Oral Answers to Questions — Law of Defamation.

– in the House of Commons on 18th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

asked the Attorney-General whether, in order to further the cause of justice and to prevent the growth of disaffection among His Majesty's subjects, His Majesty's Government will introduce legislation to provide legal protection to religious bodies and other similar communities against libels and slanders?

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

The Government are not prepared to introduce legislation to deal with one particular aspect of the law of defamation. My hon. Friend will be aware that a committee was established shortly before the war under the Chairmanship of Lord Porter to inquire into the law of defamation as a whole, and that this committee was compelled to suspend further operations during the progress of the war.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Does that answer mean that further consideration will be given to this matter? Is the Attorney-General aware that in some countries this legal protection is provided?

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I think my answer meant that we are not proposing to consider amending the law in one particular respect or in another during the war.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

When a change is made, will this particular point be taken into account?

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

No doubt when Lord Porter's Committee resume deliberations after the war they may consider this particular aspect of the matter, and there will be nothing to prevent my hon. Friend or anyone else drawing attention to it at that time.