HC Deb 23 March 1972 vol 833 cc1650-1
3. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received this year about the protection of the public against obscenity.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Reginald Maudling)

I recently received, and am studying, proposals for amendment of the law from the Society of Conservative Lawyers and from the Nationwide Festival of Light. I continue to receive complaints from the public about obscene publications, the display of indecent material, and trends, particularly towards violence, in the cinema.

Mr. Lane

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the majority of the public, who try to steer a middle course between prudery and licence, would like to see even more action by the Government to protect the public interest, possibly along the lines suggested by the Conservative lawyers?

Mr. Maudling

I am certainly grateful for all advice that I receive in this matter. My concern, of course, is not enforcing the law—which is a matter for the police—but if necessary amending it. So far, I have not been persuaded that any proposals put to me would be an improvement, but I am very grateful for all the advice that I get.

Mr. Hamling

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the proposals of the Conservative lawyers would make the present law even more absurd than it is now?

Mr. Maudling

I am sure that no proposals coming from that source could possibly have that effect.