HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 cc1210-1
46. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Prime Minister if he will move to set up a Select Committee to consider the relationship between Parliament and the radio and television services.

The Prime Minister

I am not convinced that this is a matter which calls for consideration by a Select Committee.

Mr. Donnelly

Did the Prime Minister not say that this matter would soon be debated? Is he aware that it might be best to have a debate after a Select Commitee, because a number of things are involved and we very much 'need information about the whole background of the problem? For example, is the Prime Minister aware that breaches of Privilege are normally enforced through you, Mr. Speaker, acting for the House, but that in this case the authority has been handed over, not to an official of the House, but to party leaders? Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that if ever there was a case for the appointment of a Select Committee, this might be the very one? Then the House would have the information and could have the debate.

The Prime Minister

All I said when there were Questions the other day was that if a number of hon. Members felt that they wished to discuss the matter, I thought it would be right to make the approach for such a discussion through the usual channels. I still think that that is the normal way to proceed.

Mr. C. Pannell

.Is the Prime Minister aware that the great majority of Members of the House who do not broadcast at all look rather with favour upon the 14-day rule until more equitable arrangements are made so that those who are not eccentrics or photogenics or superannuated statesmen or one-time potential Prime Ministers have an occasional chance? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that pending a more equitable arrangement, most hon. Members are conscious that they are elected on the broadest possible franchise by probably 60,000 people, and they think that election to this place is an honour and that selection by Mr. Speaker when we wish to speak, in the presence of people who can contradict, is rather better and more preferable in the present age than selection at the caprice of an often irresponsible and ignorant producer?

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

The Prime Minister

I gather that the hon. Member speaks for a large volume of opinion in the House.