HC Deb 12 April 1948 vol 449 cc607-8
31. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Food if his attention has been drawn to the action of the management of Rules Restaurant, Maiden Lane, London, in refusing, on racial grounds, to serve a meal to a member of the public on whose behalf a table had been booked; and if, in view of the general principle involved and the decision of the court in the Constantine case, he will take action, by legislation or otherwise, to prevent the repetition by any catering establishment, of conduct offensive to many millions of British subjects.

32. Mr. John Lewis

asked the Minister of Food if his attention has been drawn to the refusal of the proprietors of Rules, a restaurant near the Strand, to serve a coloured man; if he will investigate the incident and, in the absence of an undertaking from the management that there will be no repetition of such incidents, withdraw from this establishment the Ministry of Food licence, without which it would be forced to close down.

Mr. Strachey

As I have already stated in the House, I consider that the interests of the British Commonwealth are most seriously injured by any example of racial discrimination such as this. I am investigating the incident and will take appropriate action.

Mr. Driberg

When my right hon. Friend is investigating this grossly un-Christian and undemocratic action, will he bear in mind that the man who was barred is an extremely distinguished lecturer at London University and well-known in his own part of Africa, and that such actions have very grave repercussions in our African Colonies?

Mr. Lewis

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the proprietor of this establishment has made a statement in the. Press justifying his attitude, and, in the circumstances, is my right hon. Friend prepared to say that, when cases of this kind where there has been discrimination of race, colour or creed, are brought to his notice, he will take steps to withdraw the food licence from the establishment?

Mr. Strachey

There seems no doubt that the incident took place, but I have not yet been in a position to investigate it fully and I must not arrive at a conclusion before having done so. However, I take a very grave view, indeed, of the incident.

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