Oral Answers to Questions — British Broadcasting Corporation

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th October 1949.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington 12:00 am, 26th October 1949

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will reconsider the terms under which he set up the Broadcasting Committee; and if he will now recommend that they should hold their meetings in public and that the Press should be admitted.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

No, Sir. This is a matter for the Committee.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Would it not have been better, with a committee of this importance, to have appointed a learned judge or prominent K.C. as chairman? Why all this secrecy? Is the right hon. Gentleman afraid that the Communist activities of the B.B.C. will be so intense? Is he not aware that by keeping this inquiry secret he is aiding and abetting Communism in this country?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

I have great respect for judges and lawyers, but I do not think it would necessarily have been right to appoint one of these learned gentlemen to the chair of this Committee. As to the meetings being public, that is a matter for the Committee. The Committee have decided, and I do not think there is any reason to interfere. If it is of any comfort to the hon. Member, there are criticisms from this side of the House that sometimes the B.B.C. is a bit too Conservative.

Photo of Sub-Lieutenant Herschel Austin Sub-Lieutenant Herschel Austin , Stretford

Will not my right hon. Friend think again about this matter? Would it not be in the general interest for the hearings to be in public and, where necessary, for them to be in camera?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

Not necessarily. It must be a matter for the judgment of the Committee conducting the inquiry. If it is the case that they would get better results by meeting in public, I am not pronouncing upon that, as it is the responsibility of the Committee who have made their decision.

Photo of Mr James Harrison Mr James Harrison , Nottingham East

Can my right hon. Friend tell us the set of facts or the ideas that guided the Committee to ordain that the meetings should be held in secret?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

I do not know. It is the business of the Committee, and I do not propose to interfere with them.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Is it not a fact that it is all part of the Soviet technique.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

asked the Lord President of the Council what remuneration and expenses are received by members of the Commission now sitting on the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

Members of the Broadcasting Committee receive no remuneration, but they are entitled to their travelling expenses and to subsistence allowances at the usual rates.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Is this the money value to be put on the services of this Committee?