MR. SOMERVELL&c.) (Ayr,
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that, from the passing of "The Publican's Certificates (Scotland) Act, 1876," down to November, 1889, the three Magistrates appointed by the 151 Magistrates of Glasgow to serve on the Joint Committee constituted by the said Act, with power to confirm or refuse licences, were invariably the three senior Magistrates of the burgh; that in November, 1889, the Lord Provost stated it as his opinion that none of the licences granted by the Magistrates in the October Court should be confirmed, and, as the second and third qualified senior Magistrates would not agree to bind themselves to that course, they were passed over, and other two appointed to the Joint Committee; that no new licences have since been granted or confirmed; that the said Joint Committee consists of three Justices of the Peace and three Burgh Magistrates, and that the Chairman of the Committee is the senior Magistrate and has a second or casting vote, the Burgh Magistrates therefore controlling the Committee; whether his attention has been drawn to the report in the Glasgow Evening News of 7th November, 1890, the Evening Citizen of the same date, and the North British Mail of the next day, from which it appears that, at the election of Bailies or Burgh Magistrates, Councillor Chisholm, on behalf of the Council, said—That any objections we might have been disposed to offer to the elevation of River Bailie Bowman and Deputy River Bailie Martin to the Burgh Magistracy have been removed by the assurances which these gentlemen gave us at the private meeting yesterday, that their views on the licensing question are in harmony with what they believe to be the view of the ratepayers at large, namely, refusing to extend or increase the number of licences, and taking every favourable opportunity to reduce them;and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?
§ *MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I have no knowledge of the circumstances referred to in the question of my hon. Friend, but cannot say, even assuming they are correctly stated, that the statute referred to has been infringed. I cannot hold myself responsible for opinions expressed by Municipal Authorities on such subjects, and see no grounds for any action being taken in the matter.