§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if his attention has been called to a decision of the magistrates at Airdrie, on the 25th February, when 13 young men, members of the Bellshill Conservative Flute Band, were fined five shillings each or three days' imprisonment for playing the "Protestant Boys" and the "Boyne Water;" and whether playing Protestant tunes in the streets is contrary to the laws of Scotland; and, if so, whether he is prepared to assent to an alteration of the law?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
On February 6th the Bellshill Flute Band passed through Holytown playing airs of no local significance. [Laughter.] On arrival at Marion street, Mossend, an entirely Roman Catholic quarter, they struck up airs of "Kick the Pope"—[laughter]—and those mentioned in the question. [Renewed laughter.] Some excitement followed, and eventually a Roman Catholic assaulted two bandsmen 1581 and was arrested, the band thereafter retiring to a public-house. [Laughter.] Several of the men referred to were charged with behaving in a noisy and disorderly manner and with parading the streets playing those tunes with the premeditated purpose of provoking and exasperating, whereby a breach of the peace was committed and they were convicted and sentenced. The Roman Catholic was charged with assault, was convicted and sentenced. I see no reason whatever to call in question the magistrates' decision in either case. [Cheers and laughter.]
§ MR. JOHNSTON
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman how they decided on premeditated intentions? [Laughter.]
§ [No reply was given.]