House of Commons (Television)

Oral Answers to Questions — Overseas Information Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent South 12:00 am, 30th July 1964

asked the Prime Minister if he will make arrangements for a closed-circuit television to take the place of the annunciators within the rooms of the House and for a television set in a large room so that people unable to be accommodated in the Visitors' Gallery may see and hear the proceedings.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

A technical study has been made of the possibility of replacing the annunciators by closed circuit television fulfilling exactly the same function, but to introduce television in any form raises issues which will require further consideration. The second part of the Question refers to the relaying by television of the proceedings of this House. This is quite a different matter on which I have nothing to add to the replies I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, North (Sir N. Hulbert) on 19th November, 1963, and to the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) on 12th December, 1963.

Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent South

Does the Prime Minister agree that there is a growing interest in the proceedings of this House, especially when big issues are being debated, and does he think that it is satisfactory, in the second half of the 20th century, that hundreds of people who desire to see the House at work should not have an opportunity? Will he reconsider his reply in order that the hundreds of people visiting the House may have an opportunity, in a room set apart for the purpose, of seeing and hearing it at work?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put that Question down to me again in November

Photo of Mr Paul Williams Mr Paul Williams , Sunderland South

Will my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that if and when television is introduced into this Chamber it will be kept going for all-night sittings so that those who are going to work in factories and elsewhere may see Conservative Members in their places, with not a single Opposition Member present?

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire

On the more practical side of this matter, in the studies being made, will the right hon. Gentleman have the experiments being carried out in some of the Commonwealth Parliaments looked at? There the proceedings are reported on tape and are seen on closed circuit television within the House precincts for the use of the reporters and for greater accuracy.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

When we come to give closer consideration to this matter, we will certainly do that.