HC Deb 05 April 1894 vol 22 cc1452-3
MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Homo Department whether he will direct the police of the A Division to prevent the publicans in Great Peter Street and district, notably the proprietors of the "Star and Garter" and "Elephant and Castle," from selling liquor to drunken pensioners and reservists, and so prevent the scenes that regularly take place, and which on Monday and Tuesday of this week were particularly conspicuous?


Before the question is answered, I wish to ask Mr. Speaker whether it is in Order to insert in the question the words "drunken pensioners and reservists," which, I submit, implies an unfounded charge against a body of honourable and respectable men?


Under the Rules of the House the hon. Member who put down the question is responsible for the, statement as to the condition of those: persons at that time.


I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that in the immediate neighbourhood to which my hon. Friend refers there are five registered common lodging-houses, which accommodate about 1,200 men. Immediately opposite the "Star and Garter" and' "Elephant" public-houses there is a registered lodging-house with accommodation for 400 men, many of whom are reservists and pensioners from the Army. At pension time (which occurred on Monday last) these men spend their money very freely in drink, and frequent quarrels take place. The attention of the police is at all times drawn to the locality, especially on pension days, but no serious disturbances have been noticed, and the people generally disperse when called on to do so. The Inspector who passed through Great Peter Street on Monday and Tuesday last, and the other officers engaged there, state that, although several persons were seen who were more or less drunk in the streets, they did not notice any irregularity in the public-houses, or it would have been at once reported. Publicans have been summoned from time to time for permitting drunkenness on their licensed premises, one so recently as the 3rd instant, when a fine of 40s. and costs were inflicted. The police are at times called by the landlords to eject drunken people, but they were not appealed to on Monday or Tuesday, and what quarrels there were occurred in the streets.


Has the attention of the Secretary of State for War been drawn to the fact that pensioners are paid in comparatively large sums; and would it not be much better to pay them it smaller sums at shorter intervals?


If the hon. Member will put that question down on the Paper I will endeavour to answer it.