HC Deb 13 February 1917 vol 90 cc539-40

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £1,191, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1917, for the Salaries of the Commissioner and Assistant-Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police, and of the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District, the Contribution towards the Expenses of the Metropolitan Police, Repayments to the Metropolitan Police Fund, the Salaries and Expenses of the Inspectors of Constabulary, and Expenses in connection with Special Constables and the Police Reserve."


Surely we ought to have some little explanation of this Estimate. I believe there is an interesting incident connected with it, for, if I remember rightly, it concerns Tonypandy. I should think the Under-Secretary for Home Affairs will be able to tell us exactly about these sums of £273 and £918. If I remember rightly, there was a long conflict between the local authorities and the Government as to who should pay this money. I believe my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for the Home Office was not then in office and actually led the rioting on that occasion and urged them not to pay this money, and I think he ought to get up and defend his position now, sitting on the Front Bench, in favour of us paying this money to a small nationality such as he so worthily represents. At any rate, I do not think we ought to allow this to pass without knowing whether Wales has won and the Government has again been left.


My hon. Friend is always interesting and sometimes exceedingly amusing, but on this occasion be is not quite correct in his facts. So far as I am personally concerned, I had nothing to do with the incident that has given rise to this Vote. Shortly, this Estimate is intended to provide for the repayment to the Metropolitan Police Fund of certain expenses which were incurred by the body of the Metropolitan Police which was engaged in Glamorganshire during that calamitous struggle at Tonypandy. The incidence of these expenses was the subject of a law action. The colliery companies who had housed and fed these men brought an action against the Standing Joint Committee of the county to endeavour to compel them to bear the expense, but the Court held that the Standing Joint Committee was not responsible on the ground that, as the Metropolitan Police Force were sent by the Home Secretary, not at the request of the county authority, the expenses incurred ought to be borne by the Exchequer. That is the short story.


It was a long story.


It is a short story on this Vote, and it is because the Exchequer is responsible according to the finding of the Court that we have to come here with this Supplementary Estimate to ask for power to refund to the Metropolitan Police Fund. I do not know whether it is necessary to go further into the details, but I think I have explained sufficiently to the Committee the bearings which this demand has upon the Exchequer.

Question put, and agreed to.