As amended, considered.
[1ST ALLOTTED DAY]
New Clause—(Advisory Committees)
|(1) The Authority may appoint, or arrange for the assistance of, advisory committees to give advice to the Authority and programme contractors on such matters as the Authority may determine.|
|5||(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing subsection, the Authority shall in particular appoint, or arrange for the assistance of—|
|10||(a) a committee representative of the main steams of religious thought in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, to give advice to the Authority on any religious services or other matters of a religious nature included in the programmes broadcast by the Authority, or in any publications issued by the Authority; and|
|15||(b) a committee representative of organisations, authorities and persons concerned with standards of conduct in the advertising of goods and services (including in particular the advertising of goods or services for medical or surgical purposes) to give advice to the Authority and programme contractors as to the principles to be followed in connection with the advertisements included as aforesaid,|
|20||and it shall be the duty of the Authority to comply and secure compliance with the recommendations of the said committees, subject to such exceptions or modifications, if any, as may appear to the Authority to be necessary or proper having regard to the duties incumbent on them otherwise than under this subsection.—[Mr. Gammons.]|
Brought up, and read the First time.
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."I suggest that it would be convenient in discussing this Clause for the House to deal with two other Amendments which stand in my name. They are the Amendment in page 6, line 37, to leave out subsection (3), and the one in page 19, line 26, to leave out "such," and to insert:
These Amendments deal with the two main issues, namely, religious broadcasting and the advertising of medical goods and services. These matters were, of course, raised in Committee, and I think that hon. Members in different parts of the Committee felt some concern about them. It is for that reason that we have put down these Amendments. Perhaps I ought to explain, first of all, the exact significance of the words"period given over to a broadcast of any religious service, or to any such other."
The reason for the use of those words is that we are here dealing with two committees. In the case of the second one, the medical committee, as I will call it, dealing with the general standard of advertising, that, of course, would have to be appointed by the Authority. In the case of the first committee, the Religious Advisory Committee, we hope to secure the services of the same committee as advises the B.B.C. on these matters, and, therefore, it is only a question of arranging for their assistance. That is the only significance of those words. I shall deal, first, with the paragraph dealing with religious services and what is described as"appoint, or arrange for the assistance of."
When we discussed this matter last time, there were, I think, three particular points about which the Committee expressed some concern. The first was the question of religious bodies buying time on the programmes. I would point out that there is no question of their being allowed to buy advertisements. That is ruled out by paragraph 6 of the Second Schedule where it is very clearly laid down that"… other matters of a religious nature included in the programmes …"
that is, any religious body; so that closes that door. What about a religious body buying time in the sense that, because of the money which it could offer, it could gain more than its fair share of the quota of religious broadcasts? We are content that that door has been very effectively closed by the setting up of the religious advisory committee. This committee, as the House knows, is to represent the main streams of religious thought, but by laying down the further proviso:"No advertisement shall be permitted which is inserted by or on behalf of any body …"
of course, to the power of the Authority to have the final word, the danger of any one particular religious body getting more than its fair share of the quota has been avoided. The reserve power must be included, as I am sure was agreed when we were discussing this matter in Committee, because otherwise the advisory committee would, in effect, have executive functions. But I think that the Clause, as now amended, deals with the point which I believe at one time troubled hon. Members, that the recommendations of the advisory committee would not be binding on the programme contractors. The next point about religious services which concerned the Committee when we were discussing the matter was the question of the proximity of advertisements to religious services. We on this side felt that it had already been adequately dealt with by paragraph 3 of the Second Schedule, where the duty was laid in the finality on the Postmaster-General to determine the intervals which must elapse, not merely between advertisements as such, but also between advertisements and special types of programmes, such as religious services. Since in the finality the decision in this matter devolved on the Postmaster-General he could, of course, be questioned about it in the House of Commons. So as to make the intentions of the Government clear beyond doubt—although I think these views are identical on both sides of the House—we now propose to insert the words:"… it shall be the duty of the Authority to comply and secure compliance with the recommendations of the said committees, subject."
in paragraph 3 of the Second Schedule. I hope that this Amendment will make the point perfectly clear and that it will remove any misgivings. The general standards that we have accepted in regard to religious broadcasting are acceptable, I understand, to the British Council of Churches, including representatives of the Churches in Scotland, with whom we have had consultation. Now let me come to the second main point of the proposed new Clause, medical advertising, and show how we propose to deal with it. While the Authority may appoint any advisory committee which it thinks fit, a second committee has been made mandatory in addition to the religious advisory committee, which was made mandatory before. The second committee is to deal with the general standards of advertising. As I mentioned during the Committee stage, the advertising interests of this country have a very strict code of their own in regard to standards of advertising, and they are anxious to maintain it in the field of television. They have offered to assist us in any way they can. So, too, has the British Medical Association, whose help will be essential in regard to any type of advertisement that deals with medical or pseudo-medical matters, including, of course, advertisements for drugs. The proposed new Clause therefore specifies exactly the same procedure as was laid down for the religious advisory committee; that is, that the committee must be set up from the start and that the Authority has a duty to comply and to secure compliance with the committee's recommendations, subject to the point about executive functions. The House may wonder why, since we are laying it down that such a committee must be set up and its recommendations followed, we have not specified in detail what bodies will serve on it. To do so would not be in accordance with normal practice in setting up committees of this sort. It would be out of the question that any medical committee set up by a responsible body like the Independent Television Authority should not include a representative of the Ministry of Health, for example, but if we began naming particular bodies it would be difficult to know where to begin and where to stop. There are several bodies which represent the advertising interests in this country, and there are very numerous bodies representing medical, surgical and similar interests. It would be impossible to put them all down in the Bill at this stage. The proper way is to leave the matter in the hands of the Authority, which may wish to vary the number of bodies from time to time. I can state quite categorically that the type of committee which the Government envisage will certainly include representatives of the British Medical Association and of the Ministry of Health. I can sum up this point by saying that my noble Friend the Postmaster-General has been in consultation with the British Medical Association, which I gather feels satisfied that the Bill as now amended and the assurances that I have just given meet their misgivings, and, I hope, those of the many hon. Members who spoke during the Committee stage. There are some Amendments to the proposed new Clause which we shall have to discuss later. With the agreement of the House I should propose not to comment on them until I have heard the arguments put forward."period given over to a broadcast of any religious service, or to any such other broadcasts,"
I should like to consult the convenience of the House in this matter. There are a number of Amendments to the proposed new Clause, and it would be possible, if it were agreeable to both sides of the House, on the question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," to permit a general discussion embracing the subject matter of the Amendments. Later, when the Clause is read a Second time, I could put to the House the Question on any Amendment on which it was desired to divide the House. If that be agreeable, the Amendment would then be formally moved without further debate. Then the House could divide or not. If that course is followed, I shall propose the Question, and on the discussion hon. Members can cover both the Clause and the subject matter of the Amendments.
That seems to be the wise course in the circumstances, having regard to the existence of the Guillotine. Perhaps you would allow us to intimate to you if we should wish to divide on any particular Amendment?
The Assistant Postmaster-General has come towards us some way in bringing forward the proposed new Clause, and in the way it is worded. We particularly welcome the fact that he has stated frankly that a representative of the Ministry of Health will serve on the committee. We know that he has had consultation with the British Medical Association and that he and his right hon. Friend have given assurances which, temporarily at least, have assuaged some of its anxieties. I think the hon. Gentleman also knows full well that the Association cannot and will not be satisfied until some time has passed and it has seen how things go, so as to be able to judge whether embarrassment has come to the public health and to the profession generally.It would not have been wrong to make further specifications. The difference between our form of words and the words of the Assistant Postmaster-General was countered by him just now. He said that it was not customary to specify who should serve on a committee; that was being left to the Authority which could be allowed to make its own judgments. It would see to it that no important section of the public was left out. We hoped that by including the words "local authorities" we would get a direct safeguard for consumer interests, because the local authorities are the best people to represent the point of view of the consumer. When we use the term "other bodies" and among them include the Medical Research Council, I hope the Minister will agree that we make a very strong point, which I hope to prove. He has also given us the point about people associated with medicine. It may be that our wording was a little wide, but I hope that the spirit in which we suggested it is accepted by the Minister. The code to which the Assistant Postmaster-General referred, and which we have accepted in the past, has been honourable and has refused to allow substances to be advertised in the Press which were unproven or were against the interests of the public at large. That situation is not quite a sufficient safeguard for the television screen. On this side of the House we think, and there may be many hon. Members on the Government side who agree with us, that the intimacy of advertising which brings things right into the home is so persuasive that it creates a new situation. That is augmented by the fact that we have a National Health Service, nearly all the funds of which come from the Exchequer. 4.0 p.m. The situation is therefore somewhat different. It is for that reason that we ask the hon. Gentleman to give us all possible protection against the excessive self-medication which might ensue if even the most well-proven substances were persuasively and successfully advertised on the television screen—substances which are completely ethical in themselves and against which one can bring no criticism. I do not wish to dilate on this. The other day I mentioned cortisone. We all know that in certain cases of arthritis and rheumatism that can work wonders, but we are now discovering that in the early stages aspirin apparently appears to be equally effective. Cortisone is very expensive. The hon. Gentleman must agree that it would obviously not be fair to persuade people to buy cortisone when the same results can be obtained in a very much simpler and cheaper way and without any of the risks associated with this powerful new and expensive drug. Before the war there was a great deal of self-medication. That is not so today. Before the war the figures were running at about £30 million per annum plus £4 million spent on advertising. At today's value that would be about £100 million. I am advised that today self-medication does not run higher, in monetary value, than that pre-war figure. Here the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health will agree that the Service which she represents has certainly affected, for obvious and very satisfactory reasons, a remarkable diminution in self-medication. That is why we inserted the words "Minister of Health." We are very glad indeed to have the assurance of the Assistant Postmaster-General that the Minister is to be directly represented. The reference to the Medical Research Council is particularly important. Many new substances are being discovered daily. Nearly all of them are being synthesised and do not exist in the ordinary way in nature. It is possible nowadays to order from the research chemist a substance to do a piece of work, in much the same way as ordering a tool from the machine tool making industry—almost like ordering a suit of clothes or a dress from a tailor or a dressmaker. There is almost nothing the research chemists cannot provide if one explains one's needs. We have had experience of the danger to the public health arising from the use of new substances which have crept into medicine, or are used in the food industry without being fully tested and proven, and the body which knows most about such things is the Medical Research Council. The Assistant Postmaster-General will remember that some time ago we had a little discussion about smoking, and the dangers of cancer of the lung associated with it. I thought it was agreed that the Minister of Health had made it quite clear that he had to accept, in part at least, the presumption that there was, to put it no higher, an association between the two. We on this side pointed out that the £250,000 paid by the tobacco companies, and so gladly received by the Medical Research Association through the Minister, should help us to solve the problem in a few years. We believed that until then the television screen would not be a suitable vehicle for this type of propaganda. I myself stated—and I am sure that I am right—that the great companies would be entirely agreeable to wait and see what happened from the very large and munificent gift they had offered. I need not say much more, but would like to use the opportunity to speak of what can happen when the advertiser is either ignorant, foolish or unscrupulous. In April of this year the "Medical World" had a symposium by a group of medical men, all of them more notable and more worthy than I am, on the subject of smoking and lung cancer. I was a contributor and made certain statements. The Minister's views, as given in the House in answer to a Written Question and his Press statement, were most fully and carefully set out and there was this symposium by, I think, 30 medical men. Amongst other things which I wrote, I used the following words:
The Sunday Press picked out a portion of what I said, and an opportunity was seen by an enterprising manufacturer in Bristol. He has nothing to do with real tobacco, but makes cigarettes out of herbs—which may be chopped grass or any other such material. He calls his wares bachelor's cigarettes. I must mention them, Mr. Speaker, because I think that I have been most grossly treated. Had I received what I now hold in my hand whilst the House was sitting I would have brought it to your attention. However, I only found out the day after the Recess started. This Bristol manufacturer has chosen to circularise boys at school. I noted it in the house of my colleague the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler). His son, a boy of 16, had received what I now hold in my hand. It consists of excerpts from the Sunday newspapers and then advertises these cigarettes, made from dried grass or whatever it may be. It states that they have no nicotine, which of course we accept, and are non-injurious, which is grossly improper because it is entirely untrue and certainly unproven. If that is what is done immediately by an unscrupulous manufacturer and they use the name of hon. Members who have attacked smoking—albeit they are the victims of the habit themselves—and then try to get schoolboys to smoke something else which may be as harmful or in the long run even more harmful than tobacco smoking, I think that we have made out a very strong case to show why we should be most cautious and have the Medical Research Council sitting on this and other committees. I am sorry to have taken so long, but I am sure that hon. Members will understand why I have brought in the last point."Until their recent donation for further research the tobacco companies have used their great financial resources to further the sales of their products. This is natural and no one can blame them. Who is to counter such propaganda and how? Filter tip cigarettes will boom. Manufacturers of patent cigarette holders will make fortunes. The moderate cigar smoker will gaze pityingly upon his unfortunate neighbour inhaling the smoke of a cigarette, and the pipe smoker will remember that his vice has not been fully incriminated and defend it on historical as well as statistical grounds."
The Assistant Postmaster-General will remember that when this matter was being dealt with in Committee I pressed him to add a representative of the Ministry of Health to the committee referred to in subsection (2, b) of the proposed new Clause, and he was courteous enough to say that he would consider the matter. I appreciate what he has done and thank him for it, but I should have been happier if the words "Ministry of Health" had appeared. He has, however, assured the House that it is almost certain that a representative of the Ministry will be included.This is a matter of the very greatest importance. The object of commercial broadcasting is to sell certain products, including medicines, and the Ministry will have to pay for most of those medicines. A demand will be created by the advertisements, and the potential patients will go to their doctors, under the National Health Service, and say, "Cannot we have this medicine? We have heard so much about it." When that happens, how many doctors, dependent as they are upon the good will of their patients for their salaries, will refuse them? For that financial reason alone it is important that the Ministry should be represented on the committee. I am very glad to hear that the British Medical Association will be included, and I hope that the Medical Research Council will also be represented. The British Medical Association is not enough by itself. It is possible that in some directions its members may have an outlook which corresponds too closely with that of the advertisers. Doctors may be too ready to agree that special, if not patent, medicines should be advertised, feeling that if people buy them it will save the doctors time and trouble. In that way the sale of medications which, except for minor complaints, is undesirable, may be increased. I am grateful that the Ministry of Health is to be represented, but I hope that the Minister will give careful consideration to the question of the inclusion of a representative of the Medical Research Council.
I want to deal very briefly with two points. I am sorry that in bringing forward the new Clause the Government are still sticking to the idea that the committee which will deal with religious matters shall be
I appreciate the reasons for the Government sticking to this definition, because that is the kind of committee which advises the B.B.C., but I think it is wrong to continue to leave out religious minorities, especially in view of the promise made by the Board of Governors of the B.B.C., when the Beveridge Committee was reporting, to widen its scope of discussion and its representation of religious and ethical views. That attitude should also apply to the I.T.A. It is wrong completely to ignore religious sects and societies which, although they have not large memberships, have contributed quite a lot to the thought and literature on ethical matters. 4.15 p.m. My second point concerns the Amendment to the proposed new Clause standing in the names of my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) and myself, in line 12, after "concerned," to insert "as consumers or otherwise." This Amendment concerns the representation of consumers on the advisory committee dealing with advertising. I am very unhappy at the growth of restrictive professionalism which is now found in so many walks of life. The time has come when we ought not to give even advisory authority to a restrictive body representing its own vested interests and nothing else. I am rather surprised that hon. Members opposite who represent advertising interests are, with one exception, absent when this important matter is being discussed."representative of the main streams of religious thought. …"
Who is the exception?
I was under the impression that the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) had something to do with advertising.
I can relieve the hon. Member of that impression. I have no connection whatever with advertising.
Then we have no representatives of the advertising industry with us, which is rather surprising, although they probably left their instructions behind. The proposed new Clause says that the advisory body shall be
I should have thought that in this case, probably more than in any other, public interest ought to be represented. The Assistant Postmaster General talked about the strict code of conduct laid down by the advertisers, but it is not their code which is strict. The strictness is applied by the newspapers. The Newspaper Proprietors' Association and the Newspaper Society have laid down their own rules in regard to advertising matter in newspapers. It is this code which is accepted as being suitable for application in other fields, but, even so, many questionable and false claims for products are frequently made in news papers. I do not think that anybody wants to see questionable claims being put forward in this new medium of advertising. We want it to start off with very high standards. At present, in the whole field of broadcasting, we have very high standards with regard to the quality of programmes, and, although no advertising is allowed by the B.B.C., we want to see the high standards they have established obtaining generally throughout the new I.T.A. For that reason this advisory committee should be strengthened so as to deal with advertising on commercial television in much the same way as the Newspaper Proprietors' Association and the Newspaper Society deal with advertising in newspapers. I believe that it is necessary to include representatives of the general public, as provided in the Amendment to which I have referred. We are all consumers of the products to be advertised and for that reason anybody who is not associated with the interests mentioned in the new Clause, and who has experience of public affairs, should rank as a representative. We should also make sure that the 11 million organised consumers in the corporative societies are not left out of account. If it becomes the duty of the advisory committee to lay down a code of conduct for advertisers in commercial television, it is surely necessary to have a wider body than that provided for in the Clause as it stands at present."a committee representative of organisations, authorities and persons concerned with standards of conduct in the advertising of goods and services …"
This new Clause is an attempt by the Government to meet doubts expressed about the Bill. Those of us who have certain misgivings about the operation of commercial television must recognise that the new Clause is a very real advance towards meeting our point of view. Certain hon. Gentlemen opposite are inclined to think that advertisers will use this medium quite unscrupulously. No experience of commercial life in this country justifies that point of view. For example, as the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) pointed out, the newspaper proprietors have their own association for working out a code of conduct that is rigidly adhered to.The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) illustrated a case of a lapse, but I do not think that he is entitled, because of that one lapse on the part of one unscrupulous person, to imply that everybody else will be unscrupulous. I admit that the case indicates, perhaps, a need to watch that that sort of thing does not happen, but we are not entitled to assume that because one bad thing has been done the new advisory committee will permit any to be done.
I should not like it to go out that any newspapers have accepted that type of advertisement. That was an example of incredible enterprise. What that person did was to make photographs of the montages of Sunday newspapers and send them to school boys. I was not speaking against newspapers or their advertisements.
I think that strengthens my case. For all the criticism we level at them from time to time, we know that the newspaper proprietors of this country are by and large reputable and responsible people, and we have become accustomed to expect from them a certain code of conduct, and I am sure that we may expect the same high standards amongst advertisers in the new medium.The N.P.A. has its committee, which has been working for many years, and from month to month it makes new regulations, and consequently it is not possible for any advertiser to claim, for instance, that he has a cure for cancer or tuberculosis, or to make any claim of that sort for medical goods. The committee consults regularly the top people in the medical profession, and we have no reason to suppose that the new advisory committee for the I.T.A. will not be as careful in obtaining advice from the medical profession as the newspaper proprietors are at the present time. I was very disturbed by the remarks of the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings), who implied that because of advertising, whether on television or in the newspapers, doctors would be forced, by pressure upon them, to prescribe this or that remedy. Perhaps a weak doctor would succumb to that sort of pressure, but I do not believe that that is true of the medical profession as a whole. If it were, I doubt very much whether the health of the people of this country would be as good as it is.
I did not say that of the medical profession. I said some of the doctors.
It is very difficult to legislate in such a way as to deal with every single person in a profession. If there are weak doctors who succumb to advertising in any form, they will still be weak doctors whether the new Clause is accepted or not. If the hon. Member accepts that point of view, his case is very considerably weakened. We have in this country a standard of ethics in business and in medicine that is very high indeed, and I do not think that it will be altered whatever regulations are imposed. The same high standards will remain. I am happy to accept the new Clause as going a long way to helping those of us on this side of the House who have had doubts in the past.The hon. Member for Hillsborough said that organised members of the Co-operative societies—11 million of them, I think he said—and other consumers should be represented on the proposed advisory committee. Superficially, there would appear to be an advantage in that suggestion, but in considering it we have the experience of consumers' councils in the last few years to guide us. Consumers' councils have formed a part of the structure of several nationalised industries. They have operated for several years in the electricity industry and the gas industry, and so on. I think any fair-minded person would admit that the consumers' councils have, by and large, been complete failures. There is very little interest in them amongst the public, and very little desire in the public to deal with them. Perhaps they could do some good, but my point is that at present they are a complete waste of time. In any case, it would seem to me that the interests of the consumers will be represented by the bodies and persons of whom the advisory committee is to be representative.
The Assistant Postmaster-General, in moving the new Clause, seemed to think he had been very generous to the Opposition and had gone a long way to allay all the fears about what would happen about religious broadcasting in the new set-up. At first sight, admittedly, the new Clause seems to improve the Bill a bit, but a full examination of it gives rise to new fears, and consequently to the doubt whether we are any further forward.We on this side of the House tried to obtain a guarantee of a minimum of religious broadcasting by the new set-up, but there is nothing in the Bill or in the new Clause that gives us that guarantee. All we have now is a promise of an advisory committee, or of assistance by an existing advisory committee, to advise the Independent Television Authority on any programmes. There is not apparently to be advice on how many programmes of a religious character should be broadcast. It is assumed that the Authority will decide to have religious broadcasts, but there is no guarantee that there will be any religious broadcasting, and the commercial nature of the whole set-up makes it most unlikely that there will be religious broadcasting. 4.30 p.m. We have the very good point that
We welcome those words, but when we read further we must ask for some explanation from the Government, because those words are"it shall be the duty of the Authority to comply and secure compliance with the recommendations of the said committees."
What does that mean? As far as I can read it, the Authority may search through the Bill and discover other duties which would allow it to disregard all the advice given. There is the financial duty that, as soon as possible, the Authority should make the system pay. To my mind these words might permit the Authority to do what we have been promised by the Postmaster-General it will not do and what most religious organisations in the country do not want it to do—that is, permit a religious organisation to buy time, paying the I.T.A. in order to have time on the air. Is that to be one of the duties to which the Authority can point in saying, "We will not accept your advice"? The Assistant Postmaster-General must make the position much clearer before we can accept the Clause. He must make clear exactly what he envisages by these modifications and exceptions to which he deliberately subjects the acceptance of the advice of the committees. The Clause is a slight advance towards reason, but the hon. Gentleman should not think for a minute that he has met the objections which we advanced in Committee or allayed the fears which we still have."subject to such modifications and exceptions, if any, as may appear to the Authority to be necessary or proper having regard to the duties incumbent on them otherwise than under this subsection."
I rise for a moment to correct, if I may, a misapprehension under which I believe the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) is suffering about the control of advertising. He appeared to believe that it was the newspaper organisations only which maintained committees for regulating and controlling advertising. It is true that the newspapers have a committee which exercises a very severe control over the advertising which appears in the Press. I have had some experience in these matters; for some years I was chairman of that committee.But the main and more general organisation which now deals with these matters is the Advertising Association which is, as it were, the federal body composed of all the organisations which are concerned with advertising—the newspapers, the advertising agents, the advertisers, the billposters and others. That organisation is responsible for what I think may be called the main code which exists for the control of advertising.
The hon. Member seems to have misunderstood me. I know about the Advertising Association and its code. The sanction behind that code lies in the subcommittee of the N.P.A., and without that sanction the Advertising Association's code would be worthless.
It is true that the sanction, that is to say, the power to enforce the rules—depends on the individual associations, not only the newspapers in their sphere but the billposters in their sphere and so on; but it is the Advertising Association which brings together all the rules and regulations of the individual bodies and which lays down a code which those bodies accept and enforce on their own members. I wanted to make that point clear. Although I am not now engaged in the advertising business, for many years I was associated with these things, and I had the honour of being the chairman of the first committee appointed many years ago by the Advertising Association to investigate the advertising of patent medicine. We had on that committee representatives of the B.M.A. and of the manufacturing chemists as well as others who represented the different interests concerned, the public interest by no means being excluded from all those deliberations.I am sure the advertising interests will welcome the new Clause. My hon. Friend can be assured that the I.T.A. will find no difficulty in assembling a responsible body of advisers to help it in this matter, a body which, it will find, is as much concerned for the credit of advertising and for sound conduct in the business as any Members of the House could be.
I am rather concerned about the support which was given to the Clause by the hon. Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop) and the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper), who appeared to think it was completely satisfactory. I am not quite so sure.For example, I do not accept the view of the hon. and gallant Member that the advertisers always avoid unscrupulous conduct in carrying on their advertising. Only this weekend an hon. Member in a well-known Sunday newspaper gave an account of the action of a famous firm of brewers who, in order to obtain the opinion of doctors about the merits of their commodity—which opinion they would probably advertise later—had offered the doctors a case of the liquors which were to be advertised. That was an example of unscrupulousness in obtaining an unbiased medical opinion. I am sure that medical men would know how to withstand the temptation, but the brewers' intentions in this case are an indication that we cannot rely on standards of scrupulous conduct as some hon. Members suggest. As the House has no doubt guessed, it is this issue which has brought me to my feet to ask, briefly, some questions about the main streams of religious thought which are referred to in the Clause. The Assistant Postmaster-General said that the Government have had consultations with the British Council of Churches and the Churches in Scotland. I should respect both those bodies very much except that the British Council of Churches does not represent all the churches and is not very interested in the subject in which I am deeply interested—although I do not think the Council is in any sense opposed to what I shall say in this matter. There is in existence a Temperance Council of the Christian Churches which is representative of all the Churches without exception and which is vitally interested in this question of advertising. It is interested, for example, to see that there shall not be advertising of cocktails for adolescents. It does not wish to see the advertising now taking place in the Press extended into the homes of the people. It is very concerned, as was the Royal Commission, about the advertising of medicated wines for the purpose of deluding distressed invalids. The Council does not want to see the wireless used in that field. I believe that the watchdog duty on this question would almost be better exercised by the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches. I shall not speak about Scotland, because I know that the Church of Scotland has its temperance committee which is vitally concerned about this matter, as is the temperance council for England. Speaking of England, however, I should say, that there is a case for considering representation of this type, not only when dealing with the main streams of religious thought but when dealing with ail other matters of a religious nature which are to be included in the programmes. I have not put an Amendment on the Order Paper because I think that the Home Secretary will be sympathetic with the contentions which I have put forward. I hope that in his reply he will be able to give some undertaking that in the development of this advisory committee the type of thought which I have expressed will be taken into account. I think that it is important to take it into account, because when we come to subsection (2, b) of the new Clause, concerning the standards of conduct in the advertising of goods and services, it is only the B.M.A. and the Ministry of Health which are referred to. Again, on the question of breaches into the field of temperance which are likely to be made by successful advertising through television, I should say that under that head also there is a ground for the effective representation of temperance opinion on this committee. I agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) has said about the Co-operative movement. I put in my plea also for the Co-operative movement. I hope that this matter will be taken seriously into consideration by the Home Secretary. Briefly, I am pressing very strongly that the Home Secretary should say that the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches might be considered to be the kind of body which should be included under the terms of this Amendment.
I rise only for a moment to refute the suggestion made by hon. Members opposite concerning the intentions of this Clause. It was suggested that there was no advertising by the B.B.C. I think that many of us, while appreciating the difficulties of the B.B.C., are feeling some alarm at the way in which advertising creeps into the B.B.C.One may find it very difficult—and I speak as an old B.B.C. producer—to exclude involuntary advertising being seen. particularly in outside broadcasts. I remember that in 1939 I was responsible for televising the Derby. The day before we were doing a rehearsal, and a little man came up and said, "You are wonderful people; how will you be able to show the start right across Epsom Downs?" I said, "We have a big telephoto lens and we shall see that clearly." He said, "What area will that take in?" I said, "That tree over there will mark the left-hand side of the picture and the starting gate will mark the right-hand side of the picture." The next day, on that tree, I found a huge placard with Seagers' Gin written on it. Involuntarily we had to include the advertisement in the programme. I think that those Members who saw last night's broadcast from Basle Stadium of the football there—particularly the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson)—must be deeply shattered to find Martell's brandy and Longine's watches advertised on the score-board, and I remember seeing Firestone tyres and lots of other involuntary advertisements. Let us come to the voluntary ones. Whenever a show is beginning to flop the first thing one notices is that the producer or manager arrives and says, "I wonder if you would like to do a broadcast of our show for the B.B.C. theatre?" One says, "Why?" He says, "It is a very good show." It is true to say that one of the longest and most successful runs in a theatre in London—"Me and my Girl,"—had notices up that the show was coming off, but before that happened a short broadcast was given, and the "Lambeth Walk" became an almost internationally-known tune. As the result of the plug given to that show, it ran for a number of years, gave a great deal of pleasure and made a lot of money for the people who put it on. It is not right to say that there is no advertising, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily, on the B.B.C.
When the I.T.A. or the programme contractors put on a show they will pay for it. They do not pay for the right of advertising.
I quite agree that they do not pay for the right of advertising. That brings me to my point, if I may finish my argument. The "Radio Times" itself in its ordinary broadcasts feels compelled to give acknowledgment all along the line, and one has only to listen or to look in any day to find examples of this sort of thing. Take today's programme, in the Home Service, at seven o'clock, I find that it says, "Mr. Jon Farrell is appearing in 'Guys and Dolls' at the London Coliseum," and the same announcement is put on at the end of the programme.We are seeking in this Clause, which has my support, to set up a code of advertising. I hope that this code may form a code not only for the I.T.A. and programme companies but also for the B.B.C. itself. In the process of time and as the new code evolves, there must be something to be gained from experience. I think that the B.B.C. has itself imposed, patiently and conscientiously, a code which is generally acceptable in this country. I think that we would be hypocritical if we said that there was not advertising on the B.B.C. at the moment because, undoubtedly, there is a good deal of advertising, both voluntary and involuntary.
Will the hon. Gentleman say whether, in this case, he does not support the Amendment which we have down, in line 16, to insert the words:
He has been speaking in favour of a code, and would he not agree that it should be inserted in the Bill?"and to prepare and submit to the Authority a code of such standards of conduct as aforesaid"?
I have used this argument times without number, and in every single case hon. Members opposite have tried to write everything into the Bill. Surely that is wrong. We are trying to start a new corporation, rather tentatively and hesitantly, and we have to see how it is going to work out. From the point of view of the public who are to receive this second programme, I think that it is in their own interest that we should not lay down hard and fast rules at this stage.
The speech of the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing) leads me naturally to what I want to say, because I am rising to speak on the second of the two Amendments in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) and other hon. Members.The speeches we have heard from the other side have illustrated the fact that we are now moving to a code of ethical conduct to be observed by advertisers and to be enforced either by the Authority or by the Government. There is, of course, still a fair amount of confusion. The hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron-Leader Cooper) talked as though we were not including a Clause to protect the credulous, the silly and the vain from the depredations of advertisers. This is exactly what the new Clause introduced by the Assistant Postmaster-General seeks to do. It is exactly what the hon. Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Bishop) was doing when he spoke of the N.P.A. Committee set up to protect newspapers and their readers from the depredations of advertisers. What we are seeking now is this. The Government are now recognising the need to set up an advisory committee which will give advice to the Authority, not only on the matter of patent medicines, but on all other matters concerning the selling of goods. That is of great importance, and the Committee must inevitably produce a code of ethics and standards of conduct. If so, as these Amendments make it quite clear, they should be submitted to the Authority and should be available to this House as they are approved by the Postmaster-General; and it should be made clear to the House if at any time there is any alteration to them. The necessity for this, is absolutely clear. There has been sitting in Turin a most important but unnoticed body, the Congress of the International Union of the Medical Press. We ought at this stage to mention that the medical Press behaves impeccably over the question of patent medicines. The British Medical Journal, for example, loses perhaps hundreds and thousands of pounds a year because it refuses to take any patent medicine advertising. The editor of that journal, together with other representatives of the international medical Press meeting in Turin, have passed a resolution calling on their members and on their Governments to do something about the social consequences of spreading incorrect medical information. When the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, North talks as though there are merely a few isolated people who here and there, by accident almost, give false medical information and, therefore, we should not need to worry about it unduly. He completely overlooks the concern of the international medical journalists, men of the highest medical repute, who are very much concerned with what is going on. That means that we should have a standard or code of ethics for advertisers, not on the same basis as that instituted by the Newspapers Proprietors Association and the Newspaper Society, but far more strict. What the hon. Member for Hendon, North reluctantly refuses to face is that this medium, the effectiveness of which has been described so graphically, is different from newspapers because it is designed to catch the potential customer unawares. It intrudes into his home; it comes in as a guest in an entirely different way from that in which a newspaper comes in. For those reasons, and because it has a mass circulation far greater than any newspaper could possibly command, it is utterly necessary that the code of conduct should be rigid, absolutely firm and clear, not only to the advertisers, but to hon. Members of this House and to the public too. It will be argued that this makes the prospect of commercial television being profitable not so good. Indeed, I note what two of the great newspaper proprietors have already said. I quote one of them:
But that is not the consideration. The importance of commercial television is the service it provides to the people, and not to the advertiser. If these restrictions that are being placed upon it make it commercially unattractive, that is something that the Government and the advertiser will have to face up to. But it would be criminal if, in the interests of making profits for the advertisers, we lowered the standard of commercial television below that of the least choosy of the newspapers. The importance of getting a code clearly established is underlined by what the Assistant Postmaster-General himself said in opening this debate. He said that it was not possible at this stage nor desirable for him to indicate who should be members of the advisory committee. I wonder why he says that. The B.B.C., in its paid-for advertising appearing in its own journals—"The Radio Times" "The Listener" and the rest—exercises a first-class censorship over its advertising. It does not accept the sort of advertising that we fear and which the Assistant Postmaster-General fears would get on the screen but for the committee that he proposes to set up. It is worth considering the constitution of the B.B.C.'s general advisory committee which advises the B.B.C. of what form of advertising to accept. It comprises the Advertising Appointments Bureau, the Advertising Association, the Association of British Travel Agents, the Association of Musical Instruments Industries, the British Horological Institute, the Incorporated Advertisement Managers' Association, the Incorporated Sales' Managers Association, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, the Institute of Incorporated Practitioners in Advertising, the Retail Trading Standards Association, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Society of Diploma Members of the Advertising Association. That is the sort of body that sees that the advertisements appearing in the B.B.C. papers and journals are of the necessary high standard. They produce a code of ethics for the B.B.C. It is utterly essential that when we come to television, a body no less strong in its constitution and no less experienced should also be giving advice. It is essential that the code of ethics should be clear to everybody, and it should be published annually. I should like to see it published in the annual report of the I.T.A. and discussed in the House of Commons. I should like it to be the duty of the Assistant Postmaster-General and of the Government every time the code was altered to come to the House and say that it had been altered, and give the reasons for it. I will give a reason to show why that is important. A great trade war is now going on between the dairymen, who do not advertise, and the margarine producers, who do advertise. One of the margarine advertisers, who has, no doubt, a standard of ethics himself, issued some advertising which he wanted inserted in the Press, saying that his margarine was creamier than butter. The newspaper refused to take the advertising because it was not true. That is the difference between the standard of ethics of the advertiser and the standard of ethics of the newspaper. The newspaper says, "You will not be allowed to say that sort of thing to our readers," although the advertiser thought that it was a perfectly ethical thing to do. That is what we want in commercial television. Any departure from such a standard should be discussed in this House. I hope that the Assistant Postmaster-General, who has gone a long way in branding some of the advertisers as being undesirable gentlemen—with, for instance, the sort of thing that he said should not be mentioned when the debates on this subject began about 18 months ago—will see that the Government insist on a code of ethics, that they give power to the new committee to demand that the code of ethics is obeyed, and that he will table the code of ethics for discussion in the House when necessary."T.V. looks like being so surrounded by restrictions that its operation will not be profitable either to advertisers or to programme companies."
We on this side want to keep apart the two proposed committees. One of them is, apparently, to be a committee of poachers, not even turned gamekeepers, to advise on the ethics of poaching. We have just heard about it from several experts, and I have no doubt that that committee will make quite a nice job of it; but we certainly would like to see that we know what it is doing. That is why we want the code to be published and why we want the Postmaster-General to have to approve the code and any changes that are made in it from time to time, so that he may be questioned upon it.We think, however, that those people are not the right people to advise on questions of public health and professional practice and the general questions of national interest that obviously arise in connection, not only with medical advertisements, but with matters affecting medicine and public health in the programmes. I see no reason why a religious committee should advise on both the advertisements and the programmes and the medical committee should be limited to advise on advertisements. There is just as much to be said for doing what we propose and what the Assistant Postmaster-General does not propose to do; that is, giving the proposed medical advisory committee power to deal with the whole of the programmes and not merely with the advertisements in them. 5.0 p.m. I am not going into the details, but we know, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health knows very well, that a great deal of harm has been done by medical discoveries being publicised too soon and used too soon, with the effect of producing for instance, a strain of bacteria resistent to tuberculosis cures. That sort of damage has been done in other countries, too. The trouble had to be corrected here with a great deal of difficulty, and we do not want it repeated by these advertisements or other items in the programmes. I want to say a word or two about consumers. It seems to me wholly unfair to leave out the consumers. I differ from the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) who said that consumers' advisory committees for electricity and gas were of no use. My experience is the exact opposite. I think that matters of this sort ought not to be left entirely to the professional people, whether they are professional advertisers or medical professionalists. We ought to do more than that. Lastly, there is one Amendment that has not been mentioned and which I should like to mention. In these matters the Authority can only enforce compliance through the contracts it makes with the programme contractors, and it has not been given any other powers to carry out what is required. It should itself be subject to the directions of the Postmaster-General who should take his share of the responsibility for what is done with regard to these committees. There is at present no provision of that sort in the Bill, and to put it in will enable the Postmaster-General to be questioned, when he would not otherwise be liable to be questioned, about the character of the advice given and the degree of compliance which was secured. For all these reasons, I regard these Amendments as differing very materially from the Clause, and I find the Clause wholly unsatisfactory because it is quite insufficient and it gives far too much to the vested interests in advertising which I would not be content to entrust to them in a matter of such public importance.
I personally would have no great objection at all to the Amendment in line 16, at the end, insert:
I would have no objection to the committee which it is proposed to be set up having to prepare a code of conduct, or, indeed, having to publish such a code of conduct. I think, however, that it is better if this sort of thing is left in the informal way in which the Clause leaves it. I should have thought that the rights of Parliament were more than satisfied by Clause 4 (5) which says:"and to prepare and submit to the Authority a code of such standards of conduct as aforesaid."
I recollect that in Committee some of us on these benches thought that that was going much too far. I should have thought that that completely covered the desire of the Opposition as expressed in the Amendment in line 20, at the end, add:"Without prejudice to any of the duties incumbent on the Authority … it shall be the duty of the Authority to consult from time to time with the Postmaster-General … and to carry out any directions which he may give them. …"
(ii) to submit to the Postmaster-General for approval and thereafter to publish and secure compliance with the said code as approved with or without modifications by the Postmaster-General:
Provided that from time to time the Authority may after consultation with the said last-mentioned committee and with the approval of the Postmaster-General modify the said code and that the Postmaster-General shall lay before Parliament the said code and any modifications thereof made as aforesaid by the Authority."
May I ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman a short and simple question? Does he not agree that the subsection from which he has just read does not enable us to put any questions to the Postmaster-General because it is up to the Authority to consult him?
I am not a lawyer, but I should have thought that if, as is stated at the end of the subsection, the Authority is to be under the obligation of carrying out any directions which the Postmaster-General may give it, that would mean that the Postmaster-General would be subject to questioning in the House of Commons about any of the descriptions of goods or services which must not be advertised, or the methods of advertising, and so on. I am speaking subject to correction by lawyers on the matter. I do not know whether the hon. and learned Member would agree that that is right.I should like to ask my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General a point which arises out of the intervention of the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing), namely, the question of involuntary advertising. If a programme contractor is under certain obligations about the classes of goods that he must or must not advertise, which classes of goods are mentioned in his contract, and he is under the general fear of penalty clauses and so on if he advertises a certain matter, I take it that that applies only to matters which are mentioned in advertisements for which he is directly paid, and that it does not apply to advertisements which appear involuntarily, as so many advertisements appear involuntarily, in the B.B.C. programmes. I should be obliged if my hon. Friend could deal with that point, because it seems to me to be of some substance.
I think that we have to consider this new Clause in relation to the Amendments to it. Before coming to that matter, however, I should like to say that the last point raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) was very interesting. Under the set-up as it is now proposed, there is no advisory committee to the Postmaster-General. There is an advisory committee to the I.T.A. The advisory committee to the I.T.A. makes certain recommendations which the I.T.A. accepts. Is it suggested that the Postmaster-General, without any advice at all, under Clause 4 (4) and (5), is to tell the I.T.A. that it must not carry out the advice of the advisory committee? That seems to me to indicate that the Assistant Postmaster-General's well intentioned Clause does not meet the position with which we are concerned in this series of Amendments.
Does my right hon. Friend observe that at the end of this Clause there is no obligation whatever on the I.T.A. to accept the advice of the advisory committee, and that whatever advice is given can be rejected by the I.T.A.?
Yes. I was coming to that point later on. I am obliged to my hon. and learned Friend for reminding me of it.Let us see what the new Clause does. It proposes that there should be, in addition to any other committees, two specific advisory committees to the I.T.A. The first is a committee to deal with religious broadcasts. The second committee is to deal with a generality of things, including the medical side and the code of advertising. What astonishes me is that the code of advertising becomes a matter for the representative of the B.M.A. I should have thought that it was equally important to have medicines and quack remedies the subject of a medical advisory committee, and that the general code of advertising is another matter altogether. I should have thought that that was the right way of approaching the problem. On the general code about which we are very concerned, it is important that the consumers should have special representation in order to consider general misrepresentation or representation of the goods to be advertised and the methods to be employed. I should have thought that that would have been the better method of doing this job. There is one further point. I quite agree that this advisory committee ought not to have the power of making recommendations which are obligatory upon the I.T.A.; otherwise, they would then become executive bodies. But what the hon. and gallant Gentleman did not deal with was the case in which the I.T.A. consistently rejects the advice of its advisory committee, and, there, we have had no indication of what would happen. We have had no indication what the position would be if the I.T.A. rejected the advice because that advice was in conflict with its general responsibilities, and I thought that we might have had some more information about that point. Let us now look at the Amendments. The first one deals precisely with the medical point. The second is concerned particularly with the rights of consumers, and it is highly important, because consumers—the viewers—are the important people in this matter. The next Amendment but one deals with the general code and standards of conduct, and the next following with submitting that code to the Postmaster-General for his approval. The final one gives authority to the Postmaster-General to decide as between the I.T.A. and the advisory committees. How does this new Clause meet the points raised in all these Amendments? First of all, we have throughout the debate assumed that the rules will be submitted to this House, and, on this point, I would remind the Assistant Postmaster-General of his own statement of 20th May, in which he said this:
That is not provided for in this new Clause."I would remind hon. Members that the whole code of advertisement has not only to be agreed by the Authority but approved by the Postmaster-General."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 2334.]
Surely it is provided for in Clause 4 (3)?
The body to determine that was to be the advisory committee, which was to draft this code, which would then have to be submitted to the Postmaster-General, but, apparently, in this Clause, there is no prior submission of the code to the Postmaster-General. It may be argued by the Assistant Postmaster-General that the Second Schedule covers that point, but I would draw his attention to the fact that the Second Schedule deals with the times and position of advertisements, and not with a general code or standard, which is something entirely different.What have these committees to do? Surely, the advisory committee will be concerned about balance, and the special advisory committee will certainly be concerned about religion. The other one will be concerned with a proper proportion, and the interpretation and general balance of the programme. Surely, these are matters for the advisory committee, and I should have thought that the advisory committee should deal with them rather than that they should come to be mixed up with a particular group of medical matters. Even if the hon. Gentleman does not accept our advice as to the constitution or shape of the committee, or that this code ought to be approved by the Postmaster-General, we think that, where the I.T.A. does not accept the general recommendations of the code committee, that fact ought to be made known to this House. Where there is a repeated rejection by the I.T.A. of the recommendations coming from any of these committees, that ought to be made known to this House, and that is fundamental if this House is to control the character of commercial broadcasting. As far as I can see, there is no other means of accounting to this House for what will be done over commercial television. There will be no means at all of exercising any control over the Independent Television Authority, and, on the other hand, it seems to us that the Postmaster-General will have to do a lot of overriding if we are to have a chance of raising with him any matter concerning what is happening. 5.15 p.m. It is for these reasons that we have put down these various Amendments, and we should like to hear from the Assistant Postmaster-General what are his answers to these special points, which I will briefly recapitulate. First of all, how is the House to be made aware of the continuous or continued rejection of advice from the advisory committees to the I.T.A.? Secondly, where the I.T.A. is continuously in conflict with the advisory committees, who will decide, and whether that conflict can be the subject of questioning in this House? Next, whether the code recommended by the committee, whether in the form provided or not, will require the approval of the Postmaster-General, and whether it is to be reported to this House? These are points on which we should like to hear what the Assistant Postmaster-General has to say, because it seems to me they are not resolved at all in this new Clause.
If I may have the leave of the House to speak again, perhaps it would be an advantage if I were to intervene at this stage. I hope the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) will not mind if I deal with these matters chronologically rather than straight away answer his questions.First of all, the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) thought that the advisory committee on advertising standards should include representatives of the Medical Research Council, public health bodies and local authorities. Perhaps it should, and perhaps it might. There is nothing whatever to prevent the Independent Television Authority from adding the representatives of such bodies to that committee if they think it is necessary to do so. What I was anxious to do at this stage was to meet the fears expressed on both sides during the Committee stage lest undesirable medical advertisements should appear, and I think the House was entitled to have our views on how we propose to stop that by placing representatives of the British Medical Association and also of the Ministry of Health on that committee. I assure the House that there is nothing whatever to prevent the Independent Television Authority from adding to its numbers as it thinks fit. The hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings) raised another point. He feared that this Authority might put on advertisements which might encourage people to ask their doctors for proprietary medicines, which might be no better than National Health Service medicines, but might be more expensive. I must remind the hon. Gentleman that some little time ago my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health told National Health Service doctors not to prescribe medicines which were advertised to the public, on the grounds that it was for the doctor to decide what a patient should have and not for the patient himself. That instruction also went a little further. The doctors were told not to prescribe proprietory preparations for which there is a standard and less expensive alternative. In fact if doctors do so, I understand that they can be asked to pay for it themselves. I think that the point which the hon. Member has in mind, and to which we all attach considerable importance, is adequately covered now in that way.
It is quite true that that deals with medicines, alternatives to which are provided, but there are medicines advertised which are believed to be worthless but for which there is no alternative in the Pharmacopoeia. What about those? May they not be advertised, and therefore might they not be demanded by patients? It is quite possible that the doctors might not agree to the demands, but might not the patients, having seen something about them on the television, demand them of the doctor, and might not the Minister of Health know that they are of very little value?
That may be so, and that is the reason why we are putting a representative of the Ministry of Health and also one of the B.M.A. on the committee, so that if a particular medicine is of itself harmful it would come, I imagine, under the ban which those two representatives would insist upon.If a medicine is not particularly harmful but happens to be more expensive, I think that is covered by the instructions already given by the Minister of Health to the National Health Service doctors that if they go on prescribing an expensive proprietary medicine instead of the ordinary drug, if I may so put it, they will have to pay for it. I come to the point made by the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling), in which he said he objected to our employing the same religious advisory committee as the B.B.C. He feared that if we did so some of the smaller religious sects would not have the same chance as they might otherwise have. During the Committee stage I gave, I hope adequately, the reasons why we are sticking to that committee. One of the reasons why, in the finality, the I.T.A. can overrule that committee is because that provides the Authority with a chance to listen to the views of some of the smaller sects which are not represented on that committee. I imagine that the B.B.C. has done so. For example, last night there was a Unitarian service, I think from Wales. The Unitarians are not represented on the B.B.C. religious advisory committee. Whether that committee gave advice to the B.B.C. that a Unitarian Service should be broadcast, or whether that was a matter on which the B.B.C. did not listen to the advisory committee, I have no means of knowing. The reason why we have accepted the same committee is that it is a committee which on the whole, I think, has worked well. The Authority is given the power to override the committee, and I gather that the right hon. Member for Caerphilly admits that, as it is an advisory committee, it must be so treated.
This is not the B.B.C. but commercial television. Would the Assistant Postmaster-General answer this specific question: What is the good of drawing up a code or receiving advice if there is no obligation to follow either, however desirable it is that that should be done in the public interest as against the commercial interest of the I.T.A.? I should like the hon. Gentleman to deal with that Question.
I shall deal with that point, but I would point out that the I.T.A. has no commercial interests. The hon. and learned Member appears to be thinking of the programme contractors.
Surely the I.T.A. is there in order to carry on this undertaking as commercial television, and the new Clause which the hon. Gentleman is proposing makes it quite clear that if the interests of that position demand that the Authority should reject advice, it can do so.
If I may, I will deal with the point about the rejection of advice in a few moments. That is a much wider question.
Will the hon. Gentleman answer my question?
I will answer the first part of it by saying that the I.T.A. has no commercial interests as such. That is exactly why we set it up. It is a body appointed, as the House well knows, in the same way as the B.B.C. is appointed, by the Government. It is a supervisory body, and I should resist any suggestion that it has any commercial interests as such.The hon. Member for Hillsborough raised the point, when he spoke about the Amendment in his name, in regard to the representation of consumers on committees. I go a good way with him on that point. I think that the consumers' interests are frequently forgotten and in a matter of this sort we must certainly not overlook them. At one time we wondered whether we ought to put consumers on the advisory committee on standards. We came to the conclusion not to do so, the reason being that the enormous number of consumer interests likely to be affected would be such that there would be difficulty in deciding on any reasonable number of people who could be said to represent them. For example, if one thinks of the traders' interests, the number of trading associations is legion. When one thinks of general consumers' interests the difficulty is even greater.
That does not mean that they are going unrepresented?
No, but there is a better way of doing it than that.There will probably be a general advisory committee for the I.T.A. Certainly the Authority has the power to set up such a committee. There is nothing to prevent it from doing so. I imagine that this is one of the committees which the Authority will feel it desirable to set up voluntarily, to consider not only the effect or desirability of advertisements on the public, but also the programmes as well. That is, it would be rather a similar committee to the one the B.B.C. has set up. The reason why this function cannot be placed on the standards committee is that the House was so worried about general advertising standards that it asked me whether I would make a special committee on the subject mandatory, and that is what I have done.
I agree with the Assistant Postmaster-General that trying to represent all consumer interests is extraordinary difficult, but surely the point could be met by having, among these representatives of special interests, one disinterested cynic.
I hope that there will be more than one disinterested cynic as such on all committees.I am not trying to evade the hon. Gentleman's point. I think there should be representatives of consumer interests but I believe the proper way to do it is on the general committee which will consider not only the different aspects of advertising but the programmes as well.
Would the recommendations of that committee be mandatory in the same way as those of these special committees.
Of course not. It will be an advisory committee.The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), was, I thought, a little pessimistic in his outlook. He asked me whether the religious advisory committee could advise on how many religious broadcasts there should be. I should certainly say "Yes, they could." I imagine, although I do not know definitely, that that is the function which is performed for the B.B.C. by their own religious advisory committee. I certainly should not think it was much of an advisory committee if it recommended what type but not how often. 5.30 p.m. He also raised the point—contrary, I thought, to the advice of the right hon. Member for Caerphilly—that the Inde- pendent Television Authority could overrule the advice of the religious advisory committee. The Authority can do so, that is perfectly clear, because otherwise it would be an executive and not an advisory committee. There are some smaller religious sections in this country who are pleased that the advice given by the religious advisory committee to the B.B.C. can he overruled if necessary, because similarly no mandatory obligation rests upon the B.B.C.—
They can overrule general advice, whether it is religious advice, or advice on medical goods or services or anything else.
Of course, otherwise it would be an executive and not an advisory committee.Now we come to the question of standards, which brings me to the Amendment which is in two parts—
Before the hon. Gentleman leaves that point, may I remind him that I referred specifically to whether or not the financial duty laid upon the Independent Television Authority would permit it to reject the advice of the religious committee with reference to religious bodies buying time.
I am not sure what the hon. Gentleman means. There can be no buying of time by a Church. If a Church wished to do so, no religious advisory committee would accept any such offer. The hon. Gentleman is apparently saying to me, "Is it possible for the Independent Television Authority to overrule the advice of its religious advisory committee over the buying of time?" Yes, in theory it can. But the hon. Gentleman, I think, has considerably less faith in the honesty and the sense of public duty of a body like the I.T.A. if he thinks—
The point is that there is no other body like the I.T.A.
Of course there is not—
Then why refer to, "a body like the I.T.A."?
A body constituted like the I.T.A. If hon. Gentlemen based their whole case on the proposition that the I.T.A. will be a crowd of crooks we shall not be in agreement on very much. But if the hon. Gentleman says to me that this is a responsible body of men and women—and when we announce the names I think that he will—then we may get somewhere. But if we go on the assumption that they are not to be trusted, I think that is a little unfair.
This is an important point, and it cannot be repeated often enough by the Government.
Why should not a religious body buy time? Supposing Mr. Billy Graham wanted to buy time, what would the position then be?
They cannot buy time under the Bill because it is a religious service, unless the religious advisory committee has considered it. The committee fixes the number of services.
I hope that the I.T.A. will be a responsible body, and my question is based on that assumption. I should like to know what happens if a programme contractor wishes to donate a religious programme of a particular denomination. Will the advisory committee and the I.T.A. still have power to ban that?
Yes, of course, because the religious advisory committee does not advise the programme contractors only, but the Authority as well.
How will it know whether a programme has been donated, or bought, or if it is just another programme? How will it discover that a programme has been donated, or time has been bought?
I do not see that it matters whether it is donated or bought, or given free, or what.
So that it can be bought?
I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman means.
The time for it can be bought?
No. This religious advisory committee will draw up a list of services which will be put on by the Authority and may be paid for by the Authority. I think that in the first instance they probably will be paid for by the Authority; though there is nothing whatever to prevent a programme contractor later on—for the sake of prestige, goodwill or anything else—from offering to do the job for nothing. Whether that is what the hon. Gentleman calls giving time I do not know, but there is nothing undesirable about it so long as the ratio is maintained. I do not think it matters much how that particular service may be put on.
We understand that so far as religious bodies are concerned every one will get their correct quota and they cannot buy or get any more?
I still cannot see why Billy Graham, for example, could not buy time.
They cannot get any more than their correct quota—unless we assume that the Authority is such an irresponsible and corrupt body that they would lightly overrule their religious advisory committee, which is an assumption that I do not think that anyone would take seriously.
Paragraph 6 of the Second Schedule states:
"No advertisement shall be permitted which is inserted by or on behalf of any body the objects whereof are wholly or mainly of a religious … nature."
May I take part in this debate? That relates solely to advertising which I do not think was the point which the right hon. Gentleman had in mind.The next point is embodied in the next Amendment, that the Committee should
and secondly, that it should be submitted to the Postmaster-General,"prepare and submit to the Authority a code of such standards of conduct as aforesaid"
That point is covered already. If it is an advisory committee it has to give advice and therefore, the advice it gives would be submitted to the Authority in some form or other as the Authority wished. Now we come to the second point. The right hon. Gentleman asked me how we reconciled the power we propose to give here with the general power under Clause 4 (5). I would remind him of what is stated in that Clause. Under subsection (5), there is laid on the Authority the duty to consult the Postmaster-General as to the classes of goods or services which must not be advertised. I assume that it will do that when it has had advice from its own advisory committee. In the finality, the Authority must carry out any directions which the Postmaster-General may give in this respect. That is the order in which the scheme will work, and this reserve power or responsibility of the Postmaster-General is absolutely over-riding. To my mind it takes precedence, because the committee to which we are referring is an advisory committee of the I.T.A. and it will advise what goods in its opinion should be banned. What class of goods should be banned? The right hon. Gentleman asked how we secured accountability to the House. It seems to me that the accountability is absolute because, whenever the word "Postmaster-General" comes into any Clause, it means that he can be questioned on the way in which he operates it. As I understand the Clause, it will mean that the Postmaster-General can be asked in the House about all the points which are dealt with in Clause 4 (5). I should have thought that that was a complete guarantee that the House would have absolute control over what was not allowed to be shown by I.T.A."for approval and thereafter to publish and secure compliance with the said code as approved with or without modifications by the Postmaster-General."
How can the House know?
How does the hon. Gentleman redeem his pledge to the House that the code shall be made known to the House? He said on 20th May:
Do I take it that, if it is approved by the Postmaster-General, a Question can be placed on the Order Paper asking him to disclose the code?"I would remind hon. Members that the whole code of advertisement has not only to be agreed by the Authority but approved by the Postmaster-General.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 2334.]
Yes, I cannot see how the Clause can be interpreted in any other way, since a direct responsibility rests upon the Postmaster-General for the classes of advertisements which are to be banned. I take it, and so does my noble Friend, that Questions can be placed on the Order Paper.
In column 941 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for 31st May the hon. Gentleman expressed his distaste at the idea of an advertiser representing himself as a doctor or a dentist or a nurse. He said that that would be distasteful. Suppose that the committee did not ban that type of advertisement, what right have we in the House to ask Questions about people who purported to be doctors or dentists or nurses?
I should have thought that the hon. Member could ask the Postmaster-General why that class of advertisement had not been banned.
If the Assistant Postmaster-General says that, it is very important, but does he not agree that whatever power he may have now is taken away by the concluding words of the new Clause?
Of course it is.
The hon. and learned Member has his own views, but the order in which this arrangement will work is that which I have described to the House and I cannot see any difficulty about it.
Will the hon. Gentleman answer this question?
I cannot give way again. I have given way to everybody up to now but I am sure that the House wants to get on with the Bill. The right hon. Member for Caerphilly thought that the Authority ought to have a special medical advisory committee. There is nothing whatever to prevent its having it. All that I am setting out to do now is to stop the gap as it were and to satisfy the House on one vital, fundamental point, namely that there should be a mandatory advisory committee on advertising standards and that on that committee the Minister of Health and the B.M.A. should be represented, but there is nothing whatever to prevent the setting up of the committee to which the right hon. Gentleman refers.
Is the hon. Gentleman not going to make any reference at all to the explicit point which I put to him, or to the Home Secretary whom I thought was going to reply, about representation on a certain issue?
I gather that the hon. Member is asking whether or not temperance societies will be represented on the religious advisory committee or other advisory committees. There is nothing whatever to prevent temperance societies being represented on the religious advisory committee or on any special committee that is set up if the I.T.A. wishes that, but we are not making that provision in the Bill at this stage.
As always, the Assistant Postmaster-General is having it all ways. When we were debating specific proposals for banning advertisements he said that was nothing to do with him. When we were talking about gambling he said that that was a matter for the Authority and not for him, that gambling news was published in the "Daily Herald" and so on. Now we are asking him to honour the undertaking which has been given twice to the House that a code of advertising will be prepared and that he will have to agree to it in such a way that the House will have opportunity to question him on it.I cannot see why he cannot accept the Amendment to which my hon. Friend
Division No. 160.]
|Acland, Sir Richard||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||de Freitas, Geoffrey|
|Adams, Richard||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Deer, G.|
|Albu, A. H.||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Delargy, H. J.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Burks, W. A.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Donnelly, D. L.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Callaghan, L. J.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Carmichael, J.||Edelman, M.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)|
|Bartley, P.||Champion, A. J.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon, F. J||Chetwynd, G. R.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Benson, G.||Clunie, J.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Beswick, F.||Coldrick, W.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Collick, P. H.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)|
|Blackburn, F.||Cove, W. G.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Fienburgh, W|
|Blyton, W. R.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Finch, H. J.|
|Boardman, H.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Daines, P.||Follick, M.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Foot, M. M.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Forman, J. C.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Freeman, John (Watford)|
the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) addressed himself. It is perfectly simple and straightforward, and it is essential in the sloppy wording of this Clause and of the Bill as a whole if an undertaking which the Government, and the Assistant Postmaster-General in particular, have given is to be fulfilled. I ask him seriously to consider the matter again. The Bill will not stay with us here much longer but will go to another place and his noble Friend will have an opportunity to correct matters there.
I regard the Clause as a vague attempt to white-wash the Bill and make it a little easier. I agree that the hon. Gentleman has fulfilled one undertaking with regard to the religious committee, but I still say that these provisions are unsatisfactory as they stand and that it would have been far better if responsibility for religious broadcasts had been left solely to the I.T.A. I should like to know in what terms the churches have signified their approval of this proposal. This new Clause does very little to improve a bad Bill.
Question put, and agreed to.
Clause read a Second time.
I beg to move, in line 16, at the end, to insert:
"and to prepare and submit to the Authority a code of such standards of conduct as aforesaid."
Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the proposed Clause."
The House divided: Ayes, 241; Noes, 261.
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Ross, William|
|Gibson, C. W.||McLeavy, F.||Royle, C.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon P. C||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Simmons, c. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Manuel, A. C.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Grimond, J.||Mason, Roy||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Hale, Leslie||Mayhew, C. P.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Mellish, R. J.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Messer, Sir F.||Snow, J. W.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Mikardo, Ian||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hannan, W.||Mitchison, G. R.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hargreaves, A.||Monslow, W.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Moody, A. S.||Steele, T.|
|Hastings, S.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Morley, R.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Mort, D. L.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M||Moyle, A.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Mulley, F. W||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Holman, P.||Nally, W.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Holmes, Horace||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Holt, A. F.||Oldfield, W. H.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Houghton, Douglas||Oliver, G. H.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Hoy, J. H.||Orbach, M.||Thornton, E.|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Oswald, T.||Timmens, J.|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Padley, W. E.||Tomney, F.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Paget, R. T.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Viant, S. P.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pannell, Charles||Watkins, T. E.|
|Janner, B.||Pargiter, G. A.||Weitzman, D.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Parker, J.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Parkin, B. T||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Paton, J.||West, D. G.|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Pearson, A.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Peart, T. F.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Plummer, Sir Leslie||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Popplewell, E.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Porter, G.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Keenan, W.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Willey, F. T.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Proctor, W. T||Williams, David (Neath)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Pryde, D. J.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Kinley, J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Lawson, G. M.||Rankin, John||Williams, W. R. (Droylesden)|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Reeves, J.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Willis, E. G.|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Rhodes, H.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Lewis, Arthur||Roberts, Rt. Hon. A.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Yates, V. F.|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Logan, D. G.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|MacColl, J. E.||Rogers. George (Kensington, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Wallace and Mr. John Taylor.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Brooman-White, R. C.||Crouch, R. F.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Bullard, D. G.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Deedes, W. F.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Burden, F. F. A.||Digby, S. Wingfield|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Campbell, Sir David||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Channon, H.||Drayson, G. B.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)|
|Birch, Nigel||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Duthie, W. S.|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Eccles, Rt Hon. Sir D. M.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Cole, Norman||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Colegate, W. A.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W E.|
|Braine, B. R.||Cooper, Son. Ldr. Albert||Erroll, F. J.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Ridsdale, J E.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Longden, Gilbert||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Low, A. R. W.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Fort, R.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||McAdden, S. J.||Russell, R. S.|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Galbraith, T. C. D. (Hillhead)||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Gammans, L. D.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||McKibbin, A. J.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Glover, D.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Godber, J. B.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Shepherd, William|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Maclean, Fitzroy||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Ian (Enfield, W.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Gower, H. R.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maitland, Cmdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hare, Hen. J. H.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir Reginald||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marples, A. E.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre, A. V. (Macclesfield)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maude, Angus||Storey, S.|
|Hay, John||Maudling, R.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C||Studholme, H. G.|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Summers, G. S.|
|Heath, Edward||Mellor, Sir John||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Molson, A. H. E.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Moore, Sir Thomas||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Teeling, W.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Neave, Airey||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Hope, Lord John||Nicholls, Harmar||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Horobin, I. M.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Tilney, John|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Nugent, G. R. H.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Oakshott, H. O.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Odey, G. W.||Turton, R. H.|
|Hurd, A. R.||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Ormshy-Gore, Hon. W. D||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Osborne, C.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Page, R. G.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Perkins, Sir Robert||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Kaberry, D.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Pickthorn, K. W. M||Wellwood, W.|
|Kerr, H. W.||Pitman, I. J.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Powell, J. Enoch||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Lambton, Viscount||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Profumo, J. D.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Wills, G.|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Redmayne, M.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Remnant, Hon. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirrall)||Renton, D. L. M.||Sir C. Drewe and Mr. Vosper.|
Clause added to the Bill.
Clause 2—(Powers Of Authority)
I beg to move, in page 4, line 13, to leave out "with the Authority," and to insert:
This is an Amendment which I am sure the Assistant Postmaster-General will be glad to accept. The purpose is to require the Authority before entering into a contract with a programme contractor to submit it to the Postmaster-General for his approval. The reasons why we think it should be submitted to the Postmaster-General are inherent in practically every speech the Assistant Postmaster-General has made except his periodic "Trust the Authority" speech. I hope that his answer on this occasion will not be just "Trust the Authority." It will be a question of helping the Authority. The Authority will be faced with the somewhat dubious task of trying to carry out the provisions of the Bill, and that will, of course, depend upon the interpretation which the Authority puts upon them, and that may not be the same as the Assistant Postmaster-General's interpretation. None the less, a number of very serious obligations are laid upon the Authority, and it seems to me that the Authority is likely anyway to go to the Postmaster-General and ask for his advice. The purpose of the Amendment is to make sure that he gives the advice and, furthermore, that he takes responsibility to this House for contracts which are made with the I.T.A. I will briefly give some of the reasons why it is essential that the Postmaster-General should approve the contracts. First of all, there is the selection of the programme contractors. We know that the Assistant Postmaster-General knows the potential programme contractors a great deal better than the I.T.A. will be able to in the short time it will have in which to get to know them. The hon. Gentleman has met some of them and already has some opinions about who would be suitable. It would be wrong that the Authority should not seek his very expert advice based on his frequent encounters over lunch and at other times with the candidates for these jobs. 6.0 p.m. The second point connected with that reason is the fact that he is pledged also, and so is the Authority, to achieve competition and to carry out certain provisions with regard to control. Here again it is proper that the Postmaster-General should be consulted; indeed, I believe that on reflection, when the hon. Gentleman has heard the arguments from this side of the House, he will agree that this is a reasonable and modest Amendment. There are certain other provisions in the Bill that are dear to the heart of the Assistant Postmaster-General which I am sure he, his noble Friend and his right hon. Friends will want to see carried out. One particular proposal, which does not appear in the Bill but on which nevertheleses he has expressed a wish, is that the programme contractors should in due course share their profits with the I.T.A. We considered putting down an Amendment but, owing to the operation of the Guillotine, there was no time. However, we rely on the Assistant Postmaster-General to ensure that this wish which is so dear to his heart will be incorporated in the contracts of the programme contractors. May I remind him of his words in the debate on Government policy in regard to television development? He said he hoped that there would be"made with the Authority and approved by the Postmaster-General."
That was a precise suggestion, not merely a vague one that they would share in the blessings which came from the programme contractors. I hope, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman will indicate later whether that is the kind of thing he would like to see in the contracts and how, if they are not submitted to him, he can hope to ensure that his wishes in this matter are fulfilled? This is a simple Amendment. We regard the legal provisions of this Bill as so extremely complicated that it will be unfair to expect the I.T.A. to bear the full responsibility for translating them into legal contracts. Therefore, it is desirable that the Postmaster-General, with the full weight of support from the Law Officers, the Treasury Solicitor and his own Department, should be involved in this matter. We in the House will then also be in a better position to keep an eye on what is done in this matter, to question the Postmaster-General, and to ensure that the purposes as declared by himself and other Government speakers will be fulfilled. In view of the nod that I saw the hon. Gentleman give his hon. Friend below the Gangway, I can only conclude that he will not accept the Amendment, but I hope he will give further consideration to our proposals."Some arrangement whereby the corporation, possibly after an initial period, will share in the profits which the programme companies are making."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1953; Vol. 522, c. 55.]
I rise to second this Amendment for two main reasons. The first is that throughout our discussions in Committee, and now on Report, it has become clear that the power of the programme contractors has been increasing steadily, whereas, when the White Paper was presented, and as the Bill was presented to us originally, the power of the Authority vis-à-vis the programme contractors was to be far greater than it has emerged during the course of the Bill through the House.If we are to maintain adequate control over the programme contractors through the I.T.A., it is necessary that the Postmaster-General should have the authority and the power to exercise that control. It is not enough for him to have the powers provided in the Bill to control and give directions in certain ways to the Authority. It is necessary that he should have direct control through the I.T.A. over the programme contractors, and it is only in this way that direct control can be instituted. The second reason is not only that it is necessary for us to have the power to question the Assistant Postmaster-General in the House regarding these contracts, but that we shall have a certain amount of control over the Authority to see that it fulfils its obligations. The Authority has so much power given to it in the Bill, and it will be responsible for this new medium of commercial television, of which we have no experience and which nobody really wants except a few people who are forcing it upon the Government. It is important, therefore, that this new medium should be subject to control because, if the I.T.A. is to fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the Bill, the Postmaster-General must have the power to control the Authority. Inasmuch as the Authority makes its own contracts with the programme contractors, and does not have to submit them to the Postmaster-General for his approval, he has no direct control over the companies. I submit it is essential that the Postmaster-General should intervene in this matter. Only by accepting this Amendment will he have that measure of control which we consider necessary for this House to retain over the Authority. Frequently during our debates the Assistant Postmaster-General has pointed out where, and in what way, we can question him regarding the duties of the Authority and the carrying out of its functions. In my view the hon. Gentleman stretched that a little far. He was so anxious to satisfy the House that he told us that we would be able to question him about this and that which, in my view, is going a little beyond what is normally considered to be Ministerial responsibility. I warn the hon. Gentleman, however, that we shall hold him to that. It is on the record now that he can be questioned over a large number of matters, and we shall put down those Questions and demand the answers. If the hon. Gentleman hides behind the iron curtain of no responsibility, as Ministers do frequently, we shall draw his attention to what he has stated during these debates. As the Assistant Postmaster-General knows so well, we have harboured suspicions as to the personnel who will be responsible for the programme contractors. We have serious misgivings as to the type of person who will be put in control, and if our suspicions are justified, it is more than ever important that there should be control through the Postmaster-General, through the I.T.A., over those persons and we cannot delegate to them the power of operating their companies through the I.T.A. without responsibility to the Postmaster-General. Therefore, we ask the hon. Gentleman to accept this Amendment and to accept the necessity for his approval of the contracts which the I.T.A. makes with the programme companies. Only thereby will we in this House have sufficient control through him of what is going on. In view of our suspicions, we see no reason why this responsibility should not be accepted by the hon. Gentleman through the I.T.A., through the programme contractors, to this House.
The Authority is to have numerous duties but no teeth. We shall have to examine later the efficacy of the false teeth which are provided in the Bill. They consist entirely of carrying out duties by means of contracts. It is important to know what kinds of duties have to be carried out.First of all the Authority has to secure by means of the contracts
That is a species of boloney—if that is a Parliamentary expression. It is only through the contracts that the Authority can hope to do so. It is only through the contracts that the Authority can exclude matters which offend against"that the tone and style of the programmes are predominantly British."
The next point is the "tightrope" paragraph, that they have to secure that the programmes"good taste or decency."
That can only be done through the contracts. Presentation of news with"maintain a proper balance in their subject-matter and a high general standard of quality."
can only be done through the contracts. I need not go through the whole of these extraordinary requirements, this mass of verbiage which constitutes the definition of the duties of the Authority. It is upon their execution of these duties and upon forcing the programme contractors to carry them out, that the proposed public benefits will depend. Then there is the question of competition and of disqualified persons. It is through the contracts, and only through the contracts that the Authority can give effect to its duties to secure proper competition. It has nothing else. The Assistant Postmaster-General time and time again has refused to accept Amendments which would have given the Authority effective teeth corresponding to all these duties. The position now is simply that the Authority, poor toothless thing, badgered about by the programme contractors, is to have cast upon it by Parliament a lot of duties embodied in all this verbosity. It is now to be left to stand by itself, equipped with its false teeth and only with its false teeth, to carry out all these things. Surely the Assistant Postmaster-General ought to protect his master's child a little. He ought to see that the contracts are both efficient and sufficient for the purpose. If the Authority is only to have false teeth the Assistant Postmaster-General ought to see that the Authority does not forget to put them in in the morning, and that the contracts allow the Authority to maintain some means of carrying out its duties."due accuracy and impartiality"
This is all very confidential. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman speak up?
If we seek to ask the Assistant Postmaster-General a Question about the maintenance of proper balance and all the rest of it, he will simply retreat behind the Bill. He will say, "This is entirely a matter for the Authority. It is nothing to do with me that the Authority has not provided itself by contract with any means whatever of carrying out its duties." In consequence, the main purposes of the Bill and such protection as it seeks to give to the public will have completely failed. The hon. Gentleman will say, "I cannot be questioned on that. There is nothing I can do about these contracts." We now ask him to assume responsibility for the contracts and to see that they contain proper provisions for the purposes of the Bill.
The hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) assumed so charmingly that I could not resist his Amendment that I hate to have to tell him that I can, and that we cannot possibly accept the Amendment because it would seriously detract from our trust and confidence in the Authority. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."] I do not mind saying that dozens of times. The whole Bill is based upon it. There is nothing wrong, surely, in saying that we shall have confidence in the Authority that we are setting up.
We have no confidence in the Assistant Postmaster-General.
I am sorry about that. After all the pleasant evenings we have had together I hoped that I might have engendered a little more confidence in me than when we started.These contracts will basically be commercial, and it would be inappropriate for the Government to interfere with them, especially as many points have already been specified in the Bill and the Postmaster-General has to be consulted in certain directions. The hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) referred to the powers of the Authority, but many special powers are given to the Postmaster-General with regard to the working of the programme contractors and I do not want to add to them. We must therefore take the attitude either that the Authority can be trusted to embody in its contracts the obligations which are laid upon it in the Bill, or that the Government should interfere in the purely commercial matters on which the Authority has to agree with the programme contractors. I shudder to think what the business of the House of Commons would and could be like if every contract had to be submitted to Parliamentary Question. It would be intolerable. These contracts are commercial. If every commercial contract could be brought under review in this House, it would be an intolerable state of affairs. We should have to consider such details of the working of the system as the hours allotted to each programme contractor, the arrangements for network operation, and matters of payment. Our Question time would be impossible.
Does not the hon. Gentleman recollect that his Department does just that thing in regard to the MacBrayne mail contract? Exactly the same thing happens in regard to the B.B.C. Secondly, are these really commercial contracts? How is the Authority to preserve the tone, style, balance, competition and all the rest of it if these are to be regarded simply as commercial contracts and yet constitute the Authority's only means of carrying out its obligations?
I shall answer the second question first. The answer is that we regard the Authority as a responsible body and hon. Gentlemen opposite do not. If that is the view of the hon. and learned Gentleman, we must disagree on the matter. He has used a phrase about false teeth about three times in his speech. We regard the Authority as a responsible body entrusted under Act of Parliament with a very responsible job, and we believe that it should be allowed to carry out the job. The hon. and learned Gentleman does not believe that, so we must disagree upon it.
The Assistant Postmaster-General says that it is wrong that the contracts should be subjected to examination in this House. There is no suggestion in the Amendment that the contracts would be made public or laid before the House. We are merely asking that the Postmaster-General should be responsible for them.
The hon. Gentleman is ingenuous if he thinks that, because whatever the Postmaster-General agrees to can be subject to Questions in this House. That is the whole point about it, and I think the House realises that.With regard to MacBrayne's contract, I am perfectly certain that I can be asked Questions about it. Here we are setting up an Authority to do a job, and I suggest that we let it do it. For those reasons, I regret that I cannot accept the Amendment.
I really must say a word on this subject. On a number of occasions the Assistant Postmaster-General has said that we must trust the I.T.A., and then, when we question it, he says, "Well, we must differ between the two sides of the House." He differs with himself on the point. He tells us to trust the I.T.A., but the whole Bill arises from the fact that he himself does not trust it. There would be no need for a Bill laying down these complicated checks, balances and all the rest, if he trusted the Authority.Why, if he trusts it, has the Postmaster-General set up a committee mandatory on the I.T.A.? If he trusts it, why has he inserted the Clause forbidding prize programmes? If the Postmaster-General really trusts the I.T.A., as he asks us to trust it, why does he do that? The hon. Gentleman says that it is purely commercial business, but, in fact, these contracts deal with types and classes of goods dealt with in Clause 4. They are referred to in the Clause just because they are more than commercial matters. They are the whole body and being of the programmes; the whole of the thing about which we are talking. The truth is that everything depends on these contracts if the Bill is to make sense. Nothing can be enforced except through the contracts. The Assistant Postmaster-General says that the I.T.A. has great authority, but when we trace the transmission of this Authority down to what happens in the programme, we find that there are many weak links in that transmission. If there are any defects in these contracts, then none of the things we want and none of the things which the hon. Gentleman says he wants can be enforced, when it all turns on these contracts. At no point in the whole of the Bill is the Postmaster-General in relation with the programme contractors. He is in relation with them only indirectly through the Authority, and the Authority can enforce its desires only by the contract. Therefore, if, as we suggest in this Amendment, the Postmaster-General comes into relation with the contractors at one point, only then can any of the elaborate structure in the Bill be effective. The hon. Gentleman does not like the reference to "false teeth" in regard to the Bill. But he has created this great, fierce-looking watchdog of the I.T.A. and has then equipped it with false teeth. That is why we feel very strongly indeed about this Amendment, and why we must take the matter to a Division.
I wish to raise two points The Assistant Postmaster-General's case would have held good if in the Bill she had taken to himself the same powers as he has over the B.B.C., but up to the present he has refused to do that. In the last analysis, as I have said on two or three occasions—and the Assistant Postmaster-General is agreed on this—the hon. Gentleman can exercise power even over the programmes of the B.B.C. In practice, that is not done, and, therefore, it was necessary for us to table this AmendmentNow I come to the hypothetical matter raised about asking Questions concerning the network over which the programmes are to be sent out. I do not see anything particularly wrong in that, and it seems
Division No. 161.]
|Aitken W. T.||Cary, Sir Robert||Fisher, Nigel|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Channon, H.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Fletcher-Gooke, C.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Ford, Mrs. Patricia|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Fort, R.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Cole, Norman||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Colegate, W. A.||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)|
|Barber, Anthony||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Gammans, L. D.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Cooper-Key, E. M.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Craddook, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Glover, D.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Godber, J. B.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Crouch, R. F.||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Gower, H. R.|
|Birch., Nigel||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Bishop, F. P.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Grimond, J.|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Deedes, W. F.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Digby, S. Wingfield||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Hare, Hon. J. H.|
|Braine, B. R.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Drayson, G. B.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Drewe, Sir C.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Duthie, W. S.||Hay, John|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Heath, Edward|
|Bullard, D. G.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Erroll, F. J.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Finlay, Graeme||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
to me that it might be necessary, particularly if the programmes cause interference with other types of traffic. To take a more concrete example in which hon. Members on this side of the House are more interested, why should we not have the power to ask whether the fair wages clause is being operated vis-à-vis the actors and actresses who will be taking part in these performances? At the present time, we can do that in regard to any Government contract. Why should we not be able to do it with regard to the Independent Television Authority? That seems to be quite a reasonable proposition.
In this debate today, the hon. Gentleman has proceeded to build up the traditional house of cards and then to knock it down with his own arguments. There is nothing objectionable in this Amendment. It is an attempt to get in respect of the I.T.A. precisely the same powers as the Minister has over the B.B.C., and I am very disappointed that, on consideration, the Assistant Postmaster-General does not see fit to incorporate the Amendment in the Bill.
Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
The House divided: Ayes, 263; Noes, 240.
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Shepherd, William|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Maude, Angus||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Holt, A. F.||Maudling, R.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hope, Lord John||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L C.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Medlicott, Brig, F.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Mellor, Sir John||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Horobin, I. M.||Molson, A. H. E.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Moore, Sir Thomas||Speir, R. M.|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)|
|Hurd, A. R.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Neave, Airey||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Nicholls, Harmar||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Storey, S.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P||Studholme, H. G.|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Summers, G. S.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Oakshott, H. D,||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Odey, G. W.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Kerr, H. W.||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Teeling, W.|
|Lambton, Viscount||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Osborne, C.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Page, R. G.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Loch, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Perkins, Sir Robert||Tilney, John|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Pickthorn, K. W M.||Turton, R. H.|
|Longden, Gilbert||Pitman, I. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, J K|
|Low, A. R. W.||Powell, J. Enoch||Vosper, D. F.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Profumo, J. D.||Walker-Smith, D. C|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Wall, Major Patrick|
|McAdden, S. J.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Redmayne, M.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C|
|Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Remnant, Hon. P.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Renton, D. L. M.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Ridsdale, J. E.||Wellwood, W.|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Robertson, Sir David||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Robson-Brown, W.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Roper, Sir Harold||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Wills, G.|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Russell, R. S.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hon. Sir R||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Scott, R. Donald||Mr. Kaberry and|
|Marples, A. E.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R||Mr. Richard Thompson.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Callaghan, L. J||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Adams, Richard||Carmichael, J.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Castle, Mrs. B. A||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Champion, A. J.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)|
|Alton, Scholefield (Crewe)||Chetwynd, G. R||Fernyhough, E.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Clunie, J.||Fienburgh, W.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Coldrick, W.||Finch, H. J.|
|Baird, J.||Collick, P. H||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Bartley, P.||Cove, W. G.||Follick, M.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Craddook, George (Bradford, S.)||Foot, M. M.|
|Benson, G.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Forman, J. C.|
|Beswick, F.||Cullen, Mrs A.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Daines, P.||Freeman, John (Watford)|
|Blackburn, F.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Gibson, C. W.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Gooch, E. G.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C|
|Boardman, H.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Greenwood, Anthony|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Bowdon, H. W.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Deer, G.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Delargy, H. J.||Hale, Leslie|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Dodds, N. N.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Donnelly, D. L.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Edelman, M.||Hannan, W.|
|Burke, W. A.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Hargreaves, A.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Hastings, S.||Messer, Sir F.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mikardo, Ian||Slater Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Mitchison, G. R||Slater, J.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Monslow, W.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Moody, A. S.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Snow, J. W.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Morley, R.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Holman, P.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Holmes, Horace||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Mort, D. L.||Steele, T.|
|Hoy, J. H.||Moyle, A.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Mulley, F. W||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Nally, W.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Oldfield, W. H.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oliver, G. H.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Orbach, M.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Oswald, T.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Padley, W. E.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Janner, B.||Paget, R. T.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Paling, Ht. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Thornton, E.|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Timmons, J.|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Panned, Charles||Tomney, F.|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Pargiter, G. A.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Parker, J.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Parkin, B. T||Viant, S. P.|
|Keenan, W.||Paton, J.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Pearson, A.||Watkins, T. E.|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Peart, T. F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Kinley, J.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Lawson, G. M.||Popplewell, E.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Porter, G.||West, D. G.|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Proctor, W. T.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Lewis, Arthur||Pryde, D. J.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Rankin. John||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Logan, D. G.||Reeves, J.||Willey, F. T.|
|MacColl, J. E.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|McInnes, J.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|McLeavy, F.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Willams, W. R. (Drolyisden)|
|McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S)|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Willis, E. G.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Ross, William||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Royle, C.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Manuel, A. C.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Yates, V. F.|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Short, E. W.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Mason, Roy||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mellish, R. J.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Mr. Wallace and Mr. John Taylor.|
I beg to move, in page 4, line 26, after "than," to insert "as."This Amendment is to correct a grammatical error. It is probably the first, and to judge from the Assistant Postmaster-General's present mood, the last Opposition Amendment which the Government are likely to accept. I do not blame them for the slip—the Bill was obviously drafted by advertising agents.
I am glad that the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) has found something really effective to which he can object. I am grateful to him for drawing atten- tion to this grammatical error and I shall be pleased to accept the Amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 5, line 26, to leave out from "under," to "section," in line 27.This is purely a drafting Amendment. The Wireless Telegraphy Acts, 1904 to 1926, have ceased to operate as from 1st June, and Part I of the 1949 Act is now in force in their place.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause 3—(General Provisions As To Programmes And Publications Of Authority)
I beg to move, in page 6, line 3, to leave out "proper," and to insert "prescribed."I think that it would be for the convenience of the House if we took with this Amendment that in page 16, line 45. This is really a final appeal to the Assistant Postmaster-General to take some action to protect British interests in the matter of recorded programmes. We discussed this at some length during earlier stages of the Bill and I do not propose to deploy all the arguments again. We then moved a very detailed Amendment which the Assistant Postmaster-General may have felt unduly restricted him. This time, we are moving an extremely restricted Amendment and I feel that it would be very much the wiser part for him to accept our suggestion. The hon. Gentleman should make a provision in the Bill—either by the method suggested in the Amendment or a method of his own—to give himself and his successors at least permissive power to take some action if the proportion of non-British material used on television programmes becomes excessive. As things are, he has no adequate power to take any action; in fact, in a public speech made some weeks ago, his noble Friend the Postmaster-General suggested that if things went wrong he would have to ask for fresh legislation. Surely it is far wiser to arm oneself with powers at this stage, rather than wait for opportunities in this House, which are few and far between, to introduce what would then be a relatively minor Bill. I urge the Postmaster-General most strongly to take permissive powers to prescribe a certain proportion of British material. Only today I saw a copy of a very long cablegram from the United States which makes it clear that the American film industry proposes to take protective action by making it extremely difficult for any foreign films to enter the United States. If nothing is done under the Bill the Postmaster-General may find that American interests will make it virtually impossible for any British film material to enter America while, at the same time, we shall be wide open to receive as much of their canned programmes as they wish to dump here. The Postmaster-General is completely shirking his responsibilities if he refuses to take any powers to deal with this possibility, and I do ask the Minister seriously to consider this matter. If the hon. Gentleman will not accept our Amendment, let him draft his own, but the Postmaster-General should at least have permissive powers to protect British film makers, script-writers, actors, artistes and other workers in the industry, who are in no way protected by the Bill as it now stands.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I cannot agree with the hon. Lady's suggestion that this country would be wide open to films from overseas if we did not accept the Amendment. I suppose it is the aim of everyone to see that British film interests are properly safeguarded, and that our television programmes shall contain, as is provided for in the Bill, a proper proportion of British films. The hon. Lady may feel that we have not gone about the matter in the right way, but I must correct her when she suggests that we have left the country wide open to dumping by the American film industry.We had a very considerable discussion on this matter in Committee, when an Amendment put forward by the Opposition laid down a quota in some detail, and the Amendment we are now discussing seems to be designed to achieve the same ends in another way. We have various objections to raise to this proposal. It would mean an extension of delegated legislation. It would place upon the Postmaster-General duties analogous to those which are now placed upon the President of the Board of Trade—of deciding what is a British film and what percentage of so-called British films should be included. The Postmaster-General would also have the unenviable task of deciding in advance, without any previous experience of how the system worked, what should be done about a quota and what ought to be prescribed. That would be difficult, if not impossible. 6.45 p.m. We have every sympathy with what is in the hon. Lady's mind. We do not want to see this country flooded with films from America, or anywhere else, which have earned their keep and which might be dumped here cheaply, but we are convinced that the way she suggests is not the right way to safeguard our interests. I can assure the hon. Lady that very considerable thought has been given to the matter and that we have examined every conceivable possibility. As I said during the Committee stage, some amending legislation may be required—dealing not with television alone but with films in general—and if it is we shall have to say so. It would be very easy to forget the real interests of the unions and workers concerned, and to make a regulation such as the hon. Lady suggests, in a moment of enthusiasm, but the very danger she foresaw from American television would only be exacerbated if we accepted the Amendment, for we should be inviting retaliatory action. We should be providing the American interests with the very sort of reason they would like in order to press their demands. I read in the newspapers a reference to the cablegram to which the hon. Lady referred, and I was very glad to think that British films are making such inroads into the American market; that is a very healthy thing. But the only way to deal with this matter, short of a drastic revision of the whole format of the Bill, is to leave the matter as it stands. We have laid upon the Authority the duty of seeing that the style and tone of programmes are predominantly British and that it shall put on what it regards as a proper proportion of British films and other recorded material. I suggest that we should be very unwise to go any further. No such duty is laid upon the B.B.C. Although I cannot accept the Amendment, I hope that the hon. Lady will realise that my refusal is not due to any lack of sympathy with what she has in mind, but because I am convinced that the method we have indicated in the Bill, at this stage of television, is a better way of dealing with the matter.
That is about the weakest case the hon. Member has put so far. He has scratched around trying to find all kinds of possible obstacles, when those obstacles already exist. If the Postmaster-General is to accept recommendations from an advisory committee to the I.T.A. a proportion of canned films from abroad will be broadcast, so that if a prescription against flooding this country with canned programmes in film is going to worry the Americans, they must already be worrying about it. The Bill already provides that there shall not be an undue proportion of this type of programme.The hon. Gentleman said this would mean "delegated legislation." Leaving matters completely to the I.T.A. is not "delegated legislation." Ministers are responsible for delegated legislation, but the hon. Gentleman says that we should leave things to a body that is not responsible to the House of Commons. Therefore, that excuse of his for rejecting the Amendment falls to the ground. I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would have received the Amendment much more kindly, for he says that my hon. Friend's objective is his objective. Then why not express it in the Bill? Why not provide for it? The hon. Gentleman has made a very poor case indeed against the reasoned argument of my hon. Friend for her reasonable Amendment.
Amendment made: In page 6, line 37, leave out subsection (3).—[ Mr. Gammans.]
Clause 5—(Contracts For Programmes)
I beg to move, in page 8, line 44, to leave out from "subsection," to the end of line 6, on page 9.It would be convenient if we could consider at the same time my Amendment in page 9, line 17. In Committee two Amendments to subsection (1) were accepted which drew more tightly the rules about disqualification. The first, which I proposed myself, was to the effect that persons having control over an advertising agency should come within the range of disqualified persons. The reason for the Amendment was that, without it, it would have been possible for a programme company to form a subsidiary of its own to carry on the business of an advertising agency. That we did not want. The second Amendment, moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), had the effect of disqualifying any programme contractor that had as director, officer or servant an advertising agent, anybody employed by an advertising agency, anyone controlling an advertising agency, or a director of officer of an advertising agency. As a result of those Amendments, redrafting of the subsection became desirable in the interests of clarity. That is the purpose of this group of Amendments.
Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made: In page 9, line 11, at beginning, insert "( a)."
In line 17, leave out from beginning, to end of line 22, and insert:
(b) being an individual or a body corporate, carries on business as an advertising agent (whether alone or in partnership), or has control over any body corporate which carries on business as an advertising agent, or is a director or officer of any such body corporate, or is employed by any person who carries on business as an advertising agent;
(c) being a body corporate, is under the control of any such person as is mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs of this definition, or of any two or more such persons together, or has among it directors, officers or servants any person who is a disqualified person otherwise than by virtue of paragraph (a) of this definition.—[Mr. Gammans.]
I beg to move, in page 9, line 26, to leave out the second "and," and to insert:
"(b) if the Authority are not satisfied as regards any one or more programmes that there is not such adequate competition as aforesaid, it shall be duty of the Authority themselves to provide or to secure the provision of the programme or programmes; and
It would be convenient, Mr. Speaker, if we could consider with this Amendment the Amendment in page 9, line 38, at the end, to insert:(c)."
(3) It shall be the duty of the Authority to secure that no programme contractor broadcasts more than one programme at the same time to serve substantially the same reception area.
Yes, if that suits the convenience of the House.
I have been pleading for competition in broadcasting and television for about 10 years now at every opportunity I have had. The more I see how things are developing the more I am convinced that I am right, and that there should not be a monopoly of broadcasting or of television in the hands of one body. I do not want the B.B.C. to have a monopoly of public service broadcasting.
What about the exclusive contract?
Now that we are providing for a different service I equally do not want to see any one programme company having a monopoly of programme production in commercial television. During our debates on the Bill we have heard much about the virtues of competition, and I, and some of my hon. Friends too, have had to point out from time to time that it would have been an advantage to the Bill and certainly to our debates if the word "competition" had been defined. We have been rather mixed up about its meaning. At the end of our debates I think we ought to get it clear.What viewers want is alternative programmes, and we want to see several different bodies providing the programmes, if the Bill is to be passed. On the one hand, there will be the B.B.C. providing the public service programmes, and on the commercial side there will be the I.T.A. The Authority itself will not ordinarily be a programme producer. According to the Bill and the Government's statements, it may produce special programmes, but, generally speaking, it will not ordinarily provide programmes. So it is necessary that what competition there is on the commercial television should be provided by the programme companies. If there is to be real competition within the commercial television system, the Authority must make sure that no one company and no one related group of companies operating a network shall have the monopoly of programme output. We think that, in the viewers' interests, it is wrong that monopolies should operate. Having had some experience of employment in broadcasting, I think it also wrong in the interests of the staff and contributors that the monopoly element should exist. I think it is wrong that the B.B.C. should be the sole employer of people engaged full time in broadcasting and television. On the whole, the B.B.C. is a generous and tolerant employer. It sometimes slips, but, on the whole, it is a very decent employer. From the point of view of those engaged as employees in commercial television it will be far worse if they, having thrown in their lot with commercial television, have only one employer to whom to look. I cannot at this stage develop the arguments at length, but there is need for proper consideration of the question of who is to provide the programmes in the commercial television system. 7.0 p.m. We have heard conflicting arguments about the amount of income that will be provided by the advertisers for the production of programmes. Some hon. Members opposite think it will be a very large income, and that there will be plenty of variety of opportunities because of the large amount of money to be available to produce programmes. There are some among the Opposition who think that that is a very optimistic view to take and that it is more than likely that the amount of money available for programmes will lead to an actual reduction in the quality of programmes because they will on the whole have to be produced on the cheap, as there will not be enough money available from advertising to do the job in a big way. If we are right, there is a danger that there will not be a big number of programme companies coming into the business. Seeing that the whole purpose of the Bill is to provide competition in place of the present monopoly, and competition within the commercial television system, we think it is desirable, and indeed essential, that our Amendments should be incorporated and made operative so that a duty falls upon the Authority to make sure that there is competition in the provision of programmes. The Authority could produce programmes which would compete with a somewhat monopolistic programme company, if the monopoly situation developed as some of us anticipate it will; or in some other way there should be competition within the system, there being some body competing with the programme companies. The second Amendment takes this a stage further. The wording is rather difficult, for "programme" has two meanings. However, the purpose is that where it might be possible when the technical resources allow to provide two programmes within, say, the London area, the two services shall not be placed in the hands of one programme company. We do not want one programme company to have the right to provide programmes for the two services. There will have to be at least two companies set up for the purpose. Generally, the purpose of the Amendments is to make sure, by giving the Authority power, that there will be competition within the commercial television system. As this is in line with the purpose of the Bill, I am sure that the Government will accept both Amendments.
I beg to second the Amendment.I cannot share the optimism of my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) about the likelihood of the Government accepting the Amendments, but I am sure that these proposals should have the warmhearted support of hon. Members who, like myself, have watched with great interest the change of attitude on the part of supporters of competitive television on the question of competition. There was a time when commercial television was called "competitive television" by hon. Members opposite. I notice that the phrase has become less and less popular on the Government benches. That is for a very good reason. It has now been discovered by hon. Members opposite that competitive television will not work and will not pay and that having programme contractors competing with one another is too expensive and wasteful. The term "competitive television" is dropping out, and we are having more and more indications that the Government are contemplating the establishment of a monopoly of commercial television in each of the three regions envisaged. The slogans about competition and freedom have done their job. They have bemused enough hon. Members opposite to secure the passage of the Bill through this House. However, those were not the real motives behind the campaign for commercial television. Breaking the B.B.C. monopoly was never the real motive. The motive was to commercialise television and not to secure freedom or to break the monopoly. One has only to study the first statements made in favour of commercial television to see that they came before there was any suggestion that the B.B.C.'s monopoly was evil and needed to be broken. The first purpose of the campaign was to commercialise television. The arguments about monopoly came later. Now that those arguments have served their purpose they are being abandoned, and the Government are going to try to secure a commercial monopoly in each region under this scheme.
I must put the hon. Member right on that. I have been concerned with this issue even at times when he has not been in the House. The first principle throughout has been to break the monopoly. Is the hon. Member still true to his line that we should retain the monopoly?
I am not denying that the first principle in the propaganda has been to break the monopoly, but I say that the first impulse was commercialisation and that the first impulse came from commercial interests, particularly American-controlled advertising agencies in this country. There is sufficient proof of that to satisfy any researcher. It was at a later stage that hon. Members opposite genuinely believed—I am not suggesting that they were not genuine—that the great issue was that of freedom and competition. It is only now that they realise that that is impracticable, wasteful and uneconomical, and they are beginning to drop their talk of competition. The real nature of the campaign is becoming clear.The Popular Television Association, which is a body closely associated with the campaign for commercial television, is now openly campaigning for a commercial monopoly in television. Its official literature follows that line. The argument put forward is that television will not otherwise pay. We ought to note this as an historic moment. This is the first time that the argument that it will not pay is being used to weaken the safeguards in the Bill. The argument that it will not pay is being used to secure a monopoly in commercial television in the regions. Tomorrow the same argument will be used first of all to open the floodgates to imported American television programmes. It will be said that commercial television will not pay unless American television films are shown. Later on, all the safeguards of the Bill will gradually be undermined by the argument that with them the service will be uneconomical. We should record that this is the first use of this argument by the Government to justify the establishment of a monopoly. First of all, the Government have eliminated the Authority as a competitor to the programme contractors. The Government have now put into the Bill provisions to ensure that the Authority will be hobbled and will not be able to compete with the contractors in the provision of programmes. The Government will say that they are at least providing competition with the B.B.C. I give them credit for that. I am sure that that is in their minds at the moment. Although they cannot secure competition between the contractors themselves and between the contractors and the Authority, they feel that they will at least provide competition between commercial television and the B.B.C. My guess is that they will not hold that position for a very long time because the commercial interests concerned are beginning to turn against the idea of competition with the B.B.C. I have here a very interesting statement by a new firm, T.V. Commercials, Limited, which will obviously dominate the provision of the actual television advertisements in this country. In its brochure giving a preview of advertising by television in Great Britain we get a hint of future events with regard to competition with the B.B.C. The brochure states:
Therefore, the interests, having successfully persuaded the Government to prevent competition between the contractors themselves and between the contractors and the Authority, are launching a claim that competition with the B.B.C. itself must also be prevented in the interests of profitability. How can we be sure that the Government will not give way on this point also? All the way along they have given way on these points to the commercial interests concerned. There will not be competition with the B.B.C., for instance, on the transmitters and the masts. Anything that really seems to stand in the way of the economics of the programme contractors, the Government amend daily and change their policy accordingly. I believe that the question of the "Radio Times" will be raised in due course. In these ways, freedom, competition, all the slogans under which this campaign was launched, will be thrown overboard in the interests of a commercial monopoly. I should like to commend this Amendment on the ground that the programme contractors under this scheme will be altogether far too powerful. They will be far too powerful in relation to the I.T.A. What are the sanctions which the I.T.A. is to have if these programme contractors have the monopoly? Let us imagine a programme contractor with a monopoly in the London area. How is the I.T.A. going to assert itself against such a programme contractor? In the last resort, its only sanction is to cancel the contract. What will that mean? No one will be ready to take over the interests of this one monopoly contracting concern in London. There will be no one ready to step into the shoes of the contractor who has his contract cancelled. The I.T.A. is not allowed to own studios, and will not be able to fill the gap caused by the cancellation of the contract. The I.T.A. will have to provide the programme for London on its second television programme. The instruments of power which lie to hand for the programme contractors to fight the battle with the I.T.A. are very formidable indeed. The power of the programme contractor in relation to the I.T.A. will be out of all measure far too powerful. He will use precisely the same slogans of freedom; he will quote Milton, as quoted in respect of the commercial television service generally. The same old slogans which have fastened commercialism upon us will be used to strengthen the programme contractor in the battle with the I.T.A. I would say particularly that this applies in reference to London. London is by far the most important of the three regions concerned in terms of prestige and capital and because it will probably be the first station to operate. For all these reasons, to have a single monopoly or even two programme contractors for the London area would, in my view, be creating far too great a power in a single hand. The monopolist who controls London television will be one of the most powerful men in this country, the Lord Beaverbrook of television; irresponsible, prejudiced, powerful, appointed in secret by a small group of shareholders—and all this system in the name of freedom, as we saw when this campaign was launched. I would ask the Government to be perfectly frank with us on this point. If they really intend to prevent monopoly in the regions, let them tell us so and not hide behind the I.T.A. This is a tremendously important political and social question of whether one man or one single group of men shall have the commercial monopoly of television in a vast region like the London area. If the Government mean this to happen, let them tell the House so frankly, and if not, let them write into the Bill a provision, such as my hon. Friend has put forward, which will prevent that from happening."While the peak periods of viewing must inevitably be the evening hours, it is to be hoped that the I.T.A. schedule of transmissions will not parallel that of the B.B.C., for if two stations are operating at the same time the audience must be shared between them. It will therefore help commercial television to do an advertising job if the commercial schedules are longer than or different from those of the B.B.C. and consequently some, at least, of the programmes are on the air at times when the B.B.C. is not operating. This, almost more than anything else, could help to build viewership to commercial television programmes quickly."
I do not want to take up much of the time of the House, but it is perfectly clear that the hon. Member for Woolwich East (Mr. Mayhew) has failed to read the speech which I made upon this subject when we were in Committee. Therefore, I feel obliged to refresh his memory, in view of some of the extraordinary nonsense which he talked about competition just now. He was just as nonsensical as he was about this question of the whole thing having been started by the pressure from commercial interests—something which has been repeatedly said from the benches opposite and which has never been substantiated.We have not had one single word of substantiation or one single piece of evidence on this subject. The hon. Member who has just spoken did not produce any in his speech. I know that he knows quite a lot about these things and has thought deeply on the subject, but he has not got down to this question of competition in television at the beginning. It is worth while remembering that we are dealing with a new experiment, with a service which is just starting, and with very limited frequency channels. The number of frequency channels is limited, but they will not always be limited. That is worth bearing in mind. Although there are only a number of channels in Band III available, eventually the whole of Band III may be cleared, if some reasonable arrangement can be made for the users already on it. In the future, there is no reason why vast sections of the frequency spectrum up above, from Band IV, upwards, should not be opened up. Therefore, we have to think how exactly we are to achieve competition in the beginning. There are in fact only two ways of doing it as I think the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) will agree. Either we have to get a number of programme contractors together and say to them, "Will you form a national network—will you operate on the Monday, you operate on a Tuesday and Wednesday, and you operate on the Thursday and Friday, and so on?"; or we have to say, "You will have the London area, you will have the Birmingham, and you will have the Manchester area." That is the only way in which it can be done.
When the hon. and gallant Gentleman says, "You will have to do this and do that" does he mean the I.T.A. or this group of commercial companies?
I was talking about the I.T.A. The duty is laid on the I.T.A. of securing competition. The only way in which the I.T.A. can do it is by either of those two means. In the first alternative I have mentioned, I am quite certain that there would not be true competition at all. If we get one or two or more programme contractors and say, "We want you to form a national network," that group together will have a complete national monopoly on any one day. That monopoly can only be broken by the setting up of a complete range of national transmitters.The only way in which competition can be provided is to have one programme contractor to one transmitter. In the very beginning it may be a regional monopoly; it cannot be avoided because of the shortage of the frequency space; but a national monopoly can be avoided.
Is it the hon. and gallant Member's contention that if the vertical method of allotting the transmission were applied—that is, one programme company to one station—that would give regional monopoly?
No, that is not quite my view. I said that in the initial stages certainly it would be a regional monopoly.
And if in the initial stages, whilst there is only one transmission under the I.T.A.'s control in the region, the hon. and gallant Member would no doubt agree that it is a regional monopoly for that period. Would he not also say that if it is worked on a horizontal basis—that is, the programme companies combining together to form a network—that in turn is a national monopoly?
I am pleased to have that concession.
It is a monopoly in the beginning in so far as there is a shortage of wavelengths. Remember that there is the B.B.C. as well. The B.B.C. might not advertise, but nevertheless it could hardly be said that there is entirely a monopoly in broadcasting. Nevertheless, if we are talking about commercial television alone, it is true that in that one region, one contractor has a monopoly.If the other method—what the right hon. Gentleman calls the horizontal method—were employed, there would be a group of people having a complete national monopoly at the very beginning, I fully agree. But if the horizontal system is to be broken, if we are to move into the sphere of competition, the only way that the Authority can do so is to set up a complete network of national transmitters. With the other way, to take what the right hon. Gentleman calls the vertical method—one contractor to one transmitter—the regional monopoly in commercial television is easily broken by the setting up of one single transmitter.
Would the hon. and gallant Member, therefore, not be in favour of our second Amendment, which says that one programme contractor should not get more than one programme in each region?
Not more than one programme in one region—possibly I could be in favour of that.
The effect of it would be that a single programme contractor must not have more than one programme in one region or area of listening. If two programmes were available, they must be given to two different contractors.
I should not go quite so far as that. When Bands IV and V are opened up, there is no reason why there might not be a multiplicity of transmitters, and then I should not necessarily like to say that one programme contractor might not, perhaps, have two transmitters as against somebody else's three, or something like that. There is no question of monopoly in that system.Once the thing gets started, it may not be very long before we have another frequency channel available, say, for London. It may be possible that when another channel is opened up, the same channel could be allotted to Scotland and to Birmingham. In that case, as the Scottish station was opened up, it might he said, "We are able to have two transmitters in Birmingham," and the monopoly, if that is what hon. Members like to call it, would be broken in the Birmingham area, while that position might still exist for a while in London. Obviously, the horizontal method is the only one by which we can achieve competition. There is no other way of achieving it between programme contractors. The idea that the Authority should let out one hour to one contractor and another hour to another contractor, and that sort of thing, is complete and utter nonsense. Anybody who looks into the thing or who knows anything about television knows that it is nonsense. These are the only two methods of doing it. I should have thought it was becoming fairly obvious now that what the Authority will have to do in the first instance is to contract its London transmitter to one contractor, its Birmingham transmitter to another, and its Manchester and Scottish transmitters to other programme contractors. That is the only way in which it can be done.
What has surprised me about the debates is the extent to which hon. Members opposite have left the defence of the Bill to the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr). The second thing that surprises me is the confidence with which he told the Committee and now tells the House what will and will not happen under the Bill. I wonder whether we are likely to know what special claim he has to both these important rôles in our debates.The more one looks at the Bill, the more astonishing it becomes as a candidate for the Statute Book. The Amendments that we are discussing try to strengthen the duties of the Authority under subsections (2) and (3), both of which begin with the words:
something or other. In the case of subsection (2), it is the Authority's duty"It shall be the duty of the Authority to do all that they can to secure. …"
Subsection (3) says that it shall be the Authority's duty"to do all that they can to secure that there is adequate competition to supply programmes between a number of programme contractors independent of each other both as to finance and as to control."
One wonders how we shall ever know whether the Authority has done all that it can do, and what will happen if it does not do it. The Amendments seek to give the Authority means of discharging this duty. When one considers the wording of the two subsections that we now propose to amend and all the blah—there is no other word for it—in Clause 3, one surely is driven to the conclusion that we ought to change the name of the Bill. It ought to be "Television (Worthy Motives) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill." The whole bag of tricks, all the worthy motives are here—"predominantly British." "nothing shall be included to offend against good taste or decency," "nothing that is offensive to public feeling" and all the rest. We have had all this out, but now we have another example of the same kind of thing. 7.30 p.m. What the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South has just said confirms what my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) said, that the only element of competition that will eventually remain will be the competition with the B.B.C. There will not be competition within the new Independent Television Authority. The hon. and gallant Member said that it is utter nonsense to suggest that one hour of programme time can be given to one programme contractor and another hour to another. He is, of course, only quoting, in extreme form, the philosophy which he holds that it is really nonsense to have two programme contractors doing two separate programmes from the same station covering the same area. That is where he will get in the end, I am quite certain."to do all that they can to secure that no programme contractor acquires any exclusive or other rights in respect of the broadcasting of any matter in sound only from stations in the United Kingdom.…"
The second Amendment deals with what is at present not an immediate prospect, that of having two programmes under the I.T.A. in particular areas. It is likely to have only one at present. The Amendment provides against the time when it may be possible to have two programmes under the I.T.A. in a particular area—in addition, of course, to the B.B.C. The Amendment says:
not "to do all that they can," not to hope for the best or express a mere sentiment and hope that these commercial racketeers will respect it. It is the duty of the Authority "to secure," and if it does not secure it will have failed in its duty, and if the Amendment is accepted, for once in a way something will be explicitly written into the Bill. The first Amendment tries to give what the Government have been persistent in preventing the I.T.A. having, namely, the right to have programmes of its own and to displace, if it feels necessary, the programme contractor, and run the programme on its own. Numerous defences of that prohibition have been uttered by Government spokesmen from time to time, but how can the Government oppose an Amendment which seeks to put competition into commercial broadcasting, when the very first word used by the Government in connection with this Bill was "competition"? An "element of competition" was the first term used by the Government in foreshadowing the introduction of this Bill. We want to put competition into commercial broadcasting. The duty of the Authority under subsection (2) is"It shall be the duty of the Authority to secure"—
but it is not stated what the I.T.A. can do if it does not secure adequate competition. The Amendment says that if the Authority is not satisfied—and that is an easy state of mind to determine—it can do something positive:"to do all that they can to secure that there is adequate competition …"
It will be interesting to hear what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has to say when he tells us that these two Amendments would mess everything up, or that they are unnecessary or unworkable, or that there will be some special divine blessing resting on the I.T.A. which renders unnecessary all these unworthy suspicions or desires to give the Authority strength of hand as well as of character. I hope that at this late hour in the protracted discussions on this Bill we shall get some sign from the Government that they are as determined as we on these benches are to see that there is competition within what is alleged to be a competitive television system. I sincerely hope that we shall have a modest degree of success at this late hour in respect of Amendments which derive from the most desirable of intentions; indeed, nothing could be nearer the desires of the Government, surely, in this Bill than to make competition really competitive, knowing for once that we as the Opposition are behind them in that desire. I beg the right hon. and learned Gentleman not to lose a most valuable opportunity of availing himself of our support."It shall be the duty of the Authority themselves to provide or to secure the provision of the programme or programmes."
I am sorry, after the eloquent appeal which the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) has made, that I am not in a position to satisfy him by accepting the Amendments. I shall, however, try to fulfil the other part of his request by dealing with the arguments which he advanced, but I know that he will not think it wrong if, for a moment, I go back to his predecessors in debate and deal with some of the points which they have raised.The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling), who moved the Amendment, did so from the attitude of mind of one who was doubtful whether the programme contractors would secure the amount of money necessary and whether they would, therefore, be able to function. That is a point which has been raised many times in our debates. If I may give the hon. Member a collective reference, I would remind him of the speeches which have been made by his hon. and right hon. Friends as to the immense amount of money available for advertising, when they were pressing that aspect as a serious part of the case. Therefore, I do not accept that the difficulty which the hon. Member finds is a real one. I remind him of the provision in Clause 2 (2, b), which lays down that the Authority may arrange
The object of that provision—I do not think there is any disagreement upon it—is to ensure that the public shall not be deprived of programmes altogether. I wish to bring the attention of the House back to the Amendment which has been moved. Its purpose is to lay on the Authority the duty"for the provision … of, or, if need be, themselves provide, programmes … so far as may be necessary by reason of any temporary lack of … programme contractors. …"
of a programme if they are not satisfied that there is adequate competition among programme contractors. I have listened very carefully to the speeches which have been made, and the difficulty I have seen is that if one makes the assumption which the Amendment does, that there is not sufficient competition, that the programme contractor at a particular place is not providing a suitable competitive programme with others, the Authority must be prepared and ready all the tune to put on a programme itself. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite intend by that, and this is the real purpose of the Amendment, to put the Authority in such a position vis-à-vis the programme contractors that no reasonable programme contractor could operate—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is my view, and I should like to develop it. Do not let us have a sham fight about this; let us have a fight on the real issue. This is the real issue: hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite know very well that, human nature being what it is, if the Authority is once put in the position that it has to provide programmes, except in the case, which I accept, of there being a breakdown, the Authority is being put in the most difficult position that any body can be in. It is to supervise, to control, to decide whether the programme companies are keeping up to the standards, and all the time—which is really what right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite want—it is to be in the position of being encouraged and inspired itself to put on programmes. They know very well that were that situation brought about it would kill our scheme, and that, of course, is really what they would like to see. I think, therefore, that one has to deal with the point—and I will deal quite shortly with it, because we have argued it a great deal—about whether we really want, and whether our scheme really implies, competition. On the first point, one can only refer to what amounts, I am afraid, to an enormous number of words which I have spoken on the matter. I should like the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) to go back to my first speech which I made two years ago on this point, when I tried to argue it in as reasonable and objective a way as I could. I endeavoured to show why I thought that competition was desirable. One turns from that—because it is no use repeating these matters, and it is no good—"to provide or to secure the provision …"
Do repeat it.
The hon. Member for Warrington (Dr. Morgan) is one of the kindest of colleagues but, as that speech, I am sorry to say, lasted for 57 minutes, he does not know what he is bringing upon himself.
The point I was making was that the attitude of the Government has changed. Whereas it is true that two years ago the right hon. and learned Gentleman stated specifically that there must be competition between the programme contractors, the Government have not said that recently. If he will say today what he was saying two years ago—that there is to be competition between the programme contractors—I think that would be some reassurance.
That was what I was going on to say as my second point, the practical point, about whether our suggestions will bring competition. I believe that they will. If anyone on this side of the House makes the clear and obvious point that the first competition is between the B.B.C. and someone else, that is not accepted. But that is our first point, as the hon. Member for Sowerby brought out in terms in discussing the first words of the Bill. I do not wish to go into the matter of Greek derivations but "monopoly," in its strictest sense, is one, and it is the beginning of a break in a monopoly if you have two. That, at any rate, is a start.What is apparently worrying hon. Gentlemen opposite is that if the Authority decides to do it on the vertical basis we shall only have one arbiter in the various regions. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) put the answer to that which everyone knows. We are not dealing with a static position. We are not even dealing with a slowly dynamic factor in the world. We are dealing with a factor which is increasing and changing and adding to its powers almost daily—certainly monthly and yearly—and to take the position which will obtain under that disposition for some time as being in any way a statification of the monopoly position is, in my view, completely wrong.
What does the right hon. and learned Gentleman mean by the "stratification of the monopoly position?"
The hon. Gentleman did not hear me correctly. I said "statification" which is the making, the crystallising or freezing of the position as it is today—[Laughter.] I am sorry if I seemed to put an unnecessary "r" in the word. If I did, I apologise. I was using a comparison which the hon. Gentleman, as an accomplished debater, knows comes into practically every debate when you compare the dynamic and the static. I am saying that this is dynamic, and I am sure that he will not disagree.On the other point, I think it essential to say that we shall find the maximum of competition in the technical position which exists at the time. That is what we are going to do and, as time goes on, we hope and believe that there is no other possibility than that competition will increase.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to be taking refuge in the technical question of wavelengths, and saying that all we shall have today is one programme contractor in London until there are more wavelengths. Will he explain what are the grounds of public interest for having only one person using one transmitter instead of two or three? We admit that it is less profitable, but what are the grounds of public interest for that?
The grounds of public interest are two; that the public must have a second programme, and that that second programme must be given to them by someone other than the B.B.C.
This is very important—
I am sorry, I cannot give way again—
The right hon. and learned Gentleman misunderstands—at least we are giving him the benefit of that.
The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) may get a chance to speak later, and perhaps he will allow me to continue—
But do not run away.
The hon. Member for Sowerby appealed for both Amendments and especially, if I understood him correctly, for the second Amendment the object of which is to secure that no programme contractor should broadcast more than one programme in the same area. That is unnecessary. After listening carefully to all the speeches, I cannot envisage any situation in which the contingency against which the hon. Member wishes to provide is likely to arise. Regarding his reference to Clause 5 (2), I would say to him that it would be useful if he would read the remaining words dealing with the subject.
these are the words the hon. Member did not read—"It shall be the duty of the Authority to do all that they can to secure that there is adequate competition to supply programmes between"—
That is a clear duty laid on the Authority, and it is a duty which is none the less laid upon it because it is put in the form that it has to do all that it can. That means that in every part of the work it has to keep this point in mind. In my view, if that responsibility is laid upon the Authority it is unnecessary to lay down as meticulously as this Amendment seeks to do the methods by which it will be carried out. As I stated in relation to the previous Amendment, the way in which competition will develop must be decided by the circumstances in which television itself develops during the next year or two. I believe that the specific need referred to in the Amendment is one which the Authority must clearly have in mind, that the Authority will carry out the duty laid upon it and that it is unnecessary to make this amendment to the Bill."a number of programme contractors independent of each other both as to finance and as to control. …"
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has genuinely misunderstood my intervention and I wonder whether, on reflection, he will give a clearer answer. We all know that it would be more profitable to have a monopoly of the London region, but I asked what ground of public interest, apart from profitability, there is for having one programme contractor wholly in London and not two, three or four on the same transmitter.
I thought that the hon. Member was referring to the more general public interests which we were discussing, because in part of his speech he ranged fairly widely. I certainly did not mean to evade the point that he made. The public interest is that that is a way in which we shall have better programmes and that it is in that way in which we shall give people what is wanted—good, sound alternative programmes.
We are playing with words. Even the hon. Member for Kilmarnock knows the difference between one and two. When we have two we no longer have a monopoly. That, at any rate, is clear. We have the competition of the regional station, on the basis that we are accepting, that there is the B.B.C., and we have the fact, as my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General pointed out, that this is a growing discovery in which we are bound to have greater monopoly as the years go by. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am sorry, I am told that I said "greater monopoly." I meant, of course, greater competition.
I have heard the Home Secretary make many skilful speeches answering the arguments from the other side of the House, but I have never before heard him trying to answer himself. If he will read tomorrow the report of the first part of his speech and, after a short lapse of time, read the second part he will find that in the second part he has completely destroyed the argument of the first part. I thought that in his speech he was justifying our Amendment in page 9, line 38, to secure that
During our debate we have often heard the unofficial voice below the Gangway telling us one thing, only to be denied later on by the Assistant Postmaster-General or the Home Secretary. Today we are told that whether there is a horizontal arrangement, that is three programme companies running a network of three transmitters, or whether there is a vertical monopoly, that is one programme company running one transmitter, in each case it is either a regional monopoly or a national monopoly."… no programme contractor broadcasts more than one programme at the same time to serve substantially the same reception area."
The right hon. Gentleman must not misrepresent me in that way. I said that there would be two important qualifications. One was that the word "monopoly" was only used in that context if one was talking about commercial television only and not the B.B.C. The second was—I am sorry I have forgotten what it was.
The hon. and gallant Member has made so many embarrassing confessions today that at last he has confounded himself. The fact is that, with all the reservations, a television advertising monopoly will exist either in the regions or nationally, and is likely to exist for some time.
The right hon. Gentleman has now reminded me of the second qualification. It is that we were now at the beginning of a service which was likely to expand.
I do not know whether that is a complete answer to the Home Secretary, who talked about freezing monopoly.
It is exactly the same.
We must look at the facts, which are that the frequencies that are available are in Band III. Two of them, which are immediately available, are being allocated to commercial television. We may have an announcement tomorrow or the day after that another has been acquired and given to the B.B.C. So long as two frequencies are available, the position remains as it is—that we shall have an advertising monopoly, either regionally or nationally. When the Home Secretary speaks of the difference between one and two he fails to take into account that No. 2 is different in character from No. 1. No. 2 breaks the first monopoly but is in itself a monopoly, of advertising. Therefore, a new monopoly has been created in that sense. I believe that the Home Secretary shakes his head. Is he going to say that someone else is going to advertise?
There is the B.B.C.
Are we now told that the B.B.C. is going into commercial television? The Home Secretary might answer reasonably. He knows that it is not. We all know that the B.B.C. must be non-commercial. Therefore, the only commercial organisation that we shall have will be the I.T.A., and in that sense it will have an advertising monopoly. Surely there can be no dispute about that.I am astonished that the Home Secretary, who is usually so very courteous and helpful to the House, tries to explain away the fact that he and his hon. and right hon. Friends, under the cloak of breaking a monopoly, are creating a special monopoly. When he is asked to provide for a breach of the second monopoly he refuses. He justifies the breaking of the first monopoly by the creation of the second. When we ask that the second shall be broken by the injection of competition and the creation of other things, he resists it. It seems to me that the right hon. and learned Gentleman cannot have both cases, because one contradicts the other. We were told that we were being wicked, that we were giving to the I.T.A. power to set up its own competing programmes where it was satisfied that adequate competition could not exist. We were told that we were trying to ruin the programme companies. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman take the position that the I.T.A. must be completely under the control of the programme companies? Is that the position?
Not for one moment. The I.T.A. is there to control the programme companies.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that the I.T.A. is there to control the programme companies, but, after all, the I.T.A. will be completely in the hands of the programme companies because he refuses to give the I.T.A. the opportunity of setting up a yardstick to determine how much a programme costs. How is the I.T.A to charge programme companies for the use of its facilities? What yardstick will it have? In order to have balanced programmes, surely it must have some regard to the cost of production of programmes. Is the I.T.A. to have no independent yardstick of its own? Is it to be completely at the mercy of the programme companies in these matters?It seems to me that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is creating circumstances in which the I.T.A. will probably lose money and the programme companies will get some fat pickings. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) that the I.T.A. is being put at an impossible disadvantage. It will probably make very great losses of public money. The greater its losses are, the greater will be the pickings of the programme companies. It will be a case of private enterprise thriving at the expense of the public purse.
What difficulty does the right hon. Gentleman envisage in the I.T.A. fixing a proper economic rent for the programme companies? He could do it when he was at the Post Office; he could carry out a little thing like that without any great trouble at all. Perhaps the Authority may not be as good at it as he is, but what difficulty does he envisage?
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has put that very slickly. The present Postmaster-General does not know anything at all about artistic work. He does not know anything about the fees charged by some of the prima donnas, and I suppose there are more prima donnas in the theatrical world than there are in the political world. I should have thought that this was a sphere in which the poor Postmaster-General was at a most complete disadvantage.
I was merely indicating a standard for the Authority. Why does the right hon. Gentleman think that the Authority will have any difficulty in fixing an economic rent for a programme company?
I should have thought that that was fairly obvious. First of all, the Authority has to provide stations, and it may have to provide studios and outside cameras. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman has repeatedly said, this is a new field in which few people have experience. Now we are creating an Authority and expecting it to know beforehand exactly how much the costs in the new sphere will be.However, the Government have got rid of the I.T.A. as a competitor of the programme companies. I cannot understand what the Government have in mind as to the way in which the job is to be done. What do the Government intend? Is it to be one programme company per station? Are three programme companies to have the complete network? Is there to be the further alternative of each station having three programme companies and no network, the three programme companies dividing the time between them and thus breaking the regional monopoly? Is that to be the position? Is it to be the duty of the Authority to provide for the maximum competition between the programme com- panies? That is a simple question, and the two Amendments deal with it. The second Amendment deals with the further point that we have got rid of the freezing monopoly. When a third frequency is available in the London region, is the same programme company to be allowed to use not only the first transmitter but also the second, or will one programme company be allocated to one transmitter or will it be given two transmitters? Our Amendment says that one programme company shall not have more than one transmitter at its disposal. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants to break the monopoly or not create an additional monopoly he must agree with the terms of the Amendment. I should have thought that our two Amendments provided the degree of competition in commercial television about which hon. Members opposite have spoken so much. Are we once again to come to the conclusion that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have used Tory Party doctrine and dogma to protect their private interests or the private interests of their friends and backers?
I have a request to make to the Home Secretary, and it is that tomorrow he should read the speech he made today. It will probably be rather a painful experience. I do not know whether at the end of it he will have a clear understanding of what he meant to say, but I hope he will do better than most of us did when listening to him.His line today was quite different from his line on Second Reading when he very clearly said that the Authority would have to aim at getting enough programme Contractors to ensure real competition. On that occasion there was no talk about "statification." It did not become the Home Secretary to suggest that our Amendment was merely a device to do his beloved programme contractors out of their profits. In putting down the Amendment, the Opposition have been perfectly sincere in attempting to provide powers for ensuring competition which would represent real teeth and not the false teeth about which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) spoke. Once again, the Government will not provide these powers. They are prepared, if necessary, to forget their fine words about competition. They are falling back upon a much simpler version of the words they uttered about breaking monopoly. They are not prepared to take steps to ensure that programmes are distributed more widely throughout the country, which the second Amendment would help to do. The Home Secretary's speech was one of the most disappointing and one of the most contemptible that he has made.
The main ground for introducing the Bill was that it would break the monopoly of the B.B.C. The argument before us now is that, as a result of the economics of sponsored television, it is now necessary, in order to get a suitable programme contractor, to have a monopoly for that person.The Home Secretary may think that he is breaking a monopoly by setting up another one, but I cannot see the logic of his argument. It is all wrong. I believe that the Government are looking a little further ahead in respect of the many technical changes which are rapidly taking place in television reception. I wonder if what the Government are doing is the result of further advice which has been tendered by the Post Office engineers concerned with this problem. We all know that, in Germany in particular, it is possible to set up a transmitting station by means of which, provided that it is within visual distance of the people receiving the signal in Band III, on which the sponsored television programmes are to take place,
Division No. 162.]
|Aitken, W. T.||Braine, B. R.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Crouch, R. F.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W H||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Broomary-White, R. C.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Deedes, W. F.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G T||Digby, S. Wingfield|
|Barber, Anthony||Bullard, D. G.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Burden, F. F. A.||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Campbell, Sir David||Grayson, G. B.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Drewe, Sir C.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Channon, H.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T (Richmond)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W)||Duthie, W. S.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxeth)||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D M|
|Birch, Nigel||Cole, Norman||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Colegate, W. A.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Erroll, F. J.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Finlay, Graeme|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Fisher, Nigel|
signals on Band IV can be received. It is only a short step now to getting the necessary gadgets available on the market to enable Band IV signals to be received. If that is what has been accepted by the Post Office, the situation is that more stations will be available and there will be more fields in which it will be economical for programme contractors to work. The Assistant Postmaster-General ought to tell us if that is what is to happen.
The fact remains that, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) said, the monopoly has not been broken up. Whatever words come from the Government Front Bench, there is bound to be a monoply because the programme contractor will find that his activities will not pay him unless he has a monopoly. The practice will be such that there will have to be a monopoly. If, on the other hand, as a result of the development which has taken place already in Germany, it is possible, as a result of having channels on Band III radiated on Band IV, the point can be conceded. I suggest, however, that it is no good the Home Secretary coming to the House and rejecting our Amendment merely on the lines which he has argued this evening. The fact remains that no programme contractor will think it worth while to tender unless he is given a monopoly either for the London or Birmingham areas.
Question put, "That 'and' stand part of the Bill."
The House divided: Ayes, 263: Noes, 244.
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F||Longden, Gilbert||Robertson, Sir David|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Low, A. R. W.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Fort, R.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||McAdden, S. J.||Russell, R. S.|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||McCallum, Major D.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Gammans, L. D.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Glover, D.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Schofield, Lt-Col. W.|
|Godber, J. B.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Scott, R. Donald|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||McKibbin, A. J.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Shepherd, William|
|Gower, H. R.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Maclean, Fitzroy||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Grimond, J.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St Albans)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maitland, Comdr, J. F. W (Horncastle)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Hare, Hon. J. H||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir Reginald||Speir, R. M.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marlowe, A. A. H||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Marples, A. E.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hay, John||Maude, Angus||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Maudling, R.||Storey, S.|
|Heath, Edward||Maydon, Lt-Comdr S. L. C||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Medlicott, Brig. F||Studholme; H. G.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Mellor, Sir John||Summers, G. S.|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Molson, A. H. E.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Moore, Sir Thomas||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Teeling, W.|
|Holt, A. F.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Hope, Lord John||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Neave, Airey||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P||Nicholls, Harmar||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C N.|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Noble, Comdr. A. H P||Tilney, John|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J||Oakshott, H. D.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hurd, A. R.||Odey, G. W.||Turton, R. H.|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W)||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co Antrim, N.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Osborne, C.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Page, R. G.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Perkins, Sir Robert||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C|
|Kaberry, D.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B||Peyton, J. W. W.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Kerr, H. W.||Pickthorn. K. W M||Wellwood, W.|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Pitman, I. J.||Williams, Rt Hon Charles (Torquay)|
|Lambton, Viscount||Powell, J. Enoch||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O L||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Profumo, J. D.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Wills, G.|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Redmayne, M.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Rees-Davies, W. R|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Remnant, Hon. P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Renton, D. L. M.||Mr. Vosper and Mr. Robert Allan.|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Ridsdale J. E.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Botlomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Clunie, J|
|Adams, Richard||Bowden, H. W.||Coldrick, W.|
|Albu, A. H.||Bowles, F. G.||Collick, P. H.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Brockway, A. F.||Cove, W. G.|
|Allen, Schofield (Crewe)||Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Crosland, C. A. R.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Cullen, Mrs. A.|
|Baird, J.||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Davies, P.|
|Bartley, P.||Burke, W. A.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)|
|Benson, G.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Callaghan, L. J.||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Blackburn, F.||Carmichael, J.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||de Freitas, Geoffrey|
|Blyton, W. R.||Champion, A. J.||Deer, G.|
|Boardman, H.||Chetwynd, G R||Delargy, H. J|
|Dodds, N. N.||Kinley, J.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Lawson, G. M.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Ross, William|
|Edelman, M.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Royle, C.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Lewis, Arthur||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Lindgren, G. S.||Short, E. W.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Logan, D. G.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||MacColl, J. E.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Fernyhough, E.||McInnes, J.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Fienburgh, W.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Finch, H. J.||McLeavy, F.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Follick, M.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Snow, J. W.|
|Foot, M. M.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Sorenson, R. W.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Manuel, A. C.||Sparks, J. A|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H A||Steele, T.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mason, Roy||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mayhew, C. P.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Mellish, R. J.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Messer, Sir F.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mikardo, Ian||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Mitchison, G. R.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Hale, Leslie||Monslow, W.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Moody, A. S.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Morley, R.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Hannan, W.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Hargreaves, A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Mort, D. L.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Hastings, S.||Moyle, A.||Thornton, E.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mulley, F. W.||Timmons J.|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Nally, W.||Tomney, F.|
|Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Oldfield, W. H.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Oliver, G. H.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Orbach, M.||Wade, D. W.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Oswald, T.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Holman, P.||Padley, W. E.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Paget, R. T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hoy, J. H.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Palmer, A. M. F.||West, D. G.|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pannell, Charles||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pargiter, G. A.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Parker, J.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Parkin, B. T.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Paton, J.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Pearson, A.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Peart, T. F.||Willey, F. T.|
|Janner, B.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T||Popplewell, E.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Porter, G.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'H'y)|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Proctor, W. T.||Willis, E. G.|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Pryde, D. J.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Rankin, John||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Reeves, J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Keenan, W.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Kenyon, C.||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Rhodes, H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Mr. Holmes and Mr. Wallace.|
I beg to move, in page 10, line 2, after "provisions," to insert:
This is the first of a series of Amendments which deal with two particular points. The other Amendments are in page 10, lines 7, 11, 16, 22, 29 and 36, and in page 11, line 17. During the Committee proceedings, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. Simon) said it was objectionable that a penalty for breach of contract by a programme contractor should be determined by the Authority. The Bill at present provides for the question whether or not there was a breach of contract to be determined by an arbitrator, but the Authority is to assess the penalty."(including provisions for the purposes set out in the Third Schedule to this Act)."
I take it that most of the later Amendments mentioned by the right hon. and learned Gentleman are consequential on the first two.
It is the other way. The earlier Amendments are paving the way for those that come at the end. They are to meet not only the points made by my hon. and learned Friend but also other points stressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Robson Brown). After considering what my hon. Friends said, the Government have decided that the change should be made, and that the amount of penalty should be determined, in the event of dispute, by an arbitrator. If the Amendment is accepted, the Authority will allege a breach and demand a penalty. If the programme contractor disputes the breach, the case goes to arbitration, and if he wishes to dispute the penalty demanded by the Authority, that will now go to arbitration also.This change is effected by the Amendment to line 29, which substitutes for a penalty
the phrase"exigible by virtue of this subsection"
Linked with that Amendment is the one in line 36, which inserts, after "aforesaid":"which may be demanded by the Authority."
These Amendments do not alter the maximum amount imposable as penalty. The other important point raised by this series of Amendments is contained in the Amendment to page 11, line 17, which adds a new subsection to Clause 5. A suggestion was put forward in Committee that subsections (5) and (6) eliminated all rights at common law in respect of breaches of contract. I do not think that view was well-founded. For instance, the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) said:"or as to the amount demanded by way of penalty in respect of any such breach."
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, West suggested that those subsections excluded the ordinary processes of law. We do not want there to be any doubt, and that is the reason for the proposed addition of subsection (7), to make it clear that the course proposed in subsections (5) and (6) which the Authority may take if it wishes are alternative to the ordinary rights at common law. If the Amendment is accepted, the Authority will be able to bring actions to recover unpaid sums due from programme contractors, damages for breach of contract, or to seek injunctions, and will be able to exercise the right of determining a contract. I hope that we shall remove doubts on these points as well."Under these two subsections they are to be put above the law."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st June, 1954; Vol. 528, c. 1137.]
At the moment we are discussing the Amendment in page 10, line 2. There are other Government Amendments, which are closely connected with Amendments from this side of the House. Our Amendment in page 11 to leave out lines 12 to 17, will no doubt have some connection with the new subsection which is intended to follow at the end of line 17. However that may be. I shall content myself for the moment by saying that we on this side of the House dislike the Amendment now moved in page 10, line 2, and wish to preserve our right to discuss these other points as they arise.
The other Amendments will be called as we come to them later on.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, when we discussed this Clause and when, I think, there was considerable disquiet in all parts of the Committee as to its provisions, merely contented himself with the very safe formula that he would look at what had been said that day. It seems to me that both the Home Secretary and my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General have been far better in their performance than in their promise, because I am completely satisfied—and I think I speak for my hon. Friends in this respect—that the points raised have been met.In our view, there were two grave objections to the Clause as originally drafted. The first was that there was power vested in a public corporation—one of the two contracting parties—to fine the other contracting party up to £500 for breach of a contract, however trivial. Secondly. there was the point made by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), with which we found ourselves in agreement, that a breach of contract, however grave, even if going to the root of the contract, did not give the Authority the right to rescind the contract unless it had been preceded by two previous breaches. So far as both those points are concerned, the Amendment now moved by my right hon. and learned Friend meets
Division No. 163.]
|Aitken, W. T.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Linstead, Sir H. N.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Erroll, F. J||Llewellyn, D. T.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Finlay, Graeme||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Fisher, Nigel||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Low, A. R. W.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Fort, R.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Potlok)||McAdden, S. J.|
|Bell, Phillip (Bolton, E.)||Galbraith, T G. D. (Hillhead)||McCallum, Major D.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Gammans, L. D.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Glover, D.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Godber, J. B.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Gomme-Duncan, Col A||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Birch, Nigel||Gough, C. F. H.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Gower, H. R.||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Grimond, J.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Braine, B. R.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir Reginald|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Marples, A. E.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Hay, John||Maude, Angus|
|Bullard, D. G.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Maudling, R.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Heath, Edward||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Higgs, J. M. C.||Mellor, Sir John|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Channon, H.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Holt, A. F.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Cole, Norman||Hope, Lord John||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Neave, Airey|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Horobin, I. M.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Hurd, A. R.||Odey, G. W.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Iremonger, T. L.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Osborne, C.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Page, R. G.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E McA||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Kaberry, D.||Perkins, Sir Robert|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Drewe, Sir C.||Kerr, H. W.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Lambert, Hon. G.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L||Lambion, Viscount||Pitman, I. J.|
|Duthie, W S.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Leather, E. H. C.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Profumo, J. D.|
the objections raised, and all that it remains for me to do is to express my gratitude and thanks with which I know that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) would desire to be associated, to the Government for having met our point so completely.
Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
The House divided: Ayes, 263; Noes, 245.
|Raikes, Sir Victor||Spearman, A. C. M.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Rayner, Brig. R.||Speir, R. M.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Redmayne, M.||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Remnant, Hon. P.||Stevens, Geoffrey||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Renton, D. L. M||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Ridsdale, J. E.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Robertson, Sir David||Storey, S.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Robson-Brown, W.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Studholme, H. G||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Roper, Sir Harold||Summers, G. S.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Russell, R. S.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wellwood, W.|
|Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Teeling, W.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Scott, R. Donald||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Shepherd, William||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Wills, G.|
|Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Tilney, John|
|Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Touche, Sir Gordon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Snadden, W. McN.||Turner, H. F. L||Mr. Robert Allan and Mr. Legh.|
|Soames, Capt. C||Turton, R. H.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Fienburgh, W.||Lawson, G. M.|
|Adams, Richard||Finch, H. J.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Albu, A. H.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Allan, Scholefield (Crewe)||Follick, M.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Foot, M. M.||Lewis, Arthur|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Forman, J. C.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Baird, J.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Bartley, P.||Freeman, John (Watford)||Logan, D. G.|
|Benson, G.||Gibson, C. W.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Beswick, F.||Gooch, E. G.||Mclnnes, J.|
|Bing, G. H. C||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Blackburn, F.||Greenwood, Anthony||McLeavy, F.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Boardman, H.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Hale, Leslie||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Manuel, A. C.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hamilton, W. W.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hannan, W.||Mason, Roy|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hargreaves, A.||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Mellish, R. J.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hastings, S.||Messer, Sir F.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Hayman, F. H.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Carmichael, J.||Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)||Monslow, W.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Moody, A. S.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Hobson, C. R.||Morley, R.|
|Clunie, J.||Holman, P.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Coldrick, W.||Holmes, Horace||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Collick, P. H||Houghton, Douglas||Mort, D. L.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hoy, J. H.||Moyle, A.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hubbard, T. F.||Mulley, F. W.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Nally, W.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J|
|Daines, P.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||O'Brien, T.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Orbach, M.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Oswald, T.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Padley, W. E|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Janner, B.||Paget, R. T.|
|Deer, G.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Pannell, Charles|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Parker, J.|
|Edelman, M.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Nam, S.)||Parkin, B. T|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Paton, J.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Pearson, A.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Keenan, W.||Peart, T. F.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Kenyon, C.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Porter, G.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||King, Dr. H. M.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Kinley, J.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Sorensen, R. W.||Weitzman, D.|
|Pryde, D. J.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Sparks, J. A.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Rankin, John||Steele, T.||West, D. G.|
|Reeves, J.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Reid, William (Camlachie)||Stross, Dr. Barnett||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Rhodes, H.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Swingler, S. T.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Sylvester, G. O.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Willey, F. T.|
|Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Ross, William||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Royle, C.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Shackleton, E. A. A.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Short, E. W.||Thornton, E.||Willis, E. G.|
|Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Timmons, J.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Tonmey, F.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Turner-Samuels, M.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Yates, V. F.|
|Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Viant, S. P.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Wade, D. W.|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wallace, H. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Warbey, W. N.||Mr. Popplewell and|
|Snow, J. W.||Watkins, T. E.||Mr. Arthur Allen.|
I beg to move, in page 10, line 7, to leave out from "contractor," to the end of line 10, and to insert:
This is a purely drafting Amendment, and merely moves to another part of the Clause what was provided in paragraph (i) of the proviso. Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived. Question proposed, "That the proposed words be there inserted in the Bill."Provided that the Authority shall not be enabled by any such contract to exercise any such power as is referred to in the said Third Schedule unless they are satisfied that it is necessary to do so having regard to a breach which they apprehend on the part of the programme contractor of any provision included in the contract in pursuance of this subsection.
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, after the first "in," to insert:
It may very well be that from the point of view of the right hon. and learned Gentleman his Amendment is pure drafting. It does, however, seem to raise a somewhat important question in connection with the powers of the Authority. The effect of my Amendment to the proposed Amendment is to limit to some extent the limitation which it is proposed to put upon the powers of the Authority. I should like to discuss the other Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out from "necessary," to the end, and to add:"paragraphs 1 and 2 of."
This is rather broader in terms and gives yet a little more freedom to the Authority. The intention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman is that the Authority should not exercise any of its powers under the Third Schedule except in anticipation of the breach of a contract made with a programme contractor. When one turns to the Third Schedule one finds that these powers are, first, to require the provision of scripts and so on in advance; secondly, the power to require records to be made; and, thirdly and fourthly—two considerably more sweeping powers—to forbid broadcasting and to give prior approval to what is to be broadcast. What the Government propose is not to allow any of these powers to be exercised except in anticipation of a breach of contract. By the last Amendment they have put into the Clause a special reference to the provisions in the Third Schedule to lead up to this proposed Amendment. 8.45 p.m. We say that there is and should be no reason whatever for any limitation on the general power of the Authority to put into the contract whatever is "necessary or expedient" to secure "compliance with the provisions of this Act." I am sorry to disturb the Assistant Postmaster-General again, but we have reached the stage now of having a look at the false teeth in this Measure. We begin by saying that the Authority can do anything it likes to secure compliance with the provisions of the Bill—to secure a tone and style predominantly British, to secure a nice balance, free competition, and independent contractors. All the public's safeguards depend on this subsection and the next. Then the Government say the powers are to be exercised only when the Authority knows that there is going to be a spot of trouble, or thinks there is. Indeed, before it can do anything at all there has to be, not a spot of trouble, but a whole measles of it. Be that as it may, we are at the moment considering whether or not it can be allowed to exercise these powers judiciously instead of having to anticipate a breach of contract. To deprive the Authority of the Third Schedule power,"or expedient to do so in order to comply, or secure compliance, with the provisions of this Act."
and to deprive it of the power to require its own previous approval of what is to be broadcast, is to shackle it in an unreasonable way. If these powers were to be exercised in any arbitrary fashion, one might say that it ought to be shackled, but we have been told by the Assistant Postmaster-General in his last speech but one, I think, and in his last speech but five and in several other of his speeches, that what we have to do is to trust the Authority, that it will be a noble, white body, that we can be sure it will do its job rightly, and that we can rely on it implicitly to carry out the provisions of the Bill. Why on earth then should it be restricted in its exercise of its powers to cases where it thinks there is to be a breach of contract? I do not know that these programme contractors and the other people concerned are so given to trumpeting their own conspiracies as the Government seem to think. How exactly is the Authority to know there is to be a breach of contract? Suppose some arrangement is come to, whether innocently or otherwise, that would be a breach of contract of the most grave character, that would upset completely the balance of the programmes, that would give them a tone and style that would be all wrong, that would amount to an unwholesome restriction of competition. It is not past programme contractors to do that sort of thing. What grounds have the Government for supposing that if they were to come to such an arrangement they would be so obliging as to go to the Authority and tell it all about it and trumpet it in the highways and byeways so that the Authority could take action? Why should the Authority, charged with these responsible duties, be dependent on advance knowledge of what the programme contractors may say or do? What is the reason for this kindness and tenderness for these conspiratorial activities? Why are they to get this special treatment? Why should there be any restriction at all on the power the Authority has by the Third Schedule, when the Government intend that it should exercise those powers to"to forbid the broadcasting of any matter, or class or description of matter,"