§ Mr. O'Halloran
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the incidents which took place at Lewes. Sussex, on Thursday 6 November when the band of the 1st Battalion, the Prince of Wales Own Yorkshire Regiment, serenaded a cheering crowd for the bonfire night ritual burning of the papal effigy.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
Military bands are not permitted to accept engagements with political parties or organisations having partisan or controversial aims.
The band of the 1st Battalion the Prince of Wales' Own Regiment of Yorkshire accepted what seemed to be a routine band engagement offered by the Cliffe Society of Lewes as part of an annual town festival with fancy dress processions and a bonfire. In accordance with the normal regulations, the society provided a certificate to the effect that it was not an organisation having partisan or controversial aims. I am advised that at no time in the course of this very noisy and well supported event was the band aware of the anti-papal activities alleged by some participants, and in which it took no part itself.