HC Deb 30 July 1964 vol 699 cc1782-3
Q1. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements have been made for the television and sound political broadcasts during the three weeks prior to the next General Election; and what steps will be taken to ensure as far as is possible that a balance is held between all sections of the community.

The Prime Minister (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)

I have placed in the Library a copy of the statement issued on 25th February, which shows the broadcasting opportunities for those qualifying.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Has the Prime Minister seen the excellent articles dealing with this matter which appeared in The Guardian, and, if so, did he note the observations made by the late President Kennedy and by Mr. Edward Murrow with regard to the points raised in my Question? If he has studied those matters, will he give an undertaking that he will apply the lessons so that all sections of the community have a share in what takes place on television, ensuring that everything is not dealt with by certain sections only?

The Prime Minister

These arrangements have been agreed between the parties. As Prime Minister, I am not responsible. However, I can give the hon. Gentleman information. As regards minor parties, the major parties have said that they would support such broadcasts under certain conditions. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will look at the statement which I have made.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

What steps are being taken to ensure that a balance is held between the different factions in the Labour Party? [Laughter.]

Mr. Speaker

Amid the joy, I must be able to make myself heard. Mr. Lipton.

Mr. Lipton

Will the Prime Minister take steps to ensure that the more popular radio and television broadcasts are not unduly interfered with by political broadcasts?

The Prime Minister

I have some sympathy with the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, apart from the special party arrangements just prior to the General Election, it is supremely important that the B.B.C. and Independent Television both on television and in news programmes should now keep complete impartiality between the parties, not by innuendo or implication trying to doctor the news in any way? Should not this be a supreme duty between now and the General Election?

The Prime Minister

This must be the objective. I hope that it will be achieved.