§ Order for Second Reading read.
MR. STAVELEY HILL
, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, the hour was too late to enter into any detailed explanation of the object of the Bill. So, with the permission of the House, he would on the present occasion content himself with the Motion he had made, and reserve until the occasion of going into Committee the statement he intended to make.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Staveley Mill.)
§ SIR HARCOURT JOHNSTONE
said, he felt bound in the interests of free competition to give this measure all the opposition in his power, and he moved that it be read a second time that day-six months. This Bill was before the House last Session, and he was under the impression that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had given a cold shoulder to the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for West Staffordshire. He, however, did not know what course the right hon. Gentleman intended now to pursue. If the Motion for the second reading were pressed, he must take the opinion of the House on the Motion. The Bill, which had been introduced on several previous occasions, he had no hesitation in saying, was framed entirely in the interests of monopoly; and whatever views the hon. and learned Gentleman might have on the question of temperance, it was manifest that his Bill was of a sinister and dangerous character. He, therefore, felt it his duty to meet the Bill at this stage with a direct negative. The hour was too advanced to enter then upon a discussion of the measure; but he hoped that the Home Secretary would frankly state the views 588 of the Government upon the subject' and be enabled to give the coup de grace to this highly objectionable measure.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Sir Harcourt Johnstone.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
Sir, I should not have risen on the present occasion had I not been personally appealed to by the hon. Member for Scarborough (Sir Harcourt Johnstone). I am, however, bound to express my astonishment that the hon. Baronet, having himself brought in a Bill to the same effect some years ago, has not given us the reason why he has changed his mind. I can only say now that it is rather too late to discuss a Bill of this importance to-night and I therefore hope my hon. and learned Friend will adjourn the debate to another and more opportune occasion.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Ritchie.)
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned till Thursday next.