No, Sir. It would be premature for me to make a statement until we have been able to give thorough consideration to the many and important recommendations of the Broadcasting Committee. This will necessarily take some 'time, but we will make our views known as soon as possible with a view to full Parliamentary discussion before final decisions are taken. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing the Government's appreciation of the great public service which Lord Beveridge and his colleagues have rendered, and for the valuable report—
Will the right hon. Gentleman consult Parliament before the Government announce their policy in this matter, and when does he expect that we shall have a debate?
I cannot say; but it must be some time. It is desirable that the public and Members should have an opportunity of arguing and debating the matter, and we ourselves must take some little time to consider it. Therefore, I should not like to give a date. We must remember that the existing Charter runs to the end of the year, and, therefore, there is time. I think that the Government must come to some provisional conclusion [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I was asked that the Government should not do so, and I am saying that I think we should. In any case, the matter is not finally settled until the new Charter is dealt with later.
In view of the doubt—I do not say this offensively—whether the Government represent public opinion, will not the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of taking the view of Parliament and, to that extent. of the nation on this matter?
No Government can possibly live without taking into account the view of Parliament and the view of the nation. Governments live with Parliament; we cannot live a day longer than Parliament lets us.