HC Deb 11 June 1959 vol 606 cc1178-9
55. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why, on 1st March last, officers of the Metropolitan Police, at the request of the licensee of the Angell Arms, Lough-borough Road, S.W.9, required British subjects of African race to leave the saloon bar of the public house although their conduct had given no cause for complaint.

Mr. Renton

My right hon. Friend is informed that the licensee summoned the police to his assistance because the conduct of the men in question had given cause for complaint.

Mr. Stewart

Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman remember that the letter that he wrote to me in April on this matter contained no complaint whatever as to the conduct of these customers? The letter, indeed, put forward the surprising doctrine that the presence of these customers in the bar was considered to be, of itself, a cause of trouble, and that it was because other customers manifested hostility to these men that they were required to leave.

and it was only later, when I expressed my dissatisfaction with the view expressed in that letter, that this allegation of the unsatisfactory conduct of these customers was made at all?

Is he further aware that one of these customers, who is a constituent of mine, is a substantial and reliable citizen, and has been in this country for a number of years? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman, therefore, be willing to see both myself and my constituent about this matter?

Mr. Renton

I am sorry if my first letter did not make the position as clear as it should have done. I am quite willing to see the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart), but I think that, in the first place, it would be advisable if I were to see him without his constituent. We can then consider the possibility of my seeing him with his constituent later on. I would point out that the real essence of the case is that the police have to take notice of complaints made by licensees, and to act accordingly to prevent a breach of the peace. They have not always the opportunity of inquiring at the time fully into the justice of the complaint.

Mr. Lipton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As this public house is situated in my constituency, may I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether he is aware—'—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I ask the hon. Member to look at the clock. It is after time.

Mr. Lipton

Further to that point of order. In view of the incomplete nature of the hon. and learned Gentlman's reply, I beg to give notice that I hope to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.