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100 years ago: Poplar councillors jailed

08 October 2021

October 7th, 1921.

[George Lansbury, his daughter Minnie, and 28 other Poplar borough councillors were jailed for refusing to remit monies for cross-London authorities, in a protest aimed at equalising the income for rich and poor boroughs from the same rate. Minnie died in 1922 after catching pneumonia in prison.]

PRECISELY what useful result is expected to follow from the indefinite imprisonment of the Poplar Borough Councillors it is impossible to see. The absurdity of the position is apparent from the fact that, so long as the rates in dispute remain unlevied, there is no means of resuming or indeed beginning negotiations between the parties. We agree thoroughly with the contention expressed by the twenty-four ministers of religion of the Borough of Poplar in their letter to the Prime Minister. They urge that the Councillors in gaol should be forthwith released, and that a conference should be arranged between them and representatives of the London County Council and other bodies concerned, in order to see if some means cannot be found of settling the points at issue between them. The signatories to the letter expressed no opinion regarding the method adopted by the Borough Council calling attention to their grievances. But like most sensible people they realize the futility of casting Borough Councillors into prison and thereby creating a deadlock, to say nothing of arousing intense feeling among the people of Poplar.

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