HC Deb 04 March 1946 vol 420 cc21-2
49. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Prime Minister if he will consider arranging for the various Ministers in his Government to broadcast to the people, explaining the various legislative measures that are now passing through this House, namely, the Minister of National Insurance to explain the National Insurance Bill, the Minister of Fuel and Power to explain the Coal Nationalisation Bill, etc.

Mr. H. Morrison

It is, in general, inappropriate that Ministers should give broadcast talks on Bills which are still under consideration by Parliament. Broadcast explanations of new legislation are best reserved, as a general rule, until the discussions in Parliament are completed.

Mr. Lewis

While I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply, might I ask him to bear in mind, and to carry out the suggestion contained in, the last part of my Question, namely, that when Bills are through the House of Commons he would see that the appropriate Minister gives a correct interpretation of them on the wireless, in order to prevent the garbled versions which are given out from many organs of the Tory Press?

Mr. Morrison

When Bills leave the Commons, if they started in the Commons, there is, of course, another place through which they must go. It is perfectly legitimate action that a new Statute should be explained to the nation, but while a Bill is subject to Parliamentary discussion the Government would be taking unfair advantage of their position if they were to broadcast about it, unless there were exceptional circumstances.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Does not the Lord President of the Council agree that the proper practice, when a political broadcast is made, is that people who disagree with the political broadcast should have an opportunity to reply?

Mr. Morrison

That is a fair point, which would certainly be taken into consideration.

Forward to