Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments (Public Relations and Press Officers).

– in the House of Commons on 7th July 1942.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to discourage and prohibit the practice of certain Government Departments in utilising the services of special Press and publicity agents that may be attached to, or identified with, the particular Departments; and whether he will circularise all Government Departments, drawing their attention to the facilities which exist through the Ministry of Information for any publicity which they may deem to be necessary?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

It remains the policy of the Government that Departments which have public relations officers and Press officers should preserve their existing contacts with the Press and the public in regard to purely Departmental affairs, but that there should be full and effective collaboration between them and the Ministry of Information which is the central organisation for the conduct of Government publicity. Departments have been made aware of the resources of the Ministry of Information in order that they may avail themselves of them to the fullest extent.

Mr. De la Bére:

Will the Chancellor focus his attention on such Departments as the Board of Trade? Is he not aware that in this case Saturdays are regular gala days when matters which could quite easily be dealt with in this House are dealt with at great length in the Press? Is he not aware that this House is very jealous of its rights, and not having Saturday mornings used as gala days of publicity for Departments?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

No, Sir. I am not aware of that.

Sit Herbert Williams:

How is it that the Chancellor's Department employs a Press officer at £1,700 a year, and his job is so light that he does not require the assistance of a junior clerk?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

That particular officer deals with all Government matters.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

How is it that he does not even require a typist?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I am surprised that my hon. Friend is suggesting that I should increase my Department.

Mr. De la Bère:

Is it not a monstrous system? The whole thing is doing away with the rights of the House. It is quite wrong.