HL Deb 22 November 1961 vol 235 cc859-60

2.40 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are aware that in the course of a religious service broadcast by the B.B.C. on Sunday, October 29, the preacher, in his sermon, made an attack upon the policy of the Government over a wide field; and whether they will represent to the B.B.C. that this is a breach of the rule by which political attacks are confined to the time allotted for broadcasts by political Parties.]


My Lords, there is no rule under which matters of political controversy are confined to the Party political broadcasts arranged in agreement with the B.B.C. and the political Parties, but the Government rely on the Corporation to treat controversial matters with complete impartiality. The programme referred to was certainly critical of some aspects of Government policy, and it is therefore up to the Corporation to see that views supporting Government action are expressed in other programmes.


My Lords, may I thank my noble friend very much for his Answer, which entirely fulfils the purpose of my Question? I do not want to pursue the matter much further, but the sermon was very critical of the Government and I think it was a very wrong occasion for that.


My Lords, is the noble Lord telling the clergy of the country that their interpretation of Christian ethics must necessarily be reconciled with the actions of the Government?


My Lords, I think that if the noble Lady could persuade anybody to believe that I was doing that, it would be a very remarkable argument.