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Members' Correspondence, Northern Ireland (Censorship)

Volume 409: debated on Wednesday 11 April 1945

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asked the Minister of Information whether he will give instructions to the censorship that letters from British Ministers of State to Members of Parliament in Northern Ireland are not to be opened, but be exempted from the Censorship.

No, Sir, I do not think such an instruction is required. When the war in Europe ends, my hon. Friends in Northern Ireland will no longer be burdened by the censorship of their correspondence.

Why should Members from Northern Ireland and Ministers of State be suspected by the Crown, and have some of their letters opened by the Censorship, and examined? I do not think that that should be, and I feel very strongly about it.

It is not a question of suspecting Ministers of State; it is a question of making a differentiation between Members of Parliament and ordinary citizens. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] There are very serious administrative difficulties about making that differentiation.

Could the hon. Gentleman say which of his colleagues he distrusts—those who want to break away from the Government, or those who want to stay in it?

If these letters to Members of Parliament are censored, and if the hon. Gentleman does not suspect Ministers of State, does he suspect the Members of Parliament from Northern Ireland?