HC Deb 22 May 1957 vol 570 cc1213-4
35. Mr. Short

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will appoint a representative from the North-East of England to the Board of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr. Marples

No, Sir.

Mr. Short

Will the Minister say why not? In view of the fact that Northern Ireland has a representative on the British Broadcasting Corporation and the North-East of England gets the worst service in the whole of the British Isles, is it not time that our voice was heard further, because it is obvious that the B.B.C. takes no notice whatever of the voice of Parliament in this matter?

Mr. Marples

The hon. Gentleman should know that, with the exception of Governors for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are individually appointed, if I may so express it, in virtue of their knowledge of the culture, characteristics and affairs of our people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and their close touch with Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish opinion, the B.B.C. Governors are appointed as a collective body and not to represent particular areas or sections of opinion.

Mr. Shin well

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that it is now two years since the Members of the Northern Group—Labour Members of this House—

Dame Irene Ward

And Tory.

Mr. Shinwell

—met Sir Ian Jacob and some of his colleagues to discuss the question of better programmes in the North-East? We were promised some improvements, but very few improvements have occurred since then, and unless we can get representation, or our representations are properly considered, we are bound to ask the right hon. Gentleman these questions.

Mr. Marples

Representations are considered. The original question was about a representative on the Board. There is a General Advisory Council which is for the purpose of advising the Corporation on the business affairs of the Corporation and on all matters which may be of concern to the Corporation or to bodies or persons interested in the broadcasting services of the Corporation. The North-East has a representative on that Council.