HC Deb 08 December 1971 vol 827 cc1296-7
42. Mr. Wyn Roberts

asked the Lord President of the Council whether, in time for the debate on the televising of proceedings, he will prepare and publish a scheme for ensuring that televised programmes would remain under the direct control of Parliament.

Mr. Whitelaw

These are matters which, I suggest, must await consideratoin by the House in the course of the debate. The Select Committee on Broadcasting of the Proceedings in the House of Commons of Session 1965–66 in its First Report, paragraphs 57–66, recommended a scheme for the control of televised programmes by the House of Commons.

Mr. Roberts

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one of the major fears among hon. Members about televising the proceedings of the House is that their presentation on television will be beyond the control of the House?

Mr. Whitelaw

These are matters which may be discussed in the debate. Dependent on the decision of the House, these matters could then be further considered in deciding what would be done if the House were in favour of such a proposal.

Mr. Bob Brown

Is the Lord President aware that one of the greatest dangers of televising the proceedings of the House is that he may well have a demand for speeches from the front and back benches to be reduced to two minutes?

Mr. Whitelaw

I am sure that there is a very subtle point behind that, but I am afraid that my simple brain has not perceived it.