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Circuses And Variety Performances (Exchanges)

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 5 July 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make it a condition of future grants to the British Council that they should encourage circus and variety performances with a view to arranging exchanges of those performances with countries overseas.

No, Sir. It is Her Majesty's Government's view that per- formances of this nature can best be arranged through normal commercial channels.

Is the Minister aware that circuses and variety acts in this country are not included in cultural recreations and that there is great concern about this among those who are organised in the Variety Artistes' Federation? This is the only country where circus and variety acts may not go abroad in the way that such acts may come to this country. Does not he think that it is time that the whole matter was reconsidered in order to bring circuses and variety acts within terms which will allow them to go outside this country in the way I suggest?

I assure the hon. Lady that there is no invidious distinction here at all. We honestly feel that the most effective way is through the normal commercial channels, which is how these things are usually arranged. I do not think that there is any difficulty arising now, although I should be happy to discuss it with the hon. Lady if she thinks that there is.

May we take it from that reply that Her Majesty's Government is no longer in favour of Summit Conferences?