Oral Answers to Questions — British National Party

– in the House of Commons on 18th March 1943.

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Photo of Mr Ivor Thomas Mr Ivor Thomas , Keighley

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the British National Party is seeking to stir up racial prejudice and to bring about a negotiated peace; and whether he proposes to take any action with regard to it?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I am well-informed about this organisation, and if there were any danger of a revival, through its agency, of activities similar to those of the British Union, I should have no hesitation in taking appropriate action. But there has been gross exaggeration with regard to this group of people. It is a small body with about 100 members which in no way merits the importance which has recently been attributed to it, and which tends to give it a needless advertisement. The House can rest assured that a close watch is kept over all activities which may become injurious to the war effort, and that there will be no failure to take whatever action is necessary for purposes of public security.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that this organisation was able recently to secure a large London theatre for a meeting, and that the meeting was cancelled only as a result of the publicity given to it in this House, although we had not advertised the body by name?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

It is not an offence for anybody to book a public hall. If this body ought to be suppressed, it is my responsibility to do it. I do not think that arrests are called for in this case, at any rate yet. Life is getting difficult for the Home Secretary, who is denounced as a tyrant sometimes and the next second is being pushed into more tyranny.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the documents about this party which I sent him, at his request, and do they not indicate clearly the treasonable nature of its activities or intentions?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

Yes, Sir. I have seen those documents, and, believe me, I have seen a lot of other documents too which my hon. Friend has not seen. I agree as to the potentialities in this matter. If there is public cause, I will crush this body, but I do not want to crush anybody unless there is good public reason.