HC Deb 07 February 1929 vol 224 cc1923-5
11 and 12. Mr. MacLAREN

asked the Home Secretary (1) if he will appoint a special commission to inquire into and report upon the police supervision of night clubs;

(2) how many night clubs have been closed in London as a result of law breaking from 1924 to 1927?


The number of "night clubs" struck off the Register in 1924–27 is, I am informed, 48. I do not think it necessary or desirable to appoint a special Commission to report upon the matter. The Royal Commission now sitting on police administration is dealing with certain points, and the Commissioner and myself are going carefully and fully into the whole matter. In particular, I have informed the Commissioner that I propose to review the acts and character of all aliens concerned in the administration of night clubs, or concerned in the recent Goddard case, and have asked him to provide me with all relevant information in this connection. I have reason to believe that as a result of the recent proceedings a number of aliens have already left the country, and orders have been given preventing their re-entry without my sanction. I have always been ready to use and have used my powers of deporting aliens to the utmost degree advisable in connection with the breaking of the law and other misdeeds in clubs and I shall continue to use these powers in proper cases. I have this morning received from the Commissioner reports on some further cases which I am now considering. I have at the same time asked the Commissioner to let me have his considered opinion, as soon as he is able to give it, as to the best method of dealing with such clubs. This being so, I hope that the hon. Member and the House will allow the Commissioner and myself to deal with the matter.


Will the Commission which is now sitting have power within their Terms of Reference to go into the whole matter of the police supervision of the clubs; and will the necessary privacy required for such an inquiry be recognised by the Commission?


The Commission have power to take evidence in private. It is not possible for me to interpret the reference to the Commission; they must interpret their own reference, but they undoubtedly have power to go a certain way, and the Commissioner's power is adequate to deal satisfactorily with the other part of the way.


Is the supervision of this particular class of work being transferred from the uniformed branch to the Criminal Investigation Department?


Would the hon. Member defer that question for a short time?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

What happened to the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman prepared and was going to introduce at the beginning of this Parliament?


Like so many good efforts, it "went west."

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Have not recent events strengthened the hands of the right hon. Gentleman and myself in our desire to improve these matters?


I am quite sure that if it is necessary to ask my colleagues in the Government for further powers in this matter, the information which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has will support us in that effort.


Will the Home Secretary say whether he is maintaining friendly relations with any of these deported night club keepers?


Has the right hon. Gentleman seen a statement by Sir William Horwood before this Commission, which implies that the right hon. Gentleman has not utilised to the full his powers to deport aliens?


I would like to postpone answering that question. I have not had notice of it, but, if necessary, I shall be prepared to make a statement. I think that on the whole, however, it is better that there should be no controversy between the late Commissioner and myself.