HC Deb 26 February 1964 vol 690 c419
21. Mr. Driberg

asked the Postmaster-General which Royal and postal anniversaries are to be commemorated this year by the issue of special postage stamps.

Mr. Mawby

No anniversaries are being commemorated by the issue of special stamps this year, but we shall be marking three important current events; namely, the Shakespeare Festival, the 20th International Geographical Congress and the 10th International Botanical Congress.

Mr. Driberg

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for the letter, received today, in which he amplifies his extraordinary Written Answer of 12th February, may I ask him if he realises that this letter, although it amplifies, does not really clarify the matter very much, because he insists, as he has orally today, that "only Royal and postal anniversaries are marked by stamp issues" and that the Shakespeare anniversary is so marked because it is not an anniversary? When is an anniversary not an anniversary?

Mr. Mawby

I answered the Question which the hon. Member put down. It has been stated by me on many occasions that we issue stamps to celebrate Royal and postal anniversaries and that we also issue stamps to celebrate events of national or international importance. That is the basic reason. The hon. Gentleman's original Question asked what anniversary was being commemorated, to which, of course, the obvious answer was "None".

Sir J. Duncan

Will my hon. Friend reverse this policy and so not pander to philatelists?

Mr. Mawby

No, Sir. We must maintain a proper balance on this point. It would obviously be wrong if we were to issue stamps purely and simply to satisfy the philatelists, but we have a number of special issues which commemorate important events. They are of such a small number that they do not cause any great inconvenience to other users of the post.