HC Deb 26 October 1943 vol 393 cc19-20
32. Mr. Evelyn Walkden

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a proposed scheme for the taking over of cinema entertainment overseas now under the consideration of his Department is already being partially operated; whether it is in accordance with War Office procedure to put schemes of this kind into operation before final decisions are taken; and whether he will issue instructions immediately to stop the inauguration of this scheme until the other services concerned have given their decision and until the Entertainments Board specially set up by the Government to deal with such matters and upon which all three fighting services are represented has been convened to consider and report thereon?

Sir J. Grigg

The operation of mobile cinemas has generally been accepted as an Army responsibility and additional Army cinema units have been sent overseas to operate in new theatres of operations. I am not aware that any action has been taken by the Army overseas to take over E.N.S.A. units or to inaugurate a new system. As I said in a reply to my hon. Friend last Tuesday, the future development of cinema entertainment for the Forces overseas is at present under consideration.

Mr. Walkden

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, may I ask whether he would care to examine positive evidence, including cables from North Africa, of action that has been taken either with his approval or with his knowledge; and why is it that he has set aside the Entertainments Board which was set up by the Cabinet to deal with major policy in these matters?

Sir J. Grigg

I have not set aside the Entertainments Board at all. I am prepared to consider any improvements which my hon. Friend can suggest to me, and I will answer the letter of the Chairman of the Entertainments Board, of which he has knowledge, in a very few days.