HC Deb 07 April 1870 vol 200 cc1493-4

Act read; considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


, in moving that the Chairman be directed to move the House that leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend "The Wine and Beerhouse Act, 1869," said, he would confine himself to two or throe remarks as to the nature of the Bill, and would reserve his arguments in support of the clauses for the second reading. It might be thought by some, after the announcement made in the Queen's Speech that the Government desired to bring in a Bill dealing with the subject generally, that any attempt at legislation on the part of a private Member was out of place; and, indeed, it was not his wish to stand in the way of any Government measure on the question; but experience had shown that there were certain errors in the Act of last Session which it was most desirable to rectify. The principal point which had been brought under his notice was a defect in the 1st clause of the Act. It had been found that persons, whose certificates had been refused because they had misconducted their houses, were continuing to carry them on under cover of brewers' licences, which the Excise could not refuse even in the absence of a certificate. He therefore proposed to abolish the brewers' licences. In the next place, in a number of towns in the North, licences for the sale of sweet wines had been taken out by persons who had been deprived of beer licences for misconduct; and he proposed to extend police inspection to the houses of these wine dealers, in order to check the irregularities which prevailed in them. Thirdly, the owners of beer-houses, on giving a tenant who had misconducted a house notice to quit, were prevented from transferring the licence from the outgoing tenant to the incoming tenant by the former refusing to hand over the certificate which was necessary to complete the transfer. In many cases large sums were demanded for eviction—if he might use the term, from these ill-conducted houses, and it was attempted by the 4th clause of the Bill to correct that evil. Penalties also were frequently mitigated by magistrates to the most trifling amount; and therefore a limit below which the penalty should not be reduced would be a part of the measure he proposed to introduce. In many cases a beer licence was taken out together with a grocery licence, and it was found that circumstance led to some irregularity, and consequently it would be proposed that the beer licence should rule the hour for closing the house.

Resolved, That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend "The Wine and Beerhouse Act, 1869."

Resolution reported;—Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON, Mr. HEADLAM, and Mr. AKROYD.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 97.]

House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock.