HC Deb 17 May 1934 vol 289 c1912

asked the Minister of Labour the grounds on which he reversed the decision at which he arrived after consultation with British Equity to prohibit the appearance of the Viennese chorus at Covent Garden?

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Henry Betterton)

I was satisfied that the addition of these singers to the chorus—which I would remind my hon. Friend is otherwise British—was necessary, if the production was to be fully successful; and also that they would not displace British singers. For these reasons, I decided to issue the permits.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these singers displaced British artistes who are now walking the streets starving?


Is it a fact that this opera has employed over 400 English people for this season alone?


Yes, Sir, that is true. I cannot say as to 400, but I know it has employed some hundreds. With regard to the first supplementary question, of course, I always do what I can to protect the rights of British artistes. At the same time, I have, in every case, to consider whether the production itself is likely to be strengthened by the addition of external players.