Select Committees (Press Admission)

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th November 1966.

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Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 30th November 1966

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will move be refer to the Select Committee on Procedure all proposals for making public the proceedings of Select Committees of the House.

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

It is open to any Select Committee, if it so wishes, to sit in public, but if my hon. Friend wishes to suggest any changes in procedure, he can ask the Select Committee on Procedure to consider the matter.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Would my right hon. Friend say whether any Select Committee has taken the decision to invite the Press in when matters of security are not involved? Would he agree to initiate an experiment when he sets up the new specialist committees—for example, when he establishes the new Specialist Committee on Science and Technology—by inviting the Press and perhaps, in the long term, the television people as well?

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

I repeat to my hon. Friend that this is a matter for the Select Committee itself. The situation at present is that any Select Committee is entitled to make its own decisions about how it sits. I think I am right in saying that no precedent exists since the war for such a Committee to sit in public. However, there is no reason why a Committee should not make a decision of that kind, and it is worth observing that if any hon. Member spies strangers, the public must be excluded.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one Select Committee, the Joint Select Committee of this House and the other place, sits in public when considering theatre censorship?