HC Deb 19 December 1916 vol 88 c1327W

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that a meeting in support of peace negotiations was arranged to be held in South Street schoolroom, Ilkeston, on 30th, November, and that Mr. Charles Walker, Superintendent of Police, on the 27th November, wrote to the secretary of the committee organising the meeting giving notice that, under Regulation 9a of the Defence of the Realm Act, he prohibited the holding of the meeting, and said that if any attempt was made to hold it in contravention of this prohibition he would take such steps as might be necessary to disperse it; whether the superintendent was acting under the authority of the Home Office; and, if so, what action it is proposed to take in the matter?


I understand that the Superintendent of Police at Ilkeston, believing that the meeting would cause a grave disturbance of the peace, informed the promoters of it that it could not be held. He had no authority from the Home Office for giving this notice, but I have no doubt that he acted in good faith and in the belief that his action was necessary for preserving order. The superintendent has been warned that he has no authority to prohibit meetings, but I do not propose to take any further action in the matter.