§ Mr. H. Morrison
May I ask the Leader of the House whether he can now answer the question which I put to him last Thursday—whether, having regard to the nature of certain Amendments to the Television Bill affecting religious programmes on Sundays, alcoholic advertisements and so on, the Government, having regard to the precedents, will say that on that class of Amendment they will be willing to take the Whips off?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I have been asked to reply. 900 H.M. Government do not consider that this occasion calls for a free vote. The alleged precedents do not provide an analogy, because they dealt with proposals for legalising entertainment on Sundays and not with the methods of financing existing entertainment. I cannot remember that the right hon. Gentleman has ever suggested that Sunday newspapers should not carry advertisements.
§ Mr. Morrison
The last point of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's reply is rather a debating point, and, in regard to this question, it is just a "smart Alec" one; that is all. I thought that in my day there the Home Office was above that sort of thing.
May I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman of the two specific instances that I gave? First, on the question of certain amusements in the Festival Gardens, for which there were precedents in the provinces, including Manchester, when these were debated we took the Whips off, and as it happened our view was not acceptable to the House. It was the case with the opening of theatres on Sundays under Defence Regulations during the war for the benefit of the troops, and there have been other cases of this kind, on which the Whips have been taken off. Would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that, on matters of religion, the observance of the Sabbath and matters of that kind—[Interruption.] I should have thought that this would have made an appeal to the hon. Member for Finchley (Sir J. Crowder). There are hon. Members on both sides of the House who have strong convictions on this subject. Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman think it would be proper to take off the Whips?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I dealt with that point in the earlier part of my answer. I am well aware of the alleged precedents, but, as I said before, they relate to proposals for legalising entertainment on Sunday and not to the matters which we are about to discuss.
§ Mr. Assheton
In order that the public should not be deceived, could the Home Secretary make it clear that every hon. Member is always entitled to vote according to his conscience on every occasion?
§ Proceedings on the Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Atomic Energy Authority Bill, on the Supreme Court Officers (Pensions) Bill and on the Superannuation (President of Industrial Court) Bill exempted, at this day's Sitting, from the provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House).—[Mr. Crookshank.]