HC Deb 27 January 1972 vol 829 cc1593-4
7. Mr. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police not to impose large-scale street closures and traffic diversions on weekdays.

Mr. Sharples

My right hon. Friend has no authority to do so.

Mr. Strauss

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when Royal foreign visitors arrive in London and drive to Buckingham Palace there is widespread congestion of traffic over a large area of central London because of the diversion of traffic by the Commissioner of Police? This causes intolerable delay to tens of thousands of people and widespread complaint which is fully justified. Will the hon. Gentleman consider suggesting to the appropriate authorities that future invitations should be accompanied by a request for arrival to take place on Saturday so that the minimum inconvenience to the public is caused? He will recall that the Lord Mayor's Show always takes place on a Saturday.

Mr. Sharples

I am sure that notice will be taken of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, but it is not always practical for Royal visitors to arrive on a Saturday or a Sunday.

Mr. Lipton

Would it not be sensible to suggest to the Commissioner of Police that streets need not be closed for hours before the procession is due to pass? The streets are closed for a much longer period than is absolutely necessary.

Mr. Sharples

The hon. Gentleman will have noticed that the period during which streets are closed has been progressively reduced over recent years. One has to bear in mind the time needed for troops to be stationed along a Royal procession route. The policy of the police is to close streets for as short a time as possible.

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