§ Order of the day for the House to be put into Committee read.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Viscount Hailsham.)
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I think this might be a convenient, and I am told by competent authorities that it will be an orderly period in which to put certain considerations of a very general character with regard to Clause 2 in this Bill. It would not be appropriate on any of the Amendments that have been put down and it might be inconvenient if it were
§ On Question, Whether the Special Order, as reported from the Special Orders Committee on Monday last, shall be approved?
§ Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 40; Not-Contents, 30.627
|Sankey, V.(L. Chancellor.)||Selborne, E.||Gage, L. (V. Gage.) [Teller.]|
|Stanhope, E.||Greville, L.|
|Wellington, D.||Hampton, L.|
|Allendale, V.||Hay, L. (E. Kinnoull.)|
|Linlithgow, M.||Bridgeman, V.||Irwin, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Falmouth, V.||Jessel, L.|
|Hailsham, V.||Mamhead, L.|
|De La Warr, E.||Mersey, V.||Marks, L.|
|Grey, E.||Ullswater, V.||Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.|
|Iddesleigh, E.||Rochester, L.|
|Lindsay, E.||Aberdare, L.||Sanderson, L.|
|Lucan, E. [Teller.]||Addington, L.||Snell, L.|
|Morton, E.||Darling, L.||Stanmore, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Fairlie, L. (E. Glasgow.)||Stonehaven, L.|
|Plymouth, E.||Faringdon, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Argyll, D.||Norwich, L. Bp.||Lamington, L.|
|Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Reading, M.||Annaly, L.||Mount Temple, L.|
|Askwith, L.||Moyne, L.|
|Abingdon, E.||Banbury of Southam, L.||Pentland, L.|
|Halsbury, E.||Barnard, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Clwyd, L.||Remnant, L. [Teller.]|
|Astor, V. [Teller.]||Danesfort, L.||Rhayader, L.|
|Bertie of Thame, V.||Ernle, L.||Ritchie of Dundee, L.|
|Burnham, V.||Fairfax of Cameron, L.||Somerleyton, L.|
|D'Abernon, V.||Howard of Glossop, L.||Strachie, L.|
§ delayed until the Question is put that that clause stand part of the Bill. I think also it may be convenient to the noble Viscount who is in charge of the Bill if he had an early opportunity of knowing what questions I wish to put to him. If I might with your permission speak generally about this clause now, I must confess that it gives me considerable misgiving. I think that we ought to know much more clearly than so far we have been permitted to know what are the uses to which this Fund is to be put, what exactly it is to which Parliament is to be committed.
§ For example, we heard a great deal in another place about a film institute, and I do not think I am misrepresenting facts when I say that the member in charge of the Bill in the House of Commons seemed to imply that it was mainly in the interests of the proposed film institute that this Fund was to be inaugurated and included in the Bill. I am very anxious to submit a question to the Government as to whether this Fund 629 is really intended to be a Fund for financing a film institute at present unknown in its character, functions and constitution, or whether it is a Fund which will be available for all other persons or societies who are interested in the development of the film industry, provided they can make a good claim for the consideration of the Privy Council. It is most important that we should be clear, before we come to the discussion of this clause whether it is, even in the intention of the Government, definitely earmarked for this proposed institute.
§ Secondly, I would like to ask one or two questions about this institute itself. I should hesitate to do so because there is nothing about it expressly in the Bill but, if one is to import into the Bill the substance of the discussions which took place in another place, it becomes very important to know exactly what this film institute is to be. At present it is only existent in the report of a Commission which has the ambitious title of a Commission on Cultural Films and in the ardent imagination of some individual Members of Parliament. The important question is whether this body is to be a public body in a sense controlled by Government and answerable to Parliament, something in the nature of the British Broadcasting Corporation, or whether it is to be a purely private society. If it is intended that this institute should come into being and should be largely financed by this proposed Fund, then I should like to ask the Government whether they can give an undertaking that before any money from this Fund is given to this institute its constitution and its functions will be submitted to Parliament.
§ It is a matter of very great importance to the future of the film industry and indeed to the whole public of this country to know exactly what is contemplated in the creation of this film institute. Whether or not it is to have any specifically State character through its relation to the Government or through being answerable to Parliament, the powers which are proposed are of the greatest importance. For example, is it to have any kind of censorship over the films which are produced? If so, what are its relations to be to the existing Board of Film Censors or to the Consultative Committee of the Home Office? Is it to correlate these or to be independent of them? 630 In the matter of censorship, what is its relation to be to the existing bodies?
§ Again, if it is to have any powers of censorship, is it specifically to have the censorship of educational films? If so, it will be a very important and not altogether satisfactory precedent. It will give to this institute a control over educational films which is not exercised by the Board of Education over school books. School books are published freely, circulated freely, written by all sorts of persons and show a great deal of freedom of thought. It has always been left to the local authorities to decide what books should be used in the schools and the same freedom is necessary for educational films. There is a real danger that, by allowing this clause to go through without further explanation from the Government, we should be setting up a body which in the future might control the teaching by films of history, economics, and morals, possibly even of politics and religion, in close connection with the State.
§ It is perfectly true that there are film institutes of this kind in other countries which have very considerable powers. There is a film institute in Italy and I am informed that 20 per cent. of the films are expressly used in order to impress on the mind of the public and of the youth of Italy the great and necessary advantages of the Fascist system. Again, there is a film institute in Russia and I happen to know that some of the films particularly propagated by that film institute are intended to teach the children of Russia that there is no Deity. Therefore, we ought to be very careful of the powers that may be given to this particular film institute. I doubt very much therefore whether this House ought to commit itself beforehand to the establishment of this Fund unless it knows more accurately than it at present does what the Fund is to do.
§ These are very important questions. Firstly, is this Fund to be earmarked specially for a proposed film institute or available for all concerned in the development of the industry? Secondly, if a film institute is contemplated and if it is to have any public character, before any money is given to it will its constitution and. powers be submitted to Parliament? We can quite conceive that such an institute might do great good and 631 might be the means of bringing together the various interests concerned in the production of films. But we ought to know more definitely how far, through innocently passing this clause, we may be committing ourselves to a film institute whose existence, powers and character are at present unknown to us. I hope that the noble Viscount may be able to give satisfactory assurances on this point. If not, it may be desirable to omit this clause altogether. It is not really integral to the purpose of the Bill. This matter depends on the assurance that the noble Viscount may be able to give us. I hope that your Lordships will forgive me for intervening at this stage of the proceedings.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly:
§ [The EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:
§ Provisions as to cinematograph entertainments.
§ 1.—(1) The authority having power, in any area to which this section extends, to grant licences under the Cinematograph Act, 1909, may, notwithstanding anything in any enactment relating to Sunday observance, allow places in that area licensed under the said Act to be opened and used on Sundays for the purpose of cinematograph entertainments, subject to such conditions as the authority think fit to impose:
§ Provided that no place shall be allowed to be so opened and used unless among the conditions subject to which it is allowed to be so opened and used there are included conditions for securing—
LORD DANESFORT moved to insert in subsection (1), at the beginning of the proviso:
Provided that such conditions shall require the person to whom the licence is granted to satisfy the authority that the films to be exhibited are of a healthy and wholesome, and so far as possible, of an educative character, and.
§ The noble Lord said: By the Bill as it stands certain conditions are imposed on the local authority who are empowered to grant licences for performances of these Sunday films. Those conditions, to my mind, clearly indicate that Sunday entertainments of this character are to be treated in a different manner from week-day entertainments and that the Sunday films must be dealt with in a special manner so as to meet as far as may be the objections of those who oppose Sunday entertainments. Few of your Lord- 632 ships will be found to deny that notwithstanding the censorship as it is called—we all know what it is—twenty-five per cent., according to some, or a larger percentage according to others, of the films exhibited on weekdays are of an objectionable character and are certainly not suitable to be shown on Sundays. If that is so, would it not be right to impose as one of the conditions which the local authorities in granting licences are bound to observe, that the films to be shown on Sundays should be of a healthy and wholesome character and, if possible, of an educational character?
It is with a view to securing that result that I put my Amendment on the Paper and perhaps your Lordships will allow me to read it. It is to insert this proviso:
Provided that such conditions shall require the person to whom the licence is granted to satisfy the authority that the films to be exhibited are of a healthy and wholesome, and so far as possible, of an educative character …
That view was very strongly urged in the deeply impressive speech which was delivered on the Second Reading of this Bill by the most rev. Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those words are no doubt within the recollection of many of your Lordships, but they are so important that I would ask your Lordships, even in the presence of the most rev. Primate himself, to allow me to recall some of those words to your memory.
You will find in Column 520 of the OFFICIAL REPORT these words used by the most rev. Primate:
It seems to me that the real policy is to endeavour to secure that on Sundays, in these places of entertainment, the films produced are refined, educative, or at the very least wholesome.
He went on to say:
I know it is said that it is very illogical to make these special requirements about performances on Sunday; that what is good on weekdays should be good on Sundays. I am not very much impressed by that argument. Sunday has, and I hope will continue to have, in this country, special traditions and associations of its own, and it seems to me most reasonable that the community"—
the community, of course, means the local authority—
which under the Bill will have the right of determining whether and under what conditions licences for the opening of these houses shall be given, should use their opportunity to see that on Sundays at any
rate the films produced are refining and not vulgarising, that they have some intrinsic merits of their own.
Perhaps your Lordships will permit me to read a further short passage reported on the next page of the OFFICIAL REPORT in Column 521. There you will find these words of the most rev. Primate:
Under the Bill it is open to the proper authority to impose any conditions which it pleases, in addition to those specified in the Bill, and here is a great opportunity, for those who care that in this respect the special character of Sunday shall in some measure be retained, to influence public opinion, so that the local authorities may impose and require conditions securing that the cinema entertainment shall be of the most healthy and wholesome kind.
I venture to think that it would be difficult for your Lordships to ignore advice coming from such a quarter and couched in language of conviction and of truth. I have heard it suggested that a proviso of this character would be difficult to enforce. That may be, but surely, when you are introducing legislation so deeply affecting not only the feelings of the community as a whole but, as I think, also to a great extent the moral prosperity of the community, it is important that Parliament should lay down in positive terms that the films produced on Sunday should be of a suitable character to the day on which they are shown.
§ I cannot but think that the better local authorities, even without this Parliamentary direction, would possibly insist before granting their licence upon being satisfied that the films were suitable to be presented on Sunday. As to the less good local authorities, I think this Parliamentary direction would have a very considerable effect upon them in seeing that they carried out the wishes of Parliament, securing thereby that the films produced should be proper for such representation.
§ There is only one other matter to which I wish to refer. An Amendment in substantially the same terms as the Amendment that stands in my name was moved in another place on June 29 last. Your Lordships will find it in Col. 1873 of the OFFICIAL REPORT. That Amendment was opposed in a very short speech and with what appeared to me, if I may say so with due submission, very inadequate argument by the representative of the Home Office. A Division was taken and the Amendment was supported by no 634 fewer than 78 Members, representing all Parties in that House. It was only defeated by an incursion of the big battalions which sometimes takes place without perhaps sufficient reason. I most earnestly trust that this proposal, supported as I believe it is by the great mass of public opinion in this country, will be treated by the Government from a wide and generous standpoint, and I ask your Lordships in the interests of the community as a whole to support this Amendment.
Page 1, line 13, at end insert the said proviso.—(Lord Danesfort.)
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
I apologise for again intruding on your Lordships especially as I have learned that some remarks that I made recently were made in a place which was somewhat irregular. It was due to a misunderstanding for which no one was to blame and as it is a precedent which ought not be followed I hope I shall not be thought to have established a precedent. I have necessarily some sympathy with the Amendment which has peen moved by the noble Lord, Lord Danesfort, especially as he was good enough to base his plea to the House very largely upon some observations which I made to your Lordships on Second Reading. Therefore, I am in entire sympathy with the object of the proposed Amendment. I am bound to say, however, that I think it might have been drafted rather differently. For instance, the word "and" at the beginning of the last line of the Amendment might create a difficulty, because entertainments can be of a healthy, wholesome character without necessarily being educative. I can imagine some films being most healthy which it would require a little stretch of language to call educative.
§ LORD DANESFORT
May I interrupt the most rev. Primate for one moment? I should be quite willing to leave out all the words after "wholesome."
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Even so I think it would be somewhat difficult to enforce. How is it to be determined whether a particular film is healthy and wholesome except through the existing censorship, which I believe is more effective than the noble Lord seemed to imply? I am in- 635 formed that practically all local authorities throughout the country decline to allow films to be exhibited which have not received the certificate of the existing board of censorship. Although sometimes certificates are given to unsatisfactory films the censorship is for the most part becoming more effective and the standard of films is steadily rising. At the same time I think this Amendment would have its place as setting, so to say, on the face of the Bill the intention which I believe would have the assent of the great mass of public opinion. It is true that under the Bill it is within the power of the authority to impose special conditions upon the licence which they grant and it would be open to the public anywhere to bring pressure to bear to see that a licence is not given without some assurance of an arrangement for the films to be of a satisfactory character. But here again it would be a great strengthening of public opinion in dealing with the authorities if they were able to point to something in the Act itself indicating that it was intended by the Act to give a special character to the films exhibited on Sunday. Even if the noble and learned Viscount has to say that this Amendment is unnecessary and that it would be difficult to enforce, I suggest that he might recognise it as having some point and place as giving somewhere in the Act an indication of the special character which I believe the great mass of people would wish films exhibited on Sunday to possess.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
It is obvious that everyone will desire to sympathise with the object that the noble Lord, Lord Danesfort, said had instigated this Amendment. Indeed I need not assure the most rev. Primate not only that anything he puts forward will be carefully considered, but that we are in agreement with him in thinking it is most important that the character of the films to be shown should be of a proper, healthy and wholesome character. The difficulty which the Home Office have felt, and which I am afraid they still feel, is not merely, as the most rev. Primate anticipated, that the Amendment would be unnecessary and difficult to enforce, but that on the whole it would rather hamper than help the local authority. May I in a few sentences try to explain how that comes about? If it were true that apart 636 from this Amendment licensing authorities had no power to control the character of the films shown, which was at one time contended, I think it would be very necessary to have such words in order to make it clear that with regard to Sunday films this was one of the matters they must consider. But as long ago as 1916 it was established in the Courts that the licensing authorities have power under the existing legislation of 1909 to control the character of the films shown in premises licensed by them by conditions attached to the grant of their licences.
A further stage was reached as long ago as 1921 when it was decided that the licensing authorities may make it a condition of licences that without their express consent no film shall be shown which has not been passed by the British Board of Film Censors—to whose work I think possibly the noble Lord, Lord Danesfort, hardly did complete justice in his criticism. On the basis of that decision it has now become the almost universal practice—I think the universal practice—for licensing authorities to have a condition giving practical effect to the views of the British Board of Film Censors by preventing any other films from being shown. Supposing you seek as a licensing authority to impose some extra condition, what is it going to be? There is no other body at present which examines films. I think it is common ground that a film cannot be judged merely by reading a synopsis, but that everything depends on the treatment of the subject matter. The only way in which any one considers that films can be effectively judged and decided upon is by the judgment of someone who actually sees the film produced. An attempt was made, I think, in Beckenham to establish a censorship for Sunday films by setting up a small sub-committee of the licensing authority to go and see them all. They have only, I am told, two cinemas in Beckenham, but even with that number the system broke down after a very few weeks. As to London, where there are, I think, at least four hundred, I do not know what the noble Lord, Lord Jessel, would say if I suggested that the London County Council should send committees to examine all the films. The sort of plan which may be adopted in some areas is the kind referred to by the most rev. Primate at Croydon, where I think there is to be a 637 body which will contain a certain number of representatives of public authorities and of representatives of the churches.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
A representative committee commanding general support which will examine the films and pass judgment on their suitability. That a very promising scheme. Under the Bill it will be quite open, of course, to the licensing authority to say that they will not license films unless they have been passed by some such body. If you put in this sort of clause, unless there is such a body in existence it is hardly possible to conceive how anything can be done, and where you have a body of the kind set up in Croydon you do not need this clause, because the essence of the scheme is that it commands general support and the public is represented on the committee. Therefore it is that the suggestion in the Amendment is, as I think the most rev. Primate agrees, an unnecessary one and one which it would be very difficult to enforce.
It is also one which at present at any rate is not required because the conditions which the local authority is entitled to impose are precisely of this character, and so far as I know in the areas where films are allowed to be shown—and those are the only areas in which at present they are to be shown—the local authorities will be as much alive to their responsibility as if this particular clause was in. In these circumstances it is felt that you are proposing to put into an Act of Parliament a very difficult provision and a provision which is going to embarrass the local authority in the administration of the Act. You have to remember that under the Act severe penalties are imposed if anybody breaks any of the conditions, and it is thought by the Home Office that the Bill would work more smoothly if the matter were left, as at present, to the discretion of the licensing authority, who are allowed to go on the kind of line they are going on at present at Croydon and elsewhere and so avoid the difficulty of having imposed upon them words which in most cases it will be impossible for them to Carry out. My noble friend Lord Danesfort referred to the discussion in another place. I will only say that, although he 638 found the discussion unsatisfying, the majority of more than three to one of the House of Commons took an opposite view and the Amendment was very heavily defeated. It is not because we are less anxious than the noble Lord to see films of a healthy and wholesome character, but it is because we do not feel that these words would do anything to produce that result that the Government does not wish to have the provision expressly inserted.
§ LORD HANWORTH
I do not think the noble and learned Viscount has met the point urged by the most rev. Primate. Indeed his speech was directed to the, difficulties which are pointed out by the advisers of the Home Office. The point that the most rev. Primate made was this, that it would be useful to put into the Bill, affirmatively, a standard to which some sort of conformity should be demanded. There is really very little difficulty in doing it, and if the Home Office at the moment have their misgivings, let us try and overcome those misgivings and show them the right course. It will be useful to have some sort of standard. It will be useful to point out that one of the conditions ought to be that the authority should be satisfied on tins particular point of a healthy and wholesome exhibition. Observe what the Amendment says. I take it that the noble Lord is prepared to leave out the words in the last line "so far as possible of an educative character," which are more difficult. The proviso is that the person to whom the licence is given is to satisfy the authority of the nature of the films. It does not require that the authority shall go round and look and observe and have an exhibition of all the films. That is not suggested. The noble Viscount suggests that possibly Lord Jessel might find some difficulty, if he were sent round to 400 films in London, in ascertaining whether the exhibition was going to be of a healthy nature or not. That is not what is required. It lies with the licensee to bring some evidence, and it can be given in several ways. There is, for instance, his known reputation. He has got to satisfy the authority, and the authority should look to conformity to a standard, requiring films to be of a wholesome character.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
With his judicial experience, does the noble and 639 learned Lord tell us that if these words are in the Bill a licensee will be able to satisfy the licensing authority that the films to be exhibited are of a healthy and wholesome character, by reference to his known character?
§ LORD HANWORTH
I thought the noble and learned Viscount wished to interrupt me because of the weight of what I was saying. I was saying that that was only one of the features. For instance, a man who has been exhibiting for a great many years comes and says: "My exhibition is of the same character, and I will tell you the natures and the characters and the titles of the films." I think that most people of a judicial character, justices and the like, would be entitled to give very much weight to that sort of information, and I should be sorry that there should be any judicial body who would neglect that kind of evidence. That is my answer to the noble and learned Viscount. These words, if necessary, can be amended. What I am unwilling to cast aside is the value that this proviso gives to what are called affirmative standards, and although the Home Office at the moment may not appreciate them, and perhaps find too many difficulties in them, I think your Lordships can help by inserting these words and if necessary amending them on Report. Do not, however, let us give up the standard which this proviso indicates.
§ LORD SNELL
I am sorry to delay the Committee, but this matter is of some real importance and I wish to say a few words about it. I accept the statement made by the noble and learned Viscount as to the difficulties of administering a law with these words included, but my hesitation about this proposal is on other grounds. I sympathise, as we all must, with the desire of the noble Lord, Lord Danesfort, to have films on Sunday which are beyond all question of an elevating character; but whilst we do in modern life set apart certain days and places and persons as being particularly associated with religious observances, in actual fact a film that ought not to be shown on a Sunday night ought not to be shown on any other night, and I cannot imagine that any young person would be particularly helped by a censorship, if you will, operating upon one day of the week, with a lower standard on the remaining 640 days. It might conceivably happen that those responsible for the film industry might say that they would keep a certain standard of films for Sunday nights, with a lowering of the standard for the rest of the week. From an educational point of view, and from the point of view of moral responsibility, what we should aim at is not a standard for one day in the week particularly but for all the days of the week, and that would be achieved by the proposals in the later clauses of the Bill.
§ LORD JESSEL
May I point out that the London County Council has a sitting in February to licence films? How are you to ask producers to bring before the London County Council a year ahead every one of the films they are going to produce? It seems to me absolutely impossible. I sympathise with what has been said, but I do not see how you can throw it upon the producers to satisfy the London County Council of the exact nature of the films which they are going to produce in the course of a year. On the other hand, if you are going to ask the County Council to look into the matter, what a host of inspectors they would require to have! It would put the London County Council and other authorities to very great expense, because they would need to employ a host of inspectors.
THE LORD BISHOP OF NORWICH
In spite of what we have recently heard I still hope that your Lordships will accept the Amendment. It has been said, and I think we may repeat it, that this new proviso gives a standard. It has been forgotten that this is a special Bill concerning Sunday cinemas. I think that removes the argument that the standard set for Sunday should be the right standard for every day of the week. We are not speaking of the other days of the week, we are speaking of Sunday, and in wholly exceptional circumstances cinemas are to be opened in certain conditions on Sunday. That, I think, makes it quite logical for us to consider Sunday cinemas apart from the cinemas of the other days of the week. I believe that in some of our provincial towns it would be of great assistance to the licensing authority to have this standard set in front of them. It is a mistake to suppose that they will only discuss films that are just on the border line, that they will say 641 that such-and-such a film will just pass muster, or just not. There is a certain number of films that quite unquestionably from their very nature must be healthy and wholesome, and even of an educative character, such as films which deal with nature life, the movements of animals and birds. There can be no question that films of that character are wholesome and suitable.
I believe that, so far from the film, industry finding that it would pay them to concentrate their better films on the Sundays and therefore worse films on other days of the week, when they have produced on Sundays such films as I have suggested they will find that they are more popular than they supposed, and they will tend to introduce them on the other days of the week. I cannot see that any of the arguments that we have heard show that this Amendment will do any harm. The most that has been said is, Will it do any good?. And if there are some of us who think it will do some good, I think we may ask for the support of those who condemn it because they say that to have this clause would impede the action of the licensing authority in other ways. We do not remove any powers that they already possess. We do not suggest that they are not using them correctly. We do say that in this special Bill, referring only to Sunday cinemas, we would like to have the Sunday films different from the films that pass muster on the other days of the week.
§ LORD IRWIN
Before the Amendment is voted upon I should like to say that I began listening to the discussion with every sympathy with my noble friend, but as the discussion has proceeded I have become convinced in my own mind that we should make a mistake if we included these words in the Bill. It seems to me evident that the project is unworkable, and everything that has been said, including the speech of the right rev. Prelate who has just spoken, leads me to the conclusion that the right way to deal with this is not to try to set up a special standard for Sunday, but to raise the standard of all films.
§ LORD ARNOLD
Following upon the speech of the noble Lord, I would venture to suggest—and this is in part reply 642 to my noble friend Lord Snell—that, if some such words as these were incorporated in the Bill the effect of them might very well be in the direction of raising the whole standard of films. Take one point. It might very well be that if some such regulation as this were made the film that would be shown on the Sunday would be the film that would be shown for the remainder of the week. I think there are very strong reasons why some such words as these should be inserted in the Bill.
§ LORD DANESFORT
The noble Viscount gave me any amount of sympathy, but nothing practical. I always suspect a Minister who is so ready of sympathy but is not going to follow it up by any action. The chief argument advanced in opposition is that there would be difficulty in working this provision. There are always difficulties in doing good things, and it is the business of the Government, when it approves of the object of a particular Amendment, to find out how those difficulties can be surmounted. I think it would be a lamentable thing when an attempt is made in this House to ensure that Sunday films are of a suitable character, if it went out from this House that the Government, while sympathising with that object, expressed themselves powerless to to do anything to carry it into effect. I do hope that the independent members of your Lordships' House, in the interests of the community as a whole and to carry out what are undoubtedly the wishes of vast numbers of people in this country, will vote for this Amendment. If, when the Report stage comes, words can be introduced into the Amendment to make it more workable, I shall be delighted to accept those changes.
THE LORD CHAIRMAN
I am going to put the Amendment in the altered form that has been suggested. It will then read as follows:Provided that such conditions shall require the person to whom the licence is granted to satisfy the authority that the films to be exhibited are of a healthy and wholesome character, and
§ On Question, Whether the proposed words shall be there inserted?
§ Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 19; Not-Contents, 27.643
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Arnold, L.||Hanworth, L.|
|Barnard, L.||Howard of Glossop, L.|
|Morton, E.||Clwyd, L.||Luke, L.|
|Bertie of Thame, V.||Danesfort, L. [Teller.]||Mamhead, L.|
|Bridgeman, V.||Daryngton, L.||Marks, L.|
|Ullswater, V.||Fairfax of Cameron, L. [Teller.]||Rankeillour, L.|
|Norwich, L. Bp.|
|Sankey, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Stanhope, E.||Gage, L. (V. Gage.) [Teller.]|
|Wellington, D.||Allendale, V.||Hampton, L.|
|Hailsham, V.||Hay, L. (E. Kinnoull.)|
|Linlithgow, M.||Mersey, V.||Irwin, L.|
|Grey, E.||Aberdare, L.||Lamington, L.|
|Lucan, E. [Teller.]||Annaly, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Askwith, L.||Sanderson, L.|
|Plymouth, E.||Banbury of Southam, L.||Snell, L.|
|Camrose, L.||Stonehaven, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I think having regard to the time which we have now reached, it would be plainly impossible for your Lordships to complete the Committee stage this evening. Probably it would be convenient, in those circumstances, to adjourn the further discussion of the Committee stage until tomorrow, and for the House to sit to-morrow at three o'clock and take this first. If that meets with the convenience of your Lordships I will move that the House do now resume.
§ Moved, That the House do now resume. —(Viscount Hailsham.)
§ LORD LAMINGTON
I have had a Question down on the Order Paper for weeks. Will it have first place to-morrow? I thought I should have a clear run, instead of the Government having their convenience met. When does my Question come on to-morrow?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
It can come on to-night if my noble friend likes. We can take it now, if it would suit my noble friend. He will understand I am anxious to meet him, but there are difficulties. There is a great deal of Government business to be got through, and if it would be convenient for my noble friend to take his Question to-night my noble friend Lord Stanhope is in a position to give him some information. I hope my noble friend Lord Lamington will aquit me of any discourtesy if I have to go now, because there is a cabinet meeting called for a quarter past seven.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House resumed accordingly.