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Oral Answers to Questions — Liberties of the Subject

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th July 1952.

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The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:

Photo of Sir John Langford-Holt Sir John Langford-Holt , Shrewsbury

To ask the Prime Minister, in view of the encroachment by the State on the liberties of Her Majesty's subjects in the United Kingdom, whether he will introduce legislation to protect these liberties.

Mr. Speaker:

Mr. Langford-Holt.

Hon. Members:

Order.

Photo of Sir John Langford-Holt Sir John Langford-Holt , Shrewsbury

My attention was temporarily attracted, Mr. Speaker, by the sight of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), who brought a brief case into the Chamber. I did not hear you call my Question: but may I now ask it?

Miss Ward:

On a point of order. Owing to the uproar in the House at the time, I never heard an answer to my supplementary question on Question No. 44. Could I now have an answer to that supplementary?

Mr. Speaker:

We are long past that stage.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

The policy of Her Majesty's Government is always to reduce to the minimum interference by the State with the liberties of the subject. I cannot, however, make any statement about legislation at the present time.

Photo of Sir John Langford-Holt Sir John Langford-Holt , Shrewsbury

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the impression is that whereas the Government have stopped the increase, there is still much which can be done in this matter, which is causing great concern to a great many people in all parts of the House and of the country?

Photo of Mr Clement Davies Mr Clement Davies , Montgomeryshire

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that after a Bill dealing with this very matter of restoring liberties to the individual was introduced in another place in 1949, he said in a public speech that he was very much encouraged by the fact that that Bill had been introduced? Does he also realise that when a debate took place a fortnight ago in another place, the Lord Chancellor, speaking on behalf of the Government, not only said that he was much discouraged, but did all he could to discourage everybody else'? Does policy change with taking office?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

I am not at all discouraged in the task of promoting and maintaining civil liberties.