HC Deb 12 July 1955 vol 543 c1739
47. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Prime Minister whether he will take steps to establish a Press Council with statutory powers to deal with complaints about the conduct of the Press in an appropriate manner.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Press Council decided a complaint against the "South London Press," which first knew of the hearing and decision when they were reported in another newspaper? Has not the time come for this rather slipshod Star Chamber to be abolished and replaced by a more judicial body which would at least give the accused some details of the charge and an opportunity of being heard in his defence?

The Prime Minister

The hon. and gallant Gentleman suggested in his Question a Press Council with statutory powers. He shakes his head, but that is what his Question says, and I am dealing with it. I find it hard to see how statutory powers could be effectively arranged which did not have some effect on the freedom of the Press, a matter about which this country should be very chary.