HC Deb 11 September 1942 vol 383 cc528-9
60. Squadron-Leader Errington

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware that there continues to be an increasing censorship of letters addressed to Members of Parliament; and whether he is prepared to exempt from such censorship letters addressed to Members?

Mr. Thurtle

In my view it would not be possible to defend an arrangement which differentiated between letters addressed to M.P s. and to the general public. But I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that any increase in the volume of censorship is due to nothing but reasons of operational security.

Squadron-Leader Errington

Can my hon. Friend say what the difficulty is in exempting from censorship letters addressed to Members of Parliament?

Mr. Thurtle

The hon. and gallant Gentleman will realise that it would be a very invidious thing to make a distinction between Members of Parliament and other trustworthy citizens.

Mr. Shinwell

Are not Members of Parliament invited to attend Secret Sessions in order to receive secret information that the public are not allowed to receive?

Mr. Thurtle

Once an exception of this kind is made—at present there are no exceptions at all—all sorts of other classes would be making demands on that account.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

As Members from Northern Ireland who repeatedly attend the House bring correspondence to the House from citizens of Northern Ireland, why should correspondence that we Members of Parliament receive from trade union members in Northern Ireland be subject to censorship?

Mr. Thurtle

Because a duty has been laid upon the censorship to censor all correspondence from Northern Ireland from whomsoever it comes and to whomsoever it is addressed.

Mr. Lipson

Ought not citizens to have unimpeded right of access to Members of Parliament?

Mr. Maxton

Does that mean that the Government have no more confidence in Private Members than Private Members have in the Government?