HC Deb 05 November 1959 vol 612 cc1174-5
3. Dr. D. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what authority the premises of the Arroyo Arms at Harraby, Carlisle, were used for an election news broadcast on the Northern Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday, 26th September; if he is aware that the purport of this broadcast was to extol the virtues of State Management Scheme beer in an identical manner as was being done by one of the candidates at this election, thus creating the widespread misunderstanding that these public houses, though a State institution, were actively entering the political arena; and what action he proposes to take to pre vent such misunderstandings arising in the future.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Dennis Vosper)

Permission was given for the B.B.C. to take shots of the Arroyo Arms for a film for a television news programme on the election campaign in Cumberland and North West England. This section of the film lasted about 20 seconds: it showed a close-up of the Arroyo Arms' sign and interiors of beer being drawn and people in the bar. The commentator gave a summary of the candidates references to State public houses as a local issue in the election. The B.B.C. assure me that there is no question of this news broadcast being intended in any other sense than that of news interest.

Dr. Johnson

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his very full reply, may I none the less ask him whether, in the forthcoming examination of the licensing system, he will assess the propriety of the State owning public houses as a monopoly in a single area, out of which misunderstandings of this rather paradoxical character arise?

Mr. Vosper

There is another Question on the Order Paper on this subject. I have a transcript of this broadcast. I do not think it was very harmful, but I will look at this aspect on future occasions.