Government Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Broadcasting – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1951.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Ian Fraser Sir Ian Fraser , Morecambe and Lonsdale 12:00 am, 24th January 1951

asked the Lord President of the Council if he has any statement to make as to the Government's policy for the future of broadcasting.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham South

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—

Mr. Pickthom:

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen it?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham South

That is the kind of comment I would expect from the hon. Member—which they have submitted after an inquiry which has made exceptionally heavy calls upon them all.

Photo of Sir Ian Fraser Sir Ian Fraser , Morecambe and Lonsdale

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?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham South

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.

Photo of Sir Ian Fraser Sir Ian Fraser , Morecambe and Lonsdale

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?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham South

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.