§ MR. E. ASCROFT (Oldham)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his attention has been called to a case at Bristol where a police constable claimed the right to enter a room in a licensed house in which a tiled lodge of the Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes were holding a private meeting; whether he is aware that large numbers of Masonic, Oddfellows, and other similar lodges hold their meetings on licensed premises; and, whether interference by the police with such meetings, except in cases where some breach of the Licensing Laws is suspected, is authorised by the Home Office?
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
My attention had not previously been called to this case, but I understand from the newspaper report which the hon. Member has been good enough to send me, that the question of the right of the police to enter such meetings when held on licensed premises is still sub judice, and I can therefore express no opinion in the matter. I may add that the provincial police forces do not act under the authority of the Home Office, and that it is not the practice of the Metropolitan police to enter the lodges of Freemasons or similar lodges on licensed premises.