HC Deb 04 April 1940 vol 359 cc308-9
28. Dr. Little

asked the Home Secretary whether he intends to confer with the Lord Chamberlain and representatives of the licensing authorities with a view to the banning of nude and semi-nude shows which are condemned by dramatic critics and offensive to the bulk of the general public; and whether it is his intention to apply to all threatres and music halls the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1909, which governs the cinema, that no indecency of dress or anything that is in any shape offensive to public decency shall be permitted?

35. Captain Plugge

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the spread of nudism on the London stage; and whether he is satisfied that the police have adequate powers to deal with it?

Sir J. Anderson

This is a matter which concerns the authorities (including the Lord Chamberlain within his jurisdiction) who are responsible for the licensing of places of public entertainment. Their attention has been drawn to the complaints which have been made and I have no doubt that these complaints will receive careful consideration. So far as London is concerned, I understand that the Lord Chamberlain is in consultation with the London County Council. The control of living performers who can by slight changes of behaviour alter the character of a scene is in practice more difficult than the control of pictures printed on a cinematograph film, but the responsibility resting on the licensing authorities for the maintenance of standards of decency is similar in both cases.

Dr. Little

Seeing that the evils of bottle parties and nudity are going hand in hand, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he would exercise his wide powers and, if required, seek for additional powers, in conjunction with the Lord Chamberlain, and the licensing authorities, in order to put down these twin abominations?

Sir J. Anderson

I do not think the Lord Chamberlain has anything to do with bottle parties. He is arranging a conference to take place at an early date and I shall receive a report of that conference and give it careful consideration in due course.

Mr. Levy

Arising out of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, and in view of the fact that the Lord Chamberlain has no authority over these cabaret shows and bottle parties, is not that all the more reason why he should take action to deal with this matter?

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