HC Deb 17 December 1936 vol 318 cc2607-8

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that, immediately following the news of the disaster to the Dutch air liner on 9th December, representatives of certain newspapers telephoned first to the wife and then to the mother of a man who bears the same surname as one of the victims and caused them to fear that he had lost his life in the accident, thereby causing them anxiety and distress; and whether he will consider the introduction of legislation to put a stop to the growing tendency on the part of a section of the Press to intrude upon the affairs of private citizens?


I fully sympathise with the object which my hon. Friend has in view, but I do not think that the natural remedy is to be found in legislation directed against conduct of the kind to which he refers. It is a question of taste and of decency. During the past few weeks those who are responsible for the Press in this country have shown that they are fully able to exercise a wise restraint, and I have no doubt that they would be equally capable, if they were so minded, of putting a stop to inconsiderate and heartless intrusions upon private persons which are, I am sure, abhorrent to the vast majority of journalists and newspaper proprietors alike.


Does the right hon. Gentleman want the House to understand that what he considers "wise restraint" depends on whether it suits the Government or not?