HC Deb 19 June 1911 vol 27 cc9-12

asked the hon. Member for Southampton, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, if he can state whether the workmen employed upon Government work are to be paid their wages for the two days' holiday during Coronation week?

The TREASURER of the HOUSEHOLD (Mr. Dudley Ward)

Two days' leave without deduction of pay will be allowed, in the county of London, to park-keepers, workmen in the direct employment of the Board, and workmen employed on day work. Outside the county of London one day's leave only will be allowed.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether arrangements will be made for the clerical staffs of the Expense Accounts Department at the dockyards to be granted a full day's holiday on Coronation Day without being called upon to work up the time either before or after 22nd June?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. McKenna)

The Expense Accounts Department staff will be granted a full day's holiday on Coronation Day. It will, however, be necessary in order to have pay sheets ready one day earlier than usual, for a certain amount of extra time to be worked, but this will be reduced to the lowest possible limit and will be paid for.


I beg to ask the Home Secretary a question of which I have not been able to give him private notice, although, as it is urgent, I hope he may be able to give an answer. It is: By what common law or statutory authority the Metropolitan Police have erected a number of barriers on the public highways, in the county of London?


It is quite clear I cannot answer a question of law such as that on a few minutes' notice.


I will raise the question to-morrow on the Motion for the Third Reading of the Consolidated Fund (No. 2) Bill.


asked the Home Secretary whether, before authorising the construction of the huge wooden barricades which shut out access to the route of the Coronation Procession, he considered the grave probability of persons anxious to see the Procession, and especially young children, being crushed and seriously injured against them or in passing through the narrow doorways in the same; whether he is aware that the fear of this possibility is deterring many loyal subjects of the King from being present on this auspicious occasion and whether he or the Chief Commissioner of Police have received any complaints in regard to these barriers from the general public or from elsewhere?


The police have received no complaints regarding these barriers, as the public, for the most part, realise that they have been erected for their protection. There is no reason whatever to apprehend any risk of persons being injured in being forced through them, as a crowd would have no object in remaining formed up behind a structure which cuts off their vision. The force of police and military told off for each barrier gate will be adequate effectively to control access to it and it will not be closed until the necessity for doing so arises.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these barriers will be in existence on the following day. Last night there were crushes against the barriers, and I heard women screaming while being pushed against them. If they are left in existence on the following day they may cause a serious catastrophe.


They were put up on the occasion of the last Coronation and then the crowds were not nearly so large as it is anticipated they will be on the present occasion. The Commissioner of Police informs me that the force of police at his disposal will not enable him to prevent pressure of an extrordinary character being created by the crowds without some such means as the erection of barriers. These barriers are put up for the protection of the public, and I believe the reasons for them are extremely well founded.


May I ask whether, as the Coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey does not start till eleven o'clock, and in view of the fact that a clear passage can be kept between the Abbey and the House of Commons it can be arranged for the door leading into the Abbey to be kept open till ten o'clock?


I have no authority, of course, to give any direct answer to this question, but I will indicate what appears to be the general wish of the House to the proper authorities.


I wish to ask a question of the Home Secretary of which I have given him private notice, namely, whether the police have issued an order forbidding the placing of chairs inside the railings of St. James's Park alongside the Mall, and will he consider whether this order cannot be withdrawn, as it will deprive many of the opportunity of seeing the procession and lead to overcrowding on the roadside?


I received the note of the hon. Gentleman a few minutes ago, and I will consult with the Chief Commissioner and see what are the reasons for the order which I understand has been issued. I am quite sure that there is no wish to inconvenience persons in any way. I will communicate privately with the hon. Gentleman.