HC Deb 11 April 1946 vol 421 cc2072-3
22. Dr. Haden Guest

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he now has any further statement to make on the control and restraint of Fascist and anti-Semitic political activities.

Mr. Ede

Fascist and potentially Fascist bodies in this country are small, disunited, and ineffective. They will be watched with the utmost vigilance, and the potential danger of such bodies will always be kept in mind. The Government have examined in consultation with the Law Officers the scope of the existing law and are satisfied that in present circumstances the law is fully adequate to enable action to be taken against all really dangerous activities. If believers in Fascist doctrines engage either singly or in conspiracy in subversive activities, or disturb the peace, they can be, and will be, dealt with firmly as law breakers.

Dr. Guest

Will my right hon. Friend say whether he regards anti-Semitic propaganda, carried out at a meeting for political purposes, as subversive within the scope of the definition?

Mr. Ede

It all depends on the strength and virulence of the statements that are made.

Mr. Driberg

Did my right hon. Friend observe that a recent meeting intended to promote anti-Semitism could not be held because the Westminster City Council, very properly, refused the use of the hall? Will he commend that example to other authorities?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I was very anxious to hear what the man who was advertised to address that meeting would say. Unless statements are made I cannot prosecute the people who would like to make them.

Mr. Driberg

But has not this man made hundreds of statements before?

Mr. Ede

Most of the statements hitherto made by that gentleman have been made in Scotland, where the law;is not quite as powerful as it is in England. This was the first opportunity for getting him to make a statement in England.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

The right hon. Gentleman used the term "Fascist doctrine." I am sure all Members of the House condemn Fascist doctrine—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not all."]—but does he include all totalitarian philosophy?

Mr. Speaker

We are getting very wide of the original Question.