HC Deb 20 September 1939 vol 351 cc955-6
70. Sir R. Acland

asked the Lord Privy Seal, as representing the Minister of Information, what are the sanctions which the Ministry of Information exercises over the Press, under what regulations these sanctions were authorised, and under what Act the regulations were made?

Sir E. Grigg

I would refer my hon. Friend to Regulation 3 of the Defence Regulations, 1939, dated 25th August, 1939, Statutory Rules and Orders No. 927 of 1939. In addition, there is power under Regulation 39 (b) (2) to make provisions by order for preventing or restricting the publication in the United Kingdom of matters of which the publication, or, as the case may be, the unrestricted publication, would or might be prejudicial to the defence of the realm or the effective prosecution of war. This further Regulation was inserted in the Defence Regulations, 1939, by article 10 of the Order in question of the 1st September, 1939, Statutory Rules and Orders, No. 978 of 1939. Both these Regulations were made in pursuance of Section 1 of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939. But my Noble Friend has not exercised his powers under the latter Regulation, since it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to avoid, if possible, the imposition of a compulsory censorship upon the Press.

Sir R. Acland

Did not the Minister in charge give us an assurance that no regulations affecting the Press would be made under the Emergency Powers Bill, which we passed through the House quickly?

Sir E. Grigg

That undertaking applied only until the outbreak of war.