HC Deb 09 July 1964 vol 698 cc606-8
23. Sir Richard Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many policemen were required at Smith Square on the morning of Wednesday, 24th June to maintain order; and whether he is satisfied that sufficient police were available for this purpose.

36. Mr. F. M. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the action taken by the Metropolitan Police as a result of the disturbances outside Transport House of 24th June.

37. Sir R. Dudley Williams

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police were involved in keeping order during the rioting in Smith Square on 24th June, 1964.

38. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what authority the Metropolitan Police were called to Transport House on 24th June to quell a riot.

Mr. Brooke

I would refer my hon. Friends to the Answer which I gave to my hon. Friends the Members for Uxbridge (Mr. Curran) and Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) on 2nd July.

Sir R. Glyn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it was reported that several hon. Members were roughly handled before a sufficiency of police arrived? Is he further aware that, although no hon. Member on this side of the House wishes to curtail the right of a Socialist, young or old, to demonstrate against injustices, none the less this incident happened within an area in which political demonstrations had been expressly forbidden under the authority of a Sessional Order of this House? Will he ensure that the Metropolitan Police act in liaison with the officials of Transport House in order to ensure that a sufficiency of police will be able to prevent rioting on future occasions when members of the Socialist Party are due to be expelled on doctrinal grounds?

Mr. Brooke

I gather that the Metropolitan Police did their best in these difficult and unexpected circumstances. I must say that I do not think that their Socialism has taught these young Socialists how to behave.

Mr. F. M. Bennett

We can understand a certain amount of sensitivity among the Opposition, but can my right hon. Friend tell us just what was the net cost to ratepayers and/or taxpayers of this incident? However small this amount is, does he appreciate that many of us resent the fact that our hard-pressed police forces should have to control warring factions in the party opposite?

Mr. Brooke

I cannot isolate any extra expenditure that fell upon the Metropolitan Police, but the Metropolitan Police are always ready to deal with all kinds of extraordinary people.

Mr. van Straubenzee

Does my right hon. Friend feel that he is dealing with this disgraceful incident with the seriousness that it deserves? Is he aware that according to Press reports the hon. Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock) was lifted off her feet during this demonstration, which shows that the demonstrators were not lightly-built striplings? What steps is my right hon. Friend taking to protect hon. Ladies less well able to defend themselves than is the hon. Member for Liverpool, Exchange?

Mr. Brooke

I would remind my hon. Friend and the House that it is the Commissioner of Police and not I who is responsible for policing the Metropolis. In an Answer I gave in the House last week about this incident I indicated that the demonstrators were aggressive.

Miss Bacon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we are much touched by the solicitude of his hon. Friends and realise that it is only their very great concern for our well-being and safety that has prompted these questions? Is he further aware that we are all the more touched when we realise that hon. Members opposite have never shown such a concern when members of the Government have been assailed by the Empire Loyalists?

Mr. Brooke

My concern is that the Queen's peace shall be kept. I understand that some of these demonstrators were demonstrating against conscription—indicating, I suppose, that they had inside knowledge of what a Labour Government would lead to.

Mr. Renton

If these attacks by young Socialists upon their leaders get any worse, will my right hon. Friend arrange for Ministers' private detectives, who have so little to do, to go to the assistance of the Leader of the Opposition?

Mr. Brooke

I think that I had better keep out of this.

Mr. Wigg

On a point of order. I do not in any way wish to circumscribe the enjoyment of hon. Members, but can we take it, Mr. Speaker, that if the positions were reversed the Chair would give as much latitude to questions from hon. Members on this side of the House as has been given to hon. Members opposite?

Mr. Speaker

I do not know what the implication of that point of order is meant to be. If the hon. Member wishes to suggest a want of impartiality in the Chair, it should be a matter for a substantive Motion.