HC Deb 11 July 1968 vol 768 cc724-5
26. Mr. Roebuck

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now able to announce the names of the members of the committee to review of the law of contempt as it affects comment on, or statements about, matters referred to a tribunal of inquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. James Callaghan)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have decided to appoint the following to be members of the Committee on the law of contempt in connection with tribunals of inquiry:

  • Lord Justice Salmon (Chairman).
  • My right hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby.
  • The right hon. and learned Member for Hertford. East.
  • Mr. J. B. Butterworth, Vice-Chancellor of Warwick University.
  • Sir Geoffrey Cox, C.B.E., Deputy Chairman of Yorkshire Television and formerly editor of Independent Television News.
  • Sir Allan Walker, Q.C., Sheriff of Lanarkshire.

Mr. Roebuck

My right hon. Friend's Answer will give satisfaction to journalists, who will draw a favourable comparison between the activities of this Government to stimulate freedom of expression and the efforts of a previous Government under whose rule two journalists were sent to gaol for upholding their professional code of conduct. When does he expect the Committee to report on this matter, which has been causing concern to the Press for more than 40 years?

Mr. Callaghan

It is a little painful to dwell on the dark ages before 1964. We should take comfort from the fact that now we have a Government who are determined to uphold a strong and free Press, and we are certain that the Press will reciprocate accordingly.