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Party Political Broadcasts

Volume 720: debated on Tuesday 16 November 1965

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Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek by legislation or amendment to the appropriate charter to put an end to party political broadcasts.

Arrangements for party political broadcasts are to be discussed between the political parties, and I would ask my hon. Friend to await the outcome.

In these discussions, will my right hon. Friend put forward the view that broadcasting should be entirely free from any interference and that there should be liberty of the air just as there is liberty of the Press? Will he also resist any attempt to censor the B.B.C. from any quarter?

This Question relates to party political broadcasts and not to broadcasts mounted by the B.B.C. or any other broadcasting authority. There is, I think, a growing feeling that the system of party political broadcasts— I am not referring to their content—needs modernising, but this is a matter to be discussed between the parties in the first instance and then with the broadcasting authorities.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the majority of people would prefer to see their politicians in action in this House rather than in set piece political programmes?

I understand that this is still a matter of controversy. It was debated not long ago and members of the Government are ready to receive representations on the point at any time.