HC Deb 08 December 1971 vol 827 c1276
9. Mr. Wyn Roberts

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications whether he will reserve a television channel for the transmission of Parliamentary proceedings.

Mr. Chataway

Neither House has yet decided whether it wants its proceedings broadcast on television, but I will bear my hon. Friend's views in mind.

Mr. Roberts

If the fourth channel is allocated to I.T.V., will it be possible to reserve a national channel for the House, should it desire its proceedings to be televised?

Mr. Chataway

There would probably be no further national channels available until well into the 1980s, because it would not be until the V.H.F. transmissions ceased that two further channels would be available. Therefore, the answer to the question is "No" in the years immediately ahead.

Mr. Edelman

Does the Minister recall that Parliament has already declared its opposition to the televising of its proceedings? Will he bear in mind that television editors and directors already have power which exceeds their responsibilities?

Mr. Chataway

The question whether the proceedings of Parliament should be televised is for the House to decide and not for me.

Mr. Richard

But the allocation of the fourth television channel is for the right hon. Gentleman to decide. Will he now give a firm undertaking to the House that he will not allocate the fourth television channel until after there has been a major public inquiry into the whole future of broadcasting?

Mr. Chataway

No. Indeed, that is the major question which, as I have continually said, the Government must decide. Indeed, the hon. and learned Gentleman himself rightly said earlier that it was one of the two questions which we have now to determine.

Back to