HC Deb 15 November 1888 vol 330 cc1241-2

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he can give any information as to the dispersing of the meeting on Clerkenwell Green on the night of Tuesday, November 13? He also wished to know whether the attention of the right hon. Gentleman had been called to some observations of Mr. Lushington, the magistrate, to the effect that the police, in dispersing the crowd, were doing no more than their duty; and how the right hon. Gentleman reconciled that statement with the one he made yesterday, to the effect that no force had been used in dispersing the meeting?

MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)

asked whether the attention of the right hon. Gentleman had been called to the statement that the mounted police rode in among the people who were leaving, in order to break them up into small knots; and whether the police had special orders from the Home Office to attempt to disperse the people in that way?


I have made further inquiries since my statement of yesterday, and I have again been assured by the Superintendent of the district that the meeting was in no way dispersed or disturbed, nor was any effort made to break up any procession. In his further Question the hon. Member alludes to some expressions used by Mr. Lushington. I have only seen them in the newspaper this morning; I do not find them in such other reports as I have been able to refer to. From the evidence before me I gather that what was before the magistrate was not any attack or assault by the police upon the meeting or those leaving, but their moving on a knot of persons who obstructed the passing of a Post Office van, this being quite an isolated incident. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member for Finsbury, I have no information on the point. Such information as I have is opposed to the suggestion that the mounted police rode among the people leaving the meeting. Certainly, there were no orders, special or otherwise, from the Home Office directing the mounted police to break up the meeting.


Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire into Mr. Lushington's remarks, as I am personally responsible for having called the meeting together?


Certainly, Sir; I should have done so if time had allowed.

MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

asked, whether the mounted men were under the command of the Superintendent of the district, or someone else?


asked, whether the right hon. Gentleman would make inquiries as to whether it was not a distinct procession that was leaving the meeting into which the police rode; and whether the obstruction of the Post Office van did not occur on Clerkenwell Green itself?


I have given the hon. Member the whole of the information in my possession.