.
The fact that he will not give a pledge, after considering it for so long, is very suspicious indeed, and we have the right to draw the attention of the public to the fact, because of course they attach 2432 immense importance to the Crown not being vulgarised or commercialised in any way—
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
A pledge has not been given to us when one simple sentence would ensure that this will not happen—
§ Mr. Gammans
I will give a pledge now that the Crown will not be vulgarised, and I said that earlier this evening. As to the way that will be carried out, it will be decided by the rules which the Postmaster-General will draw up, and which he will present to Parliament.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I am glad to hear that the Crown will not be vulgarised or commercialised. Would the Assistant Postmaster-General regard it as vulgarising the Crown if, immediately after a picture of the Queen there was an advertisement for beer or deodorants? Would he regard that as commercialising the Crown? He will not answer that. He will not answer the real question.
It seems impossible to get this simple point into the heads of hon. Gentlemen opposite. They keep talking—as did the hon. Gentleman for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing)—about films. That is a totally false analogy. They used to talk about the Press until we proved that was a false analogy. It would be wrong if we went to the films and saw a marvellous film like "The Queen is Crowned." and if. during the natural breaks—perhaps as agreed by the Postmaster-General—we suddenly saw advertisements. But that is what we shall have on television. Not at the Coronation, I admit, because clearly, nobody would be so insane as to do that. But very likely—because we have not been given a guarantee about it—it might happen on the occasion of an ordinary appearance of the Queen or members of the Royal Family.
We do not get that in the cinema news- reels. But we might get it in the com mercial television newsreels. We have no guarantee that we shall not have that sort of thing. The Assistant Postmaster- General could remove our fears—
§ Mr. Gammans
I shall be happy to give the right hon. Gentleman a guarantee 2433 that there will be no advertisements in juxtaposition to any appearance of the Queen.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
We have had pledges from the Government before. That, I take it, is a pledge to put it in the Second Schedule—
§ It being Half-past Ten o'Clock, The CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 170. Noes, 192.2435
|Division No. 112.]||AYES||[10.30 p.m|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Adams, Richard||Grey, C. F.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Albu, A. H.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oswald, T.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Paget, R. T.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hale, Leslie||palmer, A. M. F|
|Baird, J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Pannell, Charles|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Hamilton, W. W||Pargiter, G. A|
|Bence, C. R.||Hannan, W.||Parker, J.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Hargreaves, A.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Benson, G.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Popplewell, E.|
|Beswick, F.||Hastings, S.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hayman, F. H.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Pursey, Cmdr. H|
|Blackburn, F.||Herbison, Miss M.||Reeves, J.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hobson, C. R.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Biyton, W. R.||Holman, P.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Boardrman, H.||Houghton, Douglas||Ross, William|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hudson, James (Eating, N.)||Royle, C.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hynd, H. (Acorington)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D||Hynd, j. B. (Attercliffe)||Short, E. W.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Champion, A. J.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Chapman, W. D.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S)|
|Cellick, P. H.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Corbel, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Cove, W. G.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Keenan, W.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Cropland, C. A. R.||Kenyon, C.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Culler, Mrs. A.||King, Dr H. M.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Daines, P.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Thornton, E.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lindgren, G. S.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Deer, G.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M||Warbey, W. N.|
|Delargy, H. J.||MacColl, J. E.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mclnnes, J.||Weitzman, D.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C||McLeavy, F.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddenfield, E.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Whiteley, Rt. Hon, W.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowesloft)||Manuel, A. C.||Willey, F. T.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mayhew, C. P.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S)|
|Follick, M.||Messer, Sir F.||Willis, E. G.|
|Foot, M. M.||Mikardo, Ian||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Forman, J. C.||Mitchison, G. R||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moody, A. S.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Freeman, John (Walford)||Morley, R.||Yates, V. F.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. E T. N.||Moyle, A.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mulley, F. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Glanville, James||Murray, J. D.||Mr Holmes and Mr. George Rogers.|
|Gooch, E. G||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Beach, Maj. Hieks||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt Hon J. A|
|Aiport, C. J. M.||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Boyle, Sir Edward|
|Atnery, Julian (Prei[...], N.)||Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W)|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. H[...] xnt (Tivwton)||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bennett, William (Woodside)||Billiard, D. G.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr.[...] M.||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Burden, F. F. A|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Birch, Nigel||Carr, Robert|
|Barber, Anthony||Bishop, F. P.||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Barlow, Sir John||Black, C. W.||Channon, H.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Bossom, Sir A C||Clarke, Col Ralph (East Grinstead)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Iremonger, T. L.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Rayner, Brig. R|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Johnson, Eric (Blaokley)||Redmayne, M.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Rees-Davies, W. R|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Remnant, Hon. P|
|Crouch, R. F.||Kaberry, D.||Renton, D. L. M|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finohley)||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruistip—Northwood)||Lambert, Hon. G.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Leather, E. H. C.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Legh, Hon. peter (Petersfield)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Donner, Sir P. W.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Roper, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E)||Russell, R. S.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Longden, Gilbert||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Erroll, F. J||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Shepherd, William|
|Fisher, Nigel||McAdden, S. J.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Fort, R.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||McKibbin, A. J.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Speir, R. M.|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S)|
|Galbraith, T. G. O. (Hillhead)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Gammans, L. D.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horneattle)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Glover, D.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Godber, J. B.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Storey, S.|
|Gough, C. F. H||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Gower, H. R.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Marples, A. E.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Grimond, J.||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Grimslon, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maude, Angus||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W>|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mellor, Sir John||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Molson, A. H. E.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Moore, Sir Thomas||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Mott-Radolyffe, C. E.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Nabarro, G. D. M.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hay, John||Neave, Airey||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K|
|Heath, Edward||Nicholls, Harmar||Vosper, D. F-|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W)|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Walker-Smith, D. C|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Osborne, C.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Page, R. G.||Wellwood, W.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Perkins, Sir Robert||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Pitman, I. J.||Wills, G.|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hurd, A. R.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. 0. L.||Mr. Studholme and|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Profumo, J. D.||Mr. Robert Allan.|
Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ The CHAIRMAN then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions on Amendments, moved by a Member of the Government of which notice had been given, to Clause 2, and the further Question necessary to complete the proceedings on that Clause.
Amendments made: In page 4, line 34, after "not," insert:
carry on business as sellers of, or.
In line 36, at end, insert:
(5) Notwithstanding anything in this section, the Authority shall not have power to provide broadcasting services other than television services nor (except as provided by this section) to acquire any exclusive or other rights in respect of the broadcasting of any matters in sound only:
Provided that nothing in this subsection shall be construed as precluding the inclusion in any programme broadcast by the Authority of matter transmitted in sound only —
§ Then The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.