Proclamation of State of Emergency

Part of Message on Behalf of the Queen – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet 12:00 am, 9th February 1972

On the first point, I think the hon. Lady recognises that this is an emergency situation in which there is need for special powers. As for efforts to solve the crisis, as the House is aware, discussions are taking place, and I would not want further to comment on that at the present moment.

The Government would contemplate the use of the Armed Forces only if that were absolutely essential to maintain vital services to the nation.

On the point about the law of picketing, let me make it quite clear that it is well known and established that peaceful picketing is acceptable under the law; intimidation is not. It is the responsibility of chief officers of police to enforce the law. It is not for the Government to instruct them in any way about how to carry out their duties.