HC Deb 18 June 1941 vol 372 cc641-2
36. Sir P. Hurd

asked the Minister of Information on what subjects the Ministry have, directly or indirectly, sought to sound public opinion in the past three months; how many men and women have been employed in these secret inquests and at what approximate cost; and will he place in the Library the resulting reports for the information of Members?

Mr. Cooper

With regard to the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on nth June. The number of people engaged in studying and reporting on public opinion is 42, and the cost is £4,400 a quarter. As regards the third part of the Question, the arrangements made last summer to enable Members to see the reports of the War-time Social Survey at the Ministry of Information are still in force.

Sir P. Hurd

Does not the Minister realise that this snooping by officials in constituencies is repugnant to the elementary principles of representative government?

Mr. Cooper

This matter was fully discussed a year ago in this House. I do not know whether my hon. Friend was present then, but it was explained to the House and, I think, met with general approval. The matter has not been raised since. It was made plain that any Member who wished might come to the Ministry and see the reports, which are sent in from all over the country at regular intervals, in order that he might be reassured as to how the matter was being conducted. Many Members availed themselves of that offer, and they can still do so.

Major Milner

Is it not a fact that most useful information has been obtained but that the Ministry make no use of that information?

Mr. Cooper

We make the best use of it we can.

Mr. Mander

Can we see the snoopers too?

Mr. De la Bère

Did not the bud of liberty open with the English spring?