HC Deb 07 March 1946 vol 420 cc502-3
53. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is in a position to make a statement about the development of political parties and trade unions in the British zone of Germany.

Mr. J. Hynd

The three chief political parties are now active throughout the zone and participating in the local German administration that has been set up pending elections. They are also playing their part in the German denazification committees that are being established to assist the Control Commission. Trade unions, too, are rapidly developing. In the North Rhine province a scheme has been put forward for 32 trade unions covering all industries; 29 have already been approved.

In Westphalia and Hanover there are no co-ordinated schemes but many unions are developing. In Hamburg there are 13 trade unions, with an aggregate membership of 120,000. Delegations from the T.U.C. and from the world federation of trade unions have recently visited the zone. The political parties and trade unions are also represented on the German Zonal Advisory Council which held its inaugural meeting yesterday.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Would my hon. Friend do all he possibly can to ensure that these trade unions and political parties, which we are glad to note are under way in the British zone, develop without fear or favour?

Mr. Hynd

That is part of the policy of the administration of the British zone.

Mr. Julius Silverman

Is my hon. Friend proposing to place any newspaper facilities at the disposal of the political parties?

Mr. Hynd

Yes, Sir. That development is now under way, and already a zonal newspaper under German control is being established in Hamburg. We have also, I believe, already launched some of the first political independent German newspapers.

Mr. James Hudson

Has my hon. Friend seen the statement that the Social Democratic Party constituted in Germany is much more in need of food than of paper in order to make their development possible?