HC Deb 11 June 1952 vol 502 cc213-342

3.51 p.m.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir David Maxwell Fyfe)

I beg to move, That this House approves the proposals of Her Majesty's Government as set out in the Memorandum on the Report of the Broadcasting Committee. 1949. (Command Paper No. 8550). In rising to move this Motion, I think I am entitled to assume that one difficulty sometimes with us is completely absent: there is no subject which has had so much previous discussion. It is now almost three years since the Beveridge Committee was set up to examine the conditions under which sound and television broadcasting services should be conducted after the expiry of the Charter. We then had their exhaustive Report.

This was followed by the proposals of our predecessors, which were debated in both Houses, and there has naturally been much comment in the editorial, and more in the correspondence, columns of the Press, including a cross examination by leading article in this morning's edition of "The Times," which I shall do my best to answer. Six years ago, in 1946, there was pressure for an outside inquiry and we were reminded that the Beveridge Committee was the first of such inquiries for a period of 14 years. There cannot now be any complaint that these problems have not been well and truly ventilated.

May I say a word about the position of Her Majesty's Government? When we took office the Charter and Licence had only a few weeks to run. We felt we must have further time to make up our minds on the future pattern of broadcasting and for this reason the Charter and Licence were extended for a period of six months, which expires at the end of this month. We have now embodied our conclusions in the White Paper, which was presented last month and which is now before the House.

If approval is given, the draft Charter will be laid before the House as quickly as possible. A new Licence and Agreement will be made and presented to the House for approval under the Standing Orders. The time table, I am afraid, is rather tight, for the new docu- ment must come into force on 1st July, but we are in a position to say that the present Governors will be prepared to continue in office for a short period until the new Board is appointed if the necessary approval for that course is obtained.

I should be failing in my duty if I did not express the deep obligation which we are under to Lord Beveridge and his Committee for their full and informative Report. Although we do not agree in all respects with that long series of recommendations that does not lessen our debt, and we join our predecessors in recording our gratitude for this monumental work.

There is another point to which I wish to refer. It is a sobering thought that the B.B.C. has now had 26 years of existence as a corporate body. It has built up, both in peace and war, a reputation which is unsurpassed and, I think, unequalled in any other country. Hon. Members on both sides of the House will wish to join me in a well-deserved tribute to the Corporation and its staff.

In the remarks I shall make to the House, I wish to make it clear that in many respects, as is obvious from the White Paper, Her Majesty's Government find themselves in accord with their predecessors and the Broadcasting Committee. On some matters they suggest alternative arrangements. As obviously very many hon. Members wish to speak, I shall not waste time on things which will not be changed. I shall confine myself to the major and fundamental issues on which the Government suggest innovation. My hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General will deal with other matters of a more detailed character which may be raised.

I wish to say a few words about the duration of the proposed Charter, and in doing so may J give one reason why, although the B.B.C. enjoys so excellent a reputation. it does not follow that no fundamental change can or ought to be contemplated? The technical factors which hitherto have greatly influenced organisation are undergoing great changes. When circumstances make it feasible to give practical effect to the developments which have been achieved in the higher ranges of radio frequency, profound modifications in the pattern of broadcasting should become possible.

The Broadcasting Committee favoured the grant of a Charter without a time limit, subject to revocation at any time and a review, although not a full inquiry, every five years. This was not favoured by our predecessors and it did not find favour in earlier debates. The general feeling is that on a matter so liable to be fundamentally affected by rapid changes in the technical field we ought not to be bound to a particular pattern for any considerable period.

The proposal that was placed before the House by our predecessors was that the B.B.C. should be granted a Charter for 15 years with a possibility of a limited review within that term. We have come to the conclusion—and so far I have not seen much criticism of it—that it is wiser to make the period 10 years and within that period to have no review, because we think we can thus avoid the disturbance and upheaval which such reviews entail in the work and organisation. The Licence will be for the same period.

I shall refer to and, I hope, cover the changes of importance later, but otherwise the Charter and Licence will follow much the same lines as at present. I hope that on this point, at least, our proposal will commend itself as doing two things—embodying a reasonable period for the B.B.C. to develop its services without disturbance and permitting a future Parliament, at not too distant a date, to review once more the whole pattern of broadcasting.

Let us look at the burning question of monopoly. The Government do not propose to ask Parliament to commit itself to continuation throughout the next 10 years of the B.B.C.'s exclusive privilege of broadcasting in the British Isles. When circumstances make it feasible, and—I have studied the question to the best of my ability—no one can postulate when that will be, some element of competition with the B.B.C. television service will be admitted in frequencies higher than now in use. As the Corporation will continue to be the sole broadcasting authority having any claim on the revenue from licences, the competitors in the field of television will have to provide their own equipment from their own financial resources. This means, in short, that they will have to rely on advertisements and sponsored programmes for their income.

This question of competition with the B.B.C. and commercial competition in particular, has been one of the chief features of recent discussions. May I, therefore, try to put to the House and weigh up the arguments on both sides as I understand them, and as objectively as I can? As a good Conservative, I put first the arguments for the status quo, which have convinced so many Socialists, and I shall then put the arguments for what is usually termed a radical change, which is largely supported by Conservatives.

Taking the arguments for the monopoly, there is, first, the argument of authority, namely, that successive committees of inquiry have either assumed, from the general regard in which the B.B.C. is held, or in one case concluded—with only one dissentient—after searching examination, that the Corporation's effective monopoly should be preserved. The second argument is that the public service type of programme would not stand up effectively against the competition of commercial interests, and thirdly, that, if such competition were admitted, the social purpose of broadcasting would be destroyed and the interests of minorities neglected. Fourthly, it is urged as almost axiomatic that in the struggle for the largest possible audience commercial stations would pander to the lowest possible denominator of public taste. From that the fifth argument is advanced that programme standards would be debased, and it is said that the Corporation would in its own defence have to follow suit.

Let us look at the arguments for breaking the monopoly. The first is that there is widespread concern in principle about the evils inherent in the monopoly of so potent an instrument as broadcasting, and Lord Reith's own words "the brute force of the monopoly," have not been re-assuring in this regard. The second argument is that monopoly inherently lays itself open to breeding self-satisfaction, lack of initiative and complacency.

The third argument is that listeners and viewers have no opportunity to exercise the sanction of choice to influence what they would wish to see and hear. The fourth argument is that for the artistes and broadcasters there is no alternative employer in their special field; if they fall foul of X of the B.B.C., then they are untouchables of the air. Even if one admitted the arguments for the monopoly, which I personally do not, the arguments against would require serious consideration.

The Government's proposals have been represented as no more than a compromise, but this word does not fully represent our attitude. There are two great bodies of opinion, honestly and keenly felt, sincerely and strongly held, and in those circumstances it would be inexcusable for the Government to ignore either of them. After my six months' study of this question, the only people who really annoy me are those who deliberately misrepresent the basis of the opposing point of view.

It is just as ridiculous to suggest that every monopolist is suffering from a senile rush of bogus aestheticism to the brain as to think that every sponsorist is a disguised advertising tout intent on corrupting the public taste. Anyone who has discussed this problem as often as I have done knows the strength and sincerity with which both monopolists and sponsorers hold their opinions, and we have tried to put forward an answer which takes account of the opposing views.

I know that we are all proud to be party men, pre-disposed and easily led to magnify each ditch that divides us into an impassable gulf. I know the unpopularity of moderation, yet I should regret to come to the belief that in this matter moderation is beyond us. I like to remember the words of an old Member of this House, well known to you. Sir, and to me: There is a moderation which is itself a fire, whose enthusiasm burns as fiercely for the whole truth as it commonly does for half truths, whose toleration becomes not a policy but an act of religion. I agree that the exits from our House are white with the bones of such would-be moderates, but let us give a passing sigh of respect to moderation before we return to our perennial pastime of cheerful mutual abuse.

For those who are not already ensconced on the battlements of dogma, who have felt some disturbance at the prospect before us, there are three points which must be emphasised, for they are the essential concomitants of this change of policy. The first is that we maintain the broadcasting services of the B.B.C. intact, and with first call on resources, to provide adequate national broadcasting services throughout the United Kingdom.

For reasons only too familiar to hon. Members, arising from our economic circumstances the B.B.C.'s programme of television development has had to be retarded, and apart from experimental transmissions very high frequency sound broadcasting remains a thing of the future.

We intend that the B.B.C. shall be allotted the resources to complete its programme of lower-power television stations and to make reasonable progress with the introduction of high frequency sound broadcasting before any competitor is admitted to a share of the national resources. What this means in the way of time-lag it would, as I have indicated, be rash of me to attempt to prophesy, for it is so intimately bound up with the whole of our economic future.

The second of these three points is that there will be a controlling body for the sponsored stations. We are in the field of experiment; we have not, and cannot have, a cut-and-dried plan as to the precise pattern which the experiment will assume, and much remains to be done in the time before the development becomes possible.

We are, therefore, clear that a controlling body is necessary, first, to guard against possible abuses; secondly, to regulate the conduct of the new stations; and thirdly, to advise on bodies or persons to whom licences for new stations shall be granted. These matters will be pursued so that we may be ready when the time for active development arrives. I have no doubt that we shall derive much advice and guidance in the course of this debate.

My third point, which is also of great importance, is our proposed Parliamentary control of the terms and conditions of sponsored television. Hon. Members will bear in mind that the terms and conditions on which competitive television would operate would be subject to the consideration and control of Parliament. Therefore, whatever the views and the arguments, the importance of each of these three points cannot. I think, be under-estimated.

I now come to examine the argument that there will be a lowering of standards and a debasement of the national taste. In order to find our way to a common-sense and practical solution likely to meet with a great measure of public acceptance, it is quite a good plan to be guided by the essential facts. There is another angle from which the fact that the B.B.C. is to remain intact, with an assured income from licence revenue, is of vital importance. The provision in the licence prohibiting the B.B.C. from engaging in commercial broadcasting will be maintained. There will be no change in the policy of the B.B.C. towards sponsoring or advertising.

Therefore, there can be no fear that any television viewer in this country would have no choice but to look at a sponsored programme. The B.B.C. television service is available as an alternative and, as I have indicated, it will have a very good start. It will remain inviolate. There will be no encroachment, whether by an outside body hiring time or in any other way.

Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)

When the right hon. and learned Gentleman says there will be no encroachment, does he mean there will be no question of a commercial advertiser buying up B.B.C. programmes and sponsoring them, or employing B.B.C. technicians?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

There will be no question of their coming into the B.B.C programme or getting B.B.C. time. They will have to do it from their own stations and with their own resources.

Mr. Mayhew

I do not think the right hon. and learned Gentleman quite understood my point, and it is important. Could not they use their financial resources, for instance, to employ B.B.C. technicians and indeed buy a whole programme and put it on their sponsoring network?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I think the hon. Gentleman has put the question too widely for a specific answer. I have made it quite clear that they cannot encroach on the B.B.C. programmes by hiring time, or in any other way. They have to do it themselves. We do not propose to lay down any rule as to how they will recruit their staff or where they will get their programmes. I am not doing this in a militant way at all. I am trying to put the points to the House, and I am very anxious to put them as fairly as possible. The hon. Gentleman may blame my stupidity, but I am trying to answer his point clearly, as I understand it. What I am not going to do is to say there will be some prohibition in advance on anyone who is employed by, or who serves, the B.B.C. from being employed by or serving any other organisation.

The point I have made—and I think it is a fair one, and one to which weight has not been attached in this controversy—is that this is not a comparison. This does not bear comparison with places where there are only sponsored programmes. It is our intention to let the B.B.C. go on, as I say, intact, without encroachment; and after all, with an income of £11,500,000 a year, which is increasing at the rate of £1 million a year, and the flying start I have described, it cannot be said that in this country the television viewer will be confined to sponsored programmes. He may make a choice. Now let us analyse what is inherent in his making the choice——

Mr. Joseph Reeves (Greenwich) rose——

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

May I complete this point? I will give way to the hon. Member in a moment.

It is frequently said, despite the existing and favourable position of the B.B.C, that commercial competition must inevitably lead to a debasement of programme standards. I hope that hon. Members will not be tempted to align coinage and broadcasting. A cliche of this disputation of which I am extremely tired is that broadcasting will follow Gresham's Law that bad currency drives out good.

Mr. M. Follick (Loughborough)

What I should like to know is who is to get all the licence money? Will that still go to the B.B.C?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I did make it quite clear that the income from the licences, less the 15 per cent. which the last Government and this Government have deducted, will go to the B.B.C. The B.B.C. gets that income. The sponsors do not get any income from licences. I did say that, and I want to make it clear again. If there is any doubt I am glad to make that certain to everyone.

I was saying that I was extremely tired of everyone dressing up the argument with this horrible cliché from Gresham's Law; because in my view what is true when the matter in question is an opportunity of clipping the coinage seems to me to bear little application to turning on a programme. It is certainly meaningless symbolism—whether or not the views of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have changed as to what are meaningless symbols. It does seem to me a highly paradoxical situation that competition has been praised in all quarters of the House as a stimulus to efficiency and an incentive to development, yet once there is any mention of sponsoring these consequences are forgotten and it is assumed that in the broadcasting world standards will be reduced and debased.

It would be foolish to ignore the point. It would be equally foolish to accept as axiomatic that such debasement must follow. I am not impressed by analogies from the United States—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]—We have our typical British way of resolving problems of taste, just like any other problem. We are a much more mature and sophisticated people. Is it really to be suggested——

Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham, South)

Sounds like anti-Americanism.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

The right hon. Gentleman has forgotten that he has handed back the seals of the Foreign Office, and must not make points of that kind. I am very surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should be the person to take me to task for paying a compliment to our own fellow citizens which I think is entirely deserved.

Is it really to be suggested that such a people as ours are unfit to decide what they want to see on the air; that some foolish metallic analogy is to be the measure and touchstone of their mood and spirit? Are they unfit for anything but the governess state? If that is the view of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, in my respectful submission it is the very pap of nonsense.

It is, then, argued that if an element of competition is desirable in principle, why should it be confined to television? Let me deal with the point. In the field of sound broadcasting, this country has already in most areas a choice of pro- grammes with regional variations, and the number of listeners so served will increase as high frequency services are introduced. On the other hand, in television the service is of recent growth. There is only one central service and it is still in course of development. It seems to me reasonable, and I hope that it will so appeal to the House, to choose this field for what is an experiment in the departure from monopoly.

As a medium for advertising, television offers certain advantages over the sound programmes. It may prove to be the way in which sponsoring can earn its revenue and acclimatise itself to British taste. which is quite different from American taste, in a field where British taste is still in a formative stage.

Mr. Beverley Baxter (Southgate)

Since my right hon. and learned Friend has been extolling the virtues of sponsored programmes on television, can he say whether there is any reason why they should not extend to radio as well? Why is this protection put upon sound and this liberty extended to television?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am sorry. I do not know when my hon. Friend came in or whether I have just been especially unclear. I have just indicated that. For what it is worth, I am prepared to repeat my argument so that my hon. Friend will understand as well as hear. I have just indicated that in sound broadcasting the country has already in most areas a choice of programme with regional variations and that the number of listeners served is increasing, and will increase as higher frequency services are introduce——

Mr. C. R. Hobson (Keighley) rose——

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I can answer only one question at a time. The hon. Gentleman will be fair to me. I am trying to answer my hon. Friend. After I have made that attempt, I will willingly give way, but the hon. Gentleman will remember that "One at a time, gentlemen, please" is a sound principle.

That is the position with regard to sound broadcasting. There are these choices available. But, as I have indicated, there is not the same choice available in television which is at an earlier stage and, therefore, at a time in which sponsoring can come in and acclimatise itself to taste which is still in a formative stage. There is that difference. If one has to make a decision as to where to admit sponsoring, it is right to admit it in the television field. I hope that my hon. Friend will not misunderstand me. I had already made that point. I am sure that he will not think that I meant to be offensive. Would the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson) like to ask this question?

Mr. Hobson

I wanted to ask whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman will tell us where in this country high frequency broadcasting is at present taking place.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I said that at the moment it was only in the experimental stage. There was another hon. Gentleman who wanted to ask a question. I do not know whether I have gone too far, but I do not want to treat him with discourtesy and I should be willing to reply to him now.

Mr. Reeves

The right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to very high frequency as a thing of the future. He said that nothing would be done until it had been established—in other words, that the B.B.C. would be permitted to develop very high frequency before it was undertaken competitively. Does that refer also to colour television? The B.B.C. has undertaken a good deal of experimental work in the development of colour. But for the fact that we are short of capital. that work would have been developed further.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

My hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General will deal with that point. I am anxious that we should not leave the general argument to deal with minor technical aspects, but I will certainly have the point looked up.

There is another subsidiary question which might be asked: What has become of the Committee's recommendation that power should be reserved to licence, after consultation with the B.B.C, aproved bodies, such as universities, to give local services? On this the Government have not put forward any proposals, because they consider it so remote. This can be reviewed at a future date. Our main objective is to enable the B.B.C. to launch very high frequency sound broadcasting when resources permit, and to deal with the field of television.

I shall now deal with the question of the appointment of the Governors and the National Councils. In the past the Government of the day had absolute power over the Corporation through the ultimate sanction of advising the Crown to dismiss the Board of Governors. The White Paper on Broadcasting published in 1946 recognised, first, that the temptation to use the State's control of broadcasting for its own political ends should be removed from the party in power. That was the view expressed by the Government of that day. Secondly, it recognised that the Corporation's independence in day-to-day management should be continued.

Her Majesty's present advisers propose not only to continue the B.B.C.'s traditional independence in programme and administrative methods, but to take more positive steps designed to safeguard the Corporation within the framework of the Charter and Licence. There are three minor changes, and one major change. The position of the Governors will be defined only by the Charter within which they will have unrestricted authority and power of decision. Secondly, they are to be given discretion to announce that a veto has been imposed if a Government should prohibit a broadcast. Thirdly, except in emergency, the B.B.C. will be free from the present obligation to broadcast "other matter" as well as "announcements" at the request of any Government Department.

The major change lies in the proposal that Governors should no longer be appointed and liable to be removed by Order in Council. Hon. Members will have seen in paragraph 18 of the White Paper the body which it is suggested should make the appointments. That body would be able to operate in the absence of one or two of its members, although we are in favour of a quorum of three.

In supporting the change, it is not part of my argument that any Prime Minister in the past has not exercised his responsibility impartially, nor is it part of my argument that any Governor has been influenced in his duty by political associations. Nevertheless, the Governors are the Corporation. They are in a position of immense power to influence men's thoughts and minds and, in this light, the appointments are literally unique.

The proposal to delegate the powers of appointment and dismissal to a committee of eminent persons of undoubted integrity does not, therefore, arise from any failure in the past, but it is a reasonable change to ensure no derogation in the future. The new procedure will ensure that covert steps cannot at any time be taken to subordinate the Corporation to political ends.

It is suggested that, because within the Charter the Governors are the paramount authority, the proposal to alter the manner of appointment will in some degree deprive Parliament of an opportunity of bringing Ministers to book. This, I think, would be a better point if the House had not so many and varied ways of expressing its views on the conduct of the Corporation. Hon. Members must not overlook the fact that, although the ultimate source of 4he income is the licence fees, the B.B.C. depends for almost the whole of its income on supplies granted by Parliament, and there are, therefore, many opportunities for ventilating and enforcing the views of Parliament.

I do not pretend to be exhaustive, but may I give a few examples? If in the course of giving them, I assume certain Rulings of yours, Mr. Speaker, you will understand that that is only an hypothesis in order to put my view before the House. There is the debate which can take place on the Broadcasting Vote: the B.B.C. is dependent on the House for the grant of money. There are inquiries by Select Committees. There are debates on White Papers, such as we are having now. There are Motions to approve the B.B.C. Licence under the Standing Orders, and particularly Standing Order No. 87.

There are Questions that fall within Ministerial responsibilities. I am not going to weary the House by going through all the subjects which can be matters of question. I have satisfied myself that there are at least eight important matters on which Questions can be asked, including external services, television, home services on sound, very high frequency from the technical point of view, reports and accounts, finance, and even some aspects of the staff. These, I think, are indisputable.

Mr. H. Morrison

Questions cannot be put down on programmes, or anything affecting them.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I do not want to contradict the right hon. Gentleman, but I am sure that he could verify whether or not I am wrong. With regard to home services on sound, the powers are mainly limited to technical matters, but there are also the subsidiary features, such as the hours of broadcasting, on which Questions can be put down. Then there is the question of imposing a veto on broadcasting any matter, which is the responsibility of the Postmaster-General. and the question of announcements and other matter which Departments are entitled to request.

I agree that it is limited, but, indeed, the answer to the right hon. Gentleman's point is that, on every view that has ever been suggested, programmes and day-today management have been kept out of Questions in this House. What I am now dealing with—I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will face the point—is that it is being suggested, as an objection to our Committee of appointment, that that is an interference with the powers of Parliament.

I am pointing out that there are all these matters which I have just put to the House by which Parliament can enforce its powers, and in fact, in 26 years—and again I give the right hon. Gentleman the opportunity of correcting me—I can find no case where Parliament has sought to exercise its powers by getting rid of, or persuading the Government to get rid of, a Governor. If the right hon. Gentleman can give me one case, I will willingly give way.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman allow me to interrupt, as this is an important point? Does he not consider that it is rather invidious that the Chairman of this Committee is to be the Speaker of the House of Commons, while many of these matters can only be discussed if Mr. Speaker permits?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

They can only be discussed, if Mr. Speaker permits it, by, I should have thought, the rules which are well established in the practice of this House. The hon. Gentleman must not misunderstand me. It is the fact that, whenever an hon. Member of this House mentions a Ruling, out of courtesy to the Chair he mentions the Ruling on the assumption that the Chair would so rule, but that is not to suggest that there has been the slightest difficulty about delimiting the ground in the past by the rules.

Therefore, when the House of Commons has financial control, when it has all these methods of ventilating its views, apart altogether from its ultimate right of legislation, the suggestion that our proposal detracts from the privileges and responsibilities of this House, in a field in which it has always recognised the importance of the independence of the B.B.C. in its day-to-day management, is one that, in my view, cannot seriously be regarded.

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider his view on this point, because we are trying to give expression to what has been proclaimed by the party opposite, as by ourselves, as being the objective to which they and we are pledged and wedded, and that is to keep the B.B.C. out of politics and political controversy.

I now come to the question of the national bodies, and may I just remind the House of the genesis of this matter. The Broadcasting Committee—that is, Lord Beveridge's Committee—recommended that national bodies should be appointed under the chairmanship of the Governors in Scotland and Wales, and, if the Government of Northern Ireland so desired, in that country; and this met with general approval in previous debates.

There has been a marked difference of opinion on the methods of selecting the membership. The Government felt that these Broadcasting Councils should have certain executive powers as well as advisory functions, and I want the House to appreciate that. I do not believe that either Scotland or Wales would be content with a body that had not some executive powers as well as advisory functions. I have tried very hard to discover Welsh opinion on this point, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has done the same for Scotland. We came to the conclusion, and I stand here to justify that conclusion, that they should have certain executive powers.

The second conclusion to which we came was that, in order to ensure efficiency, they should not be unduly large. Therefore, we have in mind that the Councils in Scotland and Wales should have eight members formally appointed by the Corporation but selected by a panel of the B.B.C. Advisory Council, whose present Chairman is Lord Halifax. Five members will be representative of cultural, religious and other interests, and three of local authorities in the countries concerned.

I am well aware that, on the question of composition, we cannot please everyone, and that there are bound to be some people displeased by whatever decision we reach, but I want the House to understand how we arrived at that result and the reasons I think it was a good one. The precise manner of arriving at the selection of the members will be for the panel of the General Advisory Council to decide, but I believe that this is a most important matter for those who are anxious that our national way of life should have actual vocal and physical expression.

I want now to say a word about Northern Ireland. I have been informed by the Government of Northern Ireland that they have come to the conclusion that they do not at the present moment want a Council there, but that they might wish to have one later. The Charter will make appropriate provisions in conformity with their wishes.

As regards the powers to be delegated to the national Councils, this is a matter upon which there has been considerable comment. Indeed, it is one of the questions on which "The Times" was good enough to quote me in its interrogatory leading article this morning. Therefore, I want to deal with the point. Again, I believe the difficulty has been greatly exaggerated.

The detailed function of powers to be delegated to the Councils will be for the Governors to determine, and if hon. Members will look at paragraph 21 they will see how what I am saying follows. The Governors will have a discretion to reserve matters for their own decision in the interest of the due co-ordination and coherent administration of the Corporation. Finance and capital development will be dealt with centrally: in these respects, the functions of the Councils will be advisory. Party political broadcasts would continue to be governed by the arrangements made between the principal parties and the B.B.C. I think they have worked well. There have, of course, been criticisms of certain things but, on the whole, they have by agreement worked well, and I think we should stick to them.

The Corporation will also have power to ensure at all times that a co-ordinated national Home Service sound programme will be available for special broadcasts. I will not go into details: hon. Members will appreciate the sort of occasion I have in mind. But, subject to these requirements and the general obligations imposed on the Corporation by the Charter or Licence, the intention is that the Councils should control the policy and content of the Home Service sound programme of the country concerned, with full regard to the distinctive cultural interest and taste of the people there. That is the position as to the programme, and I hope I have made it clear.

I now want to deal with the point at which criticism has been levelled. The critics say that the Director-General ought to be able to give his orders to Scotland and Wales. I say no. I say that the only point on which the central body should interfere should be one so important that the Director-General will take it to the Board. The Board will meet and come to a decision, and then they can give their instructions. That is the safety valve, and for the extraordinary occasion.

In the ordinary way, I cannot see why local Councils should not be able to do the job of work I have described. I shall listen carefully to what hon. Members say, but at the moment I am totally unable to see why this tremendous worry about that proposal has arisen among people for whom I have a very great respect.

I will now say a word about the staff because, again, I think there has been some misapprehension there. The Councils will be responsible for the appointment of the staff who would be wholly engaged in their affairs.

Mr. Edward Shackleton (Preston, South)

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman give an example of a member of the B.B.C. regional staff who would be wholly engaged in a Home programme, because there is no such person?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. He will have to develop that point before he gets my agreement. It was certainly not the impression I got when making my visits, but I think it would be more convenient if the hon. Gentleman developed it, when I will listen to him with very great attention, because at the moment, unfortunately, I do not agree with him.

The matter is limited to the staff who would be wholly engaged in the affairs of the B.B.C. and there will, of course, be a general obligation on the Corporation to engage them on their usual terms. I wish to make it clear that there are, and must be, certain reservations implicit in this, because it would clearly be improper to bind the Corporation to take into and to retain in its service without question each and every person who might be nominated on whatever terms, however unreasonable. There must be some reservation there, and the Government have it in mind to ask the Chairman of the General Advisory Council to act as a sort of arbiter in, I hope, the unlikely event of difficulty arising between the Corporation and the Councils.

For Northern Ireland and the English regions, the Charter will provide for the delegation to the regional controller of powers giving him reasonable independence and initiative for the Home Service sound programme. I am told that is really a recognition of the status quo. Secondly, the Advisory Councils will be nominated by the B.B.C. as before, and the Government understand that the Corporation are giving effect to the recommendation that they should be more representative.

Mr. Ross

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman say a word about the regional controllers in Scotland and Wales? Who appoints them and to whom are they responsible? Are they responsible to the B.B.C. or to the Broadcasting Council of the new national set-up?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

On the vast majority of questions they will be responsible to the Broadcasting Council. It will be subject to the point which I tried to explain. It is this. Suppose the Director-General has points of difference with the national Councils and goes to the Board of Governors who, say, including the Chairman of the Scottish Board, come to a decision upholding the Director-General, then the regional controller must take his order on that point from the Board of Governors.

Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)

Who appoints him?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Just for the moment that point has gone out of my head. I am sorry, but I will find out for the right hon. Gentleman.

I now want to say a word on finance. As I indicated earlier, the 85 per cent. of the net revenue is our predecessors' proposal and we suggest that should be the income for the first three years of the Charter. There is no difference between us on that point. We keep the provision that should the Corporation ask at any time for an increase in the proportion, that must be considered against the economic background and the purposes to which the Corporation intend to devote the extra revenue.

Again, like our predecessors, we believe that the impact will be mainly felt on the Corporation's provision for future capital expenditure, and, like our predecessors, we suggest allowing them to borrow up to £10 million. Therefore, as far as I can see, there is no difference over the financial aspect. However, I will not weary the House by going further into it.

The only other point, which again I am sure the House will be relieved to know I can only mention at this stage, but for another reason, is the position with regard to copyright for sporting and dramatic events both for sound broadcasting and television. This is a complex problem, as again our predecessors recognised. In some cases there is a concern mainly to ensure that events available for television to the home are not passed on to other audiences, whether paying or not. In other cases the main fear is in respect of the loss or gain of a paying audience and that is closely linked with television for public showing in cinemas and elsewhere. In others there is a reluctance that even home viewers should share access to sporting events.

Our approach, which is set out in paragraph 29 of the White Paper, agrees with that of our predecessors. A Committee on Copyright is now sitting and has taken evidence from the interests concerned i cannot anticipate, and I do not think the House will expect me to anticipate, their findings. But may I express this personal view—which I hope the House will share—that it is unreasonable that listeners in the home or viewers either in the home or in places of public entertainment should be denied sound or sight of those public spectacles or sporting events which are of overwhelming interest and appeal and are in fact part of our national life? We can only hope for an amicable settlement, reconciling private interests with those of the public at large. This is not a matter in which the Government would seek to impose a settlement, but the Postmaster-General will bear the problem in mind when he issues licences for any form of competitive television.

I sincerely apologise to the House for the length of time that I have taken, but I thought it would be satisfactory if I tried to cover the problems which I know are in all hon. Members' minds. We all agree that we stand at an important stage in the development of our broadcasting services, and I am sure that the House will approach at least its discussion, however it may ultimately vote, with its traditional attitude of keeping this subject as far as possible outside party strife.

We all seek to frame a system that is best calculated to meet the wishes and the best interests of this country, a system, as I say, free from Parliamentary polemics and at once entertaining and educational. I have worked at this matter reasonably hard through the past six months and I believe our proposals have been designed with this aim. I therefore commend them to the favourable consideration of the House.

4.53 p.m.

Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham, South)

I beg to move, to leave out from "House," to the end of the Question. and to add instead thereof: while welcoming the Government's proposal in the Memorandum on the Report of the Broadcasting Committee, 1949 (Command Paper No. 8550), to renew for a further period of ten years the Charter and Licence of the British Broadcasting Corporation, regrets the implication contained in that Memorandum of an intention to introduce at some time during the period of the new Charter the commercial sponsorship of television; and further regrets the proposal to substitute for the present method of appointing the Governors the creation of an Appointing Committee who will have no responsibility to Parliament. There was a reference in the chat column of the "Daily Telegraph" the other day to the Home Secretary. He may know that column, which I believe is edited by a Conservative Member of Parliament. The reference was to the effect that the Home Secretary was a very busy man and that obviously he had little time to study and listen-in to broadcasts or to watch television. Nevertheless, the paper stated he would take this debate, and the writer was confident that he would take it well for, it was said, he is very good at handling a tricky brief at short notice.

It is of interest that the case for sponsoring has been stated in this House by a distinguished lawyer and that the main speaker, certainly the speaker who appeared to speak with the greatest emphasis on it, in another place was another distinguished lawyer. There was a poet, Stephen Phillips, whom I studied as a young man, who once wrote: Oh thou art put to many uses sweet." Perhaps that is true of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman that broadcasting in itself is not normally the subject of acute party division between the parties in this House. Indeed, there is more than one view about broadcasting among the political parties, and I suppose every citizen in the country has his own individual opinion about B.B.C. programmes. Indeed, it was indicated in the debate in another place, to which I must not refer in detail, that there were many divisions of opinion among the noble Lords on the Government side.

I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman in thanking Lord Beveridge and his Committee, on which Members of this House sat, for the splendid work they did. It was hard work and they did it well. We ought also to express our appreciation of the Governors of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Chairman, Lord Simon of Wythenshawe, and others who are serving now as Governors, and those who have served in earlier years as well. I think it would be right that we might all agree on both sides in paying a warm tribute to the Director-General, Sir William Haley, for the services he has rendered to broadcasting and to his country in the highly tricky and difficult job of Director-General, to congratulate him and "The Times" on his appointment as editor and to let him know that we shall watch "The Times" with interest when he becomes the occupant of the editorial chair. Anyway, we wish him well.

Another man in connection with broadcasting to whom we should pay our tribute, who has been the subject of strong criticism in past years but is now praised in all quarters, is Lord Reith. In early years he played a most notable and outstanding part in building up our broadcasting system, and it is a comfort to me to know that he is strongly opposed to commercial sponsoring. The B.B.C. and the Directors-General have always had their critics, and they always will.

It is interesting that the B.B.C. hardly ever answers back. The B.B.C. must be almost the only British institution that rarely answers back. It almost turns the cheek to the smiter, but it does seek and take account of criticism. It does not always do what we would wish, but it takes account of criticism. It is all the more remarkable in the circumstances that all of us, by and large, feel and boast, whilst having our grumbles, that British broadcasting, and possibly British television as well, and the services of the B.B.C. as a whole, are probably the best to be found anywhere in the world.

I wish to make very brief reference to some of the lesser matters of argument that appear in the White Paper, and to come to two points mentioned in the Opposition Amendment later on. In paragraph 5 of the White Paper there is reference to the intention to have additional safeguards about politics. We ought to know at the right time what those additional safeguards about politics are. I do not follow them, unless they be the appointing committee for the Governors. If that is what is meant we will discuss it in due course, but there is a general reference to further safeguards against the introduction of politics. I do not see what safeguards are there and, indeed, I am not arguing that further safeguards are necessary.

As to paragraph 12 I agree with the period of 10 years, and presumably there will be an enquiry of the customary sort at the end of the 10 years. Inquiries involve a very heavy strain on the staff of the B.B.C. in getting ready, giving the evidence and, if I may say so, getting over it and waiting for the Government to come to conclusions. It is a big strain upon them, and I think the Corporation is entitled to reasonable security and to be given its head over a reasonable period of years.

But it is right that the inquiry should take place from time to time just as it is right that inquiries should take place from time to time in connection with other public corporations in the industrial field. I presume that we would understand from the Home Secretary that if, however, a case should arise for special review or inquiry within the 10 years, if special unforeseen circumstances arise, it would be competent for the Government and Parliament to consider whether a special inquiry should be instituted. I gather that that would be so.

There is reference in paragraph 14 to the British Broadcasting Corporation Staff Association and the trade unions. This is a difficult matter which has been argued for a good many years, but one of the points in the argument is quite simple—namely, that the B.B.C. surely ought to recognise the trade unions who have an adequate and substantial proportion of members of the staff. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North-West (Mr. O'Brien) has been engaged in discussions on this matter with the General Council of the T.U.C., and I think the B.B.C. has been rather slow in recognising that some changes must be made, even though it is a national service which everybody would agree cannot be interrupted. The matter really should be settled and the terms of the settlement should be known.

The White Paper says that it hopes that an early settlement will be reached. I do not think that is good enough myself. In staff matters I would urge upon the Corporation that they should use an officer who understands the problems and organisations involved. There are men of that kind to be got. They may have such men in the service now, but it does need somebody who understands this; otherwise they can get into a mess, and I think we ought to know from the Assistant Postmaster-General the Government's view on what ought to be done.

I agree with paragraph 17 that the Governors are supreme. Indeed, as I said myself in an earlier debate, and as the Home Secretary said this afternoon, the Governors are the Corporation, and they should not regard themselves—indeed, they are not required to regard themselves—as a mere advisory committee to the Director-General. They are the masters of the show. They are the captains of the ship. [Laughter.] What is the matter now? Is somebody trying to start a party row about something? If I only knew what it was I could join in, but I do not follow what the joke is.

There is being canvassed the question whether there should be one or more Directors-General. I am doubtful about that. Anyway, if the power was put in—and I would sooner it were not put in—I hope there would not be more than one Director-General. I once had the experience of running the Ministry of Supply for a short time with two permanent secretaries, and when I reached a certain point one of them had to go somewhere else, because it is a dreary life trying to run two permanent secretaries of equal status under a Minister. I would not advise the Government to pursue this course. I think that one or more assistant Directors-General is right and that this is a desirable permissive power; whilst the Director-General has day-to-day executive responsibility, that of course does not derogate from the authority and the general power of the Governors of the Corporation.

With regard to the Broadcasting Councils for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland is now out of it, and I am not surprised that the Government of Northern Ireland have thought that they would prefer to be without a National Council; otherwise there might have been more difficulty with that rural district council in Northern Ireland to which reference was made earlier today. This raises some issues upon which there can be more than one opinion, but we would most certainly agree that the special needs of Scotland and Wales, and indeed of the English regions, should always be sympathetically considered, and it is a good proposal that the Governor should visit these regional bodies and the Scottish and Welsh bodies from time to time. We accepted the general idea in our own White Paper, and we do so now.

There are, however, some points that require special consideration. I was going to mention Northern Ireland, but evidently special consideration has already been given on the spot. As to the appointment of regional staff for the Home service, my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) has raised a point upon that.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Would the right hon. Gentleman allow me? I think I can help him; I can certainly help his hon. Friend. I did verify that point. The controllers are appointed by the B.B.C. They have certain duties of a general character. I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman for not being able to explain that fully before.

Mr. Morrison

I am much obliged. Some practical problems will arise about the appointment of staff, not only from the point of view of the successful running of the undertaking, but it may be from the point of view of the staff themselves, because these men may get stuck, especially if the Corporation itself has another view as to their abilities. Problems of promotion will arise and, of course, there are problems of conditions and terms of service.

It is desirable to preserve, as far as is technically possible, the free choice of programmes by listeners as between the Scottish service and the other Home service and between the Welsh service and the other Home service. I am not sure that it is technically possible, but it is a point worth keeping in mind so that the Scottish and the Welsh listeners would have a completely free choice as to which service they should listen to.

I do not think that the National Councils should be chosen by a panel of the General Advisory Council. I think it is too remote and too distant, and indeed I should be inclined to think that the Government ought to accept responsibility for the appointment of these bodies so that questions can be raised in the House about it. I note that the councils are not to be paid, apart from the national chairmen, and I do not quarrel with that. I think that is right. I presume that expenses that are reasonable and proper would be paid. I agree about the Ministerial responsibility to the extent there should be no special and separate Minister for broadcasting. It is largely a matter between the Postmaster-General and the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister, of course, can use a senior colleague to assist him if he so wishes.

Now I come to the appointing trustees. This arose in connection with the London Passenger Transport Bill which I introduced in 1931, which the National Government amended by introducing appointing trustees later when they came to take over the Bill. They had to do something to amend the Bill because they had strongly opposed it while in opposition, and they seized on this appointing trustee device, which nobody took very seriously at the time, as a way of taking the Socialism out of the London Passenger Transport Bill. It was, of course, nonsense, and behind the Chair it was recognised on both sides of the House to be nonsense, but it comforted hon. Members, and why should they not be comforted? But I never liked it, and I am going to argue strongly against this proposal now.

Presumably the idea behind this proposal is that some Prime Minister or Government might take liberties and that possibly they ought not to be trusted. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that he was not going to complain about unfairness in appointing Governors up to now. I do not think we have really reached the point when we cannot trust Prime Ministers, Postmasters-General and Governments to be fair in making these appointments.

I could make a case that Labour was not adequately represented among the Governors before the war. I do not think we were. I think usually there was only one recognisable Labour person in those days. There was not a majority of known Labour people when we were in office. On the contrary, there was a minority. There were some known Conservatives, and some others whose politics were not particularly identifiable, which may or may not be a good sign from any point of view.

I think that any hon. Member opposite would agree that we were fair in making the appointments we did. Indeed, the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself says that he is making no allegation of unfairness against either side of the House in the making of past appointments, but he was apprehensive that some day somebody might come along and make a sort of political dictatorship of the B.B.C. Now, if he is thinking of the Communists he is thinking of something that is most unlikely to happen. If he is thinking of the Fascists he is thinking of something that is unlikely to happen.

I assure the Home Secretary that if there is a Communist or a Fascist Government of this country—and they are much the same—they will not bother about White Papers on the B.B.C. or the Charter of the B.B.C, or even the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. Their first act will be to give directions to various people; and probably the Left-Wing members of the Labour Party will be the first people that a Communist Government would send to prison. Therefore, it is no good trying to make paper provision against situations of that kind. In a revolutionary situation there are revolutionary results, and they are very regrettable.

What I complain about in this appointing trustees idea is that we are thereby severing almost the only general continuing link between Parliament and the British Broadcasting Corporation. First of all, the fact that the Government have got to answer to Parliament for the appointment of Governors is one of the ways of keeping the Government straight in making appointments. Secondly, if something went seriously wrong with the B.B.C, from the point of view of Parliament it would be competent for the House of Commons to ask the Government to make a change in the composition of the Governors. I am not saying it is likely that we shall do so. This appointment of the Governors by Her Majesty's Government is a most important and fundamental Parliamentary point as regards certain rights of Parliament vis-a-vis the British Broadcasting Corporation.

I am trying to make my remarks in a not unduly provocative way, because I want to encourage the Government to alter their minds and not to dig their heels in, but I must say it is extraordinary that this proposal, which is a notable weakening of Parliamentary influence over a public Corporation, should come at the very time when Conservative Members of Parliament have been busy for months—anyway until the Election—in demanding greater Parliamentary accountability and control over the public corporations established by the Labour Government.

Whatever possessed the mind of the Government—and I am saying this with great respect—at a time when Conservative M.P.s have been complaining about insufficient Parliamentary influence over public corporations—and when actually there is a Select Committee at work, appointed on the Motion of this Government to go into it—to snap this important link between Parliament and the B.B.C. in the accountability of the Government to the House of Commons for the appointments?

I beg the Government to reconsider that matter, because there really must be responsibility to Parliament for the appointment of the Governors. It is the best way to prevent jobbery and improper influences. I hope that point will be conceded, otherwise there are all sorts of dangerous possibilities. If people assume that Governments are the only people who can have favourites or be got at, believe me, they are generally wrong, because Governments have got to think about this House in whatever they do, and that is a good thing. But if individual trustees are to have a big voice in this, it is infinitely easier for backstairs influence to be brought to bear on individual trustees of a Committee of this sort.

Now let us look at this Committee and its composition. It is argued that it is desirable for politics to be kept out of it. What do they do? The Government propose to appoint the two party leaders as members of the Committee. Well, nobody will accuse the Prime Minister of not being a politician. Although my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition is more impartial than the Prime Minister and has a broader outlook on affairs, I am bound to admit that my right hon. Friend is a politician as well. So we get the two leading politicians in the House of Commons on the Committee in an effort to keep politics out of the selection of the Governors!

Consider the fetters that will be placed upon the Leader of the Opposition. The Committee meets; there is give and take—possibly; there are discussions, and ultimately a settlement is reached; the list is published, and my hon. Friends on the back benches, and those outside, may complain most vigorously that the Labour movement has been let down in the composition of the Board of Governors, and that Labour—which is an important and respectable element of the community—is hardly there at all.

What is my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition to do? [HON. MEMBERS: "Resign."] I gather the proposal is that he should resign from the Committee, but that would create an awkward situation. [Laughter.] I hope I have got as much sense of humour as anybody, but I am trying to argue this case seriously. He would be in a very difficult position. If he criticises or denounces decisions of the Committee he is not "playing ball" with his colleagues on the Committee, and if he does not he will be in trouble with his own friends and associates in the Labour movement here and outside. I think that is a difficult position for him.

Mr. Speaker is to be the chairman. I think that is putting Mr. Speaker in a very difficult position, because, whoever is appointed to the Board of Governors, it can easily be controversial, and we should not put the Speaker of the House in a position—as chairman, moreover—whereby he can be shot at by newspapers and public opinion for appointments that are wrong. Who did invent this idea? I could make a guess but I will not. I submit it is unwise.

When the appointments are made Questions may be asked in the House of Commons—or attempts made to ask Questions—about the appointments of the Governors, and I know what Mr. Speaker will do, because he has got to do it: He will rule them out of order on the ground that no Minister is responsible for the appointments—and he will be right. Then there will be a row with Mr. Speaker and points of order as to whether he is right or not, and possibly an associated point of order about "What did he do as chairman of the appointing trustees anyway?" That does seem to me to be an unhappy and unfortunate situation.

Then we have the element of respectability brought in—the Lord Chief Justice of England and the Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland. Now, I understand the motive. The Government wanted somebody respectable, somebody non-political—and I am coming to that point in a minute. It is the theory of political impartiality, judicial-mindedness, and so on. But I submit that the qualifi- cations necessary for a judge of the High Court are utterly irrelevant to the work of this Committee.

What are the qualities desirable in a judge of the High Court? They are, surely, the ability for fair hearing and the weighing of evidence; the understanding and the interpretation of the law, and the application of the law to particular cases. What in the world has this got to do with the selection of Governors for the British Broadcasting Corporation? There is no evidence. There is no legal point. There is no balancing of the evidence. There is no law.

What do we need in people who are to do this? We certainly need fair-mindedness. But we also need a wide knowledge of men and women and affairs. And let it not be forgotten that many distinguished occupants of the legal bench have been party politicians in their time, and might have strong political views. I only say this incidentally and by way of aside, but I am always careful about the law of libel—and for good reasons. These two judicial appointments, I submit, are irrelevant to the work of the trustees.

We submit that this is an interesting but a bad proposal, that it strikes at the vitals of Parliamentary responsibility, for the Board of Governors, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, is the Corporation; and the Government are telling Parliament that we are to adopt an expedient whereby the House of Commons can have no rights whatever in relation to the appointments of the Governors of the B.B.C. I beg of hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were on the warpath against me and my colleagues about Questions to Ministers on socialised industries, and who were urging all sorts of quaint ideas of how to control those great business undertakings, to pass the word privately through the usual channels to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister and the Assistant Postmaster-General and to say, "Drop it; it is not a good idea and it is not fair to the House of Commons."

I come to television. Television is a wonderful development, with plays, news, entertainment, education; it is a great thing. But I submit to the House that we must remember about television that we can have too much of it. When you are looking at television and listening to it, you cannot easily work as well. I believe women can knit, and some men can—and I hasten to add that I cannot. But you cannot read during television, and let us not forget—because in part this applies to sound broadcasting as well—that there are so many mechanical means to an easy and sometimes superficial knowledge that if we are not careful the habit of reading will lessen—and reading is the greatest form of education, and especially self-education.

Do not let us have too many hours of television. Consider, too, the children. If children are to be stuck listening to television for too many hours they will miss healthy play and recreation and exercise, and they will miss the development of the reading of books which is very important even in child life. I will read to the House what was said in a letter from an engine driver. An engine driver is a good type of artisan, although this man had little formal education, as I did, and possibly less than I did. The letter has a humorous finish, but a tragic one, too. He says: I am very interested in television as a viewer. It must have altered the habits of thousands of working people, as it has mine. It has opened a vista of sights, scenes and educational items to which we could never have aspired. I no longer listen to radio, I rarely go out in the evenings, I have visited the cinema once in 18 months. In fact, I'm quite happy with my television and auto-radiogram. But I wish I could help you more.

Mr. John Rodgers (Sevenoaks)

Help you with what?

Mr. Morrison

How do I know? I am not the engine driver. He adds: P.S.—I have also resigned my seat on the Town Council, and politics. I do not know what the town council was, and he may have had good reasons for doing so, but this letter illustrates that people can get absorbed in this new thing to an extent which takes them out of the ordinary world.

If we can have too much of good television, as we think it is in this country, how serious it will be for our culture and our democracy if we get too much bad television. I do not understand this White Paper. It says in a number of respects that we have the best broadcasting, and by implication television, system in the world. It says the Government would be most unwilling to see any change in the policy of the B.B.C. themselves. They do not want the B.B.C. to be corrupted by sponsoring or commercial television. They want the B.B.C. still to be going strong—and then they propose to bring in sponsoring on the part of competitive commercial undertakings.

With great respect, I earnestly think that is wrong. In fact, sponsored commercial television is not mentioned at all in the White Paper, which is curious, but that is obviously what is meant, according to the Home Secretary and, indeed, the Lord Chancellor in another place. The case for it is almost entirely based on an abstract theory of competition versus monopoly. I have often had to complain about Socialists that now and again some of them get a bit too theoretical and dogmatic and abstract, but it is now obvious that this trouble is more prevalent in the Conservative Party than it is in the Labour Party.

There is a case for competition in many fields of industry. For example, there is a good case for competition in electric lamps, departmental stores, chemical manufacture. [An HON. MEMBER: "And the Co-ops."] The Co-ops are in vigorous competition which, indeed, is the subject of complaint by private enterprise. That was the foundation of the whole Beaverbrook campaign against the Co-ops—that they were effective competitors with private enterprise.

Some Conservatives have become very emotional, almost theological, about bringing competition into what are alleged to be public monopolies. They are very much for competition with public concerns, while, at the same time, the same Conservatives, or other Conservatives, have been busy creating at any rate partial private monopolies, cartels, rings and extensive amalgamations in private industry.

If we are to have commercial sponsoring in television, why should we not have it in sound? All the friends of the advertising agencies say, "Yes, let us have it in sound as well." The Lord Chancellor said he favoured it in sound as well. But sponsoring has been condemned by many distinguished non-Labour Peers and other non-Labour people in that valuable correspondence which took place in "The Times" and in the valuable two days' debate which took place in another place. I may not quote what happened in another place, except what Ministers said, and that I will do.

As a whole, I think the opponents of commercial sponsoring have been men of high reputation and distinguished public service, and I believe that they have easily had the best of the argument which has taken place. Let us examine some of the things the Lord Chancellor said about monopoly, because we are hearing so much which is misleading about this word monopoly. I was going to make two quotations from what he said, but perhaps one will be sufficient. He referred to his thoughts about the matter and said: … my mind went back to the period of the fifth decade of the seventeenth century, when an order was promulgated that no book, no paper, no pamphlet, should be printed without the approval of the authorities—it might have been the Lords in Council or who you will: if they had been alive then, it would have been, perhaps, in the hands of Sir William Haley and his colleagues. I will, after all, take the other quotation when, referring to monopolies, he said: If the noble Earl, Lord Halifax, were here, I should dare to ask him whether if he had the sole right of speaking in this House, that would not be a monopoly."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 26th May, 1952; Vol. 196, c. 1446–8.] What is the theory behind all this? The theory is that the B.B.C. has the monopoly of what is said on the air or what is given on television. But the only body which must not have an opinion to send over the air or to give on television is the British Broadcasting Corporation itself. If I remember rightly, they are forbidden by the terms of the Charter from having opinions. They are the only editors not permitted to have opinions.

Mr. Baxter

I find myself very much in sympathy with a great deal of what he is saying, but the B.B.C., by the selection of speakers, has that way of expressing its own views.

Mr. Morrison

It does not. It is always possible for us to have individual views as to the Tightness or the wrongness of the selection of some speakers. I have some of those views myself. I think that in all parts of the House hon. Members have such views. But surely nobody will argue that the B.B.C. does not try to put both sides of the case, generally speaking. Therefore, all sorts of views are heard upon the B.B.C., and I do not think that that is a fair charge.

But what the Lord Chancellor implies is that the B.B.C. has a monopoly of what is said—that they are the people who say it; that they are the people who pick the picture out. That is the implication. After all, the Lord Chancellor did make the comparison with the Lords in Council of centuries ago who said that nobody could publish anything without their permission. Surely, that is not analogous to the way in which the British Broadcasting Corporation is conducted at the present time.

Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)

Surely, the Lords in Council were then in the position of giving a licence—in comparison with the licence of the Postmaster-General. The Governors of the B.B.C., as the right hon. Gentleman said, are-masters of their ship. Therefore, they are in the position to impose their views in any way they like.

Mr. Morrison

But suppose the Governors were. Suppose they could say that for the next six months no Conservative should be heard—or no Socialist should be heard. Does anybody think they are likely to do it?

Several Hon. Members rose——

Mr. Morrison

If I am to be subjected to persistent interruptions I am going to take a long time, and I do not want to stand in the way of other hon. Gentlemen who, naturally, wish to speak. But there is no reality in what is implied in the charge that the B.B.C. suppresses reasonably free speech. There is no reality in that charge whatever, and that is the implied charge. It is nothing else, and I think it is a perfectly unreasonable thing.

The noble Lord the Lord Chancellor said that there was a power of authority. Well, when we go on the air as politicians and have controversial broadcasts, as we do from time to time, no authority interferes with us. Nobody interferes with the script. We are absolutely free to say what we like—and so we do. Therefore, I say that the Lord Chancellor hopelessly misused the word "monopoly." [HON. MEMBERS: "He did not."] The B.B.C. indeed has no voice of its own. It is forbidden to have a voice. On the contrary, it has a duty, which, I think, it broadly discharges, to broadcast by sound and T.V. many viewpoints stated by outsiders.

There is a great variety of views. Indeed, there is a great variety of variety even in variety. It includes the jokes in variety that have a little habit, perhaps, of being modified according to who is the Government of the day—but we all try to take them in good part, as we ought; and I really think with respect to the Lord Chancellor—the Lord High Chancellor of England, a great lawyer, a man for whom I have the warmest personal respect—I really do think it was not worthy of the high office he holds that this misrepresentation about the B.B.C. should have taken place. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I must say his Lordship shocked me.

Mr. John Profumo (Stratford) rose——

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew)

Order. There is a rule against the quotation of speeches made in debates in another place——

Mr. Morrison

Except those of Ministers of the Crown.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

—unless they are official statements of policy by Ministers. I wonder if this is an official statement of policy that is being referred to?

Mr. Morrison

This is surprising, if I may say so, Sir, with great respect. This was an official speech made in winding up a debate in another place by one who is a member of the Cabinet. I do assure you that that is so, Sir. If you read the Report of the debate, you will find that it is so—otherwise I should not have dared to have referred to the proceedings in their Lordships' House. But I know that I am within my rights.

Mr. Frank Bowles (Nuneaton)

On a point of order. As to the question of quoting from speeches in another place, I know quite well what is in Erskine May, but it is surely rather old-fashioned. I am hoping that this House soon will see its way to modify this rule.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

It is not my business to modify the practice of this House.

Mr. Profumo

I was only going to ask the right hon. Gentleman this. I am quite certain he had no intention of trying to misrepresent what the Lord Chancellor said in another place, but if he reads very carefully the OFFICIAL REPORT of that debate—and I have a copy here, and I listened to the Lord Chancellor—the right hon. Gentleman will see that what the Lord Chancellor said was that the B.B.C. was a monopoly. He did not seek in any way to say that the B.B.C. had ever suppressed individual views. Will the right hon. Gentleman not agree with this, that nobody can speak either on the television or on the radio—on the air in England—except by permission of the B.B.C? And is not that monopoly?

Mr. Morrison

Then, Sir, it is now admitted by the hon. Gentleman that the Lord Chancellor did not charge the B.B.C. with any unfairness.

Mr. Profumo


Mr. Morrison

That is fine. I am very happy that that should be so. But a case is being got up to show that the B.B.C. is acting improperly because it has a monopolistic position. What is being put to us? That in the future we are to have sponsored television and that we shall have the glorious privilege—not we the politicians, because we are to be barred from sponsored television, but in so far as we can get in to speak on the sponsored television—first of all being chosen for the B.B.C. by our party, and second, it may be, of being chosen by somebody selling pills or beer or cigarettes or cigars. Really, that is not good enough as a means to solve this particular problem.

This sponsored system has been tried in certain other countries, notably the United States of America. It is said that America is different. Well, here is something from "Time" of 3rd March, 1952. I say that it is possible for these things to happen in this country. It says: Many parents retreat from the living room when the children's TV shows come on. A group of dedicated San Francisco mothers did just the reverse. They cooked their families' suppers early. Then they sat down for four uninterrupted hours of TV moppet shows. In Washington last week the Federal Communications Commission published the results. The outraged mothers saw 13 murders and assorted killings; four sluggings; six kidnappings; five hold-ups; three explosions; three instances of blackmail and extortion: three thefts; two armed robberies; two cases of arson; one lynching; one torture scene; and one miscarriage. One mother clocked 104 gun shootings during a half hour serial, and another found sudden death shudderingly described 14 times in 20 minutes. Those are facts published——

Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)

The "News of the World."

Mr. Morrison

I am not responsible for the "News of the World," which, I gather, is usually a Conservative paper. This is an official report published by the Federal Communications Commission. I think the House ought to be in earnest about this, because this may happen here. It says: The mothers themselves concluded that the gun, the gat, the rod, the sixshooter is the prime motivator of most children's television programmes. Life is cheaper than a cigarette butt in the gutter. Not one episode, not one character, not one emotion do we"— that is to say, the mothers— see evoked that the children might emulate to their gain. This sort of thing, in a greater or lesser degree, is inevitable if we commercialise television and broadcasting and if we put behind it the same kind of drive for listeners as the popular Press inevitably gets behind it for the purposes of circulation. If we get behind it the drive of the advertising agencies—and the advertising agencies are being very active in this particular campaign—we must presume that the American agencies will be able to come into the business as well, and so we may get that very Americanism about which the Home Secretary seemed to be apprehensive.

If this happens we shall not be able to maintain reasonably good and high standards of television or sound broadcasting, because the very nature of the thing is that it must be a chase for listeners and viewers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Like the films."] Hon. Gentlemen opposite say: "Like the films." Are they all ideal for children to see? Have we not to mark a lot of them "A," for adults only? That is really a false argument. If we bring in this commercial rivalry and sponsoring, which in itself is dependent upon the number of people it can attract to listen to or look at it, there must be a competitive drive in a downward direction of standards. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I say "yes." It must inevitably be so.

The noble Lord has referred to the "News of the World." I do not wish to drag in that newspaper. I have no wish to run a campaign against the "News of the World"; but let the noble Lord and the advertising agencies ask why the "News of the World" has the biggest circulation. We all know the answer. Why has the "Sunday Dispatch" got a substantial circulation? Look at page 2 and you will find the answer. I say this is a dangerous and a wrong thing.

Moreover, it will lead to very serious financial consequences both for the sponsors and the British Broadcasting Corporation. There is one American commentator who, for 13 minutes, once a week on Sunday nights, was getting 600,000 dollars a year in 1948. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side may say: "Good luck to him; why not?" I am not sure that these vast incomes for that limited amount of work is a good thing. I do not think it is socially good, but that is another point. However, if we, too, start this competition between the B.B.C. and commercial radio we shall undoubtedly involve them both in difficulties.

I therefore earnestly ask Her Majesty's Government to give reconsideration to this matter. I believe the view that we take, in company with many distinguished members of the Conservative Party and others—really distinguished people with a lifelong service behind them—is the right one. I think we are speaking not only for Her Majesty's Opposition but for Britain. I believe, with absolute sincerity—disagree with me if hon. Members will—that this proposed development is totally against the British temperament, the British way of life and the best or even reasonably good British traditions.

I earnestly beg of the Government to realise that there is grave public disquiet about this. They have not got public opinion with them on this point, and I ask them not to commit the House even as far as they do in favour of sponsored television. I admit they are not immediately committing the House, but they are committing us to the principle of the thing and I ask them and every hon. Member opposite to think earnestly about this.

I hope the Government will be able to tell us that they are not going on with either of these objectionable features, in which case we could reach the happy conclusion of not having to divide on the new Charter, which I think would be a good thing. I appeal to the Government to reconsider their proposal between now and 10 o'clock so that they may be in a position to give us some good news about the new Charter.

5.46 p.m.

Captain Charles Waterhouse (Leicester, South-East)

The speech to which we have just listened was one of great force but not, I think, of great persuasion. The right hon. Gentleman made a series of statements towards the end of his speech and he did not really base them on any argument or fact. I shall deal with some of them in the course of my later remarks.

The main rhetorical point which he made towards the end of his speech was that competition will inevitably mean a drive downwards, and when he was challenged across the Floor of the House to explain why that must be so, his answer was that it was inevitable. That is not the sort of argument which is going to convince people either in this House or in the country. He said that there is no public demand for this.

I admit there may not seem to be a public demand, but if there were such a demand how would it be shown. The Press are silent. The B.B.C. do not refer to it very much. This is the first time it has been debated in this House. It was debated in another place when, on one day, a great many weighty speeches were made in one direction and, on the second day, even more speeches were made in exactly the other direction by men who, though perhaps younger, were no less thoughtful and capable of expressing a view.

I should like to devote my remarks to two main points. The first is with regard to the financial position, which has been only quite lightly touched upon. I congratulate the Government on having decided to reduce the 100 per cent. grant. After all, the 100 per cent. grant has been operative for only two years out of the 26 years since the Corporation was first formed. It is quite wrong for the B.B.C, as they often do, to refer to "raiding our licence revenue." The Crawford Committee in 1925 laid down clearly that the B.B.C. should, from the licence revenue, have an income thoroughly adequate to the full and efficient maintenance and development of the service, and more lately the Postmaster-General, in another place, has emphasised that by saying: … wireless licences are paid for in order to use a receiving set and not for the privilege of listening to the B.B.C."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 27th May, 1952; Vol. 176, c. 1340.] The B.B.C. are by far the richest broadcasting organisation in the world. Let nothing I am going to say be taken in any way as a criticism of their general set-up. I believe I am voicing the opinion of everyone who thinks as I do when I say that they have built up an institution of which we may all be proud and which we all intend to preserve.

But this is an expensive institution. They are this year receiving £11½ million from the national Exchequer for the Home Service, £4¾ million for the Overseas Service, a total of £16¼ million in all. They are employing a staff of 12,500 men and women and they have built up a reserve—the House ought to remember this—in liquid assets of no less than £4,477,000.

It is no wonder they are an efficient organisation so far as giving a service goes. We are proud that they are able to do it. We have not the smallest intention of doing anything which will weaken that power, but those of us who realise the financial position of the country must pause to think whether or not we can afford this luxury in increasing quantities every year, and by quantities I mean quantities measured by expenditure.

It may well be, I am told, that in a comparatively short time sound broadcasting may almost disappear—that everybody who has now an ordinary receiving set will have television. If that is so, then the licence revenue will double. It will go up from something like £12 million or £13 million to £24 million or £26 million, and under this proposal the B.B.C. revenue will go up, too. I suggest to my right hon. and learned Friend that he should consider moving away from this system of percentage grant to give a lump grant to the Home Service in the same way as he gives a lump grant to the Overseas Service. Let him fix it at what he likes. I believe that would be best in the national interest.

I now turn to the vexed question of monopoly. That is a point of hot politics, as has been perfectly clear from the speech of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison). We naturally do not like monopolies. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite equally naturally do like monopolies provided they are State monopolies.

I think we have all read the arguments that have been put forward in another place and which have appeared recently in the Press. If the House will allow me, I should like to deal quite briefly with several of those arguments. The first is that we who take this view want to attack the B.B.C. That I absolutely deny. The B.B.C. will remain quite untouched and will be encouraged, I hope, by competition to give an even better service to this country and to the world than it does now.

The second point is the curious terror that the Press have of a new form of advertising. The Press are powerful enough. The Press are rich enough not to fear a competitor in this particular field which is their main source of revenue. After all, if people are going to advertise they are going to advertise because it pays to do so, and if by finding a new medium of advertising they are going to increase their sales, is that something of which we as a nation ought to be afraid, and something of which the Press need be afraid?

There is no pool of advertising and no exact amount of money laid aside by industry for that purpose in this country. Industry does not say, "This is what we want to spend on advertising and no more." Industry advertises according to the sales of that industry, and as the sales grow, so the amount it spends on advertising will grow, provided that the advertising is a profitable source of investment.

Then there is the pendantic argument, which the right hon. Gentleman developed at such great length, that we are going to have very shocking stuff from this new sponsored industry. Did he ever listen to Radio Normandy and Radio Luxembourg and has he been very much shocked by anything which came from either of those stations? Why should he assume that we in this country are going to like the worst things that are done in the United States?

If the programmes are not liked in this country, they will not be any good from the point of view of those who want to advertise. The advertisers will take jolly good care that they do not shock people and terrify mothers with those horrors which the right hon. Gentleman enumerated to us. They will put over a programme which appeals to the English character, and I do not believe that our English character is half as bad as the right hon. Gentleman would have us believe it to be.

There was the extraordinary point made of Gresham's law—the law of currency—that bad currency drives out good currency, and merely because it is a law of currency it is the reverse of the law of either the commodity or the service. Does anyone really pretend that a bad 'bus service is going to drive out a good 'bus service or a bad motor car is going to stop the sale of a good motor car? I agree that sometimes bad Members of Parliament drive out good Members. But, by and large, we know perfectly well that the law which will govern the listening to any form of broadcast is the law that the people will judge of the best and will switch on to the best. If advertisers find certain programmes are being listened to by a sufficient number of people, they will pay for the advertising through that particular medium.

Then there is the argument—perhaps the strongest of all—that under this system there is a real danger that people will get what they want and not what is good for them. I sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman in that. He and his hon. Friends know so well what everyone in the country ought to have. They do so enjoy telling us where we ought to go, how we ought to get there and what we should do when we get there.

Mr. Barnett Janner (Leicester, Northwest) rose——

Captain Waterhouse

I am sorry that I cannot give way. I recommend that we should in this matter, as in so many others, trust the people of this country to judge for themselves. Let them have the alternatives and let them decide. I come back to the point which was made so clearly by my right hon. and learned Friend, that if we have these other systems we are giving alternative avenues of employment—that a man is not held body and soul to one particular employment, that if he does not hold a certain view he may not be employed and if he does not put that view over in a certain way he may not be re-employed.

Mr. Janner rose——

Captain Waterhouse

If the hon. Gentleman does not mind, I would rather not give way because there are many hon. Members on both sides of the House who want to speak and I want to make my points.

Mr. Janner

May I put just one question? Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman suggesting that an advertiser is going to employ anyone to put a different point of view from that which he himself holds in regard to his advertising?

Captain Waterhouse

That is really an extremely foolish question. The advertiser will go to the agency and say, "I want a programme put on which will attract listeners." Does the hon. Gentleman think that any advertiser is going to say, "Is he a Conservative, a Socialist or a Communist?" Of course he is not; that is absolutely absurd.

I want for a few moments to deal with the actual proposals which have been put before us. There has so far been a practical reason for the B.B.C.'s monopoly. There has been the real danger of a confusion of wavelengths. Not very many wave-lengths have been available, and throughout the last 20 years various Commissions have considered this and have wisely decided that, as long as insufficient wave-bands were available, it was proper that they should be kept regulated and that the simplest way of regulating them was to do so under one nation-owned system.

But today a completely new era is opening up. Very high frequencies, of which I do not pretend to understand the technicalities, open up an almost infinite system of comparatively short-range wave bands. I entirely endorse the question put by the right hon. Gentleman: If the Government decided that this could be done for T.V., why could they not also have done it for sound? I must confess that I am disappointed that they have not done that, but I am prepared to accept it as their view, for they have gone into it with very great care, I know.

The Postmaster-General, making an official statement in another place, said that they were offering an alternative while at the same time securing to the B.B.C. its position as a national organisation. That is what I understood was the purpose of the White Paper, but I was more than a little shaken by my right hon. and learned Friend in his opening speech, for he seemed to me to envisage that the development would be in the very remote future. If he really means that—I hope he does not—then I think he was not being completely sincere to the House in the terms of the White Paper.

Nobody realises the national emergency more than I do. Nobody realises more than I do that at a time of re-armament, and at a time when we have all this new radio equipment, we must virtually devote all our energies to the one task of beating a potential enemy. But when that time has passed—that may be very soon—then surely it is only right and proper that the spirit of this White Paper should be accepted.

This year the B.B.C. have a right to capital expenditure of no less than £2,100,000. Is it too much to hope that in the next financial year £250,000 can be allocated if any commercial houses are prepared to spend it on television broadcasting stations? I should call that standing behind the spirit of the White Paper. If the whole thing is to be left for a decade, what will it be worth and what does it mean? It would be camouflage.

I am anxious to support Her Majesty's Government in this matter. I know that they have considered it very carefully indeed, and that they have taken advice over a wide field of expert opinion. I believe the Government intend to stand by what they have said, and in that belief I shall gladly support them this evening. But I urge them not to allow any argument by right hon. or hon. Gentlemen opposite to interfere with what I believe to be their intentions.

Mr. H. Morrison

Their monopoly of political power.

Captain Waterhouse

Curiously enough, we have Parliamentary government in this country, and when a Government is elected to this House it has a right to decide what is to be done. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite have no right to cast political power in our faces considering what they have done to this country over the past six years. I appeal to my right hon. Friends to stand clearly and firmly behind the intentions of their White Paper and then they will be backed in this House and the country by a loyal and enthusiastic party.

6.5 p.m.

Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)

I am glad to follow the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse) because he has raised one or two of the fundamental issues of principle in connection with this question. He talked about giving the people what they want and tried to suggest that in some way it was a mistake to do anything but that. That point of view was put forward in another place; there is no great doubt that it is a point of view which rests on misconceptions. After all, when we are making our decisions in this House we are actually part and parcel of the people of the country making their decisions.

It is very often difficult for hon. Members opposite to rid themselves of the old idea of government, that the people doing the government are a group of people at the top who apply the government to those down below, who are quite separate from them. That is not how it works. "Trust the people" was the phrase used in another place; but the process of trusting the people is the process which we put into effect when we are elected to this House; the people then trust the Members of this House to use their best wisdom in deciding the policies which the country shall follow. We should be abdicating our responsibilities if we simply said, "We think this policy would be the best one but perhaps it is not the best thing to do because a mass vote or plebiscite would not support it."

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman might look at it as a Parliamentary question and not as one in which he wants to get an automatic reaction from the people. One of the important things about our method of government is that, to a certain extent, the people expect their representatives to be a little more politically experienced and a little wiser in political matters and a little more specially concerned with policy than they are, and a decision such as this should be made on the basis of our best wisdom rather than on that of a mass vote or plebiscite.

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman also talked about the general question of monopolies. This is very largely an argument about a word rather than about a policy. The question whether or not the B.B.C. is a monopoly is not an important one with regard to the policy upon which we must decide. That is made abundantly clear when we read the speech of the Lord Chancellor in another place. He got himself as confused as he possibly could. He ended his speech with the blunt and vigorous statement that this monopoly, like all monopolies, should be brought to an end. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]

Hon. Members say "Hear, hear," but earlier in that speech the Lord Chancellor had pointed out that some monopolies were justified, and he had specifically instanced two cases which are extremely unlike each other, the Post Office and the Army. The Lord Chancellor did not even instance some of the more ordinary types of monopoly about which we argue. What did he mean? Did he mean that all monopolies should be ended, or that some monopolies are justified? No one knows, and I do not believe that he knew, because his speech contained a lot of flamboyance and strong argument not always based on the realities of the situation.

In his earlier reference to monopolies which were justified the Lord Chancellor argued that they could only be justified by cogent necessity. That is the very point that we are discussing. What are the cogent arguments in favour of one line of development for broadcasting or another? It is merely introducing a midway point that does not help to say that the B.B.C. is a monopoly, that therefore we will apply to it the arguments which are applied to monopolies and will do such and such a thing. We should say, "Here is the B.B.C. We know what it is. We know what are the requirements of policy and therefore we will go straight to our decision on policy." To introduce this half-way stage is to get us into a fog of argument about the meaning of a word.

I shall not try to forecast when the Government will attempt to put into effect a policy of sponsoring. I want to draw attention to an aspect of the question which is generally overlooked and which certainly the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Leicester, South-East gave the impression that he overlooked. The phrase that is used is "When resources are available." We do not talk about money expenditure as being the determinant. What really matters as a determinant is the resources that are available.

The important resources to which we ought to have regard are not those of materials and metals and so on which some noble Lords in another place have been assuming will become available comparatively soon. The important resources which will not become available are those of skilled and trained manpower. The House ought to bear in mind that in all our undertakings in this country we assume that we can go ahead with far more skilled, scientific manpower and technicians than we are likely to get.

The last report of the Advisory Committee on Scientific Policy makes perfectly clear what has really been obvious for the last four or five years. We should be beginning to pull back many of our scientifically trained people from "frontline" jobs to the basic jobs of training more scientists in order to make sure that we have scientifically trained people and technicians in the future. We cannot hope to go on squandering on consumption projects the capital of trained and educated manpower that we should be putting into capital development in this matter. That aspect of the future of television and broadcasting has not received enough attention because the shortage of scientific manpower has not had sufficient attention in other fields either.

I thought, too, that the reference made by the Lord Chancellor to Milton's famous argument in favour of freedom of speech was completely misguided. Milton was arguing for the freedom to express opinions. He himself had been expressing heterodox opinions on the subject of divorce. The burden of his argument was that the minority or heterodox opinion should not be suppressed by any licensing council. He was not arguing the question involved in sponsoring—the sale of goods, the question of advertising, of using the power of money to expand sales by advertising through this particular medium.

When people talk about the lowering of standards, what really matters is not primarily the standard of the programmes but the standard of our national life which will undoubtedly become debased if we increase the number of avenues by which money power can affect it. What shocks so many of us on this side of the House is the notion of allowing the power of money to be introduced into this phase of our national life at the time when we are successfully putting on to a basis of public interest a number of more material types of undertaking.

Now may I turn from the major questions of principle and policy to two rather more specialised matters? One is the method of appointing Governors. I think the White Paper is wrong in suggesting such an appointing Committee. The reason given was to take the Governors of the B.B.C. further away from possible political influence.

We should bear in mind that the Government of this country is not solely a party organisation. There are many things which the Government do as the trustee of the affairs of the nation and which they do quite impartially. I need not specify them because hon. Members can think of them for themselves. It seems to me that it would be weakening that tradition if we were to take away from the Government the power of appointing the Governors of the B.B.C., indeed it would be a case of the Government abdicating from a task which they ought to carry out.

Here may I draw attention to another point in the remarks of the Lord Chancellor. He did not say it in so many words, but he hinted clearly that the reason for suggesting this Committee was that the appointment of Lord Waverley as Chairman of a Royal Commission had not been approved and that Lord Waverley had later resigned and been superseded. That does not seem to me to be a proper parallel. A much more correct parallel would be found in the more permanent parts of our constitution—the Civil Service, the Defence Services and so on.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department made a clear and lucid speech in opening this debate which shed much light on the vigorous but completely unclear and unlucid speech of the Lord Chancellor—I might even say the irresponsible speech of the Lord Chancellor. The right hon. and learned Gentleman did not mention that point at all, very wisely, and did not support a number of things which the Lord Chancellor said.

I would suggest, as so many others have suggested, that the judges ought not to be there if the Committee were to be approved. Their function is judicial, and it could only do our judiciary harm to have it concerned with a purely executive function. In this connection, may I draw attention to one rather narrow point? Hon. Gentlemen sitting for English constitutencies will easily assume that the Lord President of the Court of Sesssion and the Lord Chief Justice are comparable people.

There is a big difference, which is not always recognised, between the Scottish judiciary and the English, and particularly between the heads of the judiciary. I remember my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Helens (Sir H. Shawcross) saying in this House during the previous Parliament that the English legal system bad managed to get rid of patronage in the matter of appointments to the Bench. The Scottish legal system, unfortunately, in that respect is still unreformed. Appointments to the Bench are made to a very large extent—it is common ground, it is public knowledge and it is accepted and discussed—by way of Membership of this House.

Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)


Mr. MacPherson

It is true that my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Wheatley) made two appointments, neither of which was a party appointment, but the Lord President at the present moment is an ex-Conservative Lord Advocate and the second senior judge in Scotland, the Lord Justice Clerk, is an ex-Labour Lord Advocate. That is the normal situation. It is not abnormal. The Lord President, in nine cases out of ten, will have been a practising politician. That introduces an element which makes a proposal of this kind even less happy than it might otherwise have been.

I will finish by referring to one point which I should like to have dealt with at some length, as it is a matter of great complexity. That is the matter of the national Councils. I welcome what the White Paper has to say with regard to the principle of devolution, but that principle in application will bring into prominence a large number of really difficult problems. The probem of staffing is highly complex and will not be easy of solution.

There is the problem of the appointment of the Scottish Governor, for instance. I see no reason at all why he should not be appointed on the nomination of the Secretary of State of the day. Just as the Government in the United Kingdom carry out a number of functions which are in their nature impartial, so we are accustomed to the Secretary of State for Scotland carrying out functions impartially. He is sitting on the Government Front Bench just now, and I am glad to see him. I am sure that he will confirm what I say. I see no reason why the appointment should not be made at his instance.

The powers of the proposed national Councils will be a matter of difficulty. I am aware that the right hon. and learned Gentleman stressed that the powers must include executive powers. That raises difficulties when the main organisation is the source of the main executive decision; but these things can be worked out. In all questions of devolution the practical application is always a great deal more complex than the actual decision of principle. There will have to be a good deal of worrying and head scratching before some of these problems are worked out in a proper way.

The final point I want to make about this topic—and my final point altogether—is on the method of appointment to these national Councils. I do not like the proposed method in the very slightest. If the members of the national Councils are to have executive powers, for goodness' sake let us be sure that they will be people who can carry out executive powers. Let us have a small body, selected as individuals, or as representatives of broad trends of thought, as the Governors of the B.B.C. are selected. Again, let the Secretary of State be responsible for their selection.

This business of picking out so many to represent the local authorities, others to represent specific cultural interests, and that kind of thing, will mean that every one of them will come along with a chain tied to his leg. He may not be in so many words a delegate from some organisation but he is bound to feel that he is a delegate, and will have his opinions referred back, even if not through his talking about them, because the people whom he is supposed to represent will watch everything he does. He will feel responsible to them.

I do not think we can get a proper executive organisation on that basis. We must select the members as individuals, a small group of, say, five or thereabouts, representing particular trends of thought, certainly. Let us try to make quite sure that we do not select people who will be looking over their shoulders all the time whenever they make a decision.

I have spoken a bit longer than I normally do—a minute or two longer—but I am glad to have been able to get my say in early. I hope that the House will avoid the great danger of the debate becoming a kind of pale repetition of the two-day debate in another place. I hope that we shall have a vigorous expression of opinion which, by the end of the day, will cause the right hon. and learned Gentleman to think again about one or two of the things that he is proposing.

6.27 p.m.

Sir Ian Fraser (Morecambe and Lonsdale)

The Home Secretary spoke of certain safeguards, some minor and some major, against the possible misuse by Governments of the enormous powers which broadcasting affords us. I want to comment on just two of them, and first on the so called veto.

When Ministers tell the B.B.C., under the present Charter and under all the Charters that we have had, that they do not want a particular matter broadcast, the B.B.C. is bound to obey. That is objectionable. I can speak from some little experience on the Board of Governors before the war. There have been occasions when orders like that have been given and when, if it had been possible for the Governors to say, "We will say on the air that you have forbidden this particular piece of news or this particular statement to be made," the Ministers concerned would not have pressed the matter. It is a minor, but I think important, safeguard which is now in the White Paper and will be put into the new Charter, that where Ministers give orders that particular matters are not to be broadcast, the Governors have the right to say that they have been so ordered.

As to the appointment of Governors by the Committee of Trustees, I agree with what has been said from both sides of the House that there is no serious major or continuing complaint that can be levelled against any Government since the B.B.C. was set up that they have shown undue partiality, or partiality at all, in the appointment of Governors. I think Governors have generally been appointed to the best of the capacity of the Postmaster-General and the Prime Minister, from among persons with a wide experience of public affairs, and not particularly persons associated with or speaking for—certainly not representing—any particular organisation. I do not think that advantage has been taken by Governors or by Boards of Governors to play politics or to aid and abet the playing of politics within the B.B.C. I would say, therefore, that there is no very strong reason for a change such as that envisaged in the appointment of this Committee of Trustees.

Nevertheless, there have been cases within my knowledge where it is possible that if appointments had not been made by the Prime Minister but by trustees some disagreeable incidents that were not in the public interest might have been avoided. I am going to tell the House of one of those incidents. Some six of eight months before the war two of the Governors of the B.B.C. were myself and a gentleman called Dr. Mallon, a well-known, life-long member of the Labour Party and a great friend of mine.

It was proposed by the Ministers who were preparing for defence that directly war came the B.B.C. Board of Governors should be abolished and a dictatorship, composed of the Director-General and his assistant, should be established under the orders of some Minister connected with the war organisation. Dr. Mallon and I objected to this. We thought it was wrong and that this country ought to try very hard, even in wartime, to maintain the symbols and machinery of democracy. We thought that Parliament and the country would be extremely critical of a B.B.C. run by a Minister or a Minister's nominee.

I have Dr. Mallon's permission to say this. He hesitated to tell the Leader of the Opposition because he had been appointed by the Government, and I hesitated to tell the Leader of the Opposition for a similar reason. There is no good telling Governments anything, because Governments do not listen. We did tell them and at the highest level, too. but we were told, "You do not understand that war is war and you have got to be abolished." They were wrong. We did succeed in retaining the rudiments of a Board by our own struggles inside the Corporation. Instead of having a Director-General, we maintained a Board consisting of two persons instead of the proper number, but within a year or so matters changed and the Board was reestablished.

Had there been access to some appointing body and had we felt free to go to the Leader of the Opposition and tell him about it, the matter would have been raised behind Mr. Speaker's Chair or in this House, and I do not doubt that it would have been settled. There is some case for the setting up of this Committee of Trustees, and I would urge the Opposition to reconsider their attitude in the matter.

There is another aspect of the matter which is within the recollection of many. Owing to the constitution of the Board before the war, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was not heard in a serious speech on the wireless for possibly 10 years. Why was that? It was because the Governors were appointed by the Government, and just as my right hon. Friend was excluded from the Government of this country in those critical days and there was a sort of conspiracy to denigrate anything he said, so there was a feeling in the B.B.C. that my right hon. Friend might say something which nobody in the House of Commons wanted to hear.

The Government did not want it said because their policy was different, and the Labour Party did not want it said because their policy was more different. [Interruption.] I am trying to say this in the least controversial way possible. It is a fact that the nation was deprived of hearing my right hon. Friend for the reason that there was this inhibition amongst the Governors. So it wants thinking about whether the appointment of Governors by the method proposed might not be an advantage.

I want to say a word about sponsorship. This arrangement is a compromise. I do not consider that it is any the worse for that. A great many British institutions are compromises, and it is not necessarily true that things must need be logical to work well, or that those things which are logical are necessarily agreeable or even more sensible. I was a member of the Crawford Committee in 1925, along with two other right hon. Members from this House and some from another place. It recommended to Parliament that this service should be run by a publicly controlled monopoly, for many reasons. But the only reason which made that Committee's report unanimous and which rallied opinion round it at the time was that very few of us knew anything about the technicalities of broadcasting and therefore the technical men were able to put forward their view without being called to account or criticised.

These technical men said that this island was too small and too near Europe to have more than one system, and the rest of us agreed that that was-the reason we had better accept it. So that reason was added to all the other ethical and political reasons that there were, to support a monopoly in broadcasting, but it was the only universal reason which everyone accepted. That has gone. It is no longer true that broadcasting in these islands can come only through one system. There is technically plenty of room for numerous systems, so that the main argument that bound together all those who supported the monopoly has disappeared.

Contrary to views held for 25 years, I am supporting this White Paper and I want very briefly to give my reasons. I have already placed them on record in evidence given to the Beveridge Committee, and they are these. Television costs five or 10 times as much as sound. I do not agree with my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse) when he said that before long there would be no sound broadcasting but only television. I hope he is wrong because sound is of great value to many people.

If television develops quickly and becomes a vital service serving 5 million or 10 million people, we shall need a lot more money to run the programmes. At the moment there is not enough money to run the programme from 6 to 8 o'clock in the evenings, one of the best listening times. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) hoped that there would not be too much television because there could be too much of a good thing. What he had in mind was that he wanted to prevent people from having more than he thought right of this new device and invention. He was not prepared to trust them to choose how much they would take of it. I cannot agree with him about that.

Here is the dilemma. We have less television than is technically possible or than the people deserve, and if there is to be enough television it has got to be paid for at the expense of the sound system. There is no other method of paying for it unless we introduce sponsoring. So television must either be inadequate or it must draw part of its money from the sound system.

That is not fair to all those who for many years must of necessity continue to rely on the sound system, including a relatively small number of people who are blind, a larger number who do not see very well, large numbers who live in remote districts which television cannot reach for a long time, and' a great many poor people who cannot afford television. Therefore, because television cannot be done properly without new money, it is for the B.B.C. to show where the new money is to come from; and there is no place for it to come from except sponsoring.

I will not go over all the ground that has already been covered or will be covered by other hon. Members beyond adding that I do not believe we need assume that sponsoring need necessarily bring us the worst items which the right hon. Gentleman could find when all his secretaries had diligently searched the world Press. The British manner and tradition will as in the advertisements in our newspapers, generally preserve the kind of taste which the people want, and which I do not think is such a bad taste.

I mentioned that between 6 and 8 o'clock at night there is no television because we have not got the money. But we have the television stations—very costly, the best in the world—covering a large part of our population already. Capital has been spent on them and on the lines and the studios, and yet they are wasted from 6 to 8 o'clock, at a time when resources are so scarce.

Here I disagree with my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary. Why must we wait until a remote future before we do anything at all about this? We could immediately start using that period from 6 to 8 o'clock, not by making the B.B.C. responsible for taking advertisements; that would not be quite fair, as they dislike it so much. It may come as a surprise when I say that the B.B.C. already take advertisements in a paper which earns over £1 million a year. They already choose between good and bad advertisements, they already exercise their taste to exclude advertisements that would shock the right hon. Gentleman.

If it is too much to ask that the B.B.C should do that, why not let some group of commercial people get together—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Is there something wrong with commercial people? Is not 80 per cent. of all our living earned by them, including the money to pay for the nationalised part? Why not let some commercial people forthwith set up an organisation which could begin to take advertisements and could fill up this period from 6 to 8 o'clock, without using a single new valve or piece of metal or machinery except as may be required in a studio in which to practise? It is something of a dog-in-the-manger attitude for the B.B.C. to say, "We will not do this ourselves, so nobody else is to use the idle time."

In the circumstances, I approve of the White Paper proposal to leave sound broadcasting as it is for the present. I have said that we need not be logical in Britain to be good, decent and sensible, and in my view it does not follow that because there is sponsoring in television we must necessarily sponsor at once, or, indeed, at any time, in sound. It may come if we find that we like it in years to come, but we have a tradition of 25 or 27 years of immaculate sound. Let it remain immaculate until we have seen whether we like the sponsored television, and then we can alter things if we like.

The Government must make a better statement at the end of the debate than they have made at the beginning about the priority to the B.B.C. It is arguable that we should not do this at all, but if we are going to do it, let us do it reasonably and in time to notice that we have done it. If all priorities and absolute priorities are to go to the B.B.C. for a long period of time, we shall not see this change which the Government say is a proper one to make. I, for one, will support the Government, but I hope they will give us some assurance that it will not be too long before they give us this greater freedom on the air.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. C. R. Hobson (Keighley)

I was very interested in the account that the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) gave of the reasons the Prime Minister did not speak on the wireless before the war. It was certainly a very interesting revelation. I want, however, to take up the hon. Member immediately on the point that television cannot cover the whole of the country except by advertising. I remind the hon. Member that even with all the difficulties that have arisen since the war, there is already an 80 per cent. coverage of television.

Mr. Profumo

Eighty per cent. of television?

Mr. Hobson

There is 80 per cent. coverage at the present time. As far as the extension of programmes is concerned, I remind the hon. Member that there is already held in reserve by the B.B.C. some £4 million and that the Government take 15 per cent. of their revenue from licensing, which the Government of the day are at any time in a position to reduce.

Sir I. Fraser

That is not the point I was on, but it is quite all right.

Mr. Hobson

I submit, therefore, that the necessary capital is available, not only for complete coverage by television, but also for the B.B.C. to lengthen their programmes.

In my opinion, if there were a free vote tonight the White Paper would not be accepted. I believe that the opinion of right hon. and hon. Members opposite is as equally divided as it was in the other place. The White Paper is an attempt to reconcile rival forces within the Con- servative Party. It is interesting to note that it was not until 1950 and the advent of the many new Conservative Members that there was any question of the desirability or otherwise of having sponsored broadcasts. Now we have something which is almost akin to political lobbying, and not without reason.

It is the definite opinion of hon. Members opposite that they are against any national ownership of public services. That is their general position, with the exception of defence, coastguards, lifeboats and matters of that sort. But they are concerned with the fact that they do not want any limiting of the scope for private enterprise, and they see that with the introduction of sponsored broadcasting there is an avenue of profitable investment for them.

We have had tributes to the work of the B.B.C., both in the other place and in the White Paper, and there are one or two specific questions that I want to address to the hon. Gentleman who is to reply to the debate. If we are agreed that we have the best system in the world, why do the party opposite want to alter it? [HON. MEMBERS: "We want to improve it."] Why do they want to introduce sponsoring, and why—the Home Secretary gave no answer to this—is there to be sponsoring of television programmes but not of aural programmes? Is it the desire of the party opposite to leave alone what is old-fashioned, because it would not be as profitable, and that the new is to be the means by which profit is to be made? It certainly looks like that.

Those who are in favour of sponsored broadcasts attempt to rationalise their consciences by saying that they are against monopoly. It is true that the B.B.C. is a monopoly, but it is something else: it is a public monopoly. In that way it is very akin to the Post Office. It is certainly not like the monopolies of the lamp manufacturers' association, the cable manufacturers' association. or yeast.

The amount of Ministerial responsibility that the Postmaster-General has vis-a-vis the British Broadcasting Corporation is surprising. During the four or five years I was at the Post Office, I had to answer no fewer than eight Adjournment Debates dealing with the B.B.C. They varied from questions of bad reception, television coverage, and the B.B.C. Report and Accounts. They not only dealt with trade union recognition, but, under the benevolent eye of your predecessor, Sir, the question of the Dick Barton programme was raised. Following Questions in this House, when there were allegations of graft in the B.B.C., as a result of action taken in this House the B.B.C. set up a Committee of Inquiry under the chairmanship of Mr. Valentine Holmes. I think that shows that under the existing system the B.B.C., although it is a monopoly, has a tremendous amount of public responsibility.

I ask the hon. Gentleman who is to reply to what extent is there to be competition? The number of channels is already limited and it will be a long time before there is a development of very high frequency that will make it possible to have sponsored television in any shape or form. Further, when we get sponsoring, should such a thing happen, to a large extent it will be the monopoly of the larger firms. It is so in the United States. The smaller firms would be unable to pay for the time; that is the general experience. Is there a real demaind for sponsored broadcasting in this country? It is my experience, in the trade union movement and in working men's clubs, that there is no real demand for sponsored broadcasting at all, but that it comes only from certain noisy elements on the benches opposite.

Let us ask ourselves how many people today listen to Radio Luxembourg? Very few. Radio Luxembourg is in such a condition that it has to take advertising space on the hoardings. People listened to Radio Luxembourg only until such time as there was a re-orientation of B.B.C. policy on what should be heard on Sunday. As soon as variety programmes came into being on a Sunday, people stopped listening to Radio Luxembourg.

Captain Christopher Soames (Bedford)

The hon. Member said that very few listened to Radio Luxembourg. Does he know the listening figures? Does he consider that six million is a very small figure?

Mr. Hobson

I do not accept that figure anyway; I think it is entirely unreliable.

I know that in my own circle very few listen to Radio Luxembourg. It is a fact that when there is sponsored broadcasting educational and cultural programmes come on very late at night. That is certainly so in the United States. In this country that is more often than not the witching hour of "disc jockeys." From the B.B.C. people want education and culture, but I honestly think we shall not get that form of programme if we have sponsored programmes. I think "The Tablet" was quite right when it stated: It is not what will be worth broadcasting but what will bring the greatest box office returns.

Mr. Anthony Fell (Yarmouth)

There is no suggestion, surely, in the White Paper that people should not be able to listen to the B.B.C? They can still listen to B.B.C. programmes and get their culture if they want to.

Mr. Hobson

That is quite true, but I am dealing with the general type of programme if it were put out by sponsors.

There is also the question of trade union recognition. I think that the White Paper takes a step in the right direction on this point. It is certainly different from the White Paper of 1946. I cannot understand why the B.B.C. has not recognised trade unions affiliated to the Congress many years ago. All other firms do so. I have heard arguments advanced that there are so many trades and professions in the B.B.C that it is necessary to have a staff association and that it would be entirely impracticable to have to deal with a lot of unions.

That is a very poor argument. Imperial Chemical Industries, the railways, the Post Office and big firms like Metropolitan Vickers are always dealing with this problem. There is no difficulty there at all. The other objection raised was that there would be danger of a strike within the service. That is quite true, but there are not many strikes these days. In any case, it would appear far more dangerous. and certainly a greater annoyance to the public, to have a strike among workers in the power stations.

I was interested to hear from the Home Secretary that the Government of Northern Ireland do not desire a separate Council. It will be interesting to hear what the Ulster Members have to say about that. As one who lived in Belfast for many years, I suggest that the Ulster Government are very wise. There is the added complication that Ulster and Durham happen to share the same wavelength. It would be very difficult for hon. Members in Ulster if an approach were made to televise the Twelfth of July Procession. All things considered I think a wise decision has been made.

I share the disappointment and concern of my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) with regard to the Committee which is to appoint the Governors. That is very dangerous. It is dangerous chiefly because it puts you, Mr. Speaker, and the Lord Chief Justice in the position that if a political appointment or an unsatisfactory appointment to the Board of Governors were made, whether you liked it or not you would become part and parcel of a very bitter political controversy. I think that if this goes forward it will reduce Parliamentary responsibility. The old arrangement was far better.

One cannot help feeling that the suggested change, to a certain extent, casts a reflection on previous Prime Ministers with regard to appointments. I notice that in another place the Lord Chancellor, when dealing with this question, said that there had been a very unfortunate incident. The only incident I can think of was the banning of "Party Manners."

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

The incident referred to was the complaint by the party opposite about Lord Waverley's appointment as chairman of a Royal Commission.

Mr. Hobson

I am glad to hear that that was the incident; I thought it was a question of the televising of "Party Manners."

There is another matter which might reasonably have been included in the White Paper. Like most hon. Members, I have been very concerned that the B.B.C. often find it impossible to get broadcasting and television rights for national events. The Home Secretary referred to this matter and said that he hoped negotiations would come to a satisfactory conclusion. I am afraid that I do not share that view. I have seen these people at close quarters and I know there is a spirit there which, quite frankly, I consider rather mean. I believe it is the duty of the Government of the day to take power so that the Cup Final, the Derby, the Grand National and events of that sort can be broadcast. I think it is their duty.

Why should not the millions who cannot get to those spectacles not be able to see them on television? Why should not the old, the sick and the infirm and the Forces serving at home see them? I think they have a right to see them. I am convinced that, far from reducing the number of people who would attend, as is objected, there would be increased attendances as a result of people having seen those events on television. It is not good enough that a small body of people should, as it were, be holding millions up to ransom merely because of petty meanness. Therefore, I should like to have seen included in the White Paper a provision to that effect.

I do not like the idea of sponsored broadcasting. I do not think that the majority of Members of this House really like it. There are those who say that it will be different from what it is in America. That may be so to a degree, but the fact remains that none of us wants to have our programmes brought to us by the courtesy of any particular manufacturer. We would far rather carry on in our traditional way.

We have the finest broadcasting system in the world. It is held in high esteem, it is respected by us all, it is tolerant. There is no shade of opinion that is prevented from expressing itself freely on the wireless, and that could not be said if we had sponsored broadcasting. I hope that the Government will think twice before they incorporate in a new Charter and in a Licence the terms of the White Paper.

7.2 p.m.

Mr. Beverley Baxter (Southgate)

I propose to speak only for about five minutes, partly because there are so many others who wish to speak. I make my apologies now because at 7.30 p.m. I must go to speak at a Conservative meeting in East Willesden, which I do not think will be reported by the B.B.C. or be seen on television.

I never thought that in this House I should find my political and personal friend the Home Secretary saying so many things with which I disagreed, or that I should find the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) expressing so much of what I thought.

That is an embarrassing position. I almost think that the Home Secretary may have had some part in that first effort in the direction of a sponsored programme in this country. It is a little joke which is worth repeating tonight.

It is said that Beecham's told a certain church that they would supply their hymn books provided that they could do some concealed advertising. One day at Christmas, the congregation sang: Hark the herald angels sing, Beecham's pills are just the thing. Peace on earth and mercy mild Two for man and one for child. I find the Home Secretary saying that that is the kind of thing we should have now. [Interruption.] To my astonishment, some of my hon. Friends disagree with me.

I have had more experience of sponsored television than they have had—sponsored television. I am fortunate enough to go to the United States every winter. I do not entirely agree that they are less civilised than we are.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I never for a moment said that. I said they were a less mature and sophisticated people.

Mr. Baxter

I accept that at once. I was putting it in the way I did to save time. To say they are less mature is, I think, true. That is part of their charm. Youth is the oldest tradition of America.

To sit over there through a three- or four-hour sponsored television programme is to come under a terrorisation of the mass suggestion of advertising. I mean this quite seriously. I hope that I shall not be accused of vulgarity for what I am about to say, but I think we must speak bluntly here. The American girl, for example, is supposed to be the finest of her kind in the world. She is supposed to be the quintessence of feminine charm. What do the advertisers say about her on the radio, on the television? I shall put it as gently as I can. She suffers from dandruff, from body odour, from halitosis. I could go on.

I do not for a moment believe it is true—I do not know, but the terrorisation of suggestion is not comparable to reading a newspaper, in which one can perhaps read a Sunday columnist if one has nothing else to do, or can look at the advertising if one wishes. But to see actors come and act a part and all declare that they only smoke such and such a cigarette—it is not true. And all the time is this monster of a 100 per cent. concentrated interest at any given moment. They thrust and thrust until it becomes an interference with the whole way of life. That is why I agree so much with what the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South said.

I was also very much impressed because both the right hon. Gentleman and I remember, I am afraid, the first motor car, the first telephone, the first bicycle. All those have been in our time, but in those days what was life like in an ordinary home? In Canada life was very much the same as here, but more comfortable because of our central heating. We read—started with Dickens, went on to Thackeray, moved through the French writers, and had an Oscar Wilde period; we had concerts, we made our own music.

I have in my house a radio set, and now I have a television set. The piano remains silent; I am afraid the radio remains silent. This White Paper is a death sentence on what is left of radio. Radio is finished—I do not think that can be stopped. The moment sight is added to sound, one cannot do without the other, it is so elemental. Therefore, I do not see why anybody is worried about the necessary revenue for television. The sale of radio sets will fall and fall all the time and the sale of television sets will go up, and the result of that will be to give television the revenue it requires.

Mr. Charles Ian Orr-Ewing (Hendon, North)

The B.B.C., in their evidence, in Appendix XII, page 84, forecast that by 1958 the total number of licences will be 3½ million. Is my hon. Friend saying that that is quite erroneous evidence, that the B.B.C.'s best estimates are quite wrong and that many more television sets will be bought at present prices and Purchase Tax rates?

Mr. Baxter

If there is enough material to produce the sets sales will be much greater than that. It means that we are now all conniving at the beginning of the end of sound radio; the other will replace it, we cannot help it.

It is a great pity that the House is dividing tonight on the B.B.C. Charter. I do not think that it is a party question at all. The Home Secretary said, "Let us have no party polemics," but we all know that the Government have issued a three-line Whip for tonight. I am very sorry, but I say quite frankly that since it is a three-line Whip I shall vote in the Lobby because I would rather have sponsored programmes than a Socialist Government. I shall vote with a heavy heart simply because I do not want this Government out.

I wish to make a final suggestion. If it could be done, would it be possible for the Government to say that there will be further discussion on policy concerning sponsored programmes; and that they will be willing again to submit the matter for further debate? I say that because this is an inadequate debate, as many people who want to speak will not be allowed to do so. I think it is altogether wrong that the Government should force a decision before the House has had a chance properly to consider this question.

I think the majority of the Government supporters are whole-heartedly with the Government, but there are a number of us who are not in this case. I ask therefore whether it is possible to have a further chance of debate. In that way we shall add dignity to the Government and to the House of Commons.

7.11 p.m.

Mr. Edward Shackleton (Preston, South)

The speech to which we have just listened does, I think, show that if a free vote were taken tonight the House would give a clear opinion to the country that we were opposed to sponsored radio. Unfortunately, due to the party system, which otherwise I am strongly in favour of, that is not possible.

The speech that we have heard from the hon. Member for Southgate (Mr. Baxter) does enable us now to discuss this whole question again without reference to political parties, but at the same time in the knowledge—and I am sorry I should have to repeat what has just been said—that the pressure which has grown up for sponsored television has coincided with the advent in this House of a number of hon. Members who, I know, would quite honestly admit their vested interest in sponsored radio.

Mr. Pitman

Oh, no!

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

As I am in the radio trade, I feel I have to rise on that point, which appears to be a direct allegation that we are doing this because we are going to get money out of it. The number of radio sets and television sets which industry can sell was controlled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech on 29th January. We are doing this, not because of any monetary gain, but because we have fought ever since 1945 in our constituencies on the theme of trust the people—set the people free to choose their own programmes.

Mr. Shackleton

I shall discuss this as fairly as I can. It is natural for human beings, in whatever job they are, to believe, generally speaking, in the Tightness of the work they are doing. But it is also a fact that this pressure has developed since the advent in this House of hon. Gentlemen such as the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing).

I have taken part, or tried to take part, in every debate on broadcasting in this House and it is very marked how much the atmosphere has changed with regard to the subject of commercial radio. The hon. Member made a specific point that there is no financial interest at stake in this matter and that he himself is personally not interested from that side. I naturally accept what he says, but I am very certain that the radio companies do not take that view. Indeed, if they do take that view why, then, did he make a speech, or attempt to make a speech the other night—I think it was the hon. Member—to the Institute of Electrical Engineers?

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing indicated assent.

Mr. Shackleton

It was a speech in which he did hold out hopes to the radio industry of opportunities for expanding their trade due to the admission of sponsored television. I hope the hon. Member will have a chance to speak on this point so that we may hear his view. We have yet to hear the views of an out-and-out supporter of sponsored radio, and we shall look forward to it.

I had intended to leave the few remarks I hope to make on sponsorship until the end of my speech, because I should like to turn straight to the point which was discussed at some length by the Home Secretary about the Broadcasting Councils. I think it important that in the course of this debate we should not lose sight of the need to examine the B.B.C. internally and to consider its administration.

We are all agreed, whether we are in favour of sponsorship or opposed to it, that it is highly desirable that the B.B.C. shall give full scope to its programme staff and everybody in it to develop their activities with the maximum amount of freedom within that organisation. Indeed, some of my hon. Friends would go further and break up the B.B.C. into separate components, into several national corporations. I am not in favour of that, and I am not at all happy about the proposals for Broadcasting Councils. I should like to deploy some arguments on this point.

I think the proposals with regard to the method of appointment are unsound, for the same reasons as my right hon. Friend gave with regard to the appointment by trustees of national Governors. I believe it is the responsibility of the Government and I think that the Government, in consultation with the B.B.C., are the best people to make those appointments. That, however, is not the major issue. What I object to is what I think the Postmaster-General, in another place, called the untidiness of the proposals; and I am in particular difficulty when I see that it is to be the duty of the Broadcasting Councils to control the policy and content of their Home Service programmes. It seems to me that might expose the producers in those regions to precisely the type of pressure which is objectionable from wherever it may come, whether from the sponsor or from a log-rolling local interest.

This is a very serious problem. We did have an opportunity to discuss it when the late Government came forward with proposals which I am glad to say have been modified slightly in a more favourable way and a way in which I should like them to go. But the basic need in the B.B.C. is that the producers should be free to do their job within the policy laid down by the B.B.C. This proposal for control over the contents and policy of the regional Home Service pro- grammes is very dangerous, and will need a great deal more discussion than has yet been given to it.

I challenged the Home Secretary on the point about the appointment of staff wholly employed in connection with the Home Service programmes. I asked him to name any member of a regional staff who could be described as wholly employed in connection with the Home Service programmes. It was not reasonable, I suppose, to expect that he should be able to answer right off, but I assure him that there is nobody, so far as I know, in the regions who can be described as wholly employed in connection with the Home Service programme of that region.

Let me take the case of a talks producer or a features producer. He may be called on to produce a programme for the National Service or even for the Overseas Service and therefore, although his predominant function may be in the Home Service, it is wrong to describe him as wholly employed in connection with the Home Service. It does help to strengthen the case I am anxious to make that he will in fact, and must in fact, be a full-time member of the B.B.C. on exactly the same terms as all the rest of the staff of the B.B.C. I do not see how that can be if in fact his appointment is to be by an outside body.

Surely, normally the appointing body has power also of sacking. We might, I am not saying we would, because I hope good reason will prevail, but we might find a situation in which a local Broadcasting Council were very insistent that a particular man or woman be appointed to a B.B.C. job who was regarded by the central establishment of the B.B.C.—for what appeared to be valid reasons—as not suitable for that job. We might in due course find the B.B.C. getting rid of that person as quickly as possible. I suggest that the real solution to this problem is that the Broadcasting Councils should continue in an advisory and not an executive capacity, and that they should merely be represented on the appointments committee.

We already know that Northern Ireland does not want this responsibility. Grave difficulties will arise if this plan is carried into effect. We know the views of the B.B.C. Staff Association. It has been stressed that anybody employed by the B.B.C. must look to the central stall administration. If the B.B.C. officials are to give their best services it is of the utmost importance that they shall look not merely to a local Broadcasting Council, but to the B.B.C. in London as well, as the guarantors of a good career.

This brings me to the point about alternative employment. It has been suggested that if a man is sacked by the B.B.C. he cannot get another job in broadcasting. But I believe that, on the whole, the B.B.C. are good employers and that a man is not sacked simply because he is unsuitable in one job. Indeed, the B.B.C. follow the practice which all good employers should follow. If a man is unsatisfactory in one job he is given an opportunity of employment elsewhere in the Corporation.

That is one of the great advantages of the large and nation-wide B.B.C. There are wider opportunities for employment. Further, there is the cross-fertilisation which comes about through moving people from the regions to London, and so on. This proposal, if carried to its logical conclusion and not reversed, would tend to stop that sort of development.

I ask the Government to look once again at this question. It has been said that these proposals have been very carefully worked out. I do not believe that they have been worked out at all. They are a piece of theory which appeals at first glance, but in practice they are administratively unsound. If they are pursued, it will be found that they are calculated to reduce the freedom and efficiency of the individual producer with the B.B.C.

Reference to the freedom of the producer leads me to the subject of commercial radio. It is not without significance that the producer of one of the most successful programmes in this country is a refugee from commercial radio. He found plenty of scope in commercial radio until a sponsor suddenly decided to interest himself in the programmes. Then the producer found that the job was intolerable, and he moved to the B.B.C. As we are so concerned with the subject of freedom, this is a question of real importance. There is greater freedom for producers of programmes under non-commercial control than there is under commercial control.

Mr. Profumo

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that there is another very famous radio personality—Stewart Macpherson—who is a refugee from the B.B.C. He found it difficult to continue working for the B.B.C. He left them and is now working on commercial radio in Canada. That is a great loss to this country.

Mr. Shackleton

The point I am trying to make is that it is not good enough to suggest that a B.B.C. monopoly is something which dampens individuality and that commercial radio will increase freedom; because in some cases it will not do that.

On the general question of sponsorship, I have already mentioned that we are in some difficulty because we know that a large number of hon. Members are actively engaged in this industry. We shall be interested to hear their proposals. They will declare their interest just as I suppose we all ought to declare our interest in the B.B.C. in that we may hope to broadcast again at some time or other. But it is a responsibility of the advocates of sponsorship in commercial radio to make their case. They are proposing the change. They are the people who have to demonstrate that there is a general public demand or a need for this change.

That case has not been made. It was certainly not made by the Home Secretary. Indeed, I believe that there are grave doubts in the mind of the Government about whether they should pursue this policy. It is not enough for the Government to say, "There will be an opportunity to allow commercial radio. Therefore, we will provide that opportunity and allow the House to. discuss the licensing of the first station." Today we shall be taking a decision whether or not sponsored and commercial radio should exist in this country. I am not satisfied that a case has been made out in its favour.

Many examples have been given of the evils of sponsorship. I do not propose to discuss at length the American examples. Even if we have sponsorship we shall not fall as low as the Americans have fallen in this connection. But there is plenty of evidence that evil results spring from sponsored radio. We have the opportunity to compare systems in countries like Australia and Canada. For instance, we have the Report from the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences in Canada, of which Mr. Vincent Massey, the present Governor-General, was chairman. That states: We were particularly impressed by the fact that few of the representatives of private stations who appeared before us recognised any public responsibility beyond the provision of acceptable entertainment and community services. We all agree that television and radio are of tremendous importance. I do not suggest that Whitehall should legislate for the people or that the man from Whitehall knows best. Equally, I do not believe that the man from the advertising agency knows better. Indeed, the evidence is that he does not care in the slightest. It is for that reason that we should examine this proposal with the utmost thoroughness and reject it unless an overwhelming case has been made in its favour. A further point from the Report is: We have observed that some of the wealthiest of the private stations have the lowest standard in programmes, and show serious neglect of their obligations as part of the national system. That is the experience of Canada in the matter of commercial radio. The hon. Member for Hendon. North objected to the suggestion that there were low standards in commercial radio and he mentioned films. But the State intervenes to limit the type of films which may be shown to certain people. Whenever my children see an advertisement of a film in the paper they say, "Is it a 'U' or an 'A' film?" They prefer the "U" films. Usually they are much the better.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

The White Paper proposes a control commission to do exactly that. Just as in the theatre the Lord Chamberlain licences a play, so a new body is to be set up on similar lines. I cannot see why the commercial point which the hon. Gentleman stresses will necessarily drive down standards. It has not done that in the theatre or the cinema.

Mr. Shackleton

It is admitted that unfettered commercial radio would be undesirable. That is the point the hon. Member concedes by his intervention. All the evidence available—and we can only judge on the evidence—is that sponsored radio tends to lower standards. Until we can be convinced to the opposite effect, it is wrong for us to accept in principle a decision to admit sponsored radio.

We have had complaints from hon. Members that the Government are being too slow in letting sponsored radio begin. I am glad that the Home Secretary made the positive statement that sponsored radio would not be permitted until the B.B.C. had completed their five new low-power television stations. I think he used the word "completed," because he goes further, I am glad to say, than did the Postmaster-General in another place, when he said, in effect, that it was enough for them to be getting on well with the building of them. That, at least, is one positive gain and improvement, and indeed, a departure from the way which certain hon. Members want the Government to go.

I very much hope that the Government will go a very great deal further. I hope they will recognise that there is extreme anxiety amongst a number of hon. Members in all parties on this subject of commercial radio, and that they will refuse to take the easy way out, which is what I am afraid they have done in evolving this particular policy. This is a decision of tremendous importance, and the Government themselves, who have taken this decision, have failed to make the case for sponsored radio.

The only case they have made has, in effect, amounted to a sort of negative—"There's no harm in trying." There is the utmost potential harm in trying, unless they can show us the opposite, and therefore I hope that they will, between now and the time for the Division, think again and realise that on this subject informed opinion in the country, and indeed popular opinion as shown in the Gallup polls, is opposed to the introduction of sponsored radio in this country.

7.32 p.m.

Captain Christopher Soames (Bedford)

I was most interested to hear the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackle-ton), saying that no one from this side of the House had put the case in favour of sponsored radio. I would say that nobody from the other side of the House has put the case in favour of maintaining a monopoly. In principle, I am against monopolies, but some are inevitable I think that the onus of proving that any monopoly is necessary, or that it can give better service to the community than competitive enterprise in the same field, must rest with the monopoly or with those who champion it.

I have not yet been convinced by any arguments used either in this House, in another place or outside, which lead me to believe that the public get a better service from the B.B.C. as a monopoly than they would get if competitive enterprise were allowed in this field.

Mr. Ross

Does that mean that the hon. and gallant Gentleman disagrees with Paragraph 5 of the White Paper?

Captain Soames

I have not got it with me; what does it say?

Mr. Ross

It says: The Government recognise that this effective monopoly has done much to establish the excellent and reputable broadcasting service for which this country is renowned and that the B.B.C. have become an important part of the structure of our national life.

Captain Soames

I would be the first to agree that the B.B.C. has done a great deal in our national life towards the furthering of broadcasting, but I am quite convinced that a better service can be provided for the public if competitive enterprise is allowed in.

What is the most common argument which has been used so far by those who are in favour of the maintenance of the monopoly? It is, surely, that commercial radio, if introduced, will lower the tone of broadcasting. That is the major argument put forward. I must say that I regard that assumption, for it is an assumption, as both fantastic and erroneous. The B.B.C. is a monopoly, and they can put anything they like over the air, within certain broad limits of censorship, regardless of whether any particular programme is popular or not, whereas a commercial enterprise putting out its programmes on sponsored radio must pay regard to what are called listening figures.

I agree that the B.B.C. do take note of listening figures, but what they are nobody knows, because they are kept strictly secret and are not published. The public do not have access to them, and I think that is a serious defect in the present system. Here we have a rigid monopoly which is able to transmit anything it chooses, and the popularity of whose programmes can only be measured by listening figures which are known only by the top men at the B.B.C. who have access to them. What would be lost if these figures were made public? I dare say that the B.B.C. would not like it, but I am quite sure that the public would, and, surely, that is what matters.

In the case of commercial broadcasting, the sponsor wants to see good listening figures among the sections of the public to whom he is appealing, and, if he does not get them, he will change his programmes and put on something more popular. I agree that listening figures are not the only criterion by which a good programme can be judged. Obviously, we all know that a good variety programme will be listened to by more people in this country than a good symphony concert on the Third Programme, but the B.B.C. should know by now what sort of listening figures it should have for a good variety programme and what sort it should have for a good symphony concert.

It should be able to say whether or not a feature is popular by these figures, and I think that, as the B.B.C. is a rigid monopoly at the moment, the public have a right to have access to these figures. In the case of commercial broadcasting, the sponsor is going to see that he gets value for his money. He wants popular programmes put over, and what better assurance can the public have that they will be getting the kind of programme which they want to have?

Mr. Mayhew

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman distinguishing between the size of an audience which is attracted by a programme and the degree of their like or dislike of it? There is no secret that the B.B.C. Research Department, to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has referred, has two sets of figures, one for the size of the audience and the other for its appreciation. The point which I think is weakening his case is that the programmes which get the large audiences are often those which are least liked, and that those which attract small audiences get the largest appreciation figures, and that is because small audiences appeal to particular tastes. The question I would ask him is this: How does the sponsored programme, which appeals to the largest audiences, avoid wiping out the minority programmes, which are often the most popular of all?

Captain Soames

If a minority want to listen to a symphony concert from the B.B.C., they will still do so. The B.B.C. will remain as it is, and the Third Programme will still be there, so that this minority which wishes to listen to a symphony concert, rather than a variety programme from a commercial station, will still be able to tune in to the symphony orchestra.

This is the very root of the argument of those who favour the monopoly. It is that, under the monopoly system, the people of this country are going to be given what they ought to see and hear and which is considered to be good, and that, under a competitive system, they are going to get what they want to see and hear, which is considered to be bad. Surely, in this House we must regard that as a most insulting argument.

That is the gist of the argument put forward by those in favour of monopoly. It is the argument that, under a monopoly, the people will be given anything except what they want to listen to. It is the argument that what the public would like to hear or see is not good for them, and that if they hear and look at the form of entertainment which they would like to have it is going to have a lowering effect on public morals. I must say that I see no reason at all why broadcasting and television should be the only mediums of entertainment which are confined to a monopoly.

Mr. Janner

The hon. and gallant Gentleman was in the United States some little time ago. Would he tell the House whether he was impressed by the kind of thing he saw on television over there?

Captain Soames

I was not there very long, and I did not look at their television programmes an awful lot. I did, however, see Mr. Taft being grilled by a lot of newsmen in a way which I must say one would not find very suitable over here. But I am likening the system which the Government are putting forward in the White Paper as nearer to the Canadian than to the American system. I think that the system works extremely well in Canada, and also in Australia.

As I was saying, I see no reason why broadcasting and television should be the only mediums of entertainment in which the people are allowed no choice and no variance. I think it is widely agreed that where a monopoly is concerned the onus of proof as to whether or not that monopoly is necessary must lie with those who favour the monopoly rather than with those who are opposed to it. I have yet to hear from hon. Members opposite any argument to show that the monopoly is either necessary or beneficial. Much better arguments must be deployed by the Opposition if they are to persuade the public that this monopoly is good, is beneficial and is necessary. I do not believe that those arguments will ever be found because they do not exist.

I think that the principle outlined in the White Paper of maintaining the B.B.C. in more or less its present form and of licensing commercial T.V. stations as and when the necessary raw materials are available is a good one. I fully appreciate that the B.B.C. must be permitted to get some way further towards their programme of nation-wide coverage, but I would ask my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary to bear in mind that the B.B.C. are very naturally hostile to any private interest coming into the field of broadcasting. Therefore, I hope that proper safeguards will be made to ensure that the B.B.C. make the best possible use of what raw materials are available so that the time-lag involved before commercial stations can be set up will not be very long.

It is bound to be a considerable time—probably many years—but meanwhile there is one aspect of television where I, like the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson) who spoke earlier, think that the public are not being properly treated. Look how few of the main sporting events are televised today. There is no doubt that television is an excellent medium for bringing into the homes of the people all the great sporting events which take place in the country and which play such a part in our national life.

Under the present system, very few of these sporting events are televised because the B.B.C. cannot afford to pay what the promoters demand, and, in my view, justly demand. The hon. Member for Keighley said he thought that the promoters and companies which launched the great sporting events were mean. That was the word he used. But, strange as it may seem to hon. Members opposite, these promoters and companies launch these big sporting events with the object and intention of making money. I do not think that is mean; I think it is logical and natural. The promoter fears, and not without justification, that if his event is televised a number of people who would be coming to watch, say, his big boxing contest will sit at home and watch it on television, and that he will not get their money.

The B.B.C. is only in a position to offer the promoters a paltry sum, a nominal fee, and it is not worth their while to allow the B.B.C. to have the television rights. It may interest hon. Members to know that when the world middle-weight championship was being fought at Earls Court on 10th July last year between Randolph Turpin and Sugar Ray Robinson, the programme put out on television by the B.B.C. while the fight was in progress was a talk on scientific instruments used in the year 1799. I think there is no doubt that the public would have preferred to see the fight.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

So what.

Captain Soames

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) says "So what." That is what, that the public would have preferred to see the fight, and they did not see it.

When the Derby was run this year a second-class American thriller was televised, and every year more and more sporting promoters decide that it is not worth their while to allow the B.B.C. to televise their events. If this trend continues much longer no big sporting events will be televised at all.

Take, for instance, the Cup Final. In 1948, 1949 and 1950 the Cup Final was televised in toto. In 1951, the B.B.C. televised only the second half. It was not a question of not televising the first half because they wanted to put out another programme; there was nothing on the screen while the first half was being played. In 1952 none of the Cup Final was televised, and last Saturday the Football League—this is printed in the "Star," a journal which has doubtless endeared itself considerably to all hon. Members opposite—passed a resolution to the effect that there will be no television of league matches and that the Football Association are to be asked not to allow television at Saturday matches or the Cup Final.

It is evident that in this particular field of television there is a gap to be filled. It is a gap between what the people would like to see—and what I have no doubt the B.B.C. would like to give them if they could afford it—and what the B.B.C. is actually in a position to provide owing to lack of funds.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggesting that if we had sponsored television greater fees would be paid and so we would get them? In that case, may I ask who would be paying them and where the money would be coming from?

Captain Soames

Yes, certainly. I am just about to unfold the argument. There are only two possible propositions. One is that suggested by the hon. Member for Keighley, which I found rather totalitarian. It was, force the promoters to take it. Just march on to the ground with the cameras accompanied by policemen and say, "These boys are going to televise your event." I do not think that would be in keeping with our English way of life. The only suggestion I have thought of is that the B.B.C. should act as a commercial station for the televising of sporting events and that they themselves should control both the duration and the substance of any advertisement put over.

Let the B.B.C. decide what events they would like to broadcast. Promoters would then be approached by advertising agencies on behalf of their clients, who would doubtless offer them a considerable sum of money. In my opinion the whole programme should be in the hands of the B.B.C. They should run it and use their own cameras and their own commentators and should vet and agree to the wording of any advertising which is to be put out over the programme. The promoter would be paid by the advertising agency an agreed sum of money. In addition, in my view, the sponsor should pay to the B.B.C. a further 20 per cent. of what he pays to the promoter. That would certainly more than cover any ex- penses which might be incurred by the B.B.C. in putting the programme over the air.

Mr. S. Silverman

What I was interested in was where the advertising agency would get the money. Would it be added to the price of the commodity advertised, or would it be a deductable expense for Income Tax as most advertising is? If the latter, would not the Government be still finding the money and finding more money than they are able to find or think they ought to find for the B.B.C. today?

Captain Soames

The advertising agency would be paid money by a firm which would regard that as expenditure on advertising in exactly the same way as a firm does if it advertises in the "Daily Herald" or, if the hon. Member prefers, in the "Daily Worker."

Mr. Silverman rose——

Captain Soames

I am sorry, but I do not intend to be interrupted any more. It would be up to the B.B.C. to decide what sporting events they wished to televise. They would be party to every agreement so that nothing could be done against their will. And in order to safeguard both the B.B.C. and those who fear that advertisements put out over the air or on television might be in bad taste, no word of advertising would be added without the prior consent of the B.B.C.

Apart from the totalitarian suggestion of the hon. Member for Keighley, what I have suggested is the only way to ensure that the public would not be denied the pleasure that they would so dearly like of watching these big sporting events on television. This suggestion may shock the purists on both sides of the House who think the B.B.C. should not be mixed up with any form of advertising at all. But, of course, as soon as commercial stations are set up it will no longer be necessary for the B.B.C. to do this work. It will be taken over by commercial stations.

I ask the Government to give serious consideration to the problem of how they can have these big sporting events televised to the homes of the people. There is no ground for saying that if the B.B.C. are allowed to sponsor sporting events sponsorship will spread to all sorts of programmes. That is not true, because this difficulty is only found in the field of sports. Sporting events, above all others, are subjects for which television is highly suitable; and these are the one type of programme which is denied to people, many of whom have bought television sets in order to be able to look at sporting events.

All parties would stand to gain from this suggestion. First, the promoter gets his money and. why not, since otherwise he will not allow the sporting event to be televised? The B.B.C. are able to televise a popular event, the viewing public have what they like to have. The only objection to it could be that a minute or 90 seconds in every half-hour, or only 5 per cent. of the time, would be devoted to advertising. One can compare that with newspapers, which on the average use 20 per cent, of their space for advertising, and with magazines, many of which use up to 33 per cent. of their space on advertising. Compared with those figures, it is not much to ask for 5 per cent.

Nobody need listen to these few words of advertising if they do not want to do so, and they certainly need not buy the product afterwards. I really do not think that is a very great price to pay for the vast amount of pleasure that thus would be given to the public.

7.55 p.m.

Mr. John Taylor (West Lothian)

I propose to exercise very great self-restraint and not mention monopolies or sponsored radio. I propose to deal exclusively with paragraphs 21 and 22 of the White Paper, which refer to broadcasting policy for Scotland and for Wales. The present White Paper agrees with the previous White Paper and with the Beveridge Report that there should be a greater measure of devolution.

It agrees that this United Kingdom is not composed of one country but of three-and-a-quarter countries. It agrees that each of these countries, in this matter at least, should have recognition of the fact that each has its distinctive culture and should have greater control over its own broadcasting. Obviously, as successive Governments and the Royal Commission have all agreed on this point, national devolution in one form or another has to come.

On the whole I think it is true to say that it will be welcomed by majority opinion in Scotland—by people who have no particular political nationalistic tendencies. It ought to be mentioned that there is a minority of people who look upon this voyage into unchartered and unknown seas with some misgivings and some qualms because really the B.B.C. have served Scotland well. A tribute ought to be paid, even though briefly in one sentence, to the excellent service they have provided. Even those who have criticised that service on many occasions and have got very hot under the collar about it agree that on the whole the service from the B.B.C. Scottish Service has been good—excellent is perhaps a more appropriate word.

But this devolutionary development seems to be inevitable, and therefore we must be sure that it is planned along the right lines. There are great dangers inherent in such a development. If the controlling Councils are badly constituted or unwisely constituted, if their powers are unwisely or ambiguously defined, incalculable harm can result. That harm can be done very easily: it will be very much more difficult and perhaps impossible to undo it.

I submit, therefore, that we should examine the proposals for national Broadcasting Councils both for Scotland and Wales—I am mainly concerned with Scotland—contained in paragraphs 21 and 22 of the White Paper with the utmost care. I think it could reasonably be argued that what these paragraphs propose is not really devolution at all. At any rate, there is no remarkable devolutionary advance proposed in these paragraphs compared with what now exists. It is an opinion held by many Scots that these proposals may well produce worse programmes than the kind we now receive.

I should like to examine first the proposed method of appointment to the national Broadcasting Council for Scotland. The same machinery is proposed for the Welsh Council. The proposal is that the Council should be selected for appointment by a panel of the B.B.C. General Advisory Council. Speaking on behalf of Scottish Members on this side of the House, I do not think that would do at all. This proposal will meet—indeed it has already met—with the most strenuous opposition from all sections of opinion in Scotland. By some it will be regarded as a negation of the principle of devolution and as striking right at the very heart and core of that principle. By others it will be regarded as a much less satisfactory method than the existing and past practice. We earnestly urge the Government to think again on this matter, and we ask them not to ruin the whole scheme, which has some good points, by creating resistance to the method of appointment.

Secondly, it is proposed that the Scottish Council should consist of eight members. We have no objection to that number—it seems a reasonable number—but we have the most stringent objections to the suggested method of appointing its personnel. It is suggested that of the eight members, three would be drawn from panels representative of local authorities. What on earth does that mean to any Scot? Who decides what is a panel representative of local authorities? How many will be on that panel? How would the panel make its choice? Would it make its choice on grounds of cultural capacity or of administrative experience or of outstanding personality, or what? Is it not likely that the panel would tend to appoint one representative of the County Councils Association, one representative of the Counties and Cities Association and one representative of the burgh councils?

Any of us who know anything about the setup of local government in Scotland know that there would be a tendency to make the choice on that vertical line. If so, the 32 county councils which were unrepresented would have a grievance, as would the three unrepresented cities and well over 100 burghs which were unrepresented. The District Councils Association would, as usual, stake its claim, and the Convention of Royal Burghs would insist upon a hearing, if not upon a seat.

Whoever devised the membership on a local authority basis could have known nothing whatever of the background of local government in Scotland. I know that a similar proposal appeared in the last White Paper. It was strenuously opposed by my colleagues who were then on the opposite side of the House. It is even more strenuously opposed on this occasion because we feel that the Government ought to have learned something from the overwhelming and, indeed, practically unanimous opposition to which that basis gave rise in Scotland on the last occasion. So we say to the Government: forget the local authorities as a recruiting ground; you will thereby save yourselves and Scotland a good deal of trouble and much avoidable controversy.

Then it is proposed that the other five of the eight members should be appointed after consultation with representative cultural, religious and other bodies. Let us examine that for a moment. What is a cultural body?

Mr. Janner

The advertisers.

Mr. Taylor

We can imagine, particularly in Scotland, the confusion, the heartburnings and arguments which would break out all over the country over that definition. The thousands of bodies which imagine themselves to be cultural and which are not consulted will have a grievance and very probably a prejudice against the persons chosen.

Mr. Janner

Would my hon. Friend Friend perhaps add that the advertisers should be consulted as a cultural body, to help out hon. Members opposite?

Mr. Taylor

That is a point. Perhaps I may refer to it in a moment. The bodies that are not consulted will have a grievance.

I cannot escape the feeling that the panel, consisting probably of Englishmen with perhaps one or two Scots, are storing up for themselves much trouble if they intend to consult religious bodies, although this might be avoided as Scots on the whole have a great deal of common sense in such matters.

The other section to be consulted is defined as "other bodies." What does that mean?—political parties, trade unions, professional organisations, chambers of commerce, youth organisations, women's guilds, the Scottish Football Association—why not?—women's institutes, temperance organisations, clan associations, tenants' associations and the advertisers? The possibilities are endless. We can imagine the hornets' nests, jealousies, antagonisms and resistance, to say nothing of the log-rolling, pressure grouping and special interest pushing that such a proposal would create. The whole conception is much too vague. The language is much too ambiguous. The whole thing is much too dangerously controversial. Indeed, it is too half-baked for serious consideration.

Let me make a practical proposal to the Government in this connection. There was during the war—and I believe it is still in a state of suspended existence—an excellent little group of prominent Scotsmen which rendered impressive service and advice not only to Scotland but to Britain during the war. It was known as the Council of Ex-Secretaries of State. I suggest that the Government might consider allowing that Council to select the eight members of the Scottish Broadcasting Council.

I make that suggestion because it is so obviously a non-party organisation, and I believe the judgment of that Council would be accepted by every responsible Scotsman and Scotswoman. There would be much less controversy and trouble over their decisions than over the decisions of any other group that one could imagine in our country. If that Council is not still in existence it could be called together. Let us look at its personnel. It consists of the present. Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friends the Members for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) and Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn), the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot), the right hon. Tom Johnston and, I believe, the noble Lord who was once known as Sir John Colville, Lord Clydesmuir. I do not think there are any others.

Mr. C. N. Thornton-Kemsley (Angus, North and Mearns)

The Earl of Rosebery.

Mr. Taylor

Whatever others there are, they do not represent opinion on this side of the House, so it will be seen that my suggestion has no political strings attached to it. It would be a perfectly balanced council politically, culturally and in many other ways—a council of eminent Scotsmen whose judgment could be relied upon by everyone in Britain. If the Government are unable to accept the suggestion made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. M. MacPherson), that a simple way to do this would be to leave the responsibility in the hands of the Secretary of State—I do not see why they should not accept it—this is an alternative suggestion for them to consider. So much for the method of appointment of the Council.

Now for a word or two about the Council's proposed function. Paragraph 21 states that the Council would be responsible for the appointment of staff. I say nothing about its programme responsibilities because that was dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs, but I have very great doubts about the wisdom of making the Council wholly responsible for the staff appointed.

I believe that the staff required for programme building, devising and representation, for technical matters and for administration are highly skilled people in the main. It is a specialised sort of job, and I cannot escape the feeling that the selection, appointment and decision as to the number appointed is a job more for controller responsibility than for a heterogeneous council of half-time unpaid amateurs such as the proposed Council envisaged. I think there are very grave dangers in placing that responsibility upon that type of council. We must remember that it is a question of the careers of these people and, no matter along what lines it develops in the future, it is a fairly narrow field, and one would like to feel that the professional status is recognised by the people who have the appointing responsibility.

Then there is the controversial point of finance. Here I may be at cross-purposes with my right hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards), who may be replying to this debate from this side. The White Paper proposes that the Scottish Council should have merely advisory powers as far as finance is concerned. The purse strings will be held by the Corporation in London. To some extent that stultifies from the very beginning the idea of Scottish devolution by means of a Scottish Council. It seems to me to be financially strangling it at birth.

I recognise that final financial responsibility must rest with the B.B.C. as the national controlling authority, but I think it is quite possible and, indeed, essential, that a new set-up like this, endeavouring to extend national responsibility and national scope, should have, at least over a period of years, some financial minimum guarantee and some sum set aside as a minimum for development. Without some financial control the Council cannot be said to be autonomous, and it makes a mockery of all the high-sounding talk of devolution.

In the field of television, what hopes have we in Scotland of an adequate development, or even of Scottish status, if we have not some financial autonomy such as a guarantee, over a period of years, of a minimum budgeted sum, with a pool also for development and expansion?

For this and other reasons which I have not the time to go into—because I have a great deal of sympathy with hon. Members who are anxiously watching the clock, having been in their position so many times myself—I cannot regard the White Paper as being anything like satisfactory. I ask the Government to take the objections and proposals—which have been quite sincerely presented—into careful consideration when the Charter is being drafted, if they cannot agree to change their minds now.

8.13 p.m.

Mr. John Profumo (Stratford)

I hope that the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. J. Taylor) will not think me discourteous if I do not follow him but, in view of the lateness of the hour, I think it would be unfair to take up more of the time of the House than is necessary. I therefore propose to deal with just one aspect of this White Paper and to talk only on the question of breaking the monopoly of the B.B.C.

I think it is customary in this House that where one has an interest one should declare it at the outset. I gladly declare my interest, right at the beginning: but I would say that I have no connection whatsoever with any advertising firm, in spite of the fact that—I am sure it was not done on purpose—the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) was pointing at me the whole way through his speech. I have absolutely no connection with any radio industry or other industry. I have one interest, which is that of an average listener, viewer and licence-payer. I think I share that interest with 90 per cent. of the householders and families of this country, and it is on their behalf that I wish to address the House for a few minutes this evening. [Interruption.] I hope I am speaking on their behalf. I should like to try to express what I believe is their view.

The Amendment put down by the Opposition regrets the implication of sponsored television at some future date. I agree. I do not like the implication. I wholeheartedly support the White Paper, though I cannot welcome it because I do not think it is sufficiently explicit. I do not like mere indications. I should have liked to see it come out flatly in favour of breaking the B.B.C. monopoly, not only in vision but in sound broadcasting. I know that a considerable number of my hon. Friends are greatly perturbed by a declaration of policy which, at first sight, can be read in two ways.

I am basing my support for the White Paper on three assumptions. First of all, I assume that the Government mean to allow competitive television stations to start operating at the earliest possible time. Secondly, I assume there will be no delay in giving the radio industry the necessary technical information to allow them as soon as possible to start producing television sets capable of receiving both the B.B.C. and competitive stations. Thirdly, I assume that the controlling body which is mentioned in paragraph 9 of the White Paper will be set up in the near future to start working out the safeguards under which competitive television stations will have to operate in order that this House may have an early opportunity of considering that very important factor and not have to wait until these stations are in operation and then go through the whole rigmarole.

With regard to the question of setting up these stations at the earliest possible date, I should be very grateful for any assurance which my hon. Friend can give, particularly with regard to a passage from the speech of the Home Secretary, which perturbed me to a great degree. Perhaps that could be cleared up so that we could know that the assumptions on which I am supporting this White Paper are clearly recognised.

The question of breaking the monopoly has been widely discussed and canvassed both in the newspapers and in another place. I am not sure that it has been discussed entirely fairly all the way through, but there have been no complaints from hon. Members opposite that no case has been made out for breaking the monopoly. All the verbiage and oratory in favour of keeping the monopoly boils down to three cardinal arguments. First of all, it is said that to break the monopoly would put broadcasting in the hands of the advertisers; secondly, that the public do not want any change, and thirdly, that the standards of broadcasting would deteriorate.

Hon. Members on this side of the House have been accused of having a vested interest in the breaking of this monopoly. Many remarks have been thrown across the Floor of the House tonight to that effect. Though they have been made in a friendly way, the charge has been levelled at my hon. Friends. But the boot is on the other foot.

Who are these people, in the main, who seek to lay down the law so vehemently in favour of maintaining the monopoly? They are all people who have themselves a vested interest in maintaining the monopoly. Who are they? First of all, the Labour Party. They have a vested interest in maintaining the monopoly. It is an essential plank in their platform. Competition is anathema to hon. Gentlemen opposite. It spells ruin to Socialist theories. Who else? There is a certain section of the Press which has been——

Mr. Percy Daines (East Ham, North)

Does not the hon. Member think that a far better case which he could quote would be the business experience of his right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary?

Mr. Profumo

I am sorry; I did not hear what the hon. Gentleman said. Will he be good enough to repeat it?

Mr. Daines

No, I will not.

Mr. Profumo

Well, I am sure the hon. Member was not arguing that the Labour Party do not like this monopoly. What about the Press? We can hardly expect other than that it would be difficult for them to take a completely unbiased view on the subject when they know that the Government's proposals might possibly mean the loss of some advertising revenue. I am bound to say that I do not believe that is a very serious objection, and I do not think they would lose any advertising revenue, for the experience in other countries, and particularly in America, does not show that to be the case at all. The more advertisement that goes on the more there is for the newspapers. Nevertheless, we cannot expect them to be completely unbiased.

Who else is there? The guardians of the B.B.C., the present officials of governing bodies and advisory councils of the Corporation, who are a very mighty host indeed, almost powerful enough to be able to intimidate the Government into complying with their dictates. Finally, there are the intellectuals, who raise their hands and voice in horror in case Mr. and Mrs. John Citizen should possibly become culturally corrupted by entertainment assuming priority over social purpose in broadcasting.

Mr. M. Turner-Samuels (Gloucester)

Would the hon. Gentleman complete his list by telling us the people who want to get a financial interest in this undertaking?

Mr. Profumo

I think the hon. and learned Gentleman did not quite understand me. Perhaps I am speaking a little too fast for him. As I explained at the outset, in my view the people who advocate the maintenance of a monopoly must prove that a monopoly is good if they are to maintain it when it is suggested that competition should be the order of the day. I am giving the list of those who support a monopoly.

Mr. Turner-Samuels rose——

Mr. Profumo

I think the hon. and learned Gentleman has had a fair opportunity. I am full of admiration for the intellectuals, but I think we must remember that we are not a nation of intellectuals. By and large we are a nation of ordinary, average, everyday men and women like the majority of hon. Members. It is for the average listener that I am seeking to speak this evening, those who form the vast majority of the public; and in our view they deserve the best possible entertainment which can be given to them.

Mr. Daines

They ought to be here now.

Mr. Profumo

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be fortunate enough to catch the eye of Mr. Deputy-Speaker later if he wishes to make a speech. Just as we are not a nation of intellectuals, so we are not a nation of timid, old fashioned die-hards. We are a virile people, eager to try the experiments of this modern age, and I believe that it is the job of the Government to lead and to foster this spirit, which is why I think a Conservative Government are to be commended and supported in the proposition which they make in this White Paper.

Let us examine the three arguments which are advanced against the principle of competition. The first is that broadcasting will fall into the hands of advertisers. I speak with considerable diffidence here, because the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South is not in the Chamber, and I fully realise that he probably knows more about advertising and has used it more than any other hon. Member. Nevertheless, if he were in his place I am sure he would agree that advertisers can make use of this medium only as long as they are able to retain their audiences. They have to choose programmes which will appeal, by and large, to the greatest number of listeners and viewers, and the fact that they may do that because of their own interest seems to me immaterial.

Surely the truth must be this: programmes will not be in the hands of the advertisers but will be in the hands of the people, and that is what we are seeking to achieve. Or perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite consider that it is dangerous and undesirable for the people to have freedom of choice. If that is so, I will gladly give way so that they may say so. We are only suggesting that the people should have a choice. If they do not like the new programme, they can turn back to the B.B.C.

The chief benefit which sponsorship will render in this connection is to take the very high cost of good quality radio and television entertainment off the shoulders of the public, and I find that very commendable indeed. I think an hon. Member suggested that it would be placed on the consumer, but that is a fallacy. If goods are advertised and, as a result, more are sold, then prices can be reduced.

Mr. S. Silverman rose——

Mr. Profumo

May I first develop this point?

Mr. Silverman

What I have to say may be irrelevant later.

Mr. Profumo

There is no new principle involved here. Take the \A.B.C. Guide or the Telephone Directory. They are full of advertisements which are there in order that the taxpayer shall not have to pay for those Government or quasi-Government publications. The B.B.C. themselves resort to this principle and derive considerable revenue from advertisements which somebody chooses to put in the "Radio Times."

If people do not like commercial programmes and their tastes are offended, they can always twist a button and turn back to the good old B.B.C., where they will also get advertisements, but advertisements to which they are accustomed—for hotels, for restaurants, for dance bands, for theatres, advertisements with which the B.B.C. programmes are literally sprinkled every day. Because it is the B.B.C., everybody accepts them.

Mr. S. Silverman

I did not want to leave my intervention too late because it seemed that the hon. Gentleman was leaving the point. He said that the effect of this proposal would be to take the burden of the cost off the public. I did not say "consumer." What I want to know is this. Would these be regarded as legitimate advertising expenses, allowable against tax? If they were, would not the public and the taxpayer be paying the bulk of the extra cost through the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Mr. Profumo

The hon. Gentleman's arguments are extremely clever whenever he puts them to the House, but if he really wants that point answered, he should put a Question down to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Ex-checquer. It is too late in the debate to be side-tracked into a discussion of whether the expenditure should be tax free or not.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

Is not this an important point? Is not the hon. Gentleman resting his case on the fact that the burden of the high cost will be lifted from the shoulders of the public? Is it or is it not true, as my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) argued, that in cases where the expenditure is allowable against Income Tax or Profits Tax or E.P.L., the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be paying up to 75 per cent. of the total cost of the advertisements?

Mr. Profumo

I agree that that is a substantial point but my point is this: if the B.B.C. are able to advertise in the "Radio Times." and that is regarded as a legitimate expenditure, tax free—and either it is tax free or it is not; and hon. Members opposite will probably know the answer—then I do not see why the same principles should not apply in the case of commercial stations.

The second charge which is made against the new proposals is that the public do not want any change. It would be surprising if they did want a change, because they have never had the case put fairly and squarely to them. Would it not be nearer the truth to say, not that the public do not want a change but that certain people in the country do not want the public to want a change. By and large, the people have been led to believe that they have to choose between broadcasting according to the present standards and customs of the B.B.C and the supposed standards of bedlam of commercial broadcasting—and that is not true. In spite of that case, which has been put through the medium of newspapers and public speakers, a considerable proportion of the people in this country want a change.

An hon. Gentleman opposite, talking about Radio Luxembourg, said that in his own circle people did not listen to it. Let me try to give the House a little evidence on this point. In 1951, the "News Chronicle" published a public opinion poll and asked whether monopoly in broadcasting was considered good or bad. To that question, 52½ per cent. of the readers said that it was bad. To a supplementary question whether the B.B.C. programmes would be better if there were competition. 65 per cent. of the readers replied that it would be better.

Let us come up to date with this point. When this matter was a live issue, the "Daily Mirror" published a lot of matter about this question, as hon. Members will be aware if they read the newspaper. [An HON. MEMBER:"DO you look at ' Jane'?"] Yes of course. I chose this paper advisedly. I cannot be accused of choosing one which is friendly to us. It has obviously been of great assistance to hon. Gentlemen opposite during the Elections. I hope they will not praise it during election times and condemn it out of hand in between elections. The whole of the front page of the "Daily Mirror" was taken up with an article about this matter, asking readers to write and give their views.

Hon. Members opposite may be surprised to know that 63 per cent. of the letters which the "Daily Mirror" received as a result were in favour of sponsored television. [An HON. MEMBER: "How many were they?"] As a matter of fact, I am led to believe that there was not a large correspondence, which also shows that in the eyes of the public this matter is not regarded as of paramount importance. [Laughter.] If that does not convince hon. Gentlemen, I think the related question of the number of people who listen to Radio Luxembourg will. There are six million people.

Mr. Rodgers

In point of fact, 30 per cent. of the population of this country listen at some time or other to Radio Luxembourg, and the audiences number six million at peak listening periods.

Mr. Profumo

I am most grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. There are six million people, and we have to take into account the fact that we can get Radio Luxembourg only in the southern part of England. Surely that shows that people are willing to listen not only to the B.B.C. but to sponsored radio. Among our Armed Forces in Germany, the number who listen to the United States network in comparison to our own broadcasting is mounting up steadily.

Mr. Mayhew

Radio Luxembourg can be got up north. The figure of six million is completely bogus. I prefer the estimate made by the B.B.C. Listener Research which is based upon figures obtained from reliable samples. It shows 2.8 per cent. of the people listening at peak periods to Radio Luxembourg.

Mr. Profumo

I prefer the Transport House Gallup poll with regard to what the country is thinking about the Conservative and Labour Parties rather than B.B.C. figures about the people who listen to Radio Luxembourg. If there is any doubt about what people really want, the only way to settle it is to try it out and let the people choose for themselves. If they do not like sponsored television then it will not pay to advertise, and the whole scheme will come to an end, with no trouble to anybody at all.

May I impress this point on hon. Members opposite? The inception of commercial television will at least give a choice to the public. I wonder whether we realise sufficiently here that at the present time the monopoly in television is absolutely complete. There is no alternative programme on the B.B.C.—no "Light," "Third," or "Home" programmes. There is just one programme. If we have a television set and we do not like what we see, we have no option but to switch it off. The B.B.C. have had to admit that in the foreseeable future there is no possibility of their starting an alternative programme. If there is competition, and if we do not like the commercial service we can always switch back to the good old B.B.C., with its assured listener revenue, by which it is absolutely feather-bedded against any danger of commercialism whatsoever.

What is the final argument which has been put across the Floor of the House this afternoon? It is that the moment competition is introduced the whole level of broadcasting deteriorates and the bad will drive out good. I believe that that is an exaggerated theory, plugged for all it is worth by interested parties. The Labour Party last year in their White Paper stated that competition would result in a decline in the service. If I may borrow a facon de parler from Professor Joad, I should like to say it all depends on what is meant by service. Do we mean the service which the public want or the service which a group of individuals think the public want? That seems to be the important point.

I yield to no one in my admiration for the work which the B.B.C. has done and is doing in the social purpose broadcasting. They will continue to do it. There has been no question or suggestion by anybody that the B.B.C. should be curtailed. Let me ask this question. Since when has democracy believed that a group of individuals, however public spirited, ought to have the unchallenged right to exercise a monopoly over the mind of the nation according to a recipe of their own? I must confess I am absolutely horrified by the philosophy which recognises a State-run organisation as the sole arbiter of our taste and even our entertainment. Surely that is a signpost of a totalitarian State, and whatever hon. Members opposite may want, I can assure them that the people in the country do not want that.

I believe it is unfair to keep comparing what happens in America with what might happen here. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said. their standards are entirely different to our own, and I am quite convinced that we have quite a completely different standard, because our people demand something which is entirely different. Imagine everybody in this country having to accept the same standard-type of neckties because of the horrifying results of what happens in America where the people are allowed to choose what ties they want. I have every confidence in the taste and common sense of the British public in being able to choose their own entertainment without help from the politician.

What I think they want is a good variety of high level entertainment which includes the main sporting events of the year. They are bound to cost a lot of money. There has been a lot of talk this evening about the question of copyright. It is not just a question of copyright; it is a question of money. If we are going to pay the big promoter the money which they rightly demand then we are either going to charge much higher licence fees or resort to sponsored broadcasting.

Here is one example of which I heard the other day. The very famous artiste Horowitz came over here to play in the Festival Hall. The B.B.C. asked him what price he would broadcast for, and he quoted less than he gets in America. The B.B.C. said, "We cannot afford to pay you that sum, because if we paid you that we should then have to pay every artiste a higher fee." So the only people who could listen to that great artiste were those who could afford to pay to go to the Festival Hall.

I have taken too long already and must conclude. When we come to the end, what do we find? In spite of all the arguments, there are still a group of critics who persist in arguing against the suggestions which the Government are making. These critics are the Labour Party, the Press, the intellectuals and the guardians of the B.B.C. Their argument amounts to this. Even in spite of the safeguards which Parliament prescribes—and the White Paper lays them down—and in spite of the guarantee of everlasting life to the B.B.C, they state that we must not allow any outside choice of broadcasts by the public because they are not fit to choose between right and wrong. We have heard that argument before—the man from Whitehall knows best. These critics say, "We are going to leave this to the overlords of the air. We shall choose the overlords and then they will decide what you should listen to and what you should look at on your television screen."

Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)

Hon. Members opposite say that.

Mr. Profumo

We say that we want a wide panel to make the choice. The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South said that the Government should choose these overlords, who would decide what we should look at and listen to in our homes. According to the right hon. Gentleman, they would say to the people, "You shall have no freedom of choice," and they would tell the people, on whose backs the party opposite climbed to power in the last six years, that they are not fit to choose their own entertainment.

How does that line up with "Labour believes in Britain"? The only answer that I know to that is not a very Parliamentary one—it is "Gertcha." In the name of freedom—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—whose country is this, anyway? It does not belong to the Labour Party. It does not belong to the intellectuals, to the B.B.C. or to the Press. It belongs to the people, and my hon. Friends and I on this side believe that the people have an indisputable right of choice in everything, including their entertainment.

The great American statesman Thomas Jefferson once said that The sum total of the common sense of the common people is the greatest force on earth. I believe that in this question we should leave the choice to the common sense of the people. It is not our right as politicians to stop them trying out an experiment of this sort. We can only test it out by letting them try it out themselves, and I believe that if we leave it to their common sense we will do the right thing.

8.42 p.m.

Rev. Llywelyn Williams (Abertillery)

I want to commence a speech which, I hope, will be very brief by repeating and underlining what was said by the Home Secretary when he opened the debate. The right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the B.B.C. as being unsurpassed, if not unequalled, in the whole world. That statement has, by and large, been repeated by other hon. Members on both sides of the House. If it is true, I cannot see what validity there can be in the arguments put forward by hon. Members opposite in favour of sponsored television as an initial stage and possibly of sponsored radio at a later stage.

I was impressed by one typical piece of Conservative arrogance. It was a statement made by the hon. and gallant Member for Bedford (Captain Soames). He said that the onus of proof against the introduction of sponsored television lay completely on this side of the House. That statement is typical of the mentality of those on the benches opposite.

The B.B.C. has been in existence for many years and has increasingly won for itself a very high reputation. Why should the onus of proof for a continuation of a system which the Home Secretary described as unsurpassed, if not unequalled. rest with those who believe in its continuance? Rather, I suggest, the onus of proof for the introduction of sponsored television lies on the other side, whose arguments today have been far from convincing.

There has been a strange similarity between the arguments we have heard today and those that were put forward from the other side some time ago when the Government insisted upon changing the set-up of public houses in the new towns. The same arguments for doing away with State public houses and introducing private enterprise public houses have been adduced today with regard to sponsored television.

When I hear the hon. Member for Stratford (Mr. Profumo) or any other hon. Member opposite using such words as "freedom" or "enterprise," I instinctively look for the vested interests which are camouflaged by such terms. All the arguments we have heard have been of the same pattern. The real question is whether the introduction of sponsored television as an initial step—and, I have no illusion in my mind, sponsored full radio as a further step—would better the B.B.C. service as we know it today? Can that be proved?

Will hon. Members opposite tell us, with their hands on their hearts, that they genuinely believe that there are not enough facilities within the existing setup to cater for all the tastes in culture, entertainment and education that we have in this country today? Do they believe that the sponsored system would be better? Are they really not more concerned with the advertisers than with the-listening public? Naturally, the arguments have been to propagate the interests of the listening public, but they sound very hollow, very sham and phoney. What we have heard is the voice of the advertisers, of the great businesses of this country, and we have recognised that voice now for a long time.

Mr. Profumo

Did the hon. Member, who is referring to me, not hear me say that I am not an advertiser?

Mr. Richard Fort (Clitheroe)

Can the hon. Member tell the House that he and his party are the only people speaking for the people?

Rev. LI. Williams

Naturally I would not say that, but I would equally dispute the right of hon. Members opposite to say that they are speaking on behalf of the listening public when I believe that they are speaking on behalf of business interests and vested interests.

Mr. Profumo

On a point of order. Is it in order for an hon. Member to make an imputation of that nature—that those of us speaking on this side of the House are speaking with the voice of advertising?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hopkin Morris)

It is not in order to impute motives to hon. Members making speeches.

Rev. LI. Williams

I wish to come to one or two criticisms of the proposals of the White Paper in regard to appointments. I am not satisfied with the setting up of a small Committee to appoint the Governors, however distinguished the personnel of that Committee may be. I think the appointment of the Governors could be done, as on previous occasion, by the Prime Minister. I have heard it suggested that the reason the Government are insisting on this Committee is that they believe this country will not see another Conservative Prime Minister for the next 50 years.

The Governors are important people. The Home Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) both emphasised the importance of the Governors. Surely we can entrust the appointment of Governors to the Prime Minister. He chooses the bishops and they are important people—at least the Editor of Crockford's Clerical Directory seems to think so. The Prime Minister also appoints Governors of Colonies and they are very important personages. I am not convinced that the setting up of this Committee is necessary.

Another criticism I Have to offer is the appointing of whole-time staff by the Broadcasting Councils. I am opposed to that because I have very good reason for believing that the staffs concerned are vehemently opposed to this method of appointment, and I believe that their wishes in this matter should be consulted.

I wish to refer to the constitution of the national Broadcasting Councils. I agree in part with the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. J. Taylor), though Wales does not enjoy the dignified status of having a Secretary of State for Wales, although I hope the Home Secretary will allow me to accept him as being at least one sign of something approaching that direction. Nevertheless, I believe that these suggestions in the White Paper are a very helpful compromise. We, on our side, put forward a proposal for a larger sort of Council, but what is contained in the White Paper is, I believe, a helpful and genuine attempt to try to meet the wishes of both sides of the House on this point.

The only other suggestion I should like to make to the Home Secretary is that instead of the five-three apportionment I should have preferred a four-four apportionment, so that we could have one representative each from the county council, the borough council, the urban district council and the rural district council, giving us a complete cross-section of life in Wales.

I conclude with a reference to the tremendous possibilities in broadcasting, in particular with regard to the development of the essential nationhood of a nation like Scotland and one like Wales, for which naturally I speak. I am very concerned about the future of my own nation, and I hope that the English Members will listen to me sympathetically and understandingly on this point. There is no doubt whatever that the English way of life as it is understood will remain: there are enough Englishmen to ensure that, and English culture is so widely diffused, so universally recognised, that there can be no possible doubt about the future status of what we call English culture or the English way of life.

Wales, however, is a small nation, and in the strains and stresses of this standardising age in which we live, I must confess to a very genuine and sincere concern about that nation. We are to have this new Charter for the next 10 years. I believe, speaking generally, that on the lines we find set out in the White Paper great things can yet be done through the medium of the radio for the enriching of the culture and the entertainment of Wales.

I assure the Home Secretary, in particular, who bears a special responsibility for Welsh affairs, and the House generally, that if this devolutionary process, this de-centralisation, this giving of executive power to this new Broadcasting Council in Wales, leads, to a perpetuation of the genuine culture of my people, it will be of lasting value. I ask the House to believe me, as one who can speak about the whole of Wales—I have lived in 100 per cent. Welsh-speaking Wales, in 60 per cent. Welsh-speaking Wales, and I now live in a completely Anglicised part of Wales—that there is such a thing as a Welsh culture and that it is worth preserving. I heard last night programmes which were definite proof and evidence that that culture is not synthetic and is not unnatural. It springs up spontaneously from the people to whom I am proud to belong, and I hope that this new Charter will perpetuate that great tradition.

8.55 p.m.

Mr. Niall Macpherson (Dumfries)

In the few minutes left to me, I wish to say a few words as the only Member for a Scottish constituency who has been called from this side of the House.

I endorse the last part of the speech of the hon. Member for Abertillery (Rev. LI. Williams). I think it is common ground and was recognised fully by the Beveridge Committee, which commented adversely on the "limited scope" of the regional Advisory Councils and also drew attention to the "vigorously voiced demand for greater autonomy" both in Scotland and in Wales.

My own view is that it would have been a mistake to have substituted a monopoly either in Scotland or in Wales for the British monopoly as such. I should have liked to see some experiment made in the preservation of local Scottish traditions by setting up local stations. That was indeed advocated by the Beveridge Committee as one of the channels they desired to see left open. I cherish the hope that the possibility will still remain open in the long run.

In considering the general question of devolution, I agree with what was said by the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. M. MacPherson) regarding the difficulty of carrying it out. There are three things to consider; first, the appointment; secondly, the function; and thirdly, the constitution best adapted to carry out the function.

On the subject of the appointment, the present situation is that there is virtual programme autonomy already in Scotland, and I take it there is also in Wales. The criticism surely must be simply that the autonomy is exercised through the regional controller, who is himself appointed by the B.B.C. I put this to my hon. Friend who is to reply. The Governors who are to be Chairmen of these national Councils are to be appointed by the same means as the other Governors are appointed, that is to say, by a panel, on which, in the case of Wales, there will be no Welshman and in the case of Scotland there may only be one Scotsman.

Regarding the appointment of the members of the Councils, the position is that the panel is apparently to be taken from the General Advisory Council of the B.B.C. and the same panel is to make the appointments for Scotland and Wales. That seems an exceedingly odd arrangement. I do not know whether the attention of my hon. Friend has been directed to the advice given by the Scottish Advisory Council, who suggested that it would be much better to have an ad hoc committee sitting under the Secretary of State for Scotland to make these appointments. I was also struck by the suggestion made by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. J. Taylor) that, at any rate so far as Scotland was concerned, the Committee of ex-Secretaries of State should perform this task.

I am afraid there is little time left but I would say this with regard to the functions of the Councils. According to the White Paper, their function is to be executive so far as the programmes are concerned. So far as capital development and finance are concerned, it is to be advisory. The chairman alone is to be paid, the other members are to be unpaid. I should like to ask how often it is envisaged that the Council will meet. Is it to meet only three times a year, as has happened in the past, or how often will it meet?

It is wrong to consider that the Council will perform the same kind of tasks as those which, for example, a town council performs. If it is to have executive functions it must act in the nature of a board of directors rather than a committee of a town council choosing the caretaker for a building. If there are to be real executive functions, there will be a division of loyalty on the part of the regional controller. So far as programmes are concerned, his loyalty will be towards the chairman of the Council, and in regard to capital development it will be to the Director-General and the Board of Governors. The regional controller will be placed in a difficult situation, and so will the chairman and members of the Council.

I hope that the Government will look at this question again to see whether it is possible to take a step in the right direction by allowing somebody outside the B.B.C. orbit to appoint the Council. This will ensure that they are not put in a position similar to that of the chairman of a consultative committee in the fuel and power industry or the Advisory Council on Scottish Aviation. In an Adjournment Debate within the last fortnight this has been admitted to be an unsatisfactory set-up. I apologise for having taken two minutes more than I had intended and, though there is much more that I should like to say, I must now conclude.

9.2 p.m.

Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)

Having listened to almost every speaker in this debate, I have been struck by the toleration which has been shown, despite the deep differences of opinion. The subject has been approached sensibly and we have heard some exceedingly good speeches.

Three major points have emerged. One is the method of selecting Governors. The second is the question of the regional Councils. The third is the outstanding point which divides us perhaps more deeply than any other—the question of commercial television. It was surprising that everyone who spoke in favour of commercial television also objected to monopoly, as if commercial television were the only alternative to monopoly. I will deal with that matter later.

Before discussing these three major points, I wish to refer to a number of questions about which there is some small difference of opinion. There are other matters upon which there is general agreement, and I do not propose to refer to them. First, I wish to mention the Television Advisory Committee, which has not been discussed at all. I ask the Assistant Postmaster-General to let us know whether it is intended to re-animate this Committee, to give it proper powers and to have it fully constituted. It has been moribund for a long time while we have been talking about the new Charter.

Television development has now reached a stage when it is essential for the Government to be guided by an adequate, competent Television Advisory Committee. I hope that it will be representative and that it will cover all interests. The other point I wish to mention is the question of the Assistant Directors-General. It would be wrong to have two Directors-General. It would be like having two women in the same kitchen. It would be highly undesirable.

Mr. Hobson

And just as unsatisfactory.

Mr. Ness Edwards

I presume that it would be just as unsatisfactory; but I am attracted by the idea of Assistant Directors-General. I would hope that the Governors, when they come to consider this, would also consider the idea of having Assistant Directors-General for television, in order to give television a new status inside the B.B.C., a new authority and, perhaps, a new drive. It is difficult for those reared in sound, who have made such a magnificent job of sound broadcasting, not to regard television as an interloper, and when one thinks of that, it would perhaps be wise, if there are to be Assistant Directors-General, that one should be in charge of television, because there would be a considerable amount of scope and opportunity for vigorous development.

My next point is in connection with paragraph 23 of the White Paper. The Home Secretary and his colleagues have taken the same view as we took that the Advisory Councils as they now exist are not sufficiently representative, but ought to be widened and made more representative in character. The selection has been on too narrow a field, and, when I have looked at some of the advisory councils, it has seemed to me that everybody who was a crank was able to become a member, when what was really wanted was some good common sense, representing the listener, who should come first, and not the specialist, who is merely concerned about pushing his own narrow interest. We welcome the declaration which agrees with the recommendations of the Beveridge Committee that these Advisory Councils should be made much more representative.

I come now to the question of monopoly. The monopoly of the B.B.C. is a peculiar one. Let us see what it does. This monopoly does not produce only one programme. It sends out seven programmes in seven different directions, and, in that sense, there is complete variety. In addition, there are the Light Programme and the Third Programme. There is no cramping of opinion or of taste here. The whole field is covered, and covered by nine different programme directors. It is quite wrong to say that in this sense the B.B.C. restricts either taste or type in the programmes it sends out.

In the regions, as is well known, and especially by some hon. Gentlemen opposite, the regional controllers have almost complete autonomy over their home programmes, and in that sense we are being provided with seven varieties of programme.

Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, North)

All to the same recipe.

Mr. Ness Edwards

They are not all to the same recipe, because many of these regional programmes are quite different from the national programme. Indeed, there is a great deal of controversy as to which of these programmes is best and which are not so good. To that extent, this monopoly is providing what a monopoly does not generally do, and that is variety to meet all tastes over wide sections of the community.

Let me take the next point. After all, this is a public monopoly with public accountability. What it does is not done in secret, because it is answerable to this House, and that cannot be said for private monopoly. What private monopoly does is seen in the case of the glass industry, in which the radio industry is so much concerned and interested. The glass industry's control over the electronics industry is reflected in the prices which that industry has to pay today. That is a private monopoly, but it cannot be suggested that the B.B.C., a public monopoly, is not accountable either to Parliament or to the public in this country.

I was rather surprised at the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who stated his case fairly, when he came to consider the objections to monopolies in relation to the B.B.C. He made four points. I did not get his first point, but one of the others was that the B.B.C. were complacent. But he produced not one iota of evidence to show how the B.B.C. were complacent. He agreed that the B.B.C. have devolved authority to the seven regions. What he was really saying was that there is no competition within the B.B.C. Really, if that is his view, he has been badly briefed. Inside the B.B.C., and indeed between the regions, there is most intense competition as to the number of listeners they are able to get for their particular programmes.

Another point made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman was that inherently a monopoly does not allow the listener to have a choice. He did not relate that to the B.B.C. because most listeners in this country have the choice of three programmes, and most people with decent sets can get as many as seven programmes.

Mr. Fell

What about television?

Mr. Ness Edwards

I am talking about the B.B.C. in relation to sound, and, after all, the argument against the B.B.C. as a monopoly was with regard to its main department.

Then the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that where there was a monopoly the artistes were restricted. He did not produce a single piece of evidence to prove that any artiste in this country has been badly treated by the B.B.C. After all, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is a legal gentleman and in stating a case he usually submits the evidence for his convictions. He will not find a single case where the B.B.C. has blacklisted or victimised any artiste in this country.

This is very contrary to the praise given to the B.B.C. by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. His arguments against monopoly, which indirectly were arguments against the B.B.C., were in complete conflict with all the praise he gave to the B.B.C. and in complete conflict with what is said by the Government in the White Paper. That document talks about the excellent job done by the B.B.C.

At this point I should like to add my tribute to those paid to Sir William Haley. I came in contact with him when I was Postmaster-General and I found him to be one of the most brilliant men in the country. He carried on the traditions set by Lord Reith. We should not forget the excellent Governors we have had, who share the responsibility for the high reputation which the B.B.C has attained, not only in this country, but throughout the world.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that, in selecting the Governors, we should rob this House of the accountability of this monopoly to it. That is a strange doctrine. I thought that what the right hon. and learned Gentleman wanted was to have more effective control over these monopolies. What he seeks to do by this method of selecting the Governors is to rob this House of control over the Governors, and those two things seem to me to run in completely opposite directions.

My right hon. Friend put the matter very clearly, but there is one point I should like to add. He cited the case where the present Opposition objected to the selection of certain Governors. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his hon. Friends transfer themselves for a change, as they may be transferred before long in fact, to this side of the House? Let them put themselves in the position of an Opposition when new Governors are being selected. Suppose the Labour Government of the day select Governors whom they do not like when they are sitting on this side of the House. What remedy will they have? The present Prime Minister would then be the Leader of the Opposition and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite would be extremely embarrassed in raising the matter in the House when their own leader had agreed to the appointments.

Suppose the Governors do something the House does not like. How are we to raise the matter in the House? Who is Ministerially responsible for the actions of the Governors? All that this system does is to clothe the Governors with the powers of private monopoly and rob them of the quality of public accountability.

This is entirely wrong. We shall vote against it if this is forced to a Division. Does the Home Secretary realise that in that event we should also have to vote against the Licence and the Charter and that that trouble is in front of him? I speak subject to correction, but I believe that this would be the first time the House had divided on the question of the Charter and Licence of the B.B.C. That would be bad for the B.B.C. and bad for the future of broadcasting in this country.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to interrupt?

Mr. Ness Edwards

No, I am very much behind time. I wanted to refer to the Broadcasting Councils, but I must now come to the other major issue which divides us. That is the question of commercial television. I was tempted to read what the "Manchester Guardian" leader had to say. I hope the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing) will not leave, because I am going to quote something that he said.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

The right hon. Gentleman will not give way.

Mr. Ness Edwards

I wanted to leave time for the Assistant Postmaster-General to reply to the debate. I must cover some points and I must be allowed to decide myself what I shall say. I was tempted to read what the "Manchester Guardian" had to say today in its leader about the nature of this White Paper. Really I am surprised at the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary accepting responsibility for this. He has always been fair to the House and he has always been clear.

What is he promising to his hon. Friends behind him, those who have been pushing him forward into the indecency of this commercial television? The Government propose that there shall be some element of competition when capital resources allow. That is jam tomorrow and none today. Then the White Paper says that Parliament should be consulted before the licensing of the first commercial station. Paragraph 9 of the White Paper states that a controlling body is to be set up to exercise general oversight in case of abuse.

In all the bursts about freedom that we have had from back benchers opposite, not one of them has suggested that there should be unrestricted, free competition. They trust the advertisers so much that the only freedom they will give them is freedom with censorship on top of it.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

Like the films and the theatre.

Mr. Ness Edwards

The hon. Member's argument has completely destroyed that since apparently there is to be no propaganda for religion and none for politics. The only propaganda which will be allowed, apparently, because it will be propaganda on television, will be for beer, pools, pills and patent medicines. That is the sort of thing the right hon. and learned Gentleman is providing for the future. He is preparing a paradise for the cheapjack.

Let us go one step further. In paragraph 10 it is said: … the radio industry must be given as soon as possible the technical information necessary to enable them to design and produce adaptors. Paragraph 11 says that the B.B.C. must have first claim to complete television coverage and to introduce V.H.F. Hon. Members opposite know that for the next five years the electronics industry will have all it can do to meet the needs of the defence programme in this country.

Captain Robert Ryder (Merton and Morden) rose——

Mr. Ness Edwards

I am loath to give way because if I do so I shall be robbing the Assistant Postmaster-General of his time. We have both agreed to take half an hour, and I am disposed to have my half an hour.

As hon. Members know, and as I am sure the Assistant Postmaster-General himself will say, it is not possible to see for the next three or four years any possibility of the B.B.C. having completed television coverage with the new five low-power stations or having started V.H.F. in this country. So that for at least four years we shall not get this sponsored commercial television.

But hon. Members should have read the debate in the other place. I listened to quite a lot of it. What struck me was that the Lord Chancellor apparently had an entirely different view of the Government's intentions from that of the Postmaster-General. It appears that there is a split in the Cabinet. It appears that there is the difficulty of maintaining a sense of political decency and pleasing the big boys behind.

But one does not need to go to another place to ascertain what the Government are thinking. One need only read the speech of the Parliamentary private secretary to the Minister of Labour, who is interested and has played a distinguished part in the radio industry, and who I believe is still a director of one of the the firms. This is what he said: Next year television sets which can be switched to different channels will be on sale to the public. One channel will receive the B.B.C., the second the future alternative programmes. Owners of existing monopoly sets will be able to buy adaptors for about £5. In the last three years the B.B.C. has been allowed £5,500,000 for capital construction. One-tenth of this might be permitted to competitors in the next three. I cannot subscribe to the theory that the B.B.C. can go on developing its system while all others are banned. The hon. Gentleman's speech does not coincide in its prophecy with what we have been told today by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who opened the debate. I do not know whether his brief was prepared in the Ministry of Labour, by the Conservative Central Office, or whether it was prepared by Pye's or Cossor's, but it seems to me that the industry have been led to believe that they will get something which this White Paper denies them.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. Surely it is desirable that we should place on the market sets which are up to date and ready to receive these programmes when they arrive. These sets are already designed, for they are exported all over the world, because other nations do not have the same monopoly as we have here. There is under-employment in the radio industry, so there is certainly capacity for these sets to be built. Finally, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman this question? Does his party intend to repeal this legislation if they get back into power?—because that appears to be the whole trend of his argument.

Mr. Ness Edwards

When we are returned to power our position will be completely reserved. This Government do not determine what the next Government are going to do.

The hon. Gentleman should remember that the Lord Chancellor did not take the narrow view which hon. Gentlemen here take about sound and television. The Lord Chancellor, speaking in the other place, said that he was in favour of sponsored programmes on the radio. He was not proposing to keep inviolate the B.B.C. constitution. I am wondering whether he was echoing what Lord Woolton said in 1951, before he accepted responsibility. Lord Woolton then said: I have come to the conclusion that the B.B.C. should be retained in full possession of their present powers, except that they should not have, for any long period, the exclusive right of broadcasting in this country."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 25th July, 1951; Vol. 172, c. 1222.] [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do not know what hon. Members are "hear-hearing" about. The noble Lord was talking about the medium waveband. [HON. MEMBERS: "He was not."] We have 11 wavelengths allotted to us. Which wavelength is to be taken away from which region to provide commercial broadcasting? Is it to be the Third Programme? Is it to be the Light Programme? Which station is to be handed over to the commercial people, to the big traders and the big advertisers?—not the little man, about whom the Conservative Party have been so much concerned.

I should like to commend to the House the speeches which were made by Lord Halifax, Lord Samuel and Lord Waverley in another place. I would equally commend the speech made by the hon. Member for Southgate (Mr. Baxter), who described the effects which television can have on the minds of the people. Television which is devised and slanted in order to sell goods is television that can have an evil effect on people. I know of one programme in America—I cannot quote the name—where, right at the end, the fellow who was advertising cigars said: "Is your heart pitter-pattering? You are smoking the wrong cigars. "That is the sort of thing to which I am referring. Everybody becomes introspective in consequence of that sort of programme.

I do not know how many people read the "Evening Standard" last evening. It contained an interview with Jack Solomons. It is amazing how many people are introspective about their health, and television can be one of the greatest causes of introspection in relation to health when people are selling pills and patent medicine.

I would say to the Government that we are divided deeply on these two issues. Are the Government determined to divide the nation on these two new issues which they have thrown into the arena? They have no mandate for them. There is no public demand for them. There appears to be only what might be termed some private log-rolling. I ask the Government not to be doctrinaire on the question of monopoly. This is a monopoly which has done a good job. In my view, if the Government persist in going on with these proposals, they are casting aspersions on the B.B.C. They are doing damage to our reputation and are making the B.B.C. a plaything of politics. They are doing irreparable harm.

I hope the hon. Gentleman will be able to say that the Government are prepared to consider all that has been said in the debate. Let us see whether we can march together about the B.B.C., rather than be divided. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may take an irresponsible view, but this is a very important charge in our hands. We are responsible for it, and I hope we shall exercise our responsibility with due regard to the public service and without regard to private profit.

9.31 p.m.

The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. David Gammans)

With one thing which the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) said, I am in complete agreement—and that concerns the sincerity which has characterised all speeches from both sides of the House today. May I thank the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) for the temperate way in which he opened the debate from that side of the House? It is a debate which has shown the House of Commons at its best, in the sense that although we are divided politically on two great issues, nevertheless we have tried to express our views without accusing each other of bad motives.

The right hon. Member for Caerphilly asked me about the Television Advisory Committee. It is true that has not met for a year, and the reason largely is that until policy had been decided the Committee could not meet. We intend it to meet, we intend to enlarge its membership and we intend that its scope shall also include very high frequency. Both he and other hon. Gentlemen raised a point about the provision made in the White Paper for two Directors-General. As the White Paper says, there is only provision, and it will be left to the Governors to appoint a second Director-General if they, and they alone, think fit. The point which was at the back of our minds was that in years to come the B.B.C. themselves might like a second Director-General, because sound and television might be absolutely divided.

As most of us expected that it would, the debate has concentrated on the proposals for the appointment of the Governors and on the question of sponsored television. Those are the two points which appear in the Opposition Amendment. First of all, on the appointment of the Governors. I want to try to explain to the House what has led the Government to take this action. They have thought about it very carefully, and it is only because they hold very sincerely that this change is desirable that they have made the change at all. We thought the idea would appeal to the party opposite for one reason——

Mr. H. Morrison

Why could not we have been asked about these two big things? Why should the Government assume that we should favour something without asking us? We could have done it privately?

Mr. Gammans

I do not think it is necessarily usual for a party in power——

Mr. Morrison

The hon. Gentleman said he thought we should like it.

Mr. Gammans

We had imagined so, and I want to tell the right hon. Gentleman why. The objective is one thing and one thing only—to take the B.B.C. out of party politics; not to take it out of Parliamentary control, but to take it out of party politics. As my right hon. and learned Friend said in opening the debate, there has never been any question of doubting the impartiality of the Governors in the past, and this proposal was in no sense a criticism of them.

Mr. Ivor Owen Thomas (The Wrekin) rose——

Mr. Gammans

I cannot give way.

We live in a time when the lights of freedom are being dimmed all over the world, and when totalitarian governments are spreading from one end of the world to the other. We should be foolish in the extreme if we took the view that, because the B.B.C. has never been accused of partiality in the past, there is no danger of its falling into undesirable hands in the future. The most foolish thing a Democracy could say today is the phrase:" It couldn't happen here. "That phrase could easily be the epitaph on the tombstone of Democracy.

There is another reason which prompted the Government to put forward this idea. It is not only that the B.B.C. must be taken out of political hands, but that it must also appear to be so taken. I understand from the Governors of the B.B.C. that from time to time they are accused of political partiality, but that on the whole the charges made by one party balance the charges made by another. If this new method is adopted, no suspicion of partiality will remain.

The Opposition have made great play with the point that if they agreed with with this proposal Parliament would be losing its control over the B.B.C. The proposal is deliberately intended to mean that, so far as the appointment of Governors is concerned, Parliament shall lose its control. To suggest that by so doing Parliament is losing control over the B.B.C. generally is, in my submission, absolute nonsense. After all, the House still controls the amount of money that the B.B.C. shall spend. As my right hon. and learned Friend has said, the affairs of the B.B.C. can be brought up in this House on many occasions.

The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South made what I thought was superficially a good point. He said: "This is no real safeguard against the misuse of the B.B.C.'s powers. If ever dictatorship came to this country, what would be the value of the provisions in the White Paper?" It is not against that sort of danger that these provisions are meant to operate. I would agree that if ever we came to the stage of absolute dictatorship in this country nothing that appeared in the constitution would be any safeguard to anybody. Anybody who takes that view has misread the history of Communism during the past 10 years.

If ever a dictatorship comes to this country it will not be by military coup d'état. It will be by the gradual infiltration of Communist practices by people who do not claim to be Communists but pretend that they are something else. Czechoslovakia was never conquered by the Red Army entering Prague. If the B.B.C. ever gets into the wrong hands it will not be because someone turns up in Langham Place with a tommy gun. It will be because insidious pressure will have been put on the B.B.C. over a period of time.

It is disturbing that the Opposition will not support this safeguard. It means either that they do not see that there is a danger or that, if they do see there is a danger, it does not worry them. I should have thought there was another reason why the Opposition would have favoured this proposal, which is that it would be an interesting experiment for other State Corporations. A large percentage of industry is now under State ownership, and the vast majority will remain there. Whatever may have been our misgivings when these industries were nationalised, it is now up to all of us to make them work. We know that it is difficult enough in all conscience to run a nationalised industry, but if there is one thing which would do more than anything to establish confidence in the nationalised industries, it would be to remove in every sense their control from the political arena.

Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick) rose——

Mr. Gammans

No, I will not give way.

We want to get away from the idea that anyone was appointed because he was a Conservative or a Socialist. For this reason we might have expected the support of the Opposition on this question.

I come now to the other issue, that of sponsoring. As my right hon. and learned Friend said in opening, this proposal is in the nature of a compromise between two opposite points of view very sincerely and passionately held but, apparently, quite irreconcilable. I want to assure the House that this is not a compromise prompted by either weakness or irresolution. It is a genuine attempt to meet the views held on both sides. Behind this compromise are very distinct and vital principles, and the first is—and here we differ entirely from right hon. Gentlemen opposite—that this Government do not believe in monopolies. It would be impossible for this Government to take a stand against monopolies and allow the B.B.C. monopoly to exist.

The second principle is that the B.B.C., with a high reputation established over many years, shall not be interfered with. It remains the principle instrument of television and the sole instrument of sound broadcasting. It retains its present wavelengths. It alone will get revenue from the State, and there is no interference with its present plans of development both in sound and television. What is more, it is to have a priority in the fulfilment of those plans before it is expected to meet any competition at all.

I should like to try to state what are the two opposing schools of thought as revealed by this debate. Many of my hon. Friends take the view that in breaking the B.B.C. monopoly the Government are not going fast enough or far enough. They see no reason why the competition should not exist in sound broadcasting. They point out that a very high frequency station can be set up at a small fraction of the cost of a television station, and even with the present restriction on capital development, the very high frequency station could be working in a short space of time.

Some of my hon. Friends—and I include my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse) and my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford (Mr. Profumo) in this—have got the impression that they doubt whether the Government are in earnest in their declaration that competition in television will be permitted. I know some of them take the view that the Government have deliberately chosen the more expensive medium, that is television, as opposed to sound broadcasting, because it means putting off for a longer time the thing that they want.

My answer to that is that, so far as sound broadcasting is concerned, it can very well be argued that the monopoly of the B.B.C. has long since been broken. Anyone in this country with a reasonably good set can tune in to a variety of stations abroad. We have heard a lot about Radio Luxembourg. I do not know how many people listen to it, but it is claimed that every night they have an average listening public of 5,000,000 people. What this programme is, in effect, is a British commercial station in regard to which we have the worst of all possible worlds. We have no means of influencing the programmes, and the Government derives no direct revenue from it. The reason why we have chosen television is that in television, on the other hand, there is only one station, and that is the B.B.C.

Several of my hon. Friends have raised the point as to whether the Government are in earnest, and I want to make this quite clear. The Government are in earnest, not only over breaking the B.B.C. monopoly, but also in permitting sponsored television. They have decided that the B.B.C. shall be allowed to have priority over the completion of the programmes that was held up because of the capital cuts. But that does not mean that, when adequate resources of money and materials are available, competitive television must wait until the B.B.C. extension is complete in all respects. It does not mean that the B.B.C. will have to put the last coat of varnish on any building that they may put up before competitive television can be started. In fact, it is the hope of the Government that it will be possible before long that this experiment can actually be started and that the controlling body should be set up. So much for what I believe to be the analysis of opinion as expressed on this side of the House.

What about the other side? It is a very long time since I remember a case which has been presented with more exaggeration, not only in the House but outside it. To read some of the Press reports, one would have imagined that the B.B.C. was to be closed down altogether. There has been all this wild talk about taste being debased because people would be compelled to look at or to listen to programmes of a much lower standard than they had before. Never once in all the discussions has there been any suggestion that the B.B.C. should be curtailed, either in its money, its wavelengths, or its plans.

I see in "The Times" this morning the following statement: It was clear from the White Paper that pressure from an active group of Conservative back-benchers to upset the B.B.C. had been resisted. I say to hon. Gentlemen opposite who wish to be assured, that there never has been the slightest suggestion of interfering in the B.B.C. in any respect whatsoever, except the breaking of their monopoly. If these experiments in sponsored television turn out to be as unpopular as hon. Gentlemen opposite suggest, all that they have to do is to summon the resolute energy to twiddle the knob.

Sir Waldron Smithers (Orpington) rose——

Hon. Members

Give way.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I hope that we can conduct the remaining stages of the debate with a little less noise.

Mr. Gammans

I am very interested to see why the Opposition defended their case. The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South denied that the B.B.C. was a monopoly at all. The right hon. Member, before he makes that sort of statement, had better get together with his right hon. Friend the Member for Smeth-wick (Mr. Gordon Walker), who in the debate on 19th July, 1951, said: … there should be a monopoly of broadcasting in this country under public control…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th July, 1951; Vol. 490, c. 1435.] That is exactly what the B.B.C. is today. Lord Reith has always claimed that the B.B.C. is a monopoly, and of course, it is a monopoly in every sense of the word. If the Opposition are going to say that the British people are to be compelled to accept a monopoly for their own good, then I say that no greater insult can be offered to our race. At election time we entrust the vote to people over the age of 21, They have full power to make most drastic decisions and they can read what newspapers they like. There is no-censorship of films. What justification is there on ethical grounds for saying that in' the limited field of radio and television the State should decide what they should see and what they should listen to?

What worries me, and what I think will worry many people in the country is, if the Opposition insist that there should be a monopoly of entertainment, what guarantee have we that they are going to stop there? Every argument used today to defend the B.B.C. monopoly could be used to justify a monopoly of the Press.

Another argument which has been put forward is that the B.B.C. have not done too badly, so why interfere with it—Let well alone. This is a curious doctrine to preach. If in our national life we had been actuated by the idea that what we have now is quite good enough, why should any one want anything different, there would not have been very much progress of the human race. If I may take a political analogy, I would point out that if we had adopted that principle 50 years ago there would never have been a Labour Party. After all, there were two perfectly good parties in this country, why should we have another?

So far as broadcasting is concerned, the attitude we take is that because one particular system has served us well in the past, that is no reason why in changing conditions we should insist on that system. I was much impressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser), who was a Governor of the B.B.C, who said today that he was in favour of monopoly to start with but now, in changing circumstances, he favoured competition. We have heard a lot about advertising interests and the effect they are supposed to have. I wonder who they are?

Mr. G. Lindgren (Wellingborough)

Turn round.

Mr. Gammans

Are they the same people who advertise in the "Daily Herald"? If so, they are a fairly mixed bag. Looking at the "Daily Herald" this morning, we find first, an advertisement on the front page from Lloyds Bank, and in the middle page an advertisement for Persil. On the third page five gentlemen who wanted to lend money without security advertised, and Sherman's Pools advertised on the back page. On page 2 there was an exhortation to the readers of the "Daily Herald" to keep up their nerve power. Do these people influence the policy of the "Daily Herald," as has been suggested sponsored programmes would be influenced?

What about the "Radio Times," read by more people than any other periodical in this country? I do not know whether hon. Members are aware that the total from advertisements for one issue of the "Radio Times" is £25,000, which is more than £1 million a year. In this week's issue, on page 2 there is an advertisement for Lux soap. Do they put pressure on the B.B.C.?

We have the argument constantly reiterated, but never explained, that competitive television must necessarily be bad and vulgar. All this talk about beer and Beethoven is good tub-thumping alliteration, but not good sense. Is there an objection that a Beethoven Symphony would be interrupted every few minutes by advertisements for beer, or anything else? Any company doing that would be out of business in 12 months——

Mr. Hobson

Not in the States.

Mr. Gammans

The hon. Member says "Not in the States." What do Members opposite think the controlling body is for, if not to prevent that very debasement of taste to which we object in the case of the United States?

The truth is that the B.B.C. protagonists have hopelessly over-played their hand. They have rushed to the rescue of the B.B.C. as if it were some puling infant in swaddling clothes, instead of a monster Corporation well organised and highly financed. If the B.B.C. is afraid to meet the competition of commercial radio, handicapped as commercial television will be, with all the safeguards that appear in this White Paper, all I can say is that there is something drastically wrong with the B.B.C., and the sooner it is shown up the better.

This debate has revealed not only a difference of opinion between the two sides of the House as to the way in which radio and television should be run. What is far more ominous is that it is shown how wide is the gulf which separates us in political philosophy. The Opposition have openly come out in favour of a monopoly of what the British public shall be allowed to hear and see. I think that is only a step towards establishing a monopoly of what they shall read or even what they shall say. They believe in the principle of the closed shop of the mind, and they do not trust the British people.

There was, 50 years ago, a famous speech made by a great bishop in this country at a time when drunkenness was one of the greatest social evils. He said: "I would sooner England were free than compulsorily sober." We have come a very long way along the road of the coercion of men's minds since the days when that statement was approved by the two great parties.

The other thing which is ominous is the refusal of the Opposition to remove the B.B.C. from party politics. We are prepared to shelter the B.B.C. for ever from the danger of political intrigue. The Socialists are not prepared to keep party politics out of the B.B.C., and I hope that the country will draw the right deduction.

We contend that in this White Paper we are standing for two vital principles, the principle of breaking a monopoly of the mind and the principle of keeping the B.B.C. out of party politics. It is because we are convinced that the majority of the people support these two principles that we lay this White Paper before the House tonight.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 304; Noes, 276.

Division No. 155.] AYES [10.0 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Erroll, F. J. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Alport, C. J. M. Fell, A. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Finlay, Graeme Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S. W.)
Amory, Heathooat (Tiverton) Fisher, Nigel Low, A. R. W.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Arbuthnot, John Fletcher-Cooke, C Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Fort, R. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Foster, John McAdden, S. J.
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)
Baker, P. A. D. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Mackeson, Brig, H. R.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Gage, C. H. McKibbin, A. J.
Baldwin, A. E. Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) McKie, J. H. (Galloway)
Banks, Col. C. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Maclean, Fitzroy
Barber, A. P. L. Gammans, L. D. MacLeod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Barlow, Sir John Garner-Evans, E. H. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)
Baxter, A. B. George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)
Beach, Maj. Hicks Glyn, Sir Ralph Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Godber, J. B. Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Gough, C. F. H. Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Gower, H. R. Markham, Major S. F.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Graham, Sir Fergus Marlowe, A. A. H.
Bennett, William (Woodside) Gridley, Sir Arnold Marples, A. E.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Grimond, J. Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)
Birch, Nigel Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Marshall, Sidney (Sutton)
Bishop, F. P. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Maudling, R.
Black, C. W. Hare, Hon. J. H. Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Boothby, R. J. G. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Medlicott, Brig. F.
Bossom, A. C. Harris, Reader (Heston) Mellor, Sir John
Bowen, E. R. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Molson, A. H. E.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter
Boyle, Sir Edward Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Braine, B. R. Harvie-Watt, Sir George Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.) Hay, John Nabarro, G. D. N.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nicholls, Harmar
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Henderson, John (Cathcart) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Brooman-White, R. C. Higgs, J. M. C. Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)
Browne, Jack (Govan) Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Nield, Basil (Chester)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.
Bullard, D, G. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Nugent, G. R. H.
Bullock, Capt. M. Hirst, Geoffrey Nutting, Anthony
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Holland-Martin, C. J. Oakshott, H. D.
Burden, F. F. A. Mollis, M. C. Odey, G. W.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.)
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Holt, A. F. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Carson, Hon. E. Hope, Lord John Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Cary, Sir Robert Hopkinson, Henry Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Channon, H. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Horobin, I. M. Osborne, C.
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Partridge, E.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L. Howard, Greville (St. Ives) Perkins, W. R. D.
Cole, Norman Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Colegate, W. A. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Peyton, J. W. W.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Hurd, A. R. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Pitman, I. J.
Cranborne, Viscount Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Powell, J. Enoch
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Crouch, R. F. Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich) Profumo, J. D.
Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Jennings, R. Raikes, H. V.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rayner, Brig. R.
Cuthbert, W. N. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Redmayne, M.
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Jones, A. (Hall Green) Remnant, Hon. P.
Davidson, Viscountess Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Ronton, D. L. M.
De la Bere, R. Kaberry, D. Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Deedes, W. F. Keeling, Sir Edward Robertson, Sir David
Digby, S. Wingfield Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge) Robinson, Roland (Blaokpoel, S.)
Doods-Parker, A. D. Lambert, Hon. G. Robson-Brown, W.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Lambton, Viscount Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Donner, P. W. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Roper, Sir Harold
Doughty. C. J. A. Langford-Holt, J. A. Ropner, Col, Sir Leonard
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Russell, R. S.
Drayson, G. B. Leather, E. H. C. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Drewe, G. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond) Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)
Duthie, W. S. Lindsay, Martin Scott, R. Donald
Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M Linstead, H. N. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Llewellyn, D. T. Shepherd, William
Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Studholme, H. G. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Summers, G. S. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Sutcliffe, H. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington) Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Smyth, Brig. J. G (Norwood) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Snadden, W. McN. Teeling, W. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Soames, Capt. C. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway) Watkinson, H. A.
Spearman, A. C. M. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Speir, R. M. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.) Wellwood, W.
Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.) Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth) White, Baker (Canterbury)
Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C N. Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Tilney, John Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Stevens, G. P. Touche, G. C. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.) Turner, H. F. L. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.) Turton, R. H. Wills, G.
Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. Tweedsmuir, Lady Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Storey, S. Vane, W. M. F. Wood, Hon. R.
Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Vesper, D. F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Butcher and Mr. Heath.
Acland, Sir Richard Delargy, H. J. Janner, B.
Adams, Richard Dodds, N. N. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.
Albu, A. H. Donnelly, D. L. Jeger, George (Goole)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Driberg, T. E. N. Jeger, Dr Santo (St. Pancras, S.)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Bromwich) Johnson, Jones (Rugby)
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Edelman, M. Jones, David (Hartlepool)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Edwards, John (Brighouse) Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S)
Awbery, S. S. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Ayles, W. H. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Bacon, Miss Alice Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Keenan, W.
Baird, J. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Kenyon, C.
Balfour, A. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Ewart, R. King, Dr. H. M.
Bartley, P. Fernyhough, E. Kinley, J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Fienburgh, W. Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Bence, C. R. Finch, H. J. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Benn, Wedgwood Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Lever, Harold (Cheetham)
Benson, G. Follick, M. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Beswick, F. Foot, M. M. Lewis, Arthur
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Forman, J. C. Lindgren, G. S.
Bing, G. H. C. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Blackburn, F. Freeman, John (Watford) Logan, D. G.
Blenkinsop, A. Freeman, Peter (Newport) MacColl, J. E.
Blyton, W. R. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. McGhes, H. G.
Boardman, H. Gibson, C. W. McGovern, J.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Glanville, James McInnes, J.
Bowden, H. W. Gooch, E. G. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Bowles, F. G. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. McLeavy, F.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) McNeil, Rl. Hon. H.
Brockway, A. F. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Grey, C. F. Mainwaring, W. H.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mann, Mrs. Jean
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Griffiths, William (Exchange) Manuel, A. C.
Burke, W. A. Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Burton, Miss F. E. Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mayhew, C. P.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Mellish, R. J.
Callaghan, L. J. Hamilton, W. W. Messer, F.
Carmichael, J. Hannan, W. Mikardo, Ian
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hardy, E. A. Mitchison, G. R.
Champion, A. J. Hargreaves, A. Monslow, W.
Chapman, W. D. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Moody, A. S.
Chetwynd, G. R. Hastings, S. Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.
Clunie, J. Hayman, F. H. Morley, R.
Cocks, F. S. Healey, Dennis (Leeds, S.E.) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Coldrick, W. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A (Rowley Regis) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H (Lewisham, S.)
Collick, P. H. Harbison, Miss M. Mort, D. L.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hewitson, Capt. M. Moyle, A.
Cove, W. G. Hobson, C. R. Mulley, F. W.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Holman, P. Murray, J. D.
Crossman, R. H. S. Houghton, Douglas Nally, W.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Hoy, J. H. Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Daines, P. Hubbard, T. F. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Oldfield, W. H.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oliver, G. H.
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Orbach, M.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Oswald, T.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Paget, R. T.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
de Freitas, Geoffrey Irving, W J. (Wood Green) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Deer, G. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pannell, Charles
Pargiter, G. A Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Wallace, H. W
Parker, J. Simmons, C J. (Brierley Hill) Watkins, T. E.
Paton, J. Slater, J. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Peart, T. F. Smith, Ellis (Stake, S.) Weitzman, D.
Plummer, Sir Leslie Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Poole, C. C. Snow, J. W. Wells, William (Walsall)
Popplewell, E. Sorensen, R. W. West, D. G.
Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton) Soskice, Rt- Hon. Sir Frank Wheatley, Rt. Hon John
Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Sparks, J. A. White, Mrs Eirene (E. Flint)
Proctor, W. T. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Pryde, D. J. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. Whiteley, Rt Hon W.
Rankin, John Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Wigg, George
Reeves, J. Strauss, Rt. Hon, George (Vauxhall) Wilcock, Group Capt. C A. B.
Reid, Thomas (Swindon) Stross, Dr. Barnett Wilkins, W. A.
Reid, William (Camlachie) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Rhodes, H. Swingler, S. T. Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)
Richards, R. Sylvester, G. O. Williams, David (Neath)
Rubens, Rt. Hon. A. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Taylor, John (West Lothian) Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth) Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Thomas, David (Aberdare) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Thomas, George (Cardiff) Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Ross, William Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Royle, C. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin) Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Schofield, S. (Barnsley) Thorneyoroft, Harry (Clayton) Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Shackleton, E. A. A. Thurtle, Ernest Wyatt, W. L.
Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley Timmons, J. Yates, V. F.
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Tomney, F. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Short, E. W. Turner-Samuels, M.
Shurmer, P. L. E. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Silverman, Julius (Erdington) Viant, S. P. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.

Main question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 297; Noes, 269.

Division No. 156.] AYES [10.11 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Carson, Hon E. Gage, C. H.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Cary, Sir Robert Gabraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)
Alport, C. J. M. Channon, H. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Gammans, L. D.
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Garner-Evans, E. H.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L. George, Rt. Hon. Maj G. Lloyd
Arbuthnot, John Cole, Norman Godber, J. B.
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Colegate, W. A. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Gough, C. F. H.
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Cooper, Son. Ldr. Albert Gower, H. R.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Gridley, Sir Arnold
Baker, P. A. D. Cranborne, Viscount Grimond, J.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Grimston, 'Hon. John (St. Albans)
Baldwin, A. E. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
Banks, Col. C. Crouch, R. F. Hare, Hon. J H.
Barber, A. P. L. Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)
Barlow, Sir John Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Harris, Reader (Heston)
Baxter, A. B. Cuthbert, W. N. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Beach, Maj. Hicks Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Davidson, Viscountess Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) De la Bère, R. Hay, John
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Deedes, W. F. Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Digby, S. Wingfield Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Dodds-Parker, A. D. Higgs, J. M. C.
Bennett, William (Woodside) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Donner, P. W. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Birch, Nigel Doughty, C. J. A. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Bishop, F. P. Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Hirst, Geoffrey
Black, C. W. Drayson, G. B. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Boothby, R. J. G. Drewe, G. Hollis, M. C.
Bossom, A. C. Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)
Bowen, E. R. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Holt, A. F.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Duthie, W. S. Hope, Lord John
Boyle, Sir Edward Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M. Hopkinson, Henry
Braine, B. R. Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Erroll, F. J Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Fell, A. Howard, Greville (St. Ives)
Brooman-While, R. C. Finlay, Graeme Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Browne, Jack (Govan) Fisher, Nigel Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P G. T. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.
Bullard, D. G. Fletcher-Cocke, C Hurd, A. R.
Bullock, Capt. M. Fort, R. Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Foster, John Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)
Burden, F. F. A. Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Hyde, Lt -Col H. M.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Hylton-Foster, H B. H.
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Jenkins, R. C D. (Dulwich)
Jennings, R. Morrison, John (Salisbury) Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Nabarro, G. D. N. Soames, Capt. C.
Jones, A. (Hall Green) Nicholls, Harmar Spearman, A. C. M.
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Speir, R. M.
Kaberry, D. Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Keeling, Sir Edward Nield, Basil (Chester) Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge) Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Lambert, Hon. G. Nugent, G. R. H. Stevens, G. P.
Lambton, Viscount Nutting, Anthony Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Oakshott, H. D. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Langford-Holt, J. A. Odey, G. W. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.) Storey, S.
Leather, E. H. C. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Studholme, H. G.
Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare) Summers, G. S.
Lindsay, Martin Osborne, C. Sutcliffe, H.
Linstead, H. N. Partridge, E. Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Llewellyn, D. T. Peaks, Rt. Hon. O. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Perkins, W. R. D. Teeling, W.
Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Peyton, J. W. W. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S. W.) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Thompson. Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Low, A. R. W. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Pitman, I. J. Thornton-Kernsley, Col. C. N.
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Powell, J. Enoch Tilney, John
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Touche, G. C.
McAdden, S. J. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Turner, H. F. L.
McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Profumo, J. D. Turton, R. H.
Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight) Raikes, H. V. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Rayner, Brig. R. Vane, W. M. F.
McKibbin, A. J. Redmayne, M. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K
MoKie, J. H. (Galloway) Remnant, Hon. P. Vosper, D. F.
Maclean, Fitzroy Renton, D. L. M. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
MacLeod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Robertson, Sir David Walker-Smith, D. C.
Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Ward, Hon George (Worcester)
Macpherson, Maj Niall (Dumfries) Robson-Brown, W. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Roper, Sir Harold Watkinson, H. A.
Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Markham, Major S. F. Russell, R. S. Wellwood, W.
Marlowe, A. A. H. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. White, Baker (Canterbury)
Marples, A. E. Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Williams, Rt. Hon Charles (Torquay)
Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Marshall, Sidney (Sutton) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Maudling, R. Scott, R. Donald Wills, G.
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr S. L. C Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Medlicott, Brig. F Shepherd, William Wood, Hon. R.
Mellor, Sir John Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W)
Molson, A, H. E. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Mr. Butcher and Mr. Heath.
Acland, Sir Richard Brook, Dryden (Halifax) de Freitas, Geoffrey
Adams, Richard Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Deer, G.
Albu, A. H. Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Delargy, H. J.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Brown, Thomas (Ince) Dodds, N. N.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Burke, W. A. Donnelly, D. L
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Burton, Miss F. E. Driberg, T. E. N.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W Bromwich)
Awbery, S. S. Callaghan, L. J. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Bacon, Miss Alice Carmichael, J. Edelman, M.
Baird, J. Castle, Mrs. B. A Edwards, John (Brighouse)
Balfour, A. Champion, A. J. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J Chapman, W. D. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)
Bartley, P. Chetwynd, G. R. Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J Clunie, J. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)
Bence, C. R. Cocks, F. S Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)
Benn, Wedgwood Coldrick, W. Ewart, R.
Benson, G. Collick, P. H. Fernyhough, E.
Beswick, F. Corbet, Mrs. Freda Fienburgh, W.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A (Ebbw Vale) Cove, W. G. Finch, H. J.
Bing, G. H. C Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)
Blackburn, F. Crossman, R. H. S. Follick, M.
Blenkinsop, A. Cullen, Mrs A. Foot, M. M.
Blyton, W. R. Daines, P. Forman, J. C.
Boardman. H. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G Darling, George (Hillsborough) Freeman, John (Watford)
Bowden, H. W. Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Freeman, Peter (Newport)
Bowles, F. G. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon H. T. N
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Davies, Harold (Leek) Gibson, C. W.
Brockway, A. F. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Glanville, James
Gooch, E G. McLeavy, F. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. McNeil, Rt. Hon. H Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mainwaring, W. H. Slater, J.
Grey, C. F. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon James (Llanelly) Mann, Mrs Jean Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Manuel, A. C. Snow, J. W.
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Marquand, Rt. Hon H. A. Sorensen, R. W.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mayhew, C. P Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Mellish, R. J. Sparks, J A.
Hamilton, W. W. Mikardo, Ian Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E)
Hannan, W. Mitchison, G. R. Strachey, Rt. Hon J
Hardy, E. A Monslow, W. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Hargreaves, A. Moody, A. S. Stross, Dr. Barnett
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Summerskill, Rt. Hon E.
Hastings, S. Morley, R. Swingier, S. T.
Hayman, F. H. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Sylvester, G. O.
Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.) Morrison, Rt. Hon H. (Lewisham, S) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Mort, D. L. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Herbison, Miss M. Moyle, A Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Hewitson, Capt. M Mulley, F W. Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Hobson, C. R. Murray, J D. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Holman, P. Nally, W. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W)
Houghton, Douglas Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Hoy, J. H. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Hubbard, T. F. Oliver, G. H. Thurtle, Ernest
Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Orbach, M. Timmons, J.
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oswald, T. Tomney, F.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Paget, R. T. Turner-Samuels, M
Hynd, H (Accrington) Paling, Rt. Hon. W (Dearne Valley) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Viant, S. P.
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Pannell, Charles Wallace, H W
Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Pargiter, G. A. Watkins, T E.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Parker, J. Webb, Rt Hon. M (Bradford, C.)
Janner, B. Paton, J. Weitzman, D.
Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T Peart, T. F Wells, William (Walsall)
Jeger, George (Goole) Plummer, Sir Leslie West, D. G
Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S) Poole, C. C. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Johnson, James (Rugby) Popplewell, E. While, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Jones, David (Hartlepool) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W) Whiteley, Rt. Hon W.
Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Proctor, W. T Wigg, George
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Pryde, D. J. Wilcock, Group Capt C. A. B.
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Rankin, John Wilkins, W. A.
Keenan, W. Reeves, J. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Kenyon, C. Reid, Thomas (Swindon) Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)
Key, Rt. Hon. C W Reid, William (Camlachie) Williams, David (Neath)
King, Dr. H. M Rhodes, H. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Kinley, J. Richards, R. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Robens, Rt. Hon A. Williams, Rt. Hon Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N) Wilson, Rt Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Lewis, Arthur Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Lindgren, G. S. Ross, William Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M Royle, C. Wyatt, W. L.
Logan, D. G Schofield, S. (Barnsley) Yates, V. F.
MacColl, J. E. Shackleton, E. A. A. Younger, Rt. Hon K.
McGhee, H. G Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley
McGovern, J Shinwell, Rt. Hon E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
McInnes, J. Short, E. W. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.
McKay, John (Wallsend) Shurmer, P. L. E.

Question put, and agreed to.

That this House approves the proposals of Her Majesty's Government as set out in the Memorandum on the Report of the Broadcasting Committee, 1949. (Command Paper No. 8550.)