HC Deb 18 June 1900 vol 84 cc292-3

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to an open-air procession of Roman Catholics, some of them being ecclesiastics wearing the habits of their orders and exercising the rites and ceremonies of their religion, which took place at Peck-ham on Sunday, 27th May; whether such procession took place with the per- mission of the Chief Commissioner of Police; and whether the powers conferred on the Chief Commissioner of Police as to permitting organised processions in the Metropolitan Police are to override the express statutory prohibition contained in 10 Geo. IV. c. 7, s. 26; and whether the proclamation of 15th June, 1852, drawing Attention to the illegality of such open-air processions, is still in force.


The statute referred to does not confer on the Commissioner of Police any power either to consent to or to prohibit such a procession as that mentioned in the question. The duty of the police is simply the ordinary duty of preserving order. The law on the subject is contained in the Act mentioned in the question and not in the proclamation.


On behalf of the hon. Member for East Cavan, I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the attack made on a religious procession in Peckham on the 27th May; whether he is aware that Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Whale, of the Royal Marines, was one of the leaders of the riotous party which attacked the procession; and whether Whale is on full pay, or on half pay, or in receipt of any salary or pension from the War Office; and, if so, what action the War Office has taken in the matter.


This should be addressed to the Admiralty. The War Office has no jurisdiction over the Royal Marines.


I am prepared to answer at once. I have seen a newspaper report which gives a summary of the occurrence in question. It is stated that Colonel Whale, a retired officer of Royal Marines, on meeting the religious procession referred to, had shouted a protest, and in consequence, lost his hat, and that he seemed well satisfied with his day's work. The case does not appear to be one that would justify the withholding of retired pay earned by a service of twenty-four years.