asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what action he is proposing to take in regard to the temporary British Broadcasting Corporation's Charter which expires in June.
The Government have the future of broadcasting under review, and when their proposals are ready a White Paper will be issued for the consideration of Parliament.
In view of the very short period between now and the time of the expiration of the present agreement, can the Minister say when this White Paper is likely to be issued?
I am afraid that at this juncture I can give no estimate of the date.
My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner), is quite right. Knowing that the time is getting very, very close under that six months arrangements, surely the Minister can say when this White Paper will be laid. Are the Government still muffling along when they do not know—[HON. MEMBERS: "A contemptuous term."] That is a very different thing from saying that Parliament has no right to any sense of dignity. The Government postponed the matter of the Charter for six months. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] I want to know when the Government are going to act, because the time is getting very close. Surely we ought to know when the Charter will be produced. I ask the hon. Gentleman to tell the House this and not keep us hanging about merely because a quarrel is on with the Tory Central Office.
I cannot add to what I have said in answer to the supplementary question.
May I ask the hon. Gentleman, who is treating the House with persistent disrespect, when we can be informed when this matter, which is becoming one of great urgency, will be dealt with?
I cannot say anything more in regard to the date of the publication of the White Paper than I have said already.