HC Deb 23 May 1890 vol 344 cc1704-8

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."

(4.18.) SIR W. LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)

I do not want to occupy the time of the House unduly, and I do not want to prevent hon. Members getting away for their holidays, but some hon. Members on this side of the House feel that on every occasion they must oppsose this Bill. They look upon it as part and parcel of the whole scheme for the compensation of publicans and the endowment of public house property. They can see the evil which this Bill is already doing. Accounts are arriving from the country as to the increase in the value of public house property since the measures of the Government have been before the House; and it is clear that if this goes on there will be a very heavy burden placed on the public. Two days ago the President of the Local Government Board said that he had received a telegram giving an account of a public meeting in Glasgow in support of the measure. The public meeting turned out to be a meeting of 12 publicans in a back parlour. That is the public opinion in support of the Government on this occasion. We would consider ourselves to be absolute traitors to our constituents and to the public good if we did not on every possible occasion offer every possible opposition to the passing of the most mischievous and most abominable measure which even this Government has proposed. I beg to move that the Bill be read a third time this day six months.

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 Wilfrid Lawson.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

(4.21.) MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)

I merely wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer why it is a Return I moved for 10 days ago showing the military expenditure during the present year has not been already laid before the House? It is as well we should have had the Return before the Third Reading of this Bill, because I think it will be found we are spending for military purposes £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 over and above the amount provided for by taxation.

*(4.23.) MR. WINTERBOTHAM (Gloucestershire, Cirencester)

I had no opportunity on the Second Reading of entering my protest against the Bill. I therefore wish to join with my hon. Friend the Member for Cockermouth (Sir W. Lawson) in opposing the Bill. I look upon the Bill as introducing a principle most disastrous and most mischievous. I am informed by a leading man in the City that the shares of those large Brewery Companies interested largely in tied public house property are going up day by day since the policy of the Government on this point has been initiated. Whatever the good intentions of the Government may be, the actual effect of their policy is seen in the augmented value of public house property and brewery shares.

(4.24.) MR. T. FRY (Darlington)

As I, too, had not an opportunity upon the Second Reading, I wish at this stage to join in the protest against this Bill. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer must now be satisfied that public opinion is growing exceedingly fast against this measure. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will find time on Saturday week to attend the Hyde Park meeting and see the large numbers who will flock to the Park to protest against the Government proposals. Reference has been made to the character of the public meeting held in Glasgow. To some extent the same remarks will apply to the meeting of the Church of England Temperance Society. Hon. Members have read that Canon Wilber-force has said he will never again go to a meeting of that body until the Council have purged themselves from the invitation which they have issued to their members to support the licensing proposals of the Government.

(4.25.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

The right hon. Gentleman has promised a Select Committee to consider the financial arrangements as between the three countries. I suppose the Motion for the appointment of a Committee will appear in the Orders of the Day immediately after Whitsuntide. As to the Irish share of the money, I should also like to have a Return showing how the money is to be distributed during the first financial year, and eventually between the several counties and the corporations as soon as the principles of Local Government are extended to Ireland.


I am sorry that it has not been possible to present the Return asked for by the right hon. Member for Bradford. I had hoped to present the Return yesterday, but the right hon. Gentleman is aware that it refers to Navy expenditure as well, and this involves dealing with two Departments instead of one. It has been found that it is not possible to follow exactly the wording of the Return, or to give the figures in the form in which they are asked for. There is not much alteration, however. It is extremely important in presenting the Returns to remember that the Treasury become responsible for the accuracy of the figures, and we, therefore, ask for a little indulgence, in order that we may have time to examine the figures carefully. I hope to be able to present the Return on the first day after the recess.

*(4.28.) MR. S. GEDGE (Stockport)

Reference has been made to the action of the Church of England Temperance Society in this matter, and to the secession of the Rev. Canon Wilberforce. As everybody knows, Canon Wilberforce is a very extreme man. The action of the Society has been dictated by sound common sense, and by an earnest desire to promote true sobriety and temperance in every part of the country. It was because they recognised that the Bill was an honest and well-devised effort in that direction that they were glad to support it. If, as is alleged brewery shares have gone up since the introduction of this Bill, the fact is solely due to the tactics of the Opposition. It is because of their constant misrepresentations of the scheme that people outside who have not closely-studied the Bills believe their statements to be true, and that the Government really propose to compensate the publicans. Believing these misrepresentations, they naturally rush to buy the shares. They will find they are mistaken, and that the Bill does not propose compensation. The scheme is voluntary, and need not be put into operation at all by the County Councils unless they like.

(4.30.) CAPTAIN VERNEY (Bucks, N.)

I take the opportunity of expressing my opinion that there is no more hollow, unsecure Society to be found in England than the Church of England Temperance Society. I do not know of a single instance in which of two candidates before a constituency, the one in favour of temperance principles and the other not, the Church of England Temperance Society gave its support to the temperance candidate. I have never heard of a single instance. Canon Farrar has referred to the fact that of the 12 working-class Representatives in this House who are temperance men not one received support from the Church of England Temperance Society.

*(4.31.) MR. GOSCHEN

I do not know whether it is expected that I should answer the questions that have been put. I cannot undertake that the names of the Committee shall be put upon the Notice Paper immediately after Whitsuntide. The nominations and terms of reference will require a good deal of reflection. The hon. Member will recall to mind that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Morley) expressed some doubt whether the Committee could be appointed this Session. We shall do our best for this Session, and, if the Committee cannot be-appointed at once, at all events, we will proceed without delay to put together the information to be laid before the Committee. As to the Return asked for, I will communicate with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland, but, of course, the points mentioned can be raised on the Local Taxation Bill.


It will be rather late then to enter upon it.


Well, it shall be provided at the earliest possible date. I will confer with my right hon. Friend on the subject.

(4.34.) MR. HENEAGE (Great Grimsby)

I only wish to say, in regard to the hollowness of the Church of England Temperance Society, that I think there is something more hollow in the declamations against the Society by hon. Members who support the hon. Baronet the Member for Cockermouth (Sir W. Lawson). Looking over the Amendment Paper I find the only Amendments of importance standing in the name of the hon. Member for Barrow (Mr. Caine) are those which emanate from the Church of England Temperance Society.

(4.35.) The House divided:—Ayes 141; Noes 67.—(Div. List, No. 109.)

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.