HC Deb 19 April 1950 vol 474 cc133-4
45. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Lord President of the Council whether, in view of the fact that H.M.S. "Campania," carrying the sea-borne exhibition organised by the Festival of Britain Council will visit the north-east of Scotland but not the City of Aberdeen, where there is a desire to see it, he will take steps to reverse the decision of the Council not to visit that city.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I regret that it is not possible to fit Aberdeen into the five-month programme of the sea-borne exhibition of the Festival of Britain to be carried on the aircraft carrier "Campania." Aberdeen will, however, be a centre for a Festival of the Arts in the official Festival programme, and representatives of the Festival organisation recently visited the city to discuss arrangements.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this decision will deprive many poor people in the north of Scotland of their only opportunity of seeing this Festival? Is he further aware that many of them are saying that it is mis-named "The Festival of Britain" and should be called "The Festival of London" or "The Festival of the South Bank "?

Mr. Morrison

My hon. and learned Friend is quite wrong, because this very exhibition is going to Dundee and to Greenock and to many other provincial cities. It is not going to Aberdeen, but if my hon. and learned Friend has any Scottish feeling about it, he should remember that it is going to Scotland.

Mr. Hughes

If it is going from Greenock to Dundee, may I ask how it will avoid passing the City of Aberdeen?

Mr. Morrison

I have never made that journey so I ought not to be subject to cross-examination on it, Nit, at any rate, it is not practicable for it to stop at that city.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Is the Lord President aware that Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland and that it would be just as well if he were to obtain the good will of its inhabitants?

Mr. Morrison

I am most anxious on the point; indeed, I think there are improvements possible in Aberdeen. Nothing I have said must be regarded as under-estimating the importance of Aberdeen and my high regard for it.

Miss Horsbrugh

Is it the case that Dundee and Greenock have been chosen because those cities are represented by Ministers in His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Morrison

If I may say so, that is a suggestion which is about as unworthy as were some rather cheeky observations made on the wireless during the Election about the secrecy of the ballot.

Miss Horsbrugh

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that no one who is interested in the party politics of this country should ever mention the secrecy of the ballot? Does he not want it known?

Mr. Morrison

I am all in favour of it; indeed, in some places in Southern England it needs to be better known.

Hon. Members