HC Deb 21 January 1941 vol 368 cc25-6
50. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider taking steps to amend the charter of the British Broadcasting Corporation, which was renewed on 1st January, 1937, for 10 years, so as to allow of a more elastic administration throughout the war period?

The Prime Minister

I do not think it is necessary to amend the charter of the British Broadcasting Corporation in order to secure administration suitable for war conditions.

Mr. De la Bère

Can my right hon. Friend tell me whether, in matters of policy, the B.B.C. are always voicing the views of the Government? Is he not aware that the general public are certainly under the impression that they are, whether the Government like it or not?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. The British Broadcasting Corporation give, I believe, considerable latitude to expressions of opinion which are not injurious to the war effort, and I should be very sorry to think that Ministers were in any way to be held responsible for all statements by the B.B.C.

Mr. Granville

Is it not a fact that the Minister of Information has absolute control with regard to certain matters affecting the B.B.C.?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, he has effective control in matters which are of high consequence, but that control would not be used in such a way as to allow only expressions of opinion such as would be used by Ministers upon the wireless.