§ 68 and 69. Lord ROBERT CECIL
asked the Home Secretary (1) whether, in view of the declaration by the Nottingham police authority that they do not intend to afford police protection for suffragist meetings, however peaceable, the Government are prepared to take any and what steps to secure to the subjects of His Majesty the exercise of the right of free speech; and (2) whether his attention has been called to an announcement by the Nottingham police authority that no police protection could be afforded to any suffragist meeting held in the city; whether such announcement applies both to militant and non-militant societies; what justification there is for such an abdication of constitutional duty; and what steps the Government proposes to take in the matter?
May I say that Question No. 69 appears to have got on the Paper by a printer's error? It ought not to have been there.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I intended answering both questions together. I have made inquiry, and am assured by the Mayor of Nottingham that no such announcement or declaration has been made.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his attention has been called to the issue of the "Manchester Guardian" of 24th April, which says:—The Nottingham Watch Committee last night decided that no police protection could be afforded at any suffragist meeting held in the city, and sent out a 1003 notice to the managers of all public halls that to allow them to be used for that purpose was conducive to disorder, and could not be sanctioned.
§ Mr. McKENNA
No, Sir, my attention has not been called to the report referred to by the Noble Lord, but it is obviously founded on inaccurate information.