HC Deb 28 April 1938 vol 335 cc294-5
32. Mr. R. C. Morrison

asked the Home Secretary whether he has any statement to make concerning the Fascist demonstration in Piccadilly Circus on the night of Saturday, 23rd instant; whether the police were previously informed of the intention to demonstrate; whether the organisers are known; and whether proceedings will be taken against them?

Sir S. Hoare

At about 8 p.m. on 23rd April, numbers of men and women were seen selling Fascist literature in Piccadilly Circus and the neighbouring streets. At about 10 p.m. their numbers increased and at about 11 p.m. by what appears to have been a concerted plan, they concentrated in Piccadilly Circus, where they created a disturbance by shouting slogans, throwing leaflets and attempting to form processions round the Circus. Persons belonging to opposing factions were also present and some disorder occurred, five persons being arrested for disorderly conduct. The demonstrators were dispersed by the police, both foot and mounted police being employed, and order was completely restored by midnight. The persons responsible for organising this demonstration had not informed the police of their plans in advance. Proceedings have been instituted against the persons arrested for disorderly conduct, but there are no grounds on which proceedings could be taken against any other persons.

Mr. Morrison

Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the probability that the persons who have been arrested are merely young people who were deluded into joining, and that the real organisers are allowed to go scot free after putting the public to great expense and inconvenience in connection with these sudden demonstrations?

Sir S. Hoare

I can only say that proceedings have been taken against all persons against whom we thought there was a case.

Mr. R. Gibson

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the specific point as to whether the organizers are known.

Sir S. Hoare

I am not sure whether that is so or not, but in any case we have been able to take proceedings only against those persons where we were told we had a case.

Mr. Gibson

The question is, are they known?

Sir S. Hoare

I do not know.