HC Deb 25 November 1937 vol 329 cc1397-8
49. Mr. Neil Maclean

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether his attention has been drawn to the inaccuracies contained in a book used in certain grant-aided schools, entitled "Britain and her Neighbours, Book VII: The Twentieth Century," in which, on page 126, it is stated that the Government of Russia has been upheld by an army of foreign mercenaries and, on page 125, that the deaths in Russia during 1917 and 1922 were due to Russia's political disorders instead of to the blockade of Russia by the Powers and the subsidising of interventionists by the Allies; and whether, in view of the inaccurate accounts of historical events, he will cause this book to be withdrawn from the list of class books used in grant-earning schools under the Board of Education?

Mr. Lindsay

My Noble Friend's attention has been drawn to this bock. The use of particular books in grant-aided schools is not subject to the permission of the Board of Education. It is the Board's policy to leave the choice of books, together with details of the curriculum generally, to the discretion of the local education authority or other authority responsible for the school, and my Noble Friend sees no ground for interfering with this discretion in the present case.

Mr. Maclean

Since these schools are earning grants from the Board of Education, will the Minister see that the Board recommend, in place of this book:, Command Paper 1240 of 1921, which gives particulars of the origin of the Russian Revolution as found out by a committee set up by the then Coalition Government? Will he not consider that a more accurate book from which to quote, and will he not put it before these education authorities as a historically accurate account of what has taken place in Russia?

Mr. Speaker

This is a question relating to the withdrawal of a book, and not the substitution of another.

Mr. Maclean

In view of the fact that there is an admission of the inaccuracies contained in this book, does not the Minister consider it worth his while to intimate that a book containing historical inaccuracies should not be taught to scholars who may, because of this inaccurate information, fail in their examinations?

Mr. Leonard

Does not the Minister realise that only a few days ago the Government intimated that they were interfering with school books in another country and, in view of that, will he not interfere with the school books in his own country?

Mr. Macquisten

Will the hon. Gentleman see that the inaccurate history of the treatment of the Highlands after Culloden is put right?

Mr. Gallacher

Did not the Minister state the other day that they were taking this matter up with the Soviet Union?