HC Deb 19 February 1957 vol 565 c191
21. Mr. Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in the interests of economy, he will discontinue the military guard at the Bank of England.

Mr. Hare

No, Sir.

Mr. Lipton

Is it not time that this antiquated bit of mumbo-jumbo should be ended? Could not the City of London Police adequately look after what is left of our gold and dollar reserves?

Mr. Hare

No, Sir, I think it would be a pity to do away with what is really an ancient tradition. It has been going on since 1780, and not all things which have been going on since 1780 are necessarily bad. What is more, as I think the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) knows, this traditional duty is popular with the men who perform it because they receive a special allowance.

Mr. Farey-Jones

In view of the hopes of financiers associated with preserving the traditions of the City of London, will my right hon. Friend set his mind against any abolition of such traditions as this?

Mr. Hare

My hon. Friend will have heard the Answer to the Question.

Mr. Isaacs

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to adhere to his decision, for Londoners—and he knows that I am a Londoner—like this little bit of colour? What is more, this little bit of colour in our streets is of as much value to the forces as the retention of military titles by some people.

Mr. Hare

I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman. Once again, he has said what he really thinks, irrespective of whether it is popular.