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Acquittal of Anti-semitic Editor Spurs Demand for Strengthening of Anti-racial Law

November 20, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two members of Parliament announced today that they will ask Home Secretary James Chuter Ede to strengthen the present legislation covering libel to cover such cases as that of James Caunt, editor of the Morecambe Visitor, who was acquitted this week on charges of having incited to violence against Jews during the height of the anti-Semitic riots in England last summer.

Sydney Silverman, Labor, will ask whether Ede “will recommend amending legislation to make such incitements illegal.” Philip Piratin, Communist, will ask “whether in view of the present legality, as established in the case of James Caunt, of anti-Semitic statements, he will take steps to revise the law in order to prohibit anti-Semitic activities of every kind.” Piratin also plans to recall the pledge given the former Home Secretary Herbert Morrison, when he released Sir Oswald Mosley from detention, that Mosley would not be permitted to resume his fascist activities. J.F.F. Platts-Mills, Labor, will urge Ede to move under the Public Order Act to ban the “new fascist movement” in Britain.

The World Jewish Congress today sent a message to the Home Secretary stating that the verdict in the Caunt case renders urgent an amendment to the present law so as to provide legal protection and redress against incitement to racial and religious hatred, and urging the government to introduce such legislation in the interests of British democracy.

In the first editorial in the Morecambe Visitor to be published since his acquittal, Caunt writes that he received “an avalanche of good wishes” from all parts of Britain. He added that “some Labor officials apparently feel that anyone who criticizes the Jews or their methods must willy-nilly, be a fascist.” Meanwhile, six-foot high slogans were painted last night on walls in the Jewish-populated East End of London.

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