HC Deb 25 February 1957 vol 565 cc832-4
5. Mr. Lipton

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when his scrutiny of information services is likely to be completed.

14. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects his review of the overseas information services to be completed; and whether he will publish a White Paper containing his conclusions and indicating which of the Drogheda Committee recommendations are to be carried out, which rejected and for what reasons.

Dr. Hill

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply I gave to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) on Monday, 18th February.

Mr. Lipton

Why is the Chancellor so uncharacteristically reticent about his activities in his new appointment? Will he give us some idea of what he is doing and how he is getting on with the job? Will he say whether he intends to publish a White Paper?

Dr. Hill

If the hon. Gentleman had been in his place last week, he would have heard some very full and frank descriptions of what is being done.

Mr. Davies

Yes, but cannot the Chancellor tell the House whether he proposes to publish the results of his investigations? After the Drogheda Committee had sat for two years its Report was published in summary form and a debate took place in the House. Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that the House will be informed at the earliest opportunity of the conclusions he has reached when his review is completed?

Dr. Hill

I told the hon. Gentleman last week that the conclusions the Government reach will be made available to this House in the appropriate form.

Mr. Greenwood

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it is most important that there should not be any uneasiness or feeling of insecurity among B.B.C. staff, because if the staff begin to disperse it is the kind of staff which it is most difficult to re-assemble quickly?

Dr. Hill

I am fully alive to that point. I think the House generally will agree that there should be a statement on overseas information services as early as possible. I can assure the House that I am studying the problem with all possible speed and energy.

Mr. Wigg

A few moments ago the right hon. Gentleman called himself an "Aunt Sally". Will he make quite sure that he does not use public money to turn himself into an "Uncle Fred"?

13. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether when examining the overseas information services, he will consult the members of the Drogheda Committee in regard to their present views on the recommendations made in their Report a summary of which was published in 1954.

Dr. Hill

If any member of the Drogheda Committee wishes to supplement the Committee's recommendations, I shall, of course, be glad to consider his views.

Mr. Davies

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider it would be advisable to call into consultation the members of this Committee who, after all, spent over two years in deliberation and who visited many of the countries to which we are broadcasting and projecting our information services? They may even know a little more than the Chancellor does at this stage.

Dr. Hill

I have no doubt, but the Committee has made its Report. There is a real need for a speedy and urgent reexamination. I suggest that it is reasonable for me to say that if any member of the Drogheda Committee wishes to amplify his contribution to the Committee, I shall be glad to have it, but I am anxious to proceed as speedily as possible with the completion of this review.

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