HC Deb 28 November 1917 vol 99 cc2036-7W

asked the Home Secretary if he will state the nature of the directions issued to the Press Censor to guide him in considering and deciding upon leaflets and pamphlets submitted under Regulation 27 c of the Defence of the Realm Act?


I cannot undertake to give this information


asked (1) whether, under Regulation 27 c of the Defence of the Realm Acts, the agenda of a political conference issued in pamphlet form and containing resolutions on war aims and the conditions of peace must first be submitted to the Press Censor before being issued; whether the Censor has power to delete any part of such agenda; whether subsequently a report of such conference in the form of a pamphlet, containing speeches in support of these resolutions and available for sale or distribution, will have to be submitted for the examination of the Censor; whether the Censor will have power to delete any part of the report; and (2) whether, under the new Regulations, leaflets urging the abolition of secret diplomacy, the establishment of a League of Nations, the international reduction of armaments, and the coming into power of real democracy as among the essentials of permanent peace, will have to be submitted to the Censor before publication?


It is impossible to define the leaflets which come within the Regulation in more precise language than the Regulation itself. Any printed matter with regard to which doubt arises should be submitted to the Press Bureau for a decision. As a general rule the leaflet would be either passed or stopped as a whole, but in some cases it may be possible to indicate certain passages the deletion of which would enable the leaflet to be passed.


asked the Home Secretary how he proposes to deal under Regulation 27 c, Defence of the Realm Act, with leaflets in which reference is made to the War and peace, locally issued by the agents of candidates for Parliament during an election or in preparation for a contest, other than the actual addresses of the candidates themselves?


The question of the application of the Regulation to election literature is under consideration.


asked whether a leaflet condemning the terms of Regulation 27 c, Defence of the Realm Act, will be held to be a leaflet relating to the War and unlawful unless submitted to the Censor?


I am advised that a leaflet will not come within the terms of the Regulation merely because it criticises the Regulation.