Murrayfield Rugby Ground

Oral Answers to Questions — European Community – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st January 1976.

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Photo of Sir Nicholas Fairbairn Sir Nicholas Fairbairn , Kinross and West Perthshire 12:00 am, 21st January 1976

asked the Lord Advocate how many persons were charged with committing a breach of the peace at the rugby international between Scotland and Australia at Murrayfield.

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

None. One person was arrested outside the ground and charged with being drunk and incapable.

Mr. Fairbaim:

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirm that under the law of Scotland, jeering at the National Anthem of the Kingdom on a public occasion, as was done by many spectators at that match, is a breach of the peace, even if it is an expression of the republican ambitions of the nationalists?

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

I cannot accept the hon. and learned Member's account of the facts, or of the law. I did not have the good fortune to attend the match in question, but I watched the beginning on television and I saw nothing untoward. At every major sporting event that I have attended there have been signs of impatience from youthful enthusiasts who have had to queue for hours, and I think that that is what happened on that occasion.

Photo of Mr Iain MacCormick Mr Iain MacCormick , Argyll

Is not the solution to this problem quite simple and was it not seen on television last Saturday when England played Wales? If it is possible for the English Rugby Football Union to play a Welsh song when Wales are the visitors, why cannot the antediluvian people in the Scottish Rugby Football Union play a Scottish song at their matches?

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

The hon. Member has made a sensible suggestion. It is desirable that there should be formalities on these occasions, but I do not think they should be protracted.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

I declare my interest. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the Scottish Rugby Football Union plays the National Anthem as a mark of respect to our Queen and that it saddens the Scottish RFU, as it saddens most Scots, when a few hooligans treat it as an opportunity to show their disloyalty? Does he agree that they ought to take their bad behaviour elsewhere, or spend their energies cheering on Scotland?

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

I am happy to agree with the hon. Member.