§ 26. Mr. THORNE
asked the Home Secretary if he has received a report from the police inspector at Leicester in connection with a Fascist meeting to which Fascist detachments from the various Midland centres marched, and after which the police escorted the Fascists and a motor coach for about a mile from the meeting place?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
Yes, Sir. I have obtained a report from the Chief Constable of Leicester, who informs me that the local branch of the British Union of Fascists held a meeting in a hall in that city on the 14th instant. The meeting was attended by about 150 persons including a party of about 30 or 40 Fascists from Birmingham who arrived by charabanc, but the police have no evidence that Fascists from any other town were present. The police were not present at the meeting, which is reported to have been quite orderly, the only incident being the ejection of two persons who failed to stand when the National Anthem was sung. A large crowd was present in the vicinity of the hall at the conclusion of the meeting. On the advice of the police, the Birmingham contingent went away immediately, marching a distance of about a quarter of a mile to their waiting charabanc, escorted by the police in order to prevent any possible disorder.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Does not my right hon. Friend think that it is much more reasonable for the police to escort processions away from a meeting than the action which they took in London in escorting to a meeting a procession having the avowed purpose of breaking it up?
§ 27. Mr. THORNE
asked the Home Secretary if he has received a report from the police inspector at Plymouth in con- 14 nection with a Fascist meeting disturbance in Lockyer Street; whether anyone was arrested; and if any of the cases have yet been heard in the police court?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
Yes, Sir, I have obtained a report from the Chief Constable of Plymouth regarding the disturbance which took place in Lockyer Street on Wednesday the 13th instant. I am informed that a crowd of about 1,000 persons attempted to go in procession to the Fascist headquarters in that street to demonstrate their opposition to Fascism. There was a considerable disorderly element in the crowd who had been incited by their leaders with inflammatory speeches to the effect that they should not be deterred from their intention by the police. In view of the disorderly behaviour of the crowd and of the proximity of the Central Hospital, the police decided to throw a cordon across the street. Some of the crowd refused to obey the directions of the police who were endeavouring to clear the street. In the course of the disturbance, three persons were arrested and were subsequently brought before the courts on the 14th instant on charges of assaulting the police. Two of these persons were sentenced to three months' imprisonment each. In the third case the magistrates found that the charge was proved but decided to accept the explanation of the defendant that he was carried away by excitement and in view of his previous good character dismissed the charge with a caution.
§ Mr. THORNE
I take it for granted that the Home Secretary and Scotland Yard are making a mental note, and other notes in regard to these matters?