Proposed Public Meeting, London

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence – in the House of Commons on 4th February 1943.

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Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that an organisation which advocates peace by negotiation with Hitler and distributes pro-Nazi, anti-parliamentary and anti-Semitic propaganda, is proposing to hold a public meeting at a London theatre in the near future; and whether he will take steps to prevent the holding of such a meeting as likely to provoke a breach of the peace?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

While watch is being kept on the activities of this organisation, my present information does not suggest that this meeting is likely to attract so much public interest that serious disorder is to be apprehended; and it would, I think, be premature for me to decide at the present date whether there are sufficient grounds for prohibiting the meeting under Defence Regulation 39E.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that only last night there was a deplorable exhibition of hooliganism at Finsbury, where the memorial of Lenin was broken up and tarred and placarded with Fascist slogans? Will he bear in mind that these people do seem to be getting rather uppish again and require a sharp check?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I will certainly look into the incident to which the hon. Member refers. If it is true, it is much to be deplored, but I am between two fires. The hon. Member wants me to be harsher, and there are other hon. Members sitting near me who are always anxious that I should be much more lenient.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Well, they show what side they are on?

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

Is the right hon. Gentleman not quite well aware that nobody on this side of the House tries to prevent him from dealing with people who commit offences?

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Is there any objection to my right hon. Friend giving the name of the organisation?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I forget what it is, but I think there is point in the fact that we do not want to advertise these things.