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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the traffic hold up which occurred in the West End of London on 3rd June as a result of the rehearsal for Trooping the Colour; and what instructions he is giving to the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis to prevent a repetition of this state of affairs on the occasion of the next rehearsal on 7th June.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the traffic chaos which occurred on the morning of Monday, 3rd June, following the closing of the Mall; and if he will cancel the closing planned for Friday, 7th June, and arrange a suitable alternative hour when traffic is light.
I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that on the occasion of the first rehearsal of Trooping the Colour on 3rd June there was less congestion of traffic and less delay than in former years, probably because Birdcage Walk was kept open to traffic until noon instead of being closed at 9.30 a.m. as in the past. I am well aware, however, of the serious dislocation of traffic which arises from the need to close certain streets during rehearsals. While I am advised that it is not possible to cancel or alter the timing of the second rehearsal fixed for tomorrow, I propose to consult my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War about the arrangements to be made in future years with a view to minimising the inconvenience to the public.
Having urged both the present and previous Home Secretaries to do something about this for some years past, may I now ask the right hon. Gentleman to realise that, whilst the public do not object to perhaps a certain amount of inconvenience in connection with the Trooping of the Colour ceremony itself, what they do object to is a three-fold dose of inconvenience caused by these rehearsals being held at inconvenient times of the day?
Yes, Sir, I realise this. It was even my wish to change the rehearsal for tomorrow, but unfortunately thousands of people have bought tickets for tomorrow's rehearsal so I cannot act tomorrow. However, in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, I will try to see that less inconvenience is caused in the future.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is widely felt that it would be much more convenient to hold these rehearsals on a Saturday afternoon, which would avoid interference with normal business travel and would enable more people to see the rehearsals? May I further ask whether full publicity can be given as to which streets are to be closed, and when, both for tomorrow and on the actual day?