Whitsuntide Adjournment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th June 1957.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton 12:00 am, 6th June 1957

My complaint against the Government is not that they have deceived the House. It is, perhaps, that they have not deceived the House. They seem to have got into the habit of telling us what order requires us to refer to as terminological inexactitudes, although elsewhere there is a simpler and shorter word, of such a nature that no sane man can be expected to believe them. That was our experience throughout the Suez controversy and it has been our experience again about the Shops Bill.

The Government decide—and I am not saying that this is necessarily wrong—that a Measure does not command the sympathy or approval of a part of their supporters, and they decide to drop it. I think it is very unfortunate that it should have been dropped, but it is an understandable thing for a Government to do. But why tell us that they are doing it because there is not enough time and then ask for double the length of the Whitsun Recess? Who do they expect to believe it? When one goes in for making that sort of statement, is it not treating the House with contempt?

I feel considerable anxiety about the House rising before we have had a statement on the question raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton)—a question which involves issues very sacred to our English conception of civil liberties. This is not the same conception as elsewhere. We are not here concerned with constitutional declarations. We are concerned with access to the courts, and access to the courts involves access to lawyers, access to people who can put one's case before the courts, whether it be for the defence or against the defence. There must be some confidence that these communications to lawyers are sacred and will not be interfered with and—