§ MR. CUNINGHAME GRAHAM (Lanarkshire, N.W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in the recent collision between the police and the Salvationists, any of the former were injured or assaulted in any way?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS,) Birmingham, E.
The only police officer assaulted was Chief Inspector Wills, who was either pushed or knocked down.
§ MR. J. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
May I ask whether any evidence has reached the right hon. Gentleman of any serious obstruction to traffic in the City owing to the procession of members of the Salvation Army on Wednesday last?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
I am informed by the Commissioner of the City Police that the passage of the procession in question through Cheapside and Fleet Street was a serious obstruction to the general traffic, and that the growing practice of organizing similar processions, frequently accompanied by bands, is the cause not only of much public inconvenience, but also of danger to individuals in these crowded thoroughfares.
§ MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that yesterday when the congregation had assembled in Westminster Abbey a procession passed with a banner inscribed "Remember Mitchelstown"?
§ The question was not answered.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)
Can the right hon. Gentleman state to the House on what previous occasions during the past ten years a peaceful procession passing along the Strand has been stopped by the police?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that so far as he can ascertain there have been three occasions in the last ten years when processions have been stopped 1152 from using the Strand route; but that he is unable without further inquiry to describe the occasions more particularly.
§ MR. J. STUART
Is it the case that, while the City Police indicated the route most suitable for the procession of the members of the Salvation Army on Wednesday last, they facilitated the progress of the procession along that route, whereas the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, while indicating that the procession should proseed along the Embankment, forbade its continuing, under any circumstances, to Exeter Hall; was it the case that several alternative routes were proposed to the Chief Commissioner by the leaders of the Salvation Army, and that he equally forbade by any route the continuance of the procession to Exeter Hall; and was there any serious obstruction obstruction to the traffic until the procession was broken up?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
The City Police prohibited the route proposed by the members of the Salvation Army on the ground of obstruction to traffic, and prescribed a different route, which was adopted by the processionists, who consequently were not interfered with. The Commissioner of Metropolitan Police directed the processionists to proceed to Exeter Hall by the Embankment and Savoy Street, and there break up to cross the Strand. It is obvious that if a thousand persons crossed the Strand in procession the traffic from both sides must have been stopped for a considerable time, and much inconvenience must have resulted. I am informed that it is not correct that several alternative routes were proposed to the Commissioner by the loaders of the Salvation Army. It was suggested by them at the last moment that they might be allowed to go viâ Holborn; but the objection of obstruction to traffic applied to Holborn as strongly as to the Strand. There was considerable obstruction to the traffic before the procession broke up.