§ 20. Mr. HERBERT MORRISON
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to an interview with Chief Constable Bassom, of the Metropolitan Police, published in a London morning newspaper of 30th June, 1924, condemning proposals made by a Member of this House to the London County Council as to certain traffic considerations in connection with the reconstruction of Waterloo Bridge, and asserting that the chief constable did not believe that Parliament would sanction the proposal as to tramways being extended to the south side of the Strand, not into the Strand, as erroneously stated; whether he is aware that such aspects of traffic policy are subjects of public controversy in London and in this House; and whether he will indicate to the official concerned that it is not desirable for him to take part in such public discussions on matters of policy, particularly as he is from time to time called upon to give evidence to Parliamentary Committees on traffic matters?
I am informed that no such interview took place and that the paragraph in question gives a wholly misleading impression of Mr. Bassom's reply to a telephone inquiry. It is often necessary to communicate with the Press in regard to the details of traffic arrangements but the general rule that public servants should not pronounce upon matters of policy is well known and I have no reason to think that it is not strictly observed at Scotland Yard. I see no reason for any special instructions as the Commissioner of Police has complete confidence in Mr. Bassom's discretion.
§ Mr. MORRISON
Will the officer and the newspaper concerned be advised to take more care in these interviews?