HC Deb 30 June 1898 vol 60 c634

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been directed to the conduct of the police at Whalley, Lancashire, in prohibiting a meeting of the Land Nationalisation Society in the market-place of that town on Sunday, the 19th inst.; whether this action of the police was due to instructions given by the local magistrates; and whether it is permissible for justices of the peace to order the suppression of meetings promoted by land reformers where no breach of the peace is apprehended?


I have made inquiries about this, and believe the honourable Member is under a misapprehension in speaking of a meeting having been, prohibited. The sergeant of the district was asked whether there was any place where a meeting could be held. The streets were crowded with traffic at the time, and he replied that he knew of no place, unless they could hire a field. It is the duty of the police to prevent obstruction, and their action in this case seems to have been perfectly proper. The answer to the second and third paragraphs is in the negative.