I am sorry that I have such little time to speak on the Bill, because I listened to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) the last time the Bill came before the House and I regret that I was not able on that occasion to contribute to the debate.
I do not think that is relevant to the remarks I am about to make.
I wish to start from a point made by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), which explains exactly why I find myself in difficulties about the Bill. He said, in an interjection
Ought we not to endorse the principles in this Bill?" —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd May. 1952; Vol. 501, c. 909.]
My complaint about the Bill is that I do not believe it is possible to turn a declaration of human rights into a precise legislative instrument.
I was not a delegate at Strasbourg and I do not know what happened on that occasion, but I wish to explain the difficulties which arise in connection with this Bill. I do not take quite such an enthusiastic view as the hon. Member for Eton and Slough about certain Declarations he mentioned in the course of his speech.
No, I was sitting in my place all through the debate. I do not take quite such an enthusiastic view as does the hon. Member about certain Declarations. He mentioned the Declaration of Independence of 1776. A notable fact, if one turns to American history, is that that Declaration and the American Constitution did not save that country from a very bloody war some 80 years later.
There is great difficulty in turning these Declarations into legislative acts and I wish to explain some of the problems. For example, Clause 13 thus:
All persons regardless of race, nationality or colour, shall have the right to freedom of opinion or expression including the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.