HC Deb 07 March 1940 vol 358 cc558-9
47. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Home Secretary whether he will publish a list of those religious and secular societies, political parties, trade unions and Christian denominations carefully watched by him because of their liability to alleged subversive activity; and to what extent the expression or publication of views contrary to the war policy of His Majesty's Government is regarded as subversive activity?

Sir J. Anderson

The test of subversive activity is not the propagation of views which are out of harmony with the national war policy, but whether the liberty allowed by our laws is being abused by persons seeking to attain political ends by illegal and unconstitutional means. It is the duty of the Home Secretary, in the exercise of his responsibility for internal security, to have a watch kept on such activities, but it would be impracticable to advertise publicly the steps taken for this purpose and the names of all the organisations and individuals to whose activities special attention may from time to time be given.

Mr. Sorensen

May I take it from the reply that the right hon. Gentleman has no sympathy with those hon. Members who wish to suppress any kind of organised opinion contrary to that of the Government?

Sir J. Anderson

As I indicated the other day, I have always regarded the Home Office as a bulwark of liberty.

Mr. Maxton

Would the Minister be ready to inform the leaders of these organisations, if they approached him, as to where their activities are infringing the law of the land?

Sir J. Anderson

I am always willing to give helpful advice to any quarter in which it is earnestly sought.

Sir H. Williams

Has my right hon. Friend any information as to the sources of the funds which are used to help, to a large extent, to produce the literature of the kind mentioned?

Sir J. Anderson

It would not be in the public interest to state this.