§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN (Kent, Faversham)
I desire, in accordance with private notice, to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a speech delivered on Tower Hill by a man named Williams, calling himself "the unemployed organiser," in the course of which he is reported to have said—Will yon put terror into the hearts of the capitalists? (Loud cries of 'Yes.') Then on the occasion of our demonstration in Trafalgar Square on the first Saturday of February, watch the divisions from which the police are drawn, and go into the unprotected quarters and take those things you want. I will get up a skirmish and create a diversion, and after the first skirmish something will be done.I wish to know whether, if these words were uttered, he will cause the immediate arrest of this person?
§ MR. ASQUITH
The first notice which I received of this alleged speech having been made was since I came into the House this afternoon. Therefore, I have not had much opportunity of con- 1471 sidering it, but I shall obtain a Report in due course from the police. I may say, with reference to this person, that from the Reports received by me I understand his remarks are not taken seriously by the persons to whom they are addressed, and that the police do not anticipate there is the least chance of his being able to give effect to his threats. I will go further, and take this opportunity of deprecating very strongly questions of this kind being put, at any rate without due notice. I am quite sure I am speaking in the interests of public order when I say that, so far as my experience goes, the motive of persons who make these speeches is vanity and their object notoriety; and there is nothing more calculated to gratify the one and to increase the other than the practice of putting such questions.