HC Deb 09 November 1955 vol 545 cc1827-8
16. Sir T. Moore

asked the Postmaster-General if he will consider approving the issue of a special postage stamp to commemorate the bicentenary anniversary of Robert Burns, with the poet's head on it.

Dr. Hill

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) on 26th October.

Sir T. Moore

While, unhappily, I was not able to hear that answer, and while I appreciate all the difficulties in the way, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend realises that his answer will give great disappointment to many millions of Burns lovers throughout the country? Could he not have some other, perhaps bright, ideas on the subject?

Dr. Hill

I have dealt, in reply to an earlier Question, with the commanding consideration in this matter. I will just add that, even if there were no commanding consideration, were the Post Office to contemplate issuing stamps to commemorate illustrious persons, the task of choosing among such persons would be more than could properly be accepted.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Are there not many precedents for celebrating distinguished anniversaries in this way in Britain and in the Commonwealth? Why not now?

Dr. Hill

The precedents in this country are that there have been only twelve special stamps issued. Each one of them has commemorated a great event and in no case has commemorated an illustrious individual.

Mr. Alport

Would not a more proper way of commemorating this auspicious occasion be a reduction in the Excise duty on whisky?

Mr. Emrys Hughes

If the right hon. Gentleman will not consider publishing a stamp with a picture of Robert Burns upon it, would he consider putting on one of the other stamps which are put on letters some of the short verses that Burns wrote about the Tories of his day?