§ 5. Mr. Gallacher
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the workers of Clydebank were given permission to hold a demonstration in Victoria Park, Clydebank, on Monday afternoon, 5th February; that on the eve of the demonstration the permission was withdrawn; and who was responsible for this change of decision and the reason for such a course.
I am informed that a permit for the use of the football ground in Victoria Public Park, Whiteinch, Glasgow, for the purpose of this demonstration, was cancelled on instructions from the magistrates. I understand that the magistrates' decision was based on the view that the proposed procession and meeting might be in contravention of Defence Regulation 1A (a).
§ Mr. Gallacher
Is it not very undesirable that, when the local authorities are prepared to grant a permit for a demonstration, an intervention of this kind should be made at the last moment, on such a flimsy pretext? Will the Secretary of State assure the House that, arising out of this, no prosecutions will take place?
Perhaps the hon. Member will give me notice of the last part of the question. So far as I am aware, there is no intention to prosecute; but I cannot give a definite answer.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Is the Secretary of State aware that this demonstration was organised by the engineers on the Clyde, to draw public attention to the scandalous rate of pay that they receive, and that they have been negotiating an increase for six months? Why should the local authority give permission, and then cancel it? The men have no other means of drawing attention to the matter. Will the Secretary of State inquire why the demonstration was stopped?
Yes, Sir, that was the purport of the last part of my answer:I understand that the magistrates' decision was based on the view that the proposed procession and meeting might be in contravention of Defence Regulation 1A (a).
§ Mr. Neil Maclean
Will my right hon. Friend be good enough to inform us which part of Regulation 1A (a) this demonstration is held to contravene?
I am not giving it as my opinion that it contravened a regulation at all. I have said, in response to the Question on the Paper, that the magistrates so interpreted it.
§ Mr. Gallacher
May we take it that it is impossible to hold a demonstration in this country, under Regulation 1A (a)?