asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can now stale the results of his inquiry into the action of the police in dealing with the unemployed section of the crowd outside the House of Commons last Tuesday; what is the estimate of the number of unemployed persons in the section of the crowd against whom action was taken; how many police were specially employed; what was the cost of the extra provision of police; and who was responsible for ordering the augmented force of police to be on duty?
I have now made full inquiry into the incidents referred to. I had not contemplated the appointment of a committee of inquiry, and I did not suggest that course when the matter was under discussion in the House last Wednesday. The number of persons taking part in the demonstration is estimated to have been from 800 to 1,000. The number of police employed in the vicinity, apart from those engaged in connection with the flood-lighting display, was 230. No appreciable additional expenditure was involved. The decisions as to the number of police to be employed and the measures to be taken were made by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. It was necessary, under the Sessional Order of this House, to keep the vicinity of Parliament free from obstruction, and as the demonstrators persisted in endeavouring to make their way into Parliament Square, the police were obliged to disperse them. I have no reason to believe that any excessive force was used. No specific instances have been alleged either to the police or to the Home Office, and there has been no response to the invitation which I gave on Wednesday that any hon. Members who had knowledge of such incidents should send me the particulars in order that investigation might be made.
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with an inquiry which must necessarily rest entirely upon official statements: and would it not still be better to broaden the inquiry in order that others who actually saw what was going on should he enabled to give their views?
Public invitation was given by my remarks in the House, that anyone who had information to give should present it. No responses were made, and in those circumstances there is no material to be laid before the committee of inquiry.