HC Deb 18 June 1912 vol 39 cc1491-2
65. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received a petition against the dramatic censorship signed by dramatists, critics, and others associated with the theatre, as well as by musicians, artists, and Members of Parliament; if so, whether he will communicate to the House the grounds on which the petition has been based; and whether he will state what steps he proposes to take in the matter?


I have received the petition in question. It will be laid before the King, and will receive consideration, together with other representations which have been made on the subject. The grounds of the petition are too long to be given in an answer in this House, but I observe that an account of this petition has been published in the newspapers.


Is there any prospect of legislation on the subject?


In the crowded state of the present Session I am afraid not.


Will the right hon. Gentleman take the opinion of the various kirk sessions in Montrose Burghs before he comes to a decision on the matter?


No, Sir.

66. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the remarks of Mr. Justice Scrutton, in a recent High Court action brought by Mrs. Elise Kramer against the Alhambra Company, Limited, referring to the unproduced sketch "You may Telephone From Here," that he was surprised that the Lord Chamberlain's department should have passed some of the rubbish in that manuscript, and to the fact that, though the sketch had been duly licensed, the Alhambra Company had refused to present it on the grounds that the incidents were a farrago of coarse rubbish; that Mr. Justice Scrutton upheld this defence and gave judgment for the defendants, with costs; and whether, in view of such facts, he will re-consider the recommendations of the Joint Committee of Lords and Commons on the Censorship (1909), and take steps accordingly?


I have seen only a newspaper report of the remarks attributed to the learned Judge. It is no part of the Lord Chamberlain's duty to refuse to licence a play on the ground that it consists of rubbish.


Does it not arise out of all this, that facilities are given to coarse rubbish whereas a ban is placed on serious work of high intellectuality?


I cannot enter into an argument with the hon. Member on the subject.