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Bbc (Inquiry Procedure)

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1949

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asked the Lord President of the Council whether, in view of the public interest in the staffing, organisation and work of the British Broadcasting Corporation, he will now arrange for the inquiry which is to be held under the chairmanship of Sir Cyril Radcliffe to take place in public and be open to the Press.

As I told my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper) on 31st January, it is for the committee of inquiry itself to determine its procedure.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it right, in view of the public money involved, that the public should be kept acquainted of what transpires at the inquiry?

We are following precedent. The last committee of inquiry, before the war, met in private. All I am saying is that it is for the committee itself to determine whether it sits in public or private. I think that that will be most convenient because some of the evidence will be of such a character that the persons concerned will give better and franker evidence in private than in public.

Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate to the committee that, if possible, it should sit in public? There is some feeling on the matter.

I do not think there is any public feeling about it at all. I do not think it would be right to indicate to the committee one way or the other what it should do; it is for the committee to be master of its own procedure.

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that the Crawford Committee, the first of these committees, sat in public throughout?