HC Deb 01 May 1969 vol 782 c1590
1. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many policemen were on duty inside and outside the hall at the recent by-election meeting in Walthamstow when Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Defence and the right hon. Member for Middlesborough, East (Mr. Bottomley), were assaulted; how many arrests were made; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. James Callaghan)

Fifteen police officers were on duty outside the hall, with further reinforcements available at Walthamstow police station. The superintendent in charge was inside the hall. He called a number of officers, who escorted some people from the hall. No arrests were made.

Mrs. Short

Is it not unsatisfactory that Ministers of the Crown can be treated in this way at meetings? How is it that certain members of the Opposition are, able to get 50 or 60 police on duty at their meetings? Should not this matter be inquired into?

Mr. Callaghan

I do not think so. The number of policemen used for each occasion is what is regarded as adequate to safeguard those concerned. If the Opposition need more safeguarding than the Government, that may be a reflection of their policies.