HC Deb 11 February 1947 vol 433 cc170-1
28. Mr. C. S. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for War whether permission was given to Professor Laski to address Army officers and cadets at the Prince Consort's Library, Aldershot, on "The Conditions of Democratic Government" and why Press representatives were refused admission to this meeting.

Mr. Bellenger

Professor Laski was invited by the District Commander to address officers and officer cadets at the Prince Consort's Library, Aldershot, on "The Conditions of Democratic Government," as a part of a winter study programme. Press representatives were refused admittance because these lectures are private and not open to the public.

Mr. Taylor

Are the Press excluded from all lectures of this nature? May I also ask whether in the right hon. Gentleman's opinion Professor Laski has any special qualifications to talk about democratic government?

Mr. Bellenger

Well, he claims to have them. [An HON. MEMBER: "He has them."] There is no doubt that he was invited by military officers to give this lecture.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Professor Laski is a recognised international authority? [HON. MEMBERS: "On what?"] Does he not think that the courtesy extended to Professor Laski might be extended still further, and that he might be invited to give another lecture on the law relating to special juries?

Brigadier Low

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether facilities could be given to some man of equal, or even greater, eminence, who might hold different views on the same subject?

Mr. Bellenger

I do not think it is my duty to interfere with the arrangements made by senior officers to invite people of authority to speak on their particular topics.

Sir Robert Young

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the same facilities were given after the first world war as those referred to on this occasion?