HC Deb 19 July 1898 vol 62 cc425-32

The House went into Committee on this Bill.

[Mr. GRANT LAWSON (Yorks., N.R., Thirsk), DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN of WAYA and MEANS, in the Chair.]


I think I should move formally that we should report Progress for the sake of asking the First Lord of the Treasury how far we are going to-night. We are going along at such a rate that we hare no opportunity of keeping pace with what is being done. Evidently the right honourable Gentleman is thinking over the Order Paper, as everybody on this side is. I wish to ask how far it is necessary to go to-night.


I have missed out the Prisons Bill, because I thought it was too large to take to-night. I have missed out the Charitable Loans (Ireland) Bill. I see no reason why we should not take the Vagrancy Act Amendment Bill. We shall not take the Evidence in Criminal Cases Bill.

SIR C. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

I hope, Sir, the Government will take an Order that stood last night, and again to-night. There will be some discussion upon it, and it will take some little time. It stands in the name of Secretary Sir Matthew White Ridley—

Compulsory Shop Clubs.

"That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into and report upon the alleged grievance of the Friendly Societies in regard to the action of employers of labour in compelling their workpeople as a condition of hiring to join benefit clubs or societies estab-

lished by the employers, and to cease their membership in any Friendly Society to which they may belong."


Sir, I am not proposing to take that to-night. I am told it is not wished that it should be taken to-night.


I have heard nothing but the most anxious wish that it should have been taken last night, or should be taken to-night.


The notice only appeared on the Paper last night, and I thought that it would not be fair to take it last night. There are one or two Amendments put down to-night.

MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthen)

As regards the Vagrancy Act Amendment Bill, I am not opposing the Bill myself, and I have not the least desire to obstruct it. I notice some honourable Gentlemen have got Amendments down on the Paper, and are probably acting on the belief that it would not be taken to-night. Personally, I have not the least objection to its being taken, but I think, as these Amendments are of a somewhat important character, that it would be well for the Home Secretary to consider, under the circumstances, whether he should not postpone it.

Motion made.

Question put by the Chairman— That I do now report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.

The House divided:—Ayes 50; Noes 155.

Allen, W. (Newc.-und.-Lyme) Haldsne, Richard Burdon Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Asher, Alexander Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Robson, William Snowdon
Baker, Sir John Hazell, Walter Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Billson, Alfred Horniman, Frederick John Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)
Brigg, John Jones. W. (Carnarvonshire) Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)
Broadhurst, Henry Kearley, Hudson E. Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Causton, Richard Knight Knox, Edmund Francis Vesey Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Cawley, Frederick Lambert, George Souttar, Robinson
Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.) Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land) Strachey, Edward
Clough, Walter Owen Macaleese, Daniel Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Colville, John McArthur, Wm. (Cornwall) Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Daly, James McLaren, Charles Benjamin Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir C. Mandeville, J. Francis Wilson, John (Govan)
Doogan, P. C. Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Woodhouse, Sir JT (Hudd'rsf'ld)
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan) Pearson, Sir Weetman D. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) Pickersgill, Edward Hare Mr. Lough and Mr. Cald-
Goddard, Daniel Ford Price, Robert John well.
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Folkestone, Viscount Mount, William George
Arnold, Alfred Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk) Muntz, Philip A.
Arrol, Sir William Galloway, William Johnson Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Garfit, William Murray, Col. W. (Bath)
Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy Gedge, Sydney Newdigate, Francis Alex.
Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness) Gibbons, J. Lloyd Nicol, Donald Ninian
Balcarres, Lord Gordon, Hon. John E. Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.
Balfour, Rt.Hn. A. J.(Manch.) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Parkes, Ebenezer
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds) Goschen.Rt, Hn.G. J. (St. Geo's) Pease, Arthur (Darlington)
Banbury, Frederick George Goschen, G. J. (Sussex) Penn, John
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Gretton, John Pierpoint, Robert
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol) Gull, Sir Cameron Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G. Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. E.
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Hardy, Laurence Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Bill, Charles Heaton, John Henniker Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.
Blundall, Colonel Henry Henderson, Alexander Robertson, H. (Hackney)
Bond, Edward Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol) Round, James
Brassey, Albert Hobhouse, Henry Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Carlile, William Walter Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Johnston, William (Belfast) Sidebottom, W. (Derbysh.)
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Johnstone, John H. (Sussex) Simeon, Sir Barrington
Cecil, Lord H. (Greenwich) Joicey, Sir James Smith, James P. (Lanarksh.)
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H. Stanley, Lord (Lancs)
Chamberlain, Rt.Hn. J. (Birm.) Kenyon, James Stewart, Sir M. J. McTaggart
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r) Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Channing, Francis Allston Lawrence, Sir E. D. (Corn.) Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool) Stuart, James (Shoreditch)
Charrington, Spencer Legh, Hon. Thos. W. (Lancs) Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Talbot, RtHn J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.)
Coghill, Douglas Harry Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Thornton, Percy M.
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Loder, Gerald Walter E. Tomlinson, W. E. Murray
Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford) Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool) Valentia, Viscount
Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W. Lowe, Francis William Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)
Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D. Loyd, Archie Kirkman Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Cranborne, Viscount Lucas-Shadwell, William Warr, Augustus Frederick
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)
Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton) Macartney, W. G. Ellison Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)
Curzor,RtHnG.N.(Lancs,SW) McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool) Wentworth, B. C. Vernon-
Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) McKillop, James Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und-L.)
Dalkeith, Earl of Maddison, Fred Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Malcolm, Ian Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)
Dorington, Sir John Edward Milbank, Sir Powlett, C. J. Wilson, H. J. (York, W.R.)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Mildmay, Francis Bingham Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S. Milton, Viscount Wilson, J. W. (Worc'sh., N.)
Elliot, Hon. A. R. Douglas Milward, Colonel Victor Wodehouse,Rt.Hn.E.R. Bath)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Monckton, Edward Philip Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Fergusson,RtHnSirJ. (Manch.) Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)
Finch, George H. More, Robert Jasper TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.) Sir William Walrond and
Fisher, William Hayes Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen) Mr. Anstruther.

Amendment proposed— Page 1, line 19, leave out sub-section (3).—(Mr. Lloyd Morgan.)


I do not rise to move this Amendment which stands in my name with a view to obstruct this Bill, because, in my opinion, the Bill is an excellent one. I am thoroughly in favour of it, and I voted in its favour on the Second Reading. But, at the same time, I think the two first sub-sections of section I are sufficient in themselves without the addition of sub-section 3, which, from some points of view, raises a question which ought to be considered by the Government during the Com- mittee stage. The first two sub-sections make it an offence within the meaning of the Vagrancy Act of 1884 for a man to live on the prostitution of a woman. With that I agree. When it comes to a question of how the offence is to be made out, we have sub-section 3, and on that I join issue entirely with the Government. I think the first two sub-sections are sufficient, and that the onus of proof that a man lives on the prostitution of a woman lies with those who bring the charge against the man, in the same way as when any other charges are brought in this country. A man is entitled to say, "You have brought this charge against me, you must prove it." I protest against the theory which it is attempted to incorporate into the law of this country by this sub-section, that a man must prove his own innocence. That is really what this sub-section does. It says— If in certain circumstances"— suspicious, I agree— you appear to be living on the prostitution of a woman you must prove that you do not. I do not think that is a satisfactory course to take. It seems to me to be an entirely novel thing introduced into our criminal procedure to throw on a man the onus of proving that he is innocent, and not leave it to the Crown to prove that he is guilty. I admit there are one or two sections of the Debtors' Act of 1869 which make it necessary for a man to prove his own innocence, but I think that is not a fair and satisfactory method of procedure. I quite agree with the Bill. I quite agree with sub-sections 1 and 2 of clause 1, and think the Bill ought to stop there, and that the prosecution, or whoever brings the charge, must make it out.


I fully appreciate the attitude of the honourable and learned Member, who always approaches these questions with a real desire to make the Bill workable and to prevent injustice being done; but I do not think there is any real hardship involved in this sub-section. Without it the Bill will not be practicable. The honourable and learned Gentleman agrees with the first sub-section, that which provides that a person who knowingly lives on the prostitution of a woman shall be guilty of an offence. I ask him to consider how the practical question works out. A man is proved to be constantly in the street with a woman, constantly following her about, and acting as "bullies' do act in connection with these women. It is known that he is constantly about, and is seen in the place which she makes her home. The only thing that man has got to prove under this sub-section is that he has a means of livelihood. I submit that all these circumstances being proved, the onus ought to be thrown on the man to show that ha has a reasonable means of livelihood. I do submit to my honourable and learned Friend that when the con- ditions alluded to in the section, that a man is living with and habitually in the company of a prostitute and has no, visible means of subsistence—when all these conditions are to be proved by the prosecution, surely it is nothing unreasonable that a man should be allowed to go into the box and say, "I am a tailor," a journeyman, or following this or that occupation. I do not think that the safeguards which the right honourable Gentleman has inserted in the early part or this sub-section 3 show a prima facie case, and that there is no hardship on a defendant in these circumstances being called upon to prove that he has visible means of subsistence, that he is not living on the earnings of prostitution. I hope the House will agree that this sub-section 3 should stand.

The Amendment was negatived without a Division.

Amendment proposed— Page 1, line 24, leave out sub-section (4)."—(Mr. Lloyd Morgan.)


I move this Amendment. I think it would be a great mistake to leave in this sub-section, which makes a prisoner a competent witness in such cases. There is a bill before this House at present. I do not know whether the Government propose to proceed with it this Session or not, but I think these questions ought to be dealt with in a wholesale and not piecemeal fashion.


It is quite true there is a Bill now before the House which might render this sub-section unnecessary, but it seems to me it has been customary to put these sub-sections in, and I venture to think it is absolutely necessary for the protection, of the persons coming under this Bill. Under no circumstances can it do any harm, and the other Bill is not yet passed.

MR. S. EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)

I entirely agree that it is a mistake to introduce these alterations in the law piecemeal. You have said in the sub-section just passed that in certain cases where a primâ facie case is made out against a defendant he shall, unless he can satisfy the court to the contrary, be deemed to be living on the wages of prostitution. You will have, I think, very often cases of this kind; the only person who can possibly give evidence is the person him- self; so that here, curiously enough, you have an argument in favour of making this exception in the law.

The Amendment was negatived without a Division, and the clause agreed to.


I should like an explanation from the Government why it is that this excellent Bill is not to extend to Scotland or Ireland. I think if there is any class of legislation at all which ought to be precisely the same in its application to all parts of the United Kingdom it is the ordinary criminal law. I did not expect that this matter was coming on. I do not know for the moment whether the Vagrancy Act of 1824 applies to Scotland and Ireland or not, but if it does there is no reason at all why this Act, which is an Amendment of it, should not apply, and I should like to hear from the Government why it proposes to exclude Scotland and Ireland from this beneficial Measure.


The Bill is intended to be applied chiefly in London. With reference to Scotland the Borough Police Act already contains some of the provisions contained in this Bill. It has been represented to me that it was not necessary in Scotland, and I had the same intimation with regard to Ireland. That being the case, I thought it unadvisable to so extend the Bill.


I see the Solicitor General for Ireland there. I should like to know from him whether or not it is necessary to extend this Bill to Ireland.


We do not want it.


It is not a question whether you want it or not. It is a question whether we should extend it to Ireland. I should prefer to accept the law from the learned Solicitor General for Ireland.


I can only say I am of the same opinion as my right honourable Friend.


Are the provisions in the law of Ireland practically the same as the provisions of this Bill? That is the question. To say "ditto" to the Attorney General is not sufficient. Having failed to draw the Solicitor General for Ireland, I should like to ask somebody for Scotland. I see the Lord Advocate in his place. I beg to ask him.


My impression is—I speak subject to correc- tion—that the Vagrancy Act does not apply; therefore the amending Act ought not to apply.


Would the Lord Advocate kindly say whether the Attorney General is right?


What the right honourable. Gentleman said is perfectly right on the subject of this Act.


A clause of this Bill has been taken out of the Glasgow Police Act.


That shows we are legislating in the dark. If it is a clause in the Glasgow Police Act it is perfectly evident it is not the law of Scotland. Therefore, until we get better information, I beg to move the omission of clause 2.


The honourable Gentleman is under a misapprehension. The Glasgow Police Act and the Burgh Police Act, 1892, are identical word for word.

MR. W. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)

I should like to get some information whether this Bill extends to Wales.

Clause 2 was agreed to.

  1. NEW CLAUSE. 191 words
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