HC Deb 25 July 1949 vol 467 cc1819-20
64. Mr. John Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a full statement on the disturbance which took place in Deptford, London, S.E., on the night of Monday, 18th July, when a fight occurred between coloured and white persons, and in which a large number of police were involved.

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

I am informed that towards midnight on 18th July some coloured men began to shout abuse at passers-by from the windows of the common lodging house in Deptford where they live. A large crowd gathered and there was some disorder. The police in restoring order were assaulted and obstructed by these coloured men, who threw empty beer bottles, hot coals and other missiles at them. Fifteen arrests were made and seven policemen were slightly injured. Order was restored shortly after midnight.

Mr. Lewis

Is it not a fact that many of the coloured men involved in the fracas were stowaways? In order to avoid any misapprehension, will my right hon. Friend make it clear that in the experience of his Department the behaviour of these coloured men is not generally indicative of the behaviour of coloured men in this country?

Mr. Younger

I quite agree with the latter part of the supplementary question, but I would prefer not to give any further details because court proceedings about the matter are pending.