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Speeches (Reprints)

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 12 April 1945

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asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will authorise a substantial increase in the maximum number of reprints of speeches hon. Members may order from the official printer.

No, Sir, not at present. On the production side, I hope to be able to offer an increase early next year. The size of the increase is a matter for the consideration of the House.

Does the Minister realise that this is quite an unwarrantable interference with Parliamentary Privilege, that hon. Members should be entitled to distribute: copies of any Parliamentary speech, and that the Executive, by restricting the paper supply available, is interfering with that proper distribution, and preventing hon. Members from carrying out their duty properly?

I cannot add to what I have said. It is hoped that on the production side an increase can be offered in the early part of next year, but at the moment it is felt that, under existing difficulties and with the shortage of paper and labour, the present number should be enough.

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind, in his consideration of the matter, that this policy is not leading to a saving of paper or newsprint, and that in point of fact those hon. Members who want speeches to be reprinted have to go elsewhere to get a sufficient quantity?

Before the war the number of applications of this kind was fairly small and modest, but during the war there were occasions when hon. Members wanted up to 30,000 copies of a single speech. It is felt that the rule should for the moment be what it is.

Will my hon. Friend tell the House how many times a Member wanted 30,000 copies of his speech?