§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the disturbances which took place at a meeting at Flint last Monday evening, called to protest against the conduct of the rector in refusing to the parents of children attending school there exemption from attendance when the Creed and Catechism of the Church of England were being taught; whether he is aware that this meeting was practically broken up by the conduct of persons who thus attended, and that the police who were present declined to render assistance in the preservation of order: whether after the meeting the crowd followed the speakers who had attended the meeting, threw stones at them, and struck the chairman; and whether the Government will take any necessary steps for preserving the peace?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. J. COLLINGS,) Birmingham, Bordesley
The Secretary of State has had before him a report of the meeting referred to, and it does not appear to him that the police in any way fell short of their duty, as, in his opinion, it is no part of their duty to secure a hearing for speakers at meetings of this kind or to prevent interruption. 23 It appears that one of the speakers, on his way home after the meeting, was struck by a stone; the police are making every endeavour to discover who threw it. Such an occurrence obviously affords no sufficient ground for intervention on the part of the Home Office.