HC Deb 04 May 1885 vol 297 cc1481-2

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he has inquired into the truth of the statements made by Mr. J. M'Whirter, of Beith, to the effect that, at the School Board election there on 17th April— The several candidates, with two exceptions, had supplied themselves with rooms in the immediate vicinity of the ballot station, in which were stowed an abundant supply of liquors, and all day long their supporters were supplied without stint, and that— not content with this, several publicans applied for and obtained an extension of the hours of sale in their own premises till two o'clock in the morning, when drink was served to all and sundry; the doors were kept open, and a roaring trade carried on up to the limit of time granted; whether it is competent for any extension of hours of sale to be granted other than for a public or special entertainment, not originating directly or indirectly with the licensed person by whom such extension is applied for; whether justices granting such licences are directed to assure themselves that the public or special entertainments, in respect of which such extensions of hours are granted, are of a legitimate and proper character; and, if he would inform the House how many public inns and public houses there are in Beith; how many applied for extension of hours till 2 a.m. on the night of the School Board election; on what grounds they based their applications; how many applications were granted and how many refused; whether the statement as to common sale "to all and sundry" being carried on after 11 o'clock is correct; and under what provision of the Scotch Licensing Acts is such an extension for purposes of common sale provided for?


I have made inquiry into this case. I am informed that it is the fact that candidates, with one or two exceptions, had committee rooms near to the polling station, and that in these rooms refreshments, consisting of food and drinks, were supplied to persons from a distance. The conditions under which an extension of hours may be granted are contained in Section 6 of the Public-houses Act of 1862, and are shortly, but I think correctly, stated in the Question. I am informed that there are five hotels and nine public-houses in Beith. Application was made on behalf of four hotels for an extension of time for social parties on the occasion of the School Board election. The applications were all granted. The police have no knowledge that liquor was supplied to any persons not being members of the social parties.