§ 78. Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Minister for the Arts what guidelines exist for arts funding bodies that seek advice on section 28 of the Local Government Act.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) has had his question. He need not discuss the matter across the Chamber.
§ Mr. Luce
In July 1988, the Arts Council, in conjunction with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, issued guidance on section 28 to arts organisations and other voluntary bodies. At the same time, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment issued guidance to local authorities.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is it possible for one company to act within the law by being funded by local authorities to perform a play with a homosexual theme, and at the same time act against the law in the sense that the local education authority decides that the play is unsuitable for showing in its schools? If not, can the Minister have a word with his colleagues in Tory-run Kent county council, who, when offered the chance to host Britten's "Death in Venice", played by the publicly funded Glyndebourne touring company, decided that it was unsuitable for showing in the Kent and Sussex schools festival—possibly because it breached section 28? Other Tory authorities do the same. Surely the principle needs to be established, and everybody should be allowed the most liberal interpretation of it.