§ 85. Mr. T. RICHARDSON
asked whether it is upon his instructions that the police in various towns of the country are seizing pamphlets and other literature in the possession of secretaries of branches of the Independent Labour party; whether these pamphlets are those considered by the stipendiary magistrate at Salford to be innocuous and to contain nothing but fair political criticism and comment; and for what reason are the seizures being made?
§ Mr. TENNANT
The hon. Member must know that I do not issue instructions to the police. I understand, however, that the chief constables have received instructions to obtain an order from the competent military authorities under Regulation 51, Defence of the Realm Regulations, for the seizure and destruction of certain pamphlets—nineteen in number. The contents of these pamphlets are probably well known to the hon. Member, and he will consequently realise without difficulty the reasons why they are being seized.
§ Mr. RICHARDSON
Would the right hon. Gentleman reply to the last part of my question, namely, as to whether the literature referred to is the same literature which was declared by the stipendiary magistrate at Salford to be innocuous?
I do not think they were the same, but, at any rate, they were condemned by the Court in London, after a full and prolonged inquiry.
Of course, comparisons of this kind may be odious, but I feel bound to act in accordance with the decision of the trial which took place in London with regard to the destruction of these pamphlets.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the magistrate who took the case in Salford is a trained lawyer, whereas the magistrate who took the case in London had no such qualification?
It was a duly constituted Court in London. As a matter of fact, the appeal was taken in respect of one only of the pamphlets and was unsuccessful.