Will the Minister of Information make completely public the announcement he has now given and also make it perfectly clear that the statements made were not made with his consent or authority and that in fact the publication of this denial will have as widespread notice in the Press as the statements which have been made?
I personally have no authority over stipendiary magistrates, but I believe that stipendiary magistrates are allowed to make what are called patriotic speeches, but neither a stipendiary magistrate nor anyone should abuse the facilities given by the Ministry of Information, because all these meetings will break up in disorder if Members or speakers get up and express violent controversial views.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in view of the fact that hundreds of Ministry of Information speakers speak all over the country from week to week, his Department give them their briefs, and was a brief given in this particular case; and will the right hon. Gentleman put a copy of some of these briefs in the Library of the House of Commons so that Members can see them?
The Ministry of Information do not provide briefs for speakers. Like the Duke of Wellington, who said he was much at the mercy of authors, the Minister of Information is much at the mercy of speakers. I am asked to provide speakers for 500 meetings every week, and I do not rest easily in my bed with the terrible responsibility resting on my shoulders that at any time a Member of Parliament may get up and ask whether an indiscretion has been made by some speaker. But, taking it all in all, I think it is remarkable that so few gaffes have been made.
If it were a question of studying my own personal comfort, I should take some notice of my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion, but there is a real demand all over the country for these meetings, and I am prepared to fulfil that demand.