B.B.C. (Re-Organisation).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Information. – in the House of Commons on 11th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Samuel Viant Mr Samuel Viant , Willesden West

asked the Minister of Information whether he is now in a position to state whether the ex-Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Ogilvie, resigned voluntarily; or was his resignation compulsory owing to the scheme of reorganisation?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

Yes, Sir. I am informed that the Governors of the R.B.C. have for some time past been concerned with regard to the executive control of the organisation. For this reason, they appointed Mr. Robert Foot, some three months ago, as general adviser. Mr. Foot has had important business administrative and organising experience. The Governors discussed these matters fully and came to the unanimous conclusion that the chief executive control of the Corporation under wartime conditions, with the great growth of the organisation and the complexity of the administrative and financial problems arising daily, in addition to those relating to the general programme policy and output, called for different qualities and experience from those suited for peacetime. They felt that the circumstances of to-day were completely different from those which existed at the time of Mr. Ogilvie's appointment in 1938. Their views were conveyed to Mr. Ogilvie, with the result that he placed his resignation in the hands of the Governors. It was accepted and announced in terms agreed with Mr. Ogilvie.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Kilmarnock

Would it be true to say then, that the resignation was on a point of principle, as to the constitutional relations between the Director-General and the governing body?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

No, Sir. If the hon. Member will read my answer I do not think that he will see that there was any point of constitutional principle.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Is it the fact that Mr. Ogilvie was asked to resign?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I have given the House the explanation of the Governors of the B.B.C.

Photo of Mr Campbell Stephen Mr Campbell Stephen , Glasgow Camlachie

What were the special qualifications possessed by Mr. Foot which were not possessed by Mr. Ogilvie?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

As I understand it, Mr. Foot has been for nearly 20 years the general manager of one of the most important companies in this country.

Photo of Mr Samuel Viant Mr Samuel Viant , Willesden West

Are we to take it for granted then, that the new administration, made necessary as the result of the reorganisation, was a task for which Mr. Ogilvie was not suitable?

Miss Rathbone:

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask why my Question No. 26 has been left out?

Miss Rathbone:

I did not have any opportunity of asking a Supplementary Question because the Question was taken in the wrong order.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

It is not necessary to ask a Supplementary Question.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

If a Question is answered in the wrong place—