HC Deb 06 November 1947 vol 443 cc242-3W
86. Mr. Gibson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the police of the special branch of Scotland Yard visited a man, whose name has been supplied to him, and questioned this man about a statement he was alleged to have made at a meeting of the Lambeth Trades' Council concerning Fascist activities; whether it is the practice of the police to behave in this inquisitorial way, especially as the meeting was a private delegate meeting, and there can have been no suggestion of an imminent breach of the peace; and whether he will take steps to see that this kind of action is not taken again.

91. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it was with his authority that the police of the special branch of Scotland Yard informed a member of the Lambeth Trades' Council, whose name has been given to him, that if he attended meetings at Rushcroft Road, Brixton, and trouble ensued, he would be the first to be arrested; and if he will take steps to prevent such occurrences in future.

Mr. Ede

The attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions was called to a report published in the Press of a statement alleged to have been made by the man referred to, in which he advocated the use of violence to smash up Fascist meetings. The Director, in pursuance of his duty, instructed the police to interview the man and ascertain whether the newspaper report was accurate. The man when interviewed admitted, after being cautioned, the accuracy of the Press report, but said that he had spoken in the heat of discussion and did not realise that in making that statement there was a danger of incitement to violence, and also said that he would in future refrain from any such remark or action. The police then warned him that any attempt to implement threats of violence or to threaten violence in public would render him liable to prosecution. However detestable a doctrine may be, the law does not allow the use of violence or threats of violence as methods of countering it, and I can find no ground for any action on my part.