Football Cup-Tie.

Oral Answers to Questions — Wembley Stadium. – in the House of Commons on 30th April 1923.

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Photo of Sir Harry Brittain Sir Harry Brittain , Acton

65.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether steps are being taken to ensure that the communications with Wembley exhibition grounds and stadium will be of a nature to dispel any apprehension as to their inaccessibility?

HON. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear!

Photo of Sir Harry Brittain Sir Harry Brittain , Acton

May I say that the question has been physically answered since it was put down, but I should like to hear the hon. and gallant Gentleman's reply?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Linlithgowshire

The question establishes the hon. Member's reputation as a prophet.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Albert Buckley Lieut-Colonel Albert Buckley , Waterloo

I understand that the crowd which was present at Wembley on Saturday was estimated at not less than 200,000 persons. The rapidity with which this enormous assemblage was poured into the exhibition area caused, as my hon. Friend is no doubt aware, a very anxious situation, but it at least leaves no room for doubt as to the ready accessibility of the grounds.

Photo of Mr Frank Gray Mr Frank Gray , Oxford

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that all the entrances to the ground are quite unsuitable for the reception of a crowd, as are also the entrances to the buildings?

Photo of Mr George Jarrett Mr George Jarrett , Dartford

On the point of accessibility, does the hon. and gallant Gentleman realise the number of hours it took some people to get from the centre of London to Wembley on Saturday?

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

If, in future, it is intended to have a football match like that of Saturday, will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider having it transferred to Glasgow in order that it may be properly conducted?

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

(by Private Notice) asked the Home Secretary if he is aware of the incidents that took place at the Stadium at Wembley on Saturday last on the occasion of the playing of the final for the English Football Cup—

An HON. MEMBER:

Who won?

Mr. JONES:

I do not care who won. I only know who lost—in which 1,000 persons were more or less seriously injured; and if he is prepared to order a public inquiry into the whole of the circumstances?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I have called for reports on this matter, and if the hon. Member will put his question on the Paper, I shall be in a position to give him an answer.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

When shall I put a question down!

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

The hon. Member might put it down to-day for Wednesday.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Harrow

Pending the result of the inquiry, will the right hon. Gentleman state what steps he proposes to take to protect Wembley from the hooliganism imported there, and the ineptitude of the amusement authorities at the Exhibition?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman proposes to substitute that question for the question of which he has given me Private Notice?

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

As far as the crowd were concerned, may I be allowed to say that they were good-humoured? Had it not been for the conduct of the police and the good humour of the crowd, there would have been murder. Therefore, the hon. Member for Harrow (Mr. Mosley) has no right to talk about "hooliganism."

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member for Harrow ought not to have made allegations under the guise of a Private Notice question.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Does the hon. Member wish to put his question as he sent it to me?

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Harrow

(by Private Notice) asked the Home Secretary whether he will state the reasons for the defective police arrangements, which resulted in the serious injury of many persons at Wembley Stadium on Saturday last?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I know of no ground for the suggestion that the police arrangements were defective, and I very much resent the suggestion being made. I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) that, had it not been for the good temper of the crowd and the behaviour of the police, a much more serious result might have occurred. In reply to the hon Gentleman's question, as stated in my reply to the hon. Member for Silvertown, I have called for full reports. I am informed that 12 persons were detained at hospital but several were discharged yesterday, and, as far as the police can ascertain, the cases of a serious nature number six or seven.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Harrow

If the crowd was entirely good-humoured, and the police arrangements were quite perfect—[An HON. MEMBER: "Nobody said that.'"]—will the right hon. Gentleman take some further steps to prevent good-humoured incidents of this nature, which many of the local people resent?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I do not know whether the hon. Member expects me to take steps before I have a report on the matter. That is not my way of proceeding.

Photo of Mr Frederick Roberts Mr Frederick Roberts , West Bromwich

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the almost universal praise which was expressed at the conduct of the police, especially of the officer who was mounted on a white horse?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

Yes, Sir; I am delighted at it, and I hope that praise will be spread abroad.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Harrow

May I—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!" and "Sit down!"]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

If the hon. Member has any further questions, he had better put them down.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Harrow

Mr. Speaker, on a point of Order. May I—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Does the hon. Gentleman desire to make a personal explanation?

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Harrow

Yes, Sir. May I make it clear that my question was not in any sense a reflection upon the police who were present—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"]—but merely a suggestion that there were not sufficient there?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

The hon. Member's question asks "the reasons for the defective police arrangements." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]