HC Deb 23 February 1966 vol 725 cc389-90
3. Mr. Rowland

asked the Postmaster-General why steps have not yet been taken against broadcasting stations operating illegally within territorial waters.

Mr. Benn

My inquiries are not yet complete.

Mr. Rowland

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the continued failure of the Government, and of the previous Administration, to take action in this matter is strengthening a suspicion, which I hope is baseless, that these stations are only a prelude to the introduction of shore-based commercial radio financed by advertising?

Mr. Benn

The second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is entirely without foundation, but the legal issues here are complex, and legislation is in any case promised.

Mr. Bryan

Would it be uncharitable to suggest that the Postmaster-General has no particular wish to make any very firm announcement about this matter before an election?

Mr. Benn

No, that would certainly not be so, although it is not without significance that the previous Government did nothing about it.