HC Deb 17 December 1958 vol 597 cc1112-3
26. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware of the deterioration in television reception in north-east Essex recently; and what steps he is taking to improve the situation.

Mr. Marples

Yes, Sir. The trouble is due to a recurrence of abnormal conditions in the upper atmosphere that lead to interference from distant radio stations and about which I can do nothing. These conditions occur at times during winter when sunspot activity is high. Sunspot activity follows an 11-year cycle and is now falling. The trouble should therefore be less during the next few winters.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many people will regard his argument about sunspots as sheer moonshine? Is he further aware that if he wants to send a message to the people of north-east Essex of Christmas greetings and good cheer, the best thing he can do is to ensure that they are able to receive Her Majesty the Queen's message on the afternoon of Christmas Day? At the present moment the afternoon reception is deplorable. Will he take steps to see that the power at the Crystal Palace is increased?

Mr. Marples

I can assure my hon. Friend that my Answer is correct. Sunspot activity makes a break in reception all over the world. It is an act of God for which my Department is not responsible. Band III is less subject to this interference; the constituency of my hon. Friend should be grateful for that.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that all hon. Members are staggered by his modesty?

Mr. Marples

No person is better qualified to talk about modesty than the right hon. Gentleman.

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