HC Deb 30 November 1920 vol 135 cc1107-8
41. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that all who are interested in our Navy and revere its gallant deeds and the memory of our naval heroes strongly object to the plinth of the great national memorial to Nelson in Trafalgar Square being used as a platform for revolutionary and seditious speeches against the Crown and Commonwealth, and often outraging national sentiment, as was the case on Armistice Sunday, when the solemn pilgrimage then in progress to the Cenotaph and the unknown warrior's grave in Westminster Abbey was held up to ridicule; and will he take such steps as may be necessary to secure our national monuments from being desecrated in the manner complained of?


Public meetings are held in Trafalgar Square under Regulations made by the Commissioners of Works. I do not think it necessary that those Regulations should be altered on account of such speeches as the hon. Member describes.


Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman think that there is a clear distinction between ordinary gas and poison gas, and that, while it is desirable that the utmost freedom of speech should be given to persons who desire to alter the Constitution in a constitutional manner, this freedom of speech should not be extended to persons who urge revolution, especially under the shadow of our national monuments?


I do not think the speeches are of sufficient importance to warrant interference.


You may wake up by-and-by!