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Obscene Publications Act 1959

Volume 889: debated on Thursday 10 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to repeal the Obscene Publications Act 1959.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received calling for the amendment or repeal of the Obscene Publications Act 1959.

Since 1st October 1974 the Home Office has received 64 letters about obscenity and indecency; but many of these are couched in general terms or relate to several different aspects of the subject, and it is not possible to state precisely how many should be read as calling for amendment to the Obscene Publications Acts. My right hon. Friend has no plans to seek the repeal of this legislation.

Is the hon. Lady aware of the lecture given by the Home Secretary in which he outlined certain restraints which he felt were required on the media in terms of incitement to violence and of gross obscenity? Can anyone by any stretch of the imagination claim that the Obscene Publications Act is controlling either of those abuses?

The subject of this Question must await consideration of the two working papers recently published, one on vagrancy and street offences and one by the Law Commission's working party on conspiracies relating to morals and decency. These should be fully considered and discussed before any decisions are taken on the need for changes in the law.

Has the Minister considered requiring newsagents and supermarkets which stock publications which may be considered offensive to display them only in an area set aside for that purpose? Is she aware that many otherwise broad-minded parents object to the display of pornography at the sweets counter?

If the hon. Gentleman is concerned about any particular display, he is free to report it to the police and they will consider whether it comes within the existing law.