Orders of the Day — Newspaper Competitions.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 6th July 1933.

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Photo of Mr John Gilmour Mr John Gilmour , Glasgow Pollok

That may be so. The authorities in each district have to take action. Let us put ourselves in the position of the police authority. If they are certain that they have sufficient evidence upon which they can put their case before a magistrate, if they are going to get the necessary authority to take proceedings, it is clear then that it is within the scope of the chief constable to take such steps as he deems necessary, as in this case against those papers that he is proceeding against by warning and by subsequent action. As I understand it, a warning was given and it was only after that warning was disregarded that further action was taken. The police authority had to make up their mind upon what grounds they were going to act, and if in their judgement they thought that, having the offices of these particular papers in their jurisdiction, they were therefore by that very circumstance in a position to produce to the magistrates sufficient evidence to deal with the matter, but decided that they could not take proceedings against London newspapers, it has nothing to do with me. That is their affair, but there is nothing, so far as I know, to prevent them, if they so decide, from taking further action against any paper operating within their area, provided that they can produce the evidence.

What has eventuated, quite clearly, is that it is the duty of the police authority in whatever district they act to investigate and deal with these problems. The police authority here in the City of London—and I want to emphasise that the proper authority is not the Home Office, but the police authority—has taken advice from Counsel and as a result the City of London Police have warned the "Daily Express," the "Daily Mail," and the "News-Chronicle," while the Metropolitan Police, with which I am associated, have warned the "Daily Herald," the "Mirror," the "Sketch," the "Sunday Graphic," the "Sportsman" and the "People." These warnings have gone out, and as far as I can see there has been no unnecessary delay. While it is true that owing to circumstances there is no centralised control, and that there may be overlapping—it may occur in one part of the country and not in another—yet at the present moment all these police authorities are moving in the same direction, and I hope that the result will be satisfactory to Members of the House as a whole.