HC Deb 26 April 1956 vol 551 cc1951-2
14. Major Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what authority an inscription was removed from a wreath laid at the Cenotaph by representatives of the N.T.S., the Russian anti-Communist organisation.

Major Lloyd-George

The inscription was removed on the instructions of a senior police officer, who considered that to allow it to remain on the wreath might well give rise to breaches of the peace.

Major Wall

Does not my right hon. and gallant Friend feel that this action was uncalled for and unnecessary, particularly in view of the fact that the inscription was perfectly normal? Is he aware there is a certain anxiety that recent security measures are tending to cause the police to act in a manner to which we are not accustomed in this country and which, quite frankly, we do not like?

Major Lloyd-George

I am afraid that I have to disagree with my hon. and gallant Friend on that. I have never seen such courtesy displayed in very difficult circumstances at any time that I can remember. As for the removal of the inscription, this is a matter of opinion, but I am sure the whole House will agree with me that the use of the Cenotaph for political purposes would be greatly deplored.

Mr. G. Thomas

Is the Minister aware that we all regard the Cenotaph as a national shrine and that anyone who seeks to advance political views by attaching a slogan to a wreath becomes offensive to people of all parties?