HC Deb 03 December 1946 vol 431 cc183-4
11. Mr. John McKay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will call for reports from the police authorities regarding the incidents on the 13th/14th September at Irvine, when a number of Polish soldiers were attacked, and at least one was injured; and whether he will make a statement to the House.

Mr. Westwood

Full reports, furnished to me at the time by the police, showed that a number of Poles were attending a dance when four or five British soldiers arrived and intimated that they had come to rid the place of Poles. Refused admission to the hall, these men remained about the door and were joined by civilians. They had in their possession the top parts of broken beer bottles. They challenged any Polish soldier entering or leaving the hall to fight. After this provocation had gone on for some time, most of the Polish soldiers in the hall came out and a fight developed at the entrance to the hall, and in the streets, which lasted until the arrival of the police. It is not known which side struck the first blow. The weapons used included pieces of gates and railings, broken bottles, sticks and knives. By midnight the streets were quiet. Three British soldiers, two Polish soldiers, and one civilian are known to have received injuries.

Mr. McKay

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the incident began by one of the Poles at the door being stabbed, and that that began the whole thing?

Mr. Westwood

I am not aware of that.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Can the right hon. Gentleman say if conditions in Walsall are so completely satisfactory that the hon. Member has surplus time to devote to other hon. Members' constituencies?

Mr. Westwood

I have sufficient problems to deal with in Scotland, without looking so far afield as Warsaw.

Sir T. Moore

No, Walsall.

Mr. Westwood

My apologies. I understood the hon. and gallant Member to be referring to Warsaw.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the Secretary of State take steps publicly to dissociate himself and his party from the outrageous accusation in connection with this incident made by a delegate to the recent T.U.C. Conference?

Mr. Westwood

I certainly dissociate myself from one particular statement, which was made by Mr. McKerrow, of the Transport and General Workers' Union, in which he definitely said that bayonets and swords had been used. According to the information I have, no such thing occurred.

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