MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a circular issued by the Chief Constable of Kent, acting by direction of the Standing Joint Committee, requesting holders of public-house licences to refuse to serve children under 13 years of age for consumption off the premises; whether, in consequence, chil- 53 dren sent to fetch beer for their parents dinners have been refused; and whether he is aware that the intoxicating Liquors (Sales to Children) Act, 1886, as originally introduced, would have so operated, but that the Second Heading was only assented to by the then Home Secretary subject to the express reservation that the Bill should be so altered as to make it applicable to sales for consumption on the premises only, and that words so limiting the Bill were, after full discussion, inserted without a Division in Committee of this House; and, if so, whether any local authority is justified by law in bringing official pressure to bear in support of a principle deliberately rejected by Parliament?
§ MR. J. G. TALBOT (Oxford, University)
I should like to ask the Home Secretary if it is not the fact that similar proceedings were taken by local authorities in the county of Lancaster with the approval of the Home Office?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
I have asked for, but not yet seen, the circular referred to, and I am not aware whether children have been refused as suggested in the second paragraph of the Question. It is quite true that in 1886 Parliament refused to make penal the serving of intoxicating liquors to children under 13 for consumption off the premises. It is open, however, to justices, when deciding upon the granting or renewing of a licence, to take into consideration any abuses arising from structural arrangement or otherwise which are likely to occur in connection with such serving of children.
MR. J. LOWTHER
I should like to ask whether by law the holder of a public house licence is not bound to serve any intending customer who presents ready money, provided that that intending customer is not subject to any legal disqualification.