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Obscenity Laws (Committee Of Inquiry)

Volume 931: debated on Saturday 5 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now give the names of those who are to serve on the committee which is to inquire into the obscenity laws.

We have as yet nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member's question on 25th February.

When will the Minister announce the setting-up of this committee? When will she say who will be its chairman? Can she at least tell us what its terms of reference are?

The answer to the first question is that we have announced the setting-up of the committee, but we have not, I agree, announced the name of the chairman or the names of the members. We shall do so as soon as possible, and we are making every possible speed.

Will the hon. Lady give further consideration to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) earlier this afternoon? Is she aware that in a number of shops material is freely available which is grossly offensive, often in sweet shops where children congregate? Is she aware that it is essential that something should be done about the matter without waiting for her committee to be set up and to report?

The question of how to deal with this matter has always been the subject of great controversy and discussion. Therefore, I think it would be extremely useful to have the recommendations of the committee, which will look into the points that concern hon. Members.

I am most grateful, but the Minister did not answer my last question concerning the terms of reference of the committee.

As soon as we can announce the names of the chairman and the members of the committee, certainly the terms of reference, which I hope will be very wide, will be announced.