HC Deb 05 February 1973 vol 850 cc6-7
5. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will now give further consideration to including the South Wales Argus in future Government-sponsored advertising campaigns.

Mr. Peter Thomas

Full consideration will continue to be given to including the South Wales Argus in Government-sponsored advertising campaigns, whenever possible.

Mr. Hughes

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciate that I have disagreed with this newspaper on matters ranging from the Common Market to "In place of strife" but that it has to be accepted that this newspaper has a large circulation in Monmouthshire? Bearing in mind that many people do not read a national daily and that the campaign was not confined to the national dailies, will the Secretary of State look into this question again and see that this Monmouthshire newspaper gets a fair crack of the whip?

Mr. Thomas

As I said in answer to the Question, consideration will be given to the claim of the South Wales Argus in the planning of future advertising campaigns.

Mr. Michael Foot

Is not that answer a soporific? We want the smaller newspapers in Wales to be protected and encouraged. Why cannot the right hon. and learned Gentleman give a straight answer and say that he and his Department will do their level best to ensure that this newspaper, which has served Monmouthshire very well over many years, gets fair treatment along with the larger newspapers?

Mr. Thomas

With respect to the hon. Gentleman, I think that this newspaper gets fair treatment. Welsh Office advertising regularly appears in the South Wales Argus. A large advertisement by the Department of the Environment about pollution appeared in it last Friday and will be repeated today. I explained to the hon. Gentleman in a recent letter the general principle on which the Central Office of Information acts.