§ MR. A. E. PEASE (York)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether there is any truth in the account published in The New- 459 castle Daily Chronicle of March 5th, of several pitmen with their families being evicted from their cottages at the village of South Medomsley, in Durham, during the snowstorm of Tuesday last; whether it is a fact that the bailiffs were assisted in carrying out the evictions by the county police; and, whether, in the event of the account being a corect one, Her Majesty's Government can take any action to prevent the recurrence of such incidents?
§ MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Houghton-le-Spring)
asked whether it was true that the police, in assisting the bailiffs, used insulting language to the people, and brutal conduct to many of them, and caused serious damage to the furniture of those evicted by pitching it out in the snow?
THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. CHILDERS) (Edinburgh, S.)
I must have Notice of this last Question. It is impossible for me to have information on the subject. In reply to my hon. Friend (Mr. A. E. Pease), I have to say that the accounts which have been published do not give all the material facts of the case. The men have been on strike for upwards of three months; and I am informed that they had ample time, after the usual legal notices, to remove their families and furniture to houses provided for them within five minutes' walk. As a matter of fact, the warrants, which were issued on the 4th of February, were not executed until one day before the statutory time expired; and the Police Authorities report to me that the men had been advised to remove peaceably, but that their chief representative declined, declaring that "they were determined to put the county to all the expense and trouble they could." Under these circumstances, it is no doubt unfortunate that the last day was a stormy one; but the fault was clearly with the miners. The police constables were present to preserve order, but no complaint was made as to their conduct, and they appear to me to have behaved well. My hon. Friend is aware that I have no authority over county and borough police, still less over bailiffs executing a civil process.
§ MR. WILSON
gave Notice that he should, on the first opportunity, call the attention of the House to the proceedings in question.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
asked whether there was any truth in the allegation that one of the men who was removing the goods became disgusted with the work, and declared that he could not proceed with it any longer, and that he was prevented from leaving the house by the police until the arrival of Inspector Oliver?
repeated that he had no authority over county or borough police. All he could do was to apply to the Chief Constable for information. He suggested that the hon. Member should give Notice of the Question?