HC Deb 03 July 1919 vol 117 cc1267-8

The liability of the mayor and commonalty and citizens of the City of London to defray out of their revenue and possessions a fourth part of the expenses of the City Police Force shall cease, and the limit on the rate which may be raised for the purposes oil the expenses of that force shall be increased from eightpence to thirteenpence, and, accordingly, the enactments mentioned in the first column of the Schedule to this Act shall have effect, subject to the Amendments set forth in the second column of that Schedule.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

The Committee will be obliged to the Undersecretary of State for the Home Department if he will explain this Clause. Apparently certain expenses are to be put on the general rates. I do not know anything about this Bill—probably it was introduced before I came here. Another question which might be cleared up was whether the Bill is going to weaken the power of the mayor, commonalty and citizens of the City of London in any way over the police. If so, that should be considered, and some explanation given. The cry outside is that the police are being turned into a military force. I do not share in that cry, but perhaps the hon. Gentleman will explain if this Bill does anything of the sort.

The UNDERSECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Colonel Sir Hamar Greenwood)

In answer to the questions of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, I may say that this Bill was properly introduced into the House quite recently. It went through Second Reading, and was referred, as are all Bills of this kind, to a Select Committee, which has considered it. No petitions were urged against the Bill. The Select Committee amended it and recommitted it to the House. Now it comes before us in Committee of the Whole House. There is no Amendment on the Paper of any kind to the measure, but a manuscript Amendment has been handed in by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) which will be moved in due course. I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that the Bill does not interfere with the present powers of the Corporation of the City of London in reference to their City Police, who, as the hon. and gallant Member will realise, are a quite distinct body from the Metropolitan police. The Bill simply brings the City of London into line with all other parts of the country which now have their police supported, as to half, out of the rates, and, as to the other half, out of Exchequer Grants. I hope that explanation will satisfy the hon. and gallant Gentleman.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I do not wish to move any Amendment, and must apologise for my ignorance of this Bill.