§ MR. SAMUEL SMITH (Flintshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that in some theatres the production of plays of a depraving character is on the increase, which the licensing powers of the Lord Chamberlain seem inadequate to 1522 check; whether his attention has been called to a speech recently delivered by the Lord Chancellor, in which he criticised adversely the character of a number of plays now played, expressed doubts as to the advantage of the present system of censorship, and questioned its efficacy; and whether, in view of the improvement in the conduct of the London music halls since they were placed under the control of the County Council, he will consider the desirability of extending the control of the Council to the theatres.
§ MR. T. B. CURRAN (Sligo, S.)
Before the question is answered, may I ask whether the objection on the one hand and the approval on the other is the result of the hon. Member's own investigation?
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir M. WHITE RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
I have no information or any reason to believe that things are as stated in the first paragraph. The Lord Chamberlain has full power in the matter of licensing stage plays, and is prepared to justify his exercise of those powers. I have not been able to find any such remarks as are attributed to the Lord Chancellor in the second paragraph in the question; and in reply to the third paragraph I can only say that, as at present advised, I adhere to the view which I expressed in answer to a similar question of the hon. Member on April 20th last.*