HC Deb 05 July 1928 vol 219 cc1547-8
14. Mr. HAYES

asked the Home Secretary whether there are any Regulations in the Metropolitan Police governing the question of police officers being Members of either of the Houses of Parliament?


Membership of the House of Commons is clearly debarred by the Police Regulations and Section 18 of the Metropolitan Police Act, 1829, which contains a specific provision prohibiting the Commissioner from being elected or sitting as a Member of the House of Commons. There is no corresponding provision as to the House of Lords.


Do I understand that there will be no objection, in the event of a police constable being elevated to the peerage, to his being allowed to sit in the House of Lords?


I should not only be delighted, but, if I should ever achieve the same high honour, I should be glad to welcome him there.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think it desirable that in the case of a dispute between the head of a Department and the political head, that the political head should be answering in this House, and the other head in the other House.


No. Quite definitely that would not be permitted. There have been cases before in which civil servants, who would be in a somewhat similar position to the police in such a case—have been Members of the House of Lords. I remember quite well that Lord Hardinge, after he had been Viceroy of India, was appointed Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He became a civil servant. He never answered in the House of Lords, but, of course, he was represented by his Minister. I am reminded, also, that Earl Beatty, who was First Sea Lord, when he occupied that position, never answered in the House of Lords; and I do not think civil servants have ever answered questions in such circumstances when there was a Minister in existence.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Will regulations be made governing the particular case of Lord Byng, to meet the case of a peer being made head of the London police?


It is not necessary. Lord Byng, if I may say so, as Commissioner of Police, would be under the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State answers in this House for anything done by the Commissioner of Police.