Orders of the Day — Newspaper Competitions.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 6th July 1933.

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Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Sunderland

I happen to be President of the Newspaper Society, representing the whole of the provincial Press, and, therefore, I should like to say a few words on this matter. Personally, the newspaper owners would be glad to see these competitions declared illegal, but we are gravely alarmed at the way in which the police are handling the matter. When the matter was first raised in Manchester, the Chief Constable gave a definite assurance that any action taken against provincial newspapers would be taken against all other newspapers which published, these competitions, but that has not been the case. Sheffield has been singled out, and I protest at the way in which the newspapers have been treated in Sheffield. They did not proceed, as in the case of Manchester, by issuing summonses against the newspapers, but they proceeded by search warrant and by arrest of important officials of the paper. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] Considering the standing of the papers and the people employed in the managing of those papers, it was a very high-handed and unwarrantable action to proceed by search warrant and arrest. If this is a test case and action is to follow against other papers, no great harm has been done, but seeing that similar summonses are pending against provincial papers in Manchester, and that no action has been taken against London papers, we feel that it is not being treated as a test case. The Home Secretary tells us that they are taking legal opinion, but while summonses have been pending there has been time to take legal opinion about the London newspapers. I strongly protest against the way the police have acted in the matter. I wish to say to the Home Secretary that the newspaper owners look to him to see that the provincial papers get fair play and that the London papers get no privileges.