HC Deb 07 May 1940 vol 360 cc1047-8
75. Sir William Davison

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the Communist party has large funds placed at its disposal from abroad, as to which no accounts are published, which are used for subversive propaganda and for the publication of leaflets and other printed matter with the object of hindering the national war effort; and can he now say when the proposed new regulations for dealing with such bodies will come into operation?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Peake)

As to the first part of the Question, I would refer to the reply given on 2nd May to my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Sir R. Gower). As regards the second part of the Question, my right hon. Friend hopes to make a statement on Thursday.

Sir W. Davison

Is the Home Secretary aware that leaflets advocating the making of peace with Germany and closer relationship between this country and Russia are still being left daily in letter boxes in my constituency, and that a large number of citizens do not understand why the Government tolerate this attack on the war effort of the nation?

Mr. Peake

Perhaps my hon. Friend will await the statement which my right hon. Friend is to make on Thursday.

Mr. Thorne

Is the Minister aware that if such leaflets are put into my letter-box, they make no impression whatever on my mind?

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister not aware that there is not a word of truth in this assertion, and that some of the most bitter opponents of the Communist party absolutely failed to produce a tittle of evidence in the High Court last week—[Interruption.]

Sir W. Davison

In view of the fact that the House has been informed that my statement was untrue, might I ask whether the Home Secretary is aware that I have sent leaflets to the Home Office which had been left at houses in my constituency, and which bore the printer's mark, "Issued by direction of the Communist party"?

Mr. Hammersley

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that a Communist loud-speaker van tours the Willesden area endeavouring to obstruct the national war effort as much as possible with anti-war slogans; and whether he will instruct the police to prevent this subversive activity?

Mr. Peake

Inquiry has been made, and I am informed that the vans in question were mainly used to announce the times and places of meetings. The police, who kept watch on these proceedings, heard no announcements which contravened the law.

Mr. Hammersley

Will these activities be carefully watched?

Mr. Peake

As I have stated in answer to another Question, my right hon. Friend is to make a statement on this subject on Thursday.

Mr. Levy

Even though these particular activities are not subversive, should not action be taken, since the meetings held in regard to them are intended to be subversive?