Oral Answers to Questions — Film Censorship

– in the House of Commons on 19th November 1942.

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Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

asked the Home Secretary whether he will introduce the legislation necessary to ensure that the Board of Film Censors shall be appointed by a Minister responsible to this House and not as at present by the cinema trade?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

The present arrangements have been in operation for many years, and I have no evidence to suggest that the practical working of the system has been unsatisfactory and that fresh legislation is required.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is grave dissatisfaction about the censorship of the film industry, and does he not think it would be much better if the examiners, who are at present appointed by the industry, were under the control of a Minister and this House? Would not this restore public confidence in the working of the film censorship?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I freely admit that this is a curious arrangement, but the British have a very great habit of making curious arrangements work very well, and this works. Frankly, I do not wish to be the Minister who has to answer Questions in the House as to whether particular films should or should not be censored. I think it would be dangerous for the Home Secretary to have direct powers himself in the matter.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the fact that the most effective part of the censorship is the co-operation between the Censor's Department and the film companies and script departments in order to try to get reasonable arrangements before films are made?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

There is a good deal of good work done that way.