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Mr De Valera (Meetings In Scotland)

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1922

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(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been called to the announcement that Mr. de Valera is going to hold a demonstration at Glasgow on Sunday next and subsequently in other parts of Scotland; whether this may not lead to breaches of the peace; and whether it is the intention of the Government to allow these meetings to take place?

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the statement that Mr. de Valera is to address meetings in Glasgow and Dundee, and what steps he proposes to take to prevent a breach of the peace arising out of these meetings?

I have been asked to reply to these questions. My attention has been called to notices in the Press regarding the meetings referred to. The usual steps will be taken to preserve order.

Is it not quite obvious that Mr. de Valera is going to Scotland to preach murder and destruction of property?

That is the very question I disallowed. The hon. Member is putting his personal opinion into the question.

May I ask the Leader of the House whether we are to understand from the reply that the Government have no power to prevent persons who have been responsible for rebellion and outrage in Ireland from coming to this country, and preaching their propaganda here?

That is the same thing. It is exactly what I have struck out from the hon. Member's original question.

Do we understand that it is the intention of the Government to allow these meetings to take place?

Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to accept any offer on the part of the hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. G. Murray) to address a public meeting in his own constituency?

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps between now and Sunday to pass the necessary legislation to give him power?

Is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention, in the event of this gentleman preaching sedition in Glasgow, to allow similar meetings to take place later on?

Is it a fact that these questions are put by gentlemen who cannot address their own constituencies?

At the end of Questions—

In view of the unsatisfactory reply which I have received, in reply to my question by private notice, I ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, in order to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, "the failure of the Government to take adequate steps to prevent breaches of the peace, by permitting Mr. de Valera to hold a meeting in Glasgow, and, subsequently, in other places in Scotland."

The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, in order to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, "the failure of the Government to take adequate steps to prevent breaches of the peace by permitting Mr. de Valera to hold a meeting in Glasgow and, subsequently, in other places in Scotland." That is not a Motion which I can accept. The holding of meetings may be perfectly right. It is only in the case of wrong action at such meetings that the authorities are hound to interfere.

Supposing a meeting be held, and a disturbance takes place, is one entitled to move the Adjournment of the House in order to call attention to the failure of the Home Secretary or the Secretary for Scotland to take the necessary action?

There are many meetings that are lively, and none the worse for that. Opinions as to what is a disturbance differ. I notice that the Press sometimes thinks there has been a "scene" in the House when I have not observed it.