HC Deb 25 November 1937 vol 329 cc1390-1
29. Brigadier-General Spears

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the Sessional Order which prescribes that the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis do take care that, during the Session of Parliament, the passage through the streets leading to this House be kept free and open, and that no obstruction be permitted to hinder the passage of Members to and from this House, is not being complied with by the police; and whether he will instruct the Police Commissioner that this order must be observed and that upon State occasions, such as the opening of Parliament and the visit of His Majesty the King of the Belgians, Members of this House must not be treated merely as members of the public but should be given access to the House by the shortest available route in so far as this is possible without interfering with processional arrangements?

Sir S. Hoare

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis informs me that the importance of complying with the Sessional Order is fully appreciated by all members of the Metropolitan Police, who have standing instructions to give all possible facilities in the neighbourhood of the Palace of Westminster to Peers and hon. Members who, on approaching or leaving the House, disclose their identity. On ceremonial and similar occasions special care is taken to secure the free access of hon. Members up to the latest possible moment, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that on such occasions special traffic arrangements have to be made, often requiring that certain streets should tem- porarily be reserved for traffic going in only one direction. It is obviously desirable that in their own interests hon. Members should comply with these arrangements rather than attempt to follow a route which, though shorter in distance, may take longer to traverse, to say nothing of the danger which may be caused, both to themselves and to other road users, by going against the stream of traffic in a street which is temporarily a one-way street.

Brigadier-General Spears

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, may I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, on a question of Privilege? To my own personal knowledge on several recent ceremonial occasions certain streets have been closed to the public, and nothing has been done to make it possible for Members of Parliament to get to this House along those streets?

Mr. Speaker

If the hon. and gallant Member desires to raise a question of Privilege, he must do so at the end of questions.

Mr. Thurtle

Arising out of the original reply, is the Home Secretary aware that the majority of the Members of this House appreciate very much the courtesy of the police and the way in which they protect our rights of access to the House?

Sir S. Hoare

I can assure hon. Members on all sides of the House that the police do their utmost on these occasions to facilitate access to the House.