asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what representations have been received from organisations of large business firms for sponsored or commercial broadcasting.
One firm of advertising agents on behalf of five large industrial companies has recently applied for permission to provide sponsored television programmes.
Is my hon. Friend aware that on this side of the House we are getting sick and tired of these constant attacks on private enterprise business—[Interruption]—I have not finished—particularly in view of the abysmal failure of nationalised concerns? In the case of this problem of the future of the B.B.C., would it not be better to regard it solely from the point of view of the benefit of the public—rather than from that of the mildewed mentality of party politics?
Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the very strong objection to the idea of sponsored television up and down the country among people of all political views—except those who put private profit before public benefit?
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is also a large body of opinion throughout the country which believes, as regards television, that a certain number of commercial sponsored programmes would be a good thing?
I suggest to hon. Members of this House, including the Leader of the Opposition, that they wait until the White Paper is published.
We cannot debate this very wide issue now.