HL Deb 04 August 1965 vol 269 cc269-71

2.48 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the widespread public dissatisfaction, they would order the Swastika and German Cross beside the head of Her Majesty the Queen to be removed from the fourpenny stamps which it is intended to issue in September next to commemorate the Battle of Britain, and replace these Nazi emblems by a more suitable design.]


My Lords, the stamps referred to are two of a block of six designs depicting different aspects of the Battle of Britain. On one, the broken Swastika, half covered by the sea, is shown on the shattered tail fin of a Luftwaffe bomber that has been shot down and is sinking into the English Channel. Above, four R.A.F. fighters ride triumphant. The other shows a German Cross on the wing-tips of a Messerschmitt 109E overlapped by the wing tip of a Spitfire. Since this is what the Battle of Britain was all about, my right honourable friend does not propose to withdraw the stamps.


My Lords, as a supplementary question, may I ask the noble Lord whether, in view of the considerable number of complaints that have been received about these designs, and the Questions which are down in another place to-day, Her Majesty's Government will reconsider their decision?


My Lords, I appreciate, as I am sure Her Majesty's Government do, the quite considerable amount of disquiet that has been expressed about the publication of stamps of these designs. But I would point out to the noble Lord, and to the public in general, that they are under no obligation to purchase these stamps. First, the ordinary 4d. stamps will be on sale and, secondly, there will be a number of other stamps commemorating the Battle of Britain of the same money value as are those to which some people have taken offence.


My Lords, is my noble friend aware that I can understand the sensitivity of people regarding the Swastika cross being on the stamp? But why have there not been any Questions to the Government on the Swastika cross in the picture in St. Stephen's Hall which shows King Alfred the Great defending the shores of Britain at Swanage Bay?


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for drawing my attention to the matter which he has raised.


My Lords, will the noble Lord not agree that people are not bound to buy these stamps, but they are bound to receive them?


That may be so, my Lords.