Commons Discusses Action on Anti-semitic Letter to Member of Parliament

The British House of Commons decided today that an anti-Semitic letter sent to a Laborite MP was a breach of privilege of the House. It sent the matter to a committee to study what action should be taken against the sender, Colin Jordan, head of the fascist British National Party.

MP Charles Pannell reported he had received the letter after he had sent notice to the Postmaster General on July 6 that leaflets of the fascist group had been left in telephone booths in Leeds.

The letter said in part: “You would do well to take into account the possibility that in the resurgence of the Britain of tomorrow that the Jews and your fellow renegades will face trial for complicity in a colored invasion and Jewish control of our land. “

The Speaker ruled that the letter constituted a prima facie case of breach of privilege of the House. MP Pannell asked the House to approve a motion that the letter constituted a gross breach of privilege. He said approval of such a motion would serve notice that the House would act if there was continuance of the complaint.

R. A. Butler, the Leader of the House, said his first reaction had been to support Pannell’s motion for gross breach but that sufficient questions had been raised to make him doubt the advisability of summary action. Pannell’s motion was voted down and the question referred to the Committee of Privileges.

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