§ MR. J. KEIR HARDIE (West Ham, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the police of Liverpool are preventing the unemployed of the City from meeting on Corporation ground, near the Exchange, which is a common place of public meeting; and that members of the police force have been guilty of violence towards the unemployed whilst preventing them holding their meetings at the place referred to; and whether the police have instructions to prohibit such meetings; and, if so, by whom have such instructions been given?
§ *MR. ASQUITH
I am informed that the piece, of ground to which the hon. Member alludes is not Corporation property, but a public highway, where to hold a meeting would cause great public inconvenience, and would seriously impede the business of the port. The Lord Mayor informs me that meetings are now, and always have been, allowed to be held on a piece of land situated in the central part of the town, and which, although Corporate property, has not been dedicated to the public as a highway. The reports furnished to me go to show that the police acted justifiably in preventing the meeting, and that no undue severity was used by them in the execution of their duty. But I have no authority in matters of this kind over the Liverpool police, who are under the control of the Watch Committee of the City.