HC Deb 05 March 1942 vol 378 cc782-4
18. Mr. J. J. Davidson

asked the Home Secretary the nature of the assurances which he has received regarding the future policy of the "Daily Worker," whether publication is allowed; and what action he intends to take?

Mr. H. Morrison

The most recent communication which I have received refers to a statement by the Editorial Board that if publication were allowed, the "Daily Worker" would "give its full support to the Government and do everything possible to strengthen British-Soviet unity in the fight to bring about a people's victory over German Fascism." This declaration must, however, be interpreted in the light of past experience of the readiness of the Communist party to make sudden changes of front and to exploit any changing situation for their own purposes without regard to the national interests. As my hon. Friend will recall, I have on a number of occasions given to the House the reasons why it is not proposed to revoke the Order prohibiting the publication of this paper.

Mr. Davidson

In view of the fact that this assurance has been received, and that the ban on this paper is causing much bitter feeling in production areas, will my right hon. Friend reconsider his decision, keeping in mind the fact that if this paper does change its policy, he can immediately take action as Home Secretary against it?

Mr. Morrison

That is not so easy. I do not accept the allegations of the Communist party that there is grave disturbance in production areas. I have given the reason that the word of this organisation is very difficult to accept.

Mr. Davidson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of Members have received letters from people who have certainly never been Communist sympathisers as to the lifting of the ran?

Mr. Leslie

In view of the strong representations made by a number of trade unions, why not give the "Daily Worker" a run?

Mr. Morrison

The Home Secretary really cannot discharge his functions in that way. He must be guided by what the Government consider to be action in the national interest. The matter has been carefully considered, and we do not see our way to change our policy.

Mr. Denman

Has not the purpose of the prohibition been accomplished?

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the very unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Miss Ward

May I ask how often the hon. Member gives notice that he will raise a matter on the Adjournment?