HC Deb 30 September 1942 vol 383 cc765-6
45. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Prime Minister whether, in connection with the Debate on Army Pay on 10th September, he will institute inquiries why advance information was given to some sections of the Press on the evening of 9th September, which appeared in the morning Press oh 10th September just prior to the Debate which took place, which gave an outline of the Government's intentions, and had not been made available to Members of the House of Commons prior to the holding of the Debate?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

I am informed that in accordance with a well-established practice, which has proved useful in securing informed editorial comment, a representative of the Government gave off-the-record information and guidance to the Press and answered questions about the Government's intentions on Service pay.

Mr. De la Bère

Is not my right hon. Friend a very old and experienced Parliamentarian, and had he not been in office, would he not have been the first to complain about this? Is it not impossible to uphold the prestige of the House in Debate if information is given out in the Press on- the very morning on which the Debate is held and has to be repeated over and over again? I am sure my right hon. Friend will sympathise with my protest in this matter, as he has always shown such very great concern for upholding Parliamentary traditions.

The Prime Minister

I hardly know how to acknowledge my hon. Friend's remarks.