Statements of Policy (Advance Disclosure)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th December 1957.

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Photo of Mr Victor Collins Mr Victor Collins , Shoreditch and Finsbury 12:00 am, 19th December 1957

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria guide him in his selection of national newspapers to whom advance disclosure of statements of policy shall be made; and for what reason other national newspapers are excluded from such conferences.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

My right hon. Friend is guided in the circumstances of each case by his judgment of the national interest.

Photo of Mr Victor Collins Mr Victor Collins , Shoreditch and Finsbury

Is the Minister aware that in the recent case the judgment of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a reflection on the integrity of the excluded newspapers? Will the hon. Gentleman say why papers like the Daily Express, the Daily Herald, the Daily Mail and the Mirror were excluded—papers with circulations four times that of the privileged few and read by nine out of ten people in the country? Does he not wish all the people to be informed of the Government's policy, or does he want it to be kept dark? Will he approach his right hon. Friend for an assurance that in future statements of this kind will be made to the Press as a whole and not to the privileged few?

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

I intend to make no reference to a matter which is directly or indirectly sub judice.

Photo of Mr Victor Collins Mr Victor Collins , Shoreditch and Finsbury

On a point of order. I submit that this Question has no relationship whatsoever to the matter which is now under consideration, and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his statement to which I have referred, made no reference whatever to the Bank Rate. This cannot possibly be sub judice.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

It is a matter on which the Minister seems to take a different view.