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Traders, Trafalgar Square

Volume 477: debated on Monday 17 July 1950

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asked the Minister of Works what steps he proposes to take to stop the nuisance to visitors in Trafalgar Square who are molested by photographers and grain merchants.

I am reluctant to turn genuine traders away, but if there is evidence of people being worried unduly, I shall have to consider making regulations.

Is the Minister aware that very few visitors who go to see Nelson's Monument and the fountains in the Square are able to do so on account of the activities of these people? Is he further aware that rival gangs cause trouble to break out and the police have to come in periodically to clean up?

I do not think that is a fair statement. A great number of people go to Trafalgar Square precisely for the purpose of feeding the pigeons there and having their photograph taken. If there is any real evidence of people being molested for trade purposes, I shall be glad to have the information and to take the necessary steps.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman not to be forced into a position of being a spoil-sport, as a lot of innocent pleasure is derived by children and others at this place, which is one of the sights of London?

I am very glad of that support. I have no intention of being a spoil-sport.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the policy suggested by Members opposite is in line with their policy of setting the people free?

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the activities of the pigeons do not interfere with the visitors?