HC Deb 14 March 1828 vol 18 cc1149-50
Mr. Estcourt

rose in conformity with the notice which he had given. It would, he said, better answer the object which he had in view not to enter into any discussion on the present occasion. If the House would allow him, he would bring in the bill, for the purpose of having it read a first and second time, and committed pro forma. In the committee the blanks would be filled up; and the bill might be re-committed after the holidays. By adopting this course, the magistrates at the various quarter sessions would have the means of knowing what the House was about. He would abstain from saying any thing on the principle of his bill; but he begged to call the attention of the House to some of the alterations in the existing law which it proposed to make. One of the first variations which he proposed to introduce had reference to the meetings of magistrates at which licences were to be granted. He proposed that it should be enacted, that the whole of the licensing in a single district should not be confined to one day, but that magistrates should be compelled to appoint a second day; so that if any innkeeper was prevented from attending on the first day, he might have an opportunity of attending on the second. Another proposed alteration would obviate some of the objections to the existing mode of transferring licences. It went to enact, that certain periods should be fixed for those transfers; so that the transaction should be perfectly notorious. Another important alteration was this, that where the number of magistrates in any jurisdiction was small, the magistrates of the county should be introduced, so that the number should never be less than six. Another clause extended the principle of exclusion where magistrates might be suspected of any interest in the business of licensing. Another proposition Was, to wave the necessity of publicans obtaining certificates before they applied for licences, and finding sureties for maintaining order in their houses; both which impositions had been found vexatious to the parties, and of no security to the public. The last point, and one which he trusted the House would approve, was, that in every case an appeal was to be allowed against an act of the magistrates; and in order to ensure the best possible decision, the appeal was to be in every case to the county at large. It was a farther object of his measure to consolidate under one act all the statutes relative to public-houses.

Mr. Hobhouse

said, he had been a member of the committee above stairs upon the bill, and thought the House and the country were much indebted to the hon. gentleman for his exertions.

The bill was then read a first and second time.