HC Deb 27 November 1922 vol 159 cc288-90

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the fact that—


Speak up!


I will speak up if you shut up.


I think if the hon. Member looks towards the Chair, and addresses the Chair, he will get better attention.


I was looking at the Prime Minister, but I will try to look at you, Sir. I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the fact that owing to his refusal to receive a deputation of the unemployed men now assembled in London from all parts of the country, large numbers of unemployed men have expressed their determination to join their comrades in the Metropolis; whether he is aware that the cost of maintaining the men already in London and those who may join them, falls on the ratepayers of the poorer districts, and whether he is also aware that small-pox and other diseases are prevalent' in London and that the presence of these men, whose vitality and standard of life have been severely reduced, may become a menace to tho whole country; and whether, under these circumstances, he will reconsider his decision and receive the deputation in order that the men may return to their homes at the earliest possible moment?

If the House will allow me to add to that—to save me rising again—I may say that to-day for the first time the police have commenced to arrest these men simply for walking along the street. Mr. Pickering, the clergyman who is with them, has been arrested this morning. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order."]


I can add nothing to previous statements upon this subject, except to suggest that the facts mentioned in the last part of the hon. Member's question, of which he gave me notice, seem to me to be a strong argument in favour of these poor people returning home.


Will the right hon. Gentleman assist to solve the problem which has been set up as a result of these men coming to London, by relaxing his lirmness of last week and receiving the deputation?


I wish to give notice that I will raise this question again on the Motion for Adjournment this evening.