An HON. MEMBER
On behalf of Mr. Forrest Fulton (West Ham, N.) I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the recent action of the Chief Constable of the borough of Ipswich in giving notice to Messrs. Bridges and Sons, auctioneers in the sale of certain public house property situate in Tacket Street, Ipswich, known as "the Grapes," that the renewal of the licence for the said property would in due course be objected to, and requesting them to read his letter at the auction before inviting biddings; if he is aware that the Chief Constable also intimated to the auctioneers that, should they refuse to read his letter, he would cause a question to be asked in 1688 the auction room in order to direct attention to it; and, if the Chief Constable, in so interfering in the matter, was acting within the scope of his legitimate authority?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
I am informed by the Chief Constable that the facts are as stated in the first paragraph of the question. The Chief Constable also informs me that prior to the auction a conversation took place between himself and the solicitors and auctioneers as to a question being asked in the auction room relative to the letter he had written, but that he did not attend the sale, nor did any one on his behalf interfere in the matter, the solicitors and auctioneers being left free to act according to their own judgment with respect to the letter. I am further informed by the Chief Constable that the last tenant of the house had become bankrupt, that the house had been closed for many months prior to the auction, and that, as there was a strong feeling that the number of licensed houses in the quarter of the town where this house was situated was in excess of the requirements of the inhabitants, the licensing Justices were anxious that any purchaser of the house should have fair notice that the licence would be objected to. Under these circumstances I see no reason for questioning the action of the Chief Constable.