HC Deb 07 April 1948 vol 449 c138
3. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Postmaster-General how many letters entrusted to His Majesty's Mails have been opened by or with the connivance of his Department since 1st April, 1947.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

The information desired is not available and, if it were, publication would not be in the public interest.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why the publication of this information would not be in the public interest? Is it because his Department is ashamed of the scale on which it is doing this sort of thing?

Mr. Paling

The hon. Member is wrong, as usual, in that assumption.

Mr. E. P. Smith

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this Question has very disturbing implications and can he say why circumstances arise and under whose orders his Department interferes with anybody's mail?

Mr. Paling

The Exchange Control Act is the Act under which this is done.

Mr. Mellish

Will the Postmaster-General say whether this was the practice under the last Tory Government?

Mr. Gallacher

Is not the Minister aware that this is a very long-standing practice and that the late John Wheatley tried to get information as to why my letters and other letters were opened under the Baldwin Government, and could not get the information?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I beg to give notice that, in view of the right hon. Gentleman's pointed refusal to answer the Question, I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.