HC Deb 14 April 1964 vol 693 cc223-4
10. Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

asked the Postmaster-General if he will give a direction to the British Broadcasting Corporation under Section 14(4) of the Licence and Agreement to refrain from transmitting on sound party political broadcasts between the time signal and the regular time for news bulletins.

Mr. Bevins

The arrangements for party political broadcasts are agreed between the leading political parties and the broadcasting authorities. The sound broadcasts my hon. Friend has in mind form part of these arrangements.

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that the newspapers and the broadcasting authorities did a wonderful job in drawing the nation's attention to the elections for the county councils and the Greater London Council? For everyone who believes in democracy likes to see a high poll. On the other hand, is he aware that when one switches on at seven o'clock to listen to the news it is slightly aggravating to have to listen to a party political broadcast by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition? Is not news bulletin timing more or less sacrosanct? Why should it be gerrymandered in this way?

Mr. Bevins

A great deal depends upon one's politics, I suppose; but the position here is that in agreement with the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. the major political parties fix the timing of these broadcasts, and my responsibility is limited simply to requiring the broadcasting authorities to refrain from going beyond those agreed arrangements.

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