HC Deb 21 November 1946 vol 430 c1016
51. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will immediately set up an inter-departmental committee to inquire into and report when a verbal directive was issued by the Director-General of the B.B.C, to the effect that Ministers of the Crown were to be discouraged from broadcasting, and its exact terms.

Mr. H. Morrison

I am informed by the Director-General of the B.B.C. that no directive of the kind mentioned in the Question has been issued in any form.

Mr. Ellis Smith

In view of the seriousness of the accusation made in the House, would my right hon. Friend consider whether an inquiry should be made in order to prove that no directive was issued from any source?

Mr. Morrison

The situation was that an allegation was made. We have transmitted that allegation to the B.B.C, and they have flatly denied it. I do not see how we can proceed further unless prima facie evidence is forthcoming as a result of which further inquiries can be made from the B.B.C.

Sir W. Smithers

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to see that broadcasts by Ministers of the Crown are as severely censored as other broadcasts?

Mr. Morrison

I would not say that broadcasts by Ministers need to be quite as severely censored as those of the hon. Member, but the hon. Member may be assured that in that respect Ministers are in a no more privileged position than anybody else.

Sir W. Smithers

What about Lady MacRobert?