HC Deb 22 February 1940 vol 357 cc1515-6
42. Mr. Salt

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the strong public feeling in Birmingham at the refusal of the chief constable to permit the opening of the St. Andrew's football ground; and whether, in view of the changed circumstances, he will make a new regulation to allow all sports grounds to be re-opened?

31. Sir Smedley Crooke

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the recent meeting of the Birmingham City Council, at which the question of allowing first-class football matches to be played at the Birmingham football ground was discussed; and whether he is now prepared to issue a new order restoring the usual Saturday afternoon entertainment to the workers in all large cities?

Sir J. Anderson

I have been in communication with the chief constable and I am satisfied that he gave full weight to all the relevant considerations before he exercised his discretion under the Public Entertainments (Restriction) Order to prohibit the holding of football matches on this particular ground. I do not think it would be expedient to amend the Order, as my hon. Friends suggest, so as to deprive chief officers of police of their existing discretion to prohibit the opening of football grounds or other places of entertainment in individual cases where they consider that special risks are likely to arise.

Mr. Salt

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Birmingham is the only town in England in which first-class football is disallowed; that all sections of the public in Birmingham are desirous that it should be permitted; further, that the chief constable who is the only dissentient, has agreed to accept the ruling of the city council but that this cannot be given owing to a technicality; and will he do something to end this deadlock?

Commander Locker-Lampson

Will the right hon. Gentleman review this matter later if I bring him more evidence?

Sir J. Anderson

I am willing to consider any further relevant facts, but, as to the discretion of the local authorities, I cannot properly intervene in the matter.