HC Deb 10 November 1921 vol 148 cc603-4
55. Sir C. YATE

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to resolutions framed by various associations throughout the country urging that a board of censors of cinema films be appointed by Government; and, if so, what action does he propose to take in the matter, as the present board of voluntary censors of cinematograph films established by the trade has no statutory powers?


A few resolutions on the subject have been sent to me, but I am not aware that there is any strong public feeling in favour of the Government undertaking the censorship of films. Local authorities are given by the existing law considerable powers for the regulation of the cinema exhibitions in their districts, and though the present system of control is not without its difficulties, some local authorities do exercise, I believe, a close control over the films exhibited in their areas. It is true that the Board of Film Censors have no statutory powers, but the High Court, in a recent decision, have expressed the view that it, is open to local authorities to make it a condition of a licence that films which have not been passed by the Board shall not be exhibited without the express consent of the local authority.


Is it not the fact that the control exercised by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. O'Connor) and his assistants is entirely satisfactory to the trade, and has the full confidence of the public?


It is not a question of the trade. It is a question of the leaders of public opinion seeing to the proper education of the children. That is what is required to be satisfied. Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to see that that is done?


I have said that the matter really rests with the local authorities who have the necessary powers.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the interests of the trade and of the public are not identical in this matter?

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