HC Deb 31 January 1949 vol 460 cc1376-7
50. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Lord President of the Council if the forthcoming inquiry into the B.B.C. prior to the renewal of the B.B.C. Charter at the end of 1950 will be an open inquiry so that the public may hear the evidence which is given; and if he can now say who will be the Chairman.

Mr. H. Morrison

My hon. Friend is mistaken in suggesting that the existing B.B.C. Charter expires at the end of 1950; it actually runs until 31st December, 1951. It will be for the Committee of Inquiry itself to determine its procedure. I am glad to be able to tell the House that Sir Cyril Radcliffe, K.C., has agreed to be Chairman. The investigation will not begin for some time and the other members will be announced in due course.

Mr. Cooper

Does my right hon. Friend recollect that the private inquiry conducted by the B.B.C. under Sir Valentine Holmes two years ago—which did so little in putting things right inside the B.B.C.—indicated the unsuitability of private inquiries; and will he suggest to the B.B.C. or whoever the appropriate authority is for this new inquiry that it be held in public so as to allay public suspicion that it will be little more effective than the first one?

Mr. Morrison

I do not agree with my hon. Friend's state of mind, which I think is unfortunate. The last Committee in 1935 was private, and I see no reason to change that procedure.

Sir W. Smithers

In view of the increasing Left-wing tendency of all broadcasts will the Lord President of the Council back up the Prime Minister in his Communist purge and be sure that this inquiry is held in public?

Mr. Morrison

There are as many allegations that the B.B.C. is Right wing as there are that it is Left wing, and I would not take the hon. Member as an impartial judge.

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