HC Deb 05 March 1981 vol 1000 cc401-2
2. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will seek a report from the Metropolitan Commissioner on the action the police took in respect of the march with placards of a group of Labour hon. Members on 18 February.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Patrick Mayhew)

I understand that hon. Members who attempted to march to the Department of the Environment were told that their action contravened directions given by the Commissioner to his officers in pursuance of the Sessional Orders of this House and of another place. The hon. Members concerned subsequently made their way in small groups to the Department without incident.

Mr. Adley

Does not my hon. and learned Friend think that the street politics of the Left—be it Shirley Williams on the Grunwick picket line or the behaviour referred to in the question—are an ugly manifestation of extremism? Will he deplore the walking graffiti which does so much to encourage violent behaviour?

Mr. Mayhew

I understand that the relations between the hon. Members concerned and the police were amicable throughout, although the police officer on the spot may have been placed in an embarrassing and difficult position.

Mr. George Cunningham

Does the Minister recollect with approval the opinion expressed so gloriously by Lord Denning in 1975, in the Hubbard and Pitt case, when he said that that kind of peaceful demonstration in protest against grievances was part of the historic rights of the British people and that we tampered with that right at our peril?

Mr. Mayhew

All such cases depend upon their facts and the exercise of common sense. The great majority of the British people do not have access to the House and the rights of audience in the House, as do Members of Parliament.

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