HC Deb 07 March 1892 vol 2 cc147-8
SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that a Return, moved for by the hon. Member for West Ham, and laid upon the Table of the House, and to provide which great trouble has been caused to the clerks of Licensing Magistrates in England and Wales, is utterly worthless, as failing to supply the particulars desired, owing to the use of the words "Licensed Public Houses," which were taken to apply to fully-licensed houses, while the intended reference was to beershops licensed before May, 1869, and which are still exempted from magisterial control; and whether he intends to take any further steps with reference to this Return?


The Return was obtained by means of a circular asking for the number of such houses now licensed by Justices for the sale of beer or wine, or beer and wine to be consumed on the premises, as were prior to the 1st May, 1869, licensed for the same purpose by Excise licences under any of the Acts referred to in Section 19 of the Wine and Beerhouse Act, 1869. This circular was properly adapted to secure the precise information wanted, and did not contain the ambiguous language in the heading of the Return as it was ordered. I have no reason to believe that the particulars supplied in answer to that circular did not refer to beershops licensed before May, 1869. The phrase used is not strictly accurate. A "beerhouse" is, however, in one sense, a "public house" for the sale of beer.


But is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Return applies to public houses and not to beershops at all?


No, I do not think so. I quite agree that the phrase in the heading of the Return as ordered is, as I say, not strictly accurate, but if the hon. Baronet will look at the terms of the circular he will find there is nothing misleading, but that the information is what was wanted.