HC Deb 01 June 1893 vol 12 cc1736-8

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that there are now in Cardiganshire more than 100 orders to be carried out for the collection of tithe, but that it is impossible to carry them out because the Standing Joint Committee and Chief Constable refuse adequate police protection, trusting to the policy of moral suasion, whereby the intended proceedings are made public, and a force of only four men is sent to protect the bailiff; whether he is also aware that this policy was tried in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, and failed, but that, since the policy of secrecy and of sending a large police force has prevailed, there has been no difficulty in collecting tithe in these two counties; whether he is aware that members of the County Council are present at the proceedings in Cardiganshire, and that, on the 29th of December last, Mr. Morgan Evans, the then Chairman of the County Council and Standing Joint Committee, advised the crowd to do all in its power to prevent the carrying out of the law; and whether he will take steps to compel the Local Authorities to provide adequate police protection, in order that the law may be carried out, and violence prevented?

MR. BOWEN ROWLANDS (Cardiganshire)

Is it not a fact that distresses have been carried out much more smoothly and that the peace has been better preserved in Wales since the custom of sending large police escorts has been discontinued?

*MR. REES-DAVIES (Pembrokeshire)

And is it not a fact as regards Pembrokeshire that since the Act of 1891 it has been the custom for a small force of four police-constables, at the most, with occasionally a Superintendent to accompany the bailiffs in these cases, whereas prior to that date large forces were employed without effect? Also, can the right hon. Gentleman say if the failure to collect tithe is due not to the inadequacy of the police escort, but to the opinions entertained by the Welsh people as to the injustice of the impost?


That is entirely out of Order.

MR. S. T. EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)

May I ask whether that portion of the question on the Paper is in Order which says it is impossible to carry out the tithe collections because adequate police protection is refused, and the Standing Joint Committee and Chief Constable "trust to the policy of moral suasion"? Is not that argumentative and controversial?


It may be disputable to say that the Standing Committee trust to moral suasion instead of other forces. I think that part of the question had better be left out.


With respect to the questions put by the hon. Members behind me, and with regard to the second paragraph of the question on the Paper, I have not sufficient information, nor, so far as I know, have I the means of obtaining sufficient to enable me to give a satisfactory answer. I believe it is the fact that a large number of orders for the collection of tithe rent-charge in Cardiganshire have not yet been carried out. I have no reason to believe that the difficulty has been caused by the refusal of the Standing Joint Committee and Chief Constable to give adequate police protection to the bailiff. It is more probably attributable to the fact that the recent Act (as I am advised) does not empower the police to secure entry for a bailiff seeking to levy distress for tithe rent-charge on persons occupying their own farms. I have no information with regard to the second paragraph of the hon. Member's question. With regard to the third paragraph, I have received a telegram from Mr. Morgan Evans denying the truth of the statement there made, and vouching the Chief Constable in support of his denial. I have on more than one occasion impressed upon the Chief Constable the necessity of giving adequate police protection to the bailiff, and I have no reason to think that the Chief Constable does not fully recognise his duty in this respect.


Arising out of the answer, may I ask whether, as these difficulties do exist in Cardiganshire and do not exist in Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire, owing to the fact that a different system prevails, he will take steps to secure that the same amount of protection is afforded in Cardiganshire as in the other counties?


That question involves an assumption and an argument, with neither of which am I prepared to deal.