HC Deb 10 June 1912 vol 39 cc663-4W

asked the Home Secretary when he is going to lay upon the Table of the House the communications which passed between himself and the shipowner at Tilbury on Wednesday last, and between himself and the Chief Constable of Essex on Wednesday and Thursday last, referred to in his speech in the House of Commons on Thursday night; and whether, for the convenience of Members, he will circulate the said communications, or at all events those with the Chief Constable of Essex, with the Votes in answer to this question?


The representations which I mentioned as having reached me on Wednesday were made verbally, and no record of them has been kept. The communications with the Chief Constable on Thursday were entirely by telephone. He reported that he anticipated a demonstration by strikers from Grays and Tilbury against Messrs. Houlder's boat, the "American Transport," unloading timber with labour imported from Newport, at Purfleet, and he asked that troops or Metropolitan police should be sent. In reply he was reminded that the responsibility for requisitioning troops rests with the magistrates, and later, after the Commissioner of Police had been consulted, he was informed that 100 foot police and twenty-five mounted police could be sent in the afternoon, but with notice in the following terms:—"Special protection is, in the present circumstances, to be given by the Metropolitan police only (1) for the food supply, (2) guarding oil stores, (3) to deal with actual disturbances which have arisen, whatever the circumstances. If they are not required for these purposes they cannot be spared from London, where their services are more urgently needed." The Chief Constable replied that with the above limitations he did not wish the Metropolitan police to be sent.