§ Mr. SNOWDEN by Private Notice
asked the Home Secretary if, on Friday last, Inspector Maclean and Inspector Blythe called at the London premises of the National Labour Press and asked for files, proofs, and manuscript of the "Tribunal" for that week. If these were handed to them, and if Inspector Maclean then said that he had instructions to dismantle the printing machinery; and if, on being asked what was taken exception to in the "Tribunal," he answered that he did not know; and if the integral parts of several valuable machines were taken away; and if Inspector Blythe admitted 473 that he had no warrant for his visit, and that he was acting on instructions over the telephone from the Home Office to dismantle the machinery; and will the Home Secretary say by what authority and for what reason this action has been taken by the police?
§ Sir G. CAVE
The police acted under No. 51 of the Defence of the Realm Regulations and upon my instructions. Their action was taken in consequence of an article entitled "The Moral Aspect of Conscription," which appeared in the "Tribunal" of the 14th February over the name of a person who had been convicted at Bow Street on the 9th instant of a similar offence against the Regulations. No warrant was necessary, and instructions were telephoned to the police in order that immediate action might be taken.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that under Regulation 51, which he has just quoted, the police constable or police officer who carries out a search must himself have some evidence, or good reason to suspect, that something illegal is being done on the premises, and, seeing that the right hon. Gentleman admits the message was given over the telephone, will he say what security any person has against police action when any person may send a telephone message giving information to the police?
§ Sir G. CAVE
I did not say that information was given to the police over the telephone. They were aware already of the facts as to the offence, but the instructions for authority to act were given over the telephone.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman took similar action and dismantled the machinery of the "Morning Post" next morning, or is it only the Labour Press?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Does the right hon. Gentleman consider it a smaller offence to give information to the enemy than to publish an article on "The Moral Aspect of Conscription"?