HL Deb 12 February 1894 vol 21 cc217-8

having given private notice of the question, asked the Government whether their attention had been called to an account of a recent meeting of the unemployed on Tower Hill, when the organiser of the meeting, Mr. J. S. Williams, was reported to have used the following words:— If the police dealt blows on their side, the unemployed would have chemicals on theirs, and were determined to use them, with the object of sending the police to Heaven by chemical parcel post. He need scarcely say that statement was received by the audience with loud cheers. Mr. Williams went on to say— All constables in two lines of police could be removed by a piece the size of a penny carried in the pocket. Never again would the unemployed march by the Embankment route; and, even if it should mean the loss of a few lives, they meant to have the procession again, probably next Saturday week, when the police would not have all on their side. Since the put the notice down on the Paper he had received letters from several people, some of whom had been present at one or more of these Tower Hill meetings, and one from the chaplain of the College at Northfleet, who stated that the warders of the Tower and the policemen on duty on Tower Hill had told him that they constantly felt their blood run cold at the blasphemous and disloyal sentences used by these men. He wished to ask whether Her Majesty's Government proposed to take steps to protect the police from this new danger, implied in the words quoted, in the execution of their duty?


The Home Secretary has been making inquiries as to what was said at the meeting to which the noble Lord has referred. At present those inquiries are not complete. No doubt the noble Lord has seen that Williams has written to the papers stating that what he was reported to have said is not strictly accurate. The Secretary of State is of opinion that meanwhile the police are tinder no apprehension that what the speaker said will have any serious effect. He will continue making inquiries, but I am afraid that I can give no further answer to the noble Lord.


said, that in consequence of the answer just given, he proposed in the circumstances on a later day to call attention again to the subject.


I am afraid the noble Lord, being rather out of Order, was misled by something I said to him. I. observe the noble Lord has a question to this effect on the Paper for another day, and, therefore, it is not strictly in Order to ask it now. For that purpose he should have removed the question from the Paper, and this should not be taken as a precedent.


said, he had acted innocently, and had certainly been misled by what the noble Earl had said to him.