Newspaper Undertakings (Nominees)

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th February 1966.

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Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney 12:00 am, 17th February 1966

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken, or proposes to take, on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Press that he should exercise his powers under the Companies Act, 1948, to investigate and regulate the control of newspaper undertakings whose equity is held substantially by nominees.

Photo of Mr George Darling Mr George Darling , Sheffield, Hillsborough

My right hon. Friend is prepared to consider exercising powers under the Companies Act to investigate the true ownership and control of any paper undertaking where grounds exist (for example, where the Press Council is unable to obtain sufficient information). He has no power under the Act to regulate the control of newspapers.

Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney

Did not the Royal Commission recommend that the Board of Trade itself should take the initiative in this matter and not wait to have matters brought to it?

Photo of Mr George Darling Mr George Darling , Sheffield, Hillsborough

Yes, that is perfectly true, but the Board of Trade cannot exercise control over newspapers in the sense of a daily examination of what they are doing, or a daily examination of their share dealings. Whatever the Royal Commission may have said, facts have to be brought to the attention of the Board of Trade.