HC Deb 20 June 1881 vol 262 cc949-52

Bill, as amended, considered.

Clause 1 (Premises where intoxicating liquors sold to be closed on Sundays in Wales).


said, he had not moved the Amendment he now intended to propose on Wednesday last, because he thought it would have been ungracious to do so at that stage of the Bill. He proposed to add, at' the end of Clause 1, an Amendment that between half-past 12 and half-past 2 on Sundays public-houses in Wales should be open for the sale of liquor for consumption off the premises. He had limited the Amendment in the strictest way possible to make it agreeable to the House, which was disposed to go a long way in the direction of curtailing the liberties of Her Majesty's subjects in Wales; and he had also followed the House of Lords Committee on Intemperance, which had recommended that public-houses should be open during the hours he had named for sale for consumption off the premises. His object was to enable the working man to get his jug of beer for his dinner on Sunday, and. he did not think anything could be more reasonable than that. He did not suppose the House intended that working men should have to drink stale beer on Sundays, or that they expected people who were accustomed to drinking beer on week days not to drink beer on Sundays, or that they wished them to drink spirits on Sunday instead of beer.

Amendment proposed, In page 1, line 12, after the word "Sunday," to insert the "words "except in the afternoon between the hours of half-past twelve and half-past two, for the sale for consumption off the premises."—(Mr. Thomasson.)

Question proposed, '' That those words be there inserted."


regretted that his hon. Friend had thought it his duty to introduce this Amendment, the effect of which would be to stultify the Bill entirely. The hon. Gentleman thought it his duty to protect the liberties of the people of Wales; but, as 29 of the 30 Representatives of Wales had demanded the Bill, he thought the hon. Member might trust the care of the liberties of the people of Wales to the Welsh Representatives. He had received that day a Petition signed by upwards of 16,000 of his constituents of all classes against an intention, of which they had received some intimation, to move to exempt Merthyr from the operation of the Bill. It was signed by the high constable, clergy, and ministers of all denominations, members of the Legal and Medical Pro- fessions, Guardians of the Poor, members of the Board of Health and of the school board, masters of public, elementary, and private schools, merchants, tradesmen, and working men of all trades. Two or three years ago a canvass on this question was made of Aberdare—part of his borough—and of 5,051 papers filled up, 4,659 were in favour of Sunday closing, 210 were against it, and 182 were neutral. Of 2,138 colliers, 1,976 approved of Sunday closing, 91 opposed it, and 71 were neutral. 776 artizan householders approved, 34 opposed, and 23 were neutral. 659 labourers approved, 28 opposed, and 24 were neutral. 33 farmers approved, and none opposed; and 176 railway servants approved, 16 opposed. He thought these statistics showed that the great body of the people, in his borough at any rate—and he believed it was the same throughout Wales—were in favour of the Bill.


moved that the debate be adjourned, because of the indecent haste with which it was being carried through the House. He did not know why there should be such haste on the part of the virtuous Members from Wales, and he thought more time should be given for reflection.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. Warton,)—put, and negatived.

Original Question again proposed.


hoped the Amendment would be adopted, observing that the more oppressive and offensive a measure was the more likely it was to soon come to an end. Without the Amendment the Bill would cause a great deal of suffering, heart-burning, and discontent in Wales. Last Wednesday he had presented a Petition signed by 18,000 adult inhabitants of Swansea against the Bill; and he believed that the great body of the Welsh people did not understand what the effect of the Bill would be.


said, he knew Wales, North and South, better than the hon. and learned Gentleman, and there was a strong feeling from one end of Wales to the other in favour of the Bill. There had been no Petition in favour of such a modification as this Amendment; there had been no demand from the publicans for an alteration in the Bill, and the universal feeling was in favour of the Bill in its present form, without Amendment or alteration.


said, he thought he knew more about Swansea, where he was born and had lived all his life, than the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite. He had not been applied to by a single soul in Swansea to oppose the Bill, except by a deputation of licensed victuallers. The Vicar of Swansea had written to him that a Petition had been got up by the licensed victuallers, which professed to represent the feelings of the people; but he believed that it did not represent the feelings of the people, and that there had been some grievous mistake about the signatures. It showed that 47 pilots had signed the Petition; but there were only 36 pilots in the borough, and of those 36, 15 had sent a Memorial to him (Mr. Hussey Vivian) stating that they had been grossly misrepresented, never having signed the Petition at all, and urging the Welsh Members to support the Bill. He was convinced that the vast majority of the people of Swansea coincided with their brethren in other parts of Wales; and were in favour of the Bill. The Amendment would utterly emasculate the Bill, and he hoped the House would not accept it.


as the Representative of Swansea, said, he believed the feeling there was almost unanimous for the Bill, and he did not know where the 18,000 Petitioners mentioned by the hon. and learned Gentleman had been found. Except from the licensed victuallers he had not heard a single word against the Bill.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 32; Noes 81: Majority 49.—(Div. List, No. 260.)


stated that, after that decision by the House, he should not move the second Amendment standing in his name.

Clause 3 (Commencement of Act).


moved, in page 1, line 18, to leave out the word "county," and insert the word "division."

Amendment agreed to.

Bill to be read the third time upon Wednesday 6th July.