HC Deb 29 February 1940 vol 357 cc2241-2
36. Captain Ramsay

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that, at a meeting at Finsbury Pavement, last Thursday, a speaker, who stated that this was a capitalist's war, was not arrested by the police, whereas another speaker nearby, who declared that it was a Jewish financier's war, was arrested; and what instructions have been given to the police with regard to differentiating thus between speakers in that locality?

Sir J. Anderson

I have made inquiries, and, as I am informed that the person arrested has been remanded to appear in court on 1st March, on a charge under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936, it would not be proper for me to comment on the case. The instructions for preventing breaches of the peace at public meetings, which are well understood by the police, involve no discrimination between one type of meeting and another.

Captain Ramsay

In view of the fact that this man has been addressing absolutely orderly meetings three times a week for a year and that this House laid upon my right hon. Friend the duty of preserving freedom of speech, would it not be best if he arrested interrupters and not speakers?

Sir J. Anderson

This case is now before the court, and it is not possible for me to comment upon it.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that, Capitalism having died out, there cannot be any incitement to disaffection in regard to it?

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