HC Deb 10 November 1949 vol 469 cc1382-3
28. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many local authorities have so far notified their intention of adopting the model by-law to prevent the sale of contraceptives from slot machines.

Mr. Ede

It is too early to give any figure. Local authorities are not required to inform me of their intention to adopt a by-law. The statute requires that a by-law made by a local authority shall be open to public inspection and advertised for at least one month before application is made to me for confirmation.

Mr. Janner

In view of the state of public opinion on this matter, will not my right hon. Friend try to find out from local authorities, by some method, when they are proposing to produce these bylaws, so that at least the country may know what is happening?

Mr. Ede

From my observations of the Press, I think a very considerable use is being made of this permission. I do not think that, following the circular I recently sent out, I need send another at present.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance to the House that he will closely watch this matter, in view of the clearly expressed feelings of the House on this matter a fortnight ago and also the feelings in many responsible quarters that the matter should have been dealt with on a national, rather than a local basis?

Mr. Ede

In regard to the first question, I am watching this very carefully and I am bound to say that my observations lead me to think that the response has been very gratifying and in accordance with the wish of the House. I think there are sound reasons, which I gave to the House in answer to Questions, that it is better to place full local responsibility in this matter, than to rely on central administration and control.